The College of Liberal Arts and Science's Distinguished Awards are presented to outstanding members of the College community who are celebrated for their prominence in their professional field or through their civic, cultural or charitable service, or who have made major contributions to the college and its reputation for excellence. They were established following the College's 50th anniversary in 2009.
Each year, a wide range of nominations are submitted by students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends of the College. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of alumni, faculty, and staff who are appointed by Dean McCord.
All Awardees are invited to the NIU campus during homecoming weekend, where they receive their awards at an annual celebration held in Altgeld Hall.