Skip to main content

College of Business Hall of Fame 2005 - 2006 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees

The College of Business honored the first inductees into its Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002. Each year the College will name a small number of alumni to the Hall of Fame from nominations submitted by alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. Alumni are recognized for significant career accomplishment and outstanding service to others. A committee of faculty and staff assembled by the dean chooses the honorees from those nominated. The inductees are honored on a permanent plaque in the College of Business.

Lucinda M. Baier '84, M.S.'87

Lucinda M. Baier of Great Falls, Virginia, earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1984 and her master's degree in accounting in 1987. She is president and chief operating officer of Whitehall Jewellers Inc. Ms. Baier has a demonstrated ability to effectively lead complex businesses and large organizations, while expertly managing profitability. At Whitehall, she is responsible for overseeing all marketing and merchandising, real estate, store operations, merchandise distribution, and support functions. Whitehall had 2004 revenues of $334 million and sells fine jewelry through about 388 stores in 38 states, primarily under the Whitehall and Lundstrom names. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JWL.

Before joining Whitehall, Baier was the senior vice president and General Manager Credit and Financial Products for Sears, Roebuck and Co., where she reported to the chairman and CEO. She has also held the position of senior vice president, Merchandising for US Office Products and senior finance positions at Sears, Roebuck and Co., US Office Products, ICI Americas Incorporated, General Dynamics and Arthur Andersen & Company. She holds CPA certificates from Illinois and Missouri.

Back to Inductees top

Willie Brown '73

Willie Brown of Bloomington, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1973. He is executive vice president of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Brown began his State Farm career in 1971 in the data processing department at corporate headquarters. After several promotions he was named life specialist in 1977 and personnel services representative later that year. In 1985 he was named assistant division manager in the Frederick, Md., office, where he was promoted to division manager that same year. He returned to corporate headquarters in 1989 as director of home office personnel relations.

Brown was promoted to deputy regional vice president in the Illinois Regional Office in Bloomington in 1992 and vice president of operations in 1995. He was named vice president – administrative services at corporate headquarters in 1999, senior vice president of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 2002 and assumed his current position in 2004. Brown has also been active in the Bloomington-Normal community, and served as Chairman of the annual campaign for the United Way of McLean County in 2004. He is a NAACP Roy Wilkens award winner for life time achievement, lifetime member of NAACP, and an Urban League member. He is a Trustee of Illinois Wesleyan University and president of the Illinois Wesleyan University 's Associates Board. Brown has earned designations as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI).

Back to Inductees top

James Hudson '70

James Hudson of Carlinville , Illinois, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1970. He is president and CEO of H&H Construction Services, Carlinville, Illinois. He founded H&H in 1979, and has led the company to its current size of more than 100 employees with annual revenues exceeding $30,000,000. Hudson has been named Business Person of the Year by the Chambers of Commerce of both Springfield, Illinois and Leitchfield, Illinois. H&H Construction was named the Mississippi Valley Family Business of the Year for Illinois in 2001.

Hudson is committed to community involvement and has been instrumental in the construction of several Habitat for Humanity homes, daycare playgrounds, and park facilities, all on a pro bono basis.Every year, he mentors young high school students interested in construction and has participated in and chaired countless fundraisers. He serves on the Carlinville Area Schools Long Range Planning Committee and the Apprenticeship Council for Ironworkers Local 46.

Back to Inductees top

Robert Rush M.S. '79

Robert Rush of Bloomington, earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1968 and a master's degree in accounting in 1979. He is senior vice president of COUNTRY Insurance and Financial Services and a member of the COUNTRY Management Committee. He has overall responsibility for managing and providing long-term direction for COUNTRY Trust Bank, which provides investment management, trust, and retirement account services and advises the COUNTRY Mutual Funds. He also serves as an officer of many other COUNTRY affiliates.

Before joining COUNTRY in 1999, he worked for more than 27 years in the banking industry where he served as chief executive officer for three Central Illinois financial institutions. He also served as a naval officer on the USS Compass Island (AG-153) and as an instructor of accounting and mathematics at Illinois State University. Rush serves as treasurer of the Illinois State University Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the Illinois State University Finance Advisory Board. He is chairman of the McLean County Public Building Commission and a member of the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Finance Committee and Community Board. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.

Back to Inductees top

Steve Skinner '74, M.S. '76

Steve Skinner of Lexington, Kentucky, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1974 and a master's degree in business administration in 1976. He is the Rosenthal Endowed Professor of Marketing in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. He taught marketing at Illinois State between 1976 and 1980, and was a research administrator in the Marketing Research Department at State Farm from 1978 to 1980. Skinner earned his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Kentucky in 1983.

He has authored or co-authored seven books and published numerous articles in top journals in the area of marketing, selling, and sales management. He has long been interested in the area of sales force motivation. His article entitled “An Empirical Assessment of Salesperson Motivation, Commitment, and Job Outcomes” received the Mu Kappa Tau Award for the best article in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. Skinner has an extensive record of University service and has chaired a number of dissertation committees. He is an ad hoc reviewer for refereed journals and on the editorial review board of the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. He has consulted with a variety of companies and speaks on topics including employee performance and discretionary effort.

Back to Inductees top