by Geoff Larcom, Published May 22, 2013
YPSILANTI – A former chair of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents who helped oversee dramatic growth in EMU's facilities and one of Michigan's most dynamic young chief executives have received Eastern's highest honor for service to the University.
Tom Sidlik, a top automobile executive who served as an EMU regent from 2004-2012, and Patrick McInnis, chief executive officer of Fathead LLC, received The John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award.
The award, named after former EMU president John W. Porter, who served with distinction from 1979-89, is presented to people who have made an outstanding contribution to Eastern Michigan University.
Sidlik and McInnis were among seven people honored with special awards during the 52nd Annual Alumni Awards event staged this month by The EMU Office of Alumni Relations and the EMU Alumni Association.
Sidlik, known as a strong advocate for students, was appointed to the EMU Board of Regents by Governor Jennifer Granholm, serving for eight years. He served as chairman of the board from 2007-2009.
During his term, Sidlik was instrumental in the renovation of the Pray-Harrold classroom building, in the building of the Science Complex addition and building renovation, and many other campus projects. He also spearheaded the 0/0/0 campaign, a historic initiative that prevented tuition, fees, and room and board prices from rising during the 2010-2011 school year. The student-centered campaign earned national attention.
Sidlik is a former chairman and CEO of Chrysler Financial Corporation, and was instrumental in Delphi Automotive's emergence from bankruptcy.
McInnis served as a mortgage banker for Quicken Loans, and in less than 10 years became president of the company. Shortly after that, he became the CEO of Fathead, where he raised revenue, and sales.
He played fullback on the EMU football team for two years, and has become an avid sponsor of the University and the Athletic Department, donating Fathead banners around Rynearson Stadium that immortalize key moments in EMU athletics. He also serves on the non-profit board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint.
The night's other honorees included:
• Suzie Staley-Schlott, Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Staley-Schlott , who graduated from EMU's Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts program, serves as the Youth Mentorship Program Director for The Henry Ford Museum. In this position, she counsels and supports students who have fallen behind in school and will not earn enough credits to graduate.
• John Rutherford, Alumnus Achievement Award. Rutherford, one of the most celebrated theatre arts educators in Michigan, earned a Masters in Communication and Theatre Arts at Eastern. He teaches theater at W.E. Groves High School in Beverly Hills, Mich., and his affiliations include the Michigan Educational Theatre Association, Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association and International Thespian Society.
• Kirk Profit, Distinguished Alumnus Award. Profit, an Ypsilanti native, graduated from EMU with a bachelor's in philosophy, later earning a law degree from the University of Detroit. He has worked in a variety of key public service roles, including deputy sheriff, legal advisor, undersheriff and research analyst, eventually serving in the State of Michigan House of Representatives. Profit currently owns and directs Governmental Consultant Services, Incorporated.
• Annmarie Simonson, Distinguished Alumna Award. Simonson started her collegiate career at Indiana Wesleyan University and in 1979 transferred to EMU to join the forensics team. That team became the most successful college team in the history of the National Forensic Tournament, winning championships in 1979, 1980, and 1981. Simonson currently supports EMU forensics with fundraising and donations. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Children's Shelter of San Antonio and the Women's Leadership Council for the United Way and presently works for the United States Automobile Association as the vice president of enterprise litigation.
• Jim Streeter, Distinguished Alumnus Award. Streeter better known as "Streets" in sports circles and around EMU, moved from Albion, his hometown, to go to school at EMU in 1966. For two years, he worked as the sports editor for the Eastern Echo, and then graduated in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in physical education with a journalism minor. He was hired as assistant sports information director at Eastern and a year later he became director of sports information, a position he held for 39 years.
John Fountain, long known as the voice of EMU Athletics, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest. Fountain spent 44 years broadcasting for University athletics, and is a longtime supporter of Eastern as an employee, volunteer, and donor.
The event also provided a formal introduction of Ann Thompson, recently named executive director for alumni relations at EMU. Thompson began at EMU in January, after serving as head of alumni relations at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.
The Office for Alumni Relations is the coordinating body for alumni engagement efforts at EMU. In conjunction with the EMU Alumni Association, the office plans activities, events, and communications that engage EMU's growing alumni base of more than 150,000.