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University Relations

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May 20, 2005
Contact: Toni Dixon, School of Business, (785) 864-4449.

KU School of Business to honor 2 tonight as Distinguished Alumni of the Year

LAWRENCE -- Two businessmen have been named Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the University of Kansas School of Business, according to William Fuerst, dean of the business school. The recipients are Howard Cohen of Deloitte & Touche LLP, the audit partner-in-charge of the Kansas City Assurance and Enterprise Risk Services practice of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, and Clifford W. Illig, vice chairman and a co-founder of Cerner Corp.

Cohen and Illig will receive their awards and will address the graduating class of the KU School of Business at ceremonies on Friday, May 20, at the Lied Center. The Distinguished Alumni Award is given annually to alumni who have achieved success in their fields of business and have made a commitment to success in their communities and to the School of Business.

Cohen is also the Mid-America Region Financial Services practice leader of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, whose subsidiaries are among the nation's leading professional services firms. The organization provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services through nearly 30,000 people in the United States. Cohen serves on the organization's regional executive committee. He has more than 26 years of experience serving the financial services industry, with expertise in insurance, banking, thrift, mortgage banking, SEC reporting, control and compliance issues, public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions.

Cohen graduated from KU in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration. He recently served as a member of the KU First campaign steering committee and chaired the business school's campaign committee. He is a member of the board of trustees for the KU Endowment Association. He is also an active member of the Kansas Alumni Association and the Chancellors Club. He is the immediate past chair and member of the executive committee of the School of Business board of advisers and the past chair and a member of the executive committee of the Accounting and Information Systems (AIS) Advisory Council. Cohen has also served as a member of the dean's and AIS director's search committees and the differential-tuition and tuition-enhancement committees.

He is a member of the Kansas City Tomorrow Alumni (KC Civic Council) and serves on the professional advisory committee as a member of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Cohen is a member of the board of directors of Hillel at KU. He is a former board member of the Jewish Vocational Services and a former president of the Financial Managers Society of Kansas City. He is past president and a member of the executive committee and board of directors of Congregation Ohev Sholom. Cohen is also a member of the Missouri and Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

He is married to Debbi Cohen and they have two children, Elizabeth, who is completing her freshman year at KU, and David, who is completing his sophomore year at Blue Valley North High School.

Illig is vice chairman and a co-founder of Cerner Corp., the Kansas City-based health care information technology company. Cerner is a global leader in the development, implementation and operation of comprehensive clinical, operations and management information systems for hospitals, health systems, physicians and health economies. Illig has more than 30 years of experience in the computer software and high technology industry. Prior to becoming vice chairman he served as Cerner's president and chief operating officer from 1985 to 1999.

Illig graduated from the KU School of Business in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting.

In addition to his executive responsibilities at Cerner, Illig is a substantial presence on the Kansas City entrepreneurial, life sciences and business development scenes. He is an active Angel Investor and acts as an adviser to several area entrepreneurial startup companies. He serves on a number of significant regional civic boards and organizations. He is president of the Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America. He is on the board of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. He is a member of the KU Edwards Campus board of advisers and the advisory boards of the Center for Applied Economics - KU School of Business and the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute at the KU Medical Center. Illig is also a Chancellors Club life member.

Illig and his wife, Bonne, are active in their support of an array of civic and charitable causes. They have two sons, Michael and Brian, both attending KU. They live in Leawood.


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