Class of 1972 receives awards, pins on Friday


Rob Le Cates

Mary Anne Hanner, president of alumni services, accepts a 50 anniversary commemorative pin from University President David Glassman during the class of 1972’s 50 anniversary reunion at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union’s University Ballroom Friday afternoon.

Cam'ron Hardy, Campus Events Junior Editor

On Friday night, Eastern hosted an event to celebrate the graduates from the class of 1972. 

Members of the class were invited to Eastern for the weekend to commemorate their 50-year anniversary, as well as celebrating the 2022 Homecoming Weekend.  

At 5:30 p.m., a reunion dinner took place in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr University Union. Members of the class that attended the ceremony were given pins for their accomplishment.  

Mary Anne Hanner, one of the members of the class of ’72, was in attendance and received a pin. Hanner taught at Eastern for 30 years in the communications disorders and sciences department. Hanner is also the president of the Alumni Association at Eastern.  

“We have the mission of supporting EIU alumni and EIU itself,” Hanner said. “We do that by supporting recruitment activities for Eastern because the Alumni Association is helped by alumni from EIU. The more students we have, the more alumni we have.” 

Hanner talks about being a student at Eastern, and what it means to be able to help students. 

“It’s so rewarding,” Hanner said. “We were you. We know that being a student [is] a tough time in your life. It’s a great time, you develop many great friendships and relationships with faculty members, but our goal is to support programs at EIU and support students [and] help them reach their goal.” 

Hanner reminisced on her own time as a student 50 years ago.

“50 years ago, I graduated, so 54 years ago I came here as a student, not knowing for sure where my life was going, and I developed a profession here,” Hanner said. “I developed lifelong relationships with friends, and I guess I wouldn’t’ve had a great career without EIU.” 

Hanner also talks about how her perspective changed after becoming a teacher at Eastern. She says she took things for granted how things were just set for her and other students.  

“When I came back as faculty member, and then later as a dean, I realized that the most important thing is that we have facilities that support students, that we have services that support students, that we make it as easy as possible for students to get to class,” Hanner said.  

Later in the night, at 6:30 p.m., there was a tribute donor recognition award. The EIU Foundation presented the Philanthropist of the Year award.  

There were two recipients for the award. One of the awards went towards Margery and Paul Davis. 

They received the posthumous award, an award given after the recipients have died. 

There was another award given to Gail Richards. 

 Richards gave a little bit of her background information when she gave a speech while accepting her award. 

Richards told her story of when she was younger and how her parents volunteered a lot, and that is how they allowed Richards and her siblings to pursue their interests.  

“It wasn’t anything [my parents] ever talked about, but it was constantly modeled for us,” Richards said. “We give back, you share your gifts and by doing that, you give other people opportunities they might not have had, and you make them feel appreciated. So that became my philosophy that I tried to live by.” 

Richards also told the story of how she gave gifts to Eastern when “the morale was low.”

Richards said she went to a local florist and asked if they could help her with an idea she had.  

“If I gave you a $100 bill once a month, could you stretch that to 10 gifts and would you deliver them to people on Eastern’s campus,” Richards said.  

The florist was able to do it, Richards said.  

“So for once a month, for two years, I would gift ten faculty and staff from Eastern,” Richards said. “I would type an anonymous note of appreciation, I would put it in an envelope with their name and their department, and I would take it to the florist, and they would come up with flowers, balloons, and deliver it on campus. And I thought at least there are ten people, once a month, that know someone noticed and appreciates what they’re doing for Eastern Illinois University.” 

Richards also said how much the award meant to her. 

“[The reason why] this award is so important to me is because the foundation has turned the table on me and is giving back to me for sharing my gifts, and that has made me feel very special and appreciated,” Richards said.  


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].