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Alumni Service Hall of Fame 2011 - 2012 Inductees

John Blackburn

Portrait of John Blackburn

John Blackburn was recently named the 21st president of Lincoln College, a two-year, private, liberal arts college located in Lincoln, Illinois. He will assume that role in August, 2012. Blackburn served as CEO of COUNTRY Financial from 2001 until his retirement in January, 2012. Under his leadership COUNTRY Financial assets grew from $8 billion to $14 billion, while annual revenues increased from $2 billion to $3.3 billion. The company has been listed on the annual Fortune 1000 list since 2004, registering at No. 624 in 2011. While CEO, Blackburn also served as chairman of the board of COUNTRY’s four strategic partners: Cotton States Insurance Group, Atlanta, GA, Holyoke Mutual Insurance Company, Salem, MA, Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company and MSI Preferred Insurance Company, Middletown, CT.

Blackburn first joined COUNTRY in 1982 as an agent and held multiple positions in the agency and marketing division of the company prior to becoming CEO. During his career as CEO, COUNTRY was active in many Illinois State University College of Business initiatives and its extensive intern program is heavily populated by ISU students.

As part of his commitment to service to others, Blackburn has been on and chaired several industry and community boards including The Board of Governors of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (Past Chair); the Board of Trustees of Lincoln College (Past Chair); and the Board of Directors of Memorial Health Systems (1st Vice Chair). A graduate of Western Illinois University in English, Blackburn also holds a master’s in educational administration from the University of Illinois, Springfield. He spent twelve years as a teacher, basketball coach, athletic director and assistant principal before joining COUNTRY.

He and his wife Barbara have three married children and six grandchildren. Longtime supporters of the College of Business, their daughter Kristen ’95 graduated magna cum laude in accounting and was an Early Career Achievement Award recipient in 2008.

Ron Greene

Portrait of Ron Greene

Since 2008, Ron Greene has been president and CEO of Afni, a premier provider of end-to-end customer lifecycle contact solutions. Previously he served as the president, COO and CFO of this privately-owned company which is headquartered in Bloomington.

Greene joined Afni in 1992, and has been a driving force in leading the company’s successful growth from 50 employees to more than 6,000 employees in seven states today. His strategic vision has also led to the evolution of the company’s core solution set.

A member of the Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Council, Greene also serves on the Governing Council and as chair of the Finance Committee for Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. Additionally, Greene is a board member of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Business Round Table, Commerce Bank, and the McLean County Economic Development Council. He is a long-time supporter of the McLean County United Way, serving as chair for the finance committee and as a member of the board.

Greene’s own community involvement has inspired Afni’s employees to become community ambassadors, and today the company and its employees contribute thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of a number of local events and organizations, including Illinois State University, The United Way, St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, and many others.

Greene earned a BS degree in Accounting from University of Illinois. He began his career in public accounting, and was a partner with Dunbar Breitweiser & Company, LLP before joining Afni. He is an avid runner and has participated in several marathons and triathlons.