2022 Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards

The nomination window for the 2024 Alumni Awards is open through December 31, 2023.

Alumni Awards are presented annually at Homecoming. They include the Distinguished Alumni Award; Alumni Achievement Award; Outstanding Young Alumni Award and Alumni Service Award. 

First presented in 1964, the NMU Alumni Awards celebrate the personal and professional achievements of NMU alumni who distinguish themselves through exceptional contributions to their profession, community, and society.

Do you know someone who should be nominated? The nomination process is quick and easy. Nominations can be submitted year-round by friends, family, faculty, and staff through the online nomination process. Nominations received by December 31 are considered for recognition the following year.

Questions? Get in touch with us.

Congratulations to our 2023 NMU Alumni Award Recipients


2023 Alumni Award Recipients

2023 Homecoming Awards Luncheon

Congratulations to the 2023 Alumni Award recipients! We were lucky enough to celebrate these Wildcats during the Homecoming Luncheon.

Ellen J. Narotzky Kennedy Ph.D. ’71 MA, ’72 MAE

Distinguished Alumni Award

St. Paul, Minn.

Kennedy earned a master of arts in English in 1971 and a master of arts in education in 1972 from NMU, as well as a master of arts in Sociology and two doctorate degrees, one in marketing and one in sociology, from the University of Minnesota. Kennedy was a professor for nearly 30 years and in 2006, she founded World Without Genocide, a human rights organization, where she is the executive director. The organization is located at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., where Kennedy is also an adjunct professor and teaches courses in human rights. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy and a past board member of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, and she serves on the boards of several civic organizations. Her human rights work has been recognized nationally, including by the Anne Frank Center in New York. Kennedy is a representative to the United Nations Department of Global Communications. World Without Genocide received Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2022.

Ellen J. Narotzky Kennedy (’71 MA, ’72 MAE), Ph.D.

Mitchell Stephenson Ph.D. ’13 BA

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Dillon, Mont.

Stephenson completed a bachelor’s degree in Sports Science from NMU in 2013, supported by a Harden Scholarship. He then completed a MS at the University of Wyoming, and Ph.D. at Iowa State University as a Presidential Scholar, collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense on multiple human performance investigations. Currently, he is an associate professor of Health & Human Performance at the University of Montana Western, where he teaches courses using the same experiential pedagogical approaches he benefitted from at NMU. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Stephenson oversees student interns and researchers that concentrate on methods to improve human performance and mitigate injury risk. Much of his academic and government-sponsored research contends with neurocognitive performance and musculoskeletal injuries in both sport and military environments. Stephenson also currently serves as the director of a U.S. initiative tasked with providing safety and security to aid efforts in Ukraine.

Mitchell Stephenson (’13 BA), Ph.D.

Charles Hawes ’77 BS

Alumni Service Award - Community

Lansing, Mich.

Hawes attended NMU on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1977. He had a 35-year career in public accounting, where he eventually became a partner in a Lansing area CPA firm and later, a principal in a state-wide firm. He also worked in the private sector as vice president and CFO of a mutual insurance company late in his career and retired at the age of 62. Hawes joined the Board of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Michigan as Treasurer in the late 80s and has served in that volunteer position for over 30 years. During his service to UCP, Hawes received the President’s Award in 2002 and 2008, was recognized for volunteer service to UCP at the 2021 Mary Ann Greenawalt Awards Ceremony and received the Volunteer Recognition Award from the National UCP Office. He also served as a recycling volunteer at several Annual Common Ground Music Festivals in Lansing and was a member of the NMU Alumni Board from 1997-2003.

Charles Hawes ’77 BS
T.J. Weber, Oustanding Young Alumni Award '21

"Why do we produce so many great people, especially leaders, at this school? My best answer is that NMU forces you to be resilient in a way that other places simply don't."

T.J. Weber, 2021 Oustanding Young Alumni Award