Alumni Honorees

Judy SantacaterinaJudy Santacaterina

B.A. Speech Communication, 1978
M.A. Speech Communication, 1980


Recipient of state and national recognition for her work as a teacher, coach, and coach of coaches in forensics, Judy Santacaterina is a consummate professional whose significant contribution to the college and the university merits a Golden Anniversary Alumni award.

In her work as individual events coach for Northern’s nationally recognized forensics program, Santacaterina has attained true prominence in her field. She received the Larry E. Norton Award from Bradley University for service in Forensics, the Dennis/Ross Coaching Award from the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics League, and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Forensics Association. Even as an undergraduate at NIU, Santacaterina was a national award-winning speaker.

Her love of public speaking extends in numerous ways in service to the university community. Each summer she serves as a faculty speaker at the orientation programs, welcoming families with her witty, warm, and insightful perspectives on Northern. Annually she trains the orientation guides, increasing their speaking skills while inculcating in them a sense of their responsibilities as representatives of NIU.

When she isn’t busy speaking or coaching forensics, Santacaterina directs the Bachelor of General Studies degree program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The BGS program serves off-campus students in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford and now nearly 200 students on-campus. Students value her expertise, high standards, warmth and personal commitment to their success.