Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement Recipients

Established in 2000 with a generous gift from Dr. Jagdish and Mrs. Madhuri Sheth, this award recognizes international alumni who are highly distinguished in their profession, have made outstanding contributions to government, humanity, science, art, or human welfare, and exemplify the strength of their education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Professor Arun Chaiseri

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Professor Arun Chaiseri (M.S. Civil Engineering, 1960) has made tremendous contributions to the development of civil engineering practice and construction technology in Thailand. He taught civil engineering at Chulalongkorn University until 1976 and established ACS engineering consulting company in 1977. ACS has fostered the development of young engineers. Many university students around the world are trained at his company. 

Professor Arun has combined academic research in structural engineering and latest construction technology, including large-diameter bored pile, micro pile, wind-tunnel testing of long-span structures to be used in his country for the first time. His works include more than 20 high-rise and several iconic buildings in Bangkok.

Professor Arun is also known for his dedicated service to his profession and his contribution to the public. He was the President of the Engineering Institute of Thailand under the King’s Patronage from 1994-1997 and was the First President of the Council of Engineers of Thailand in 2000. Learn more about Professor Chaiseri's life and career.


Bambang P S Brodjonegoro

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Professor Bambang Brodjonegoro started his career as an academia in Universitas Indonesia, as a lecturer, researcher, and faculty dean. The opportunities to contribute to his country as the Minister of National Development Planning and Minister of Finance have established Prof. Brodjonegoro's career firmly in integrating Indonesia's research, technology, innovation, development planning, financing, and economic stabilization. He currently serves as the Minister of Research and Technology/Chief of the National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia.

He has also actively participated in numerous local and international organizations, as well as several Indonesian companies. Those experiences have shaped his career and afforded him various essential soft-skills which benefit his work within the Republic of Indonesia and globally. He has received numerous honors and awards for this work.

Prof. Brodjonegoro earned his Master's and Ph.D. in Urbana and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997. He received his Bachelor's in Economics from the Universitas Indonesia in 1990.


Jimmy W. Smith

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Jimmy W. Smith, a Guyanese and Canadian citizen, is currently Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a position he assumed in October 2011. ILRI ( is an international research organization in the family of CGIAR Centres working towards a food secure world. ILRI’s work focuses on livestock research for sustainable development.

Before joining ILRI, Smith worked for the World Bank, in Washington, DC, where he led the Bank’s Global Livestock Portfolio. Working at the corporate level, he anchored the bank’s investments on sustainable livestock development and mitigating the threat of zoonotic diseases with pandemic potential.

Prior to his tenure at the World Bank, Smith held senior positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Still earlier in his career, Smith worked at ILRI and its predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), where he served as the institute’s regional representative for West Africa and later as director of its global program on crop-livestock-natural resource integration. Before his decade of work at ILCA/ILRI, Smith held senior positions in the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI-Trinidad) and the Livestock Development Company (LIDCO-Guyana).

Jimmy Smith is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, where he completed MSc and PhD degrees in animal sciences. He is widely published, with more than 100 publications, including papers in refereed journals, book chapters, policy papers and edited proceedings.


Jinwoo Cheon

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Dr. Jinwoo Cheon is the founding director of the Institute for Basic Science – Center for NanoMedicine (IBS CNM), a Korean government-funded institution established for cross-boundary research in nanoscience and nanomedicine. He is also the Horace G. Underwood Professor of Chemistry at Yonsei University.

After completing his undergraduate major in chemistry at Yonsei University, Dr. Cheon ventured to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. While at Illinois, Dr. Cheon focused on inorganic materials chemistry, specifically on the organometallic precursor design for solid state materials such as ceramics, metals, and semiconductors. After receiving his doctoral degree in 1993, he continued his studies on solid state materials and inorganic spectroscopy at UC Berkeley and UCLA.

While at UCLA, Dr. Cheon was offered a position as an assistant professor at KAIST, a top research university in South Korea. However, at that time, Korea was the most heavily shaken country by the Asian financial crisis. Though this would present many challenges, Dr. Cheon wanted to bring the academic knowledge and experience gained from top-tier American universities like the University of Illinois to the growing scientific community in Korea. In the beginning, there was indeed insufficient resources to run a sophisticated research laboratory with high-end instrumentation. Yet he overcame those financial hurdles with the help of a group of dedicated and talented students and by using innovative applications of older technology – ‘wet-solution’ chemistry – for nanoscience research.

In the mid 90’s, nanomaterials chemistry and nanotechnology were booming as a new field of science where you could manipulate materials with ultimate precision. Intrigued by this emerging technology, Dr. Cheon launched his scientific journey into the world of nanoparticle chemistry. With his students, he studied the size, shape, and composition of nanoparticles in order to understand systematically their mechanical and physical properties. As a result, they discovered interesting nanoscale phenomena with a variety of applications in the medical sciences, such as highly sensitive MRI contrast agents for the accurate diagnosis of early-stage cancer. Dr. Cheon also has been exploring nanomaterials as a new toolkit to control cell-signaling pathways at the single-cell level in order to change disease outcomes. His research opens new possibilities in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

As the director of IBS CNM, Dr. Cheon envisions the Institute as a global hub where researchers from around the world can develop new and exciting science. To find solutions for the bigger scientific problems we are facing today, he believes the Center must aim for “Team-Science,” a collective of international scientists with diverse disciplines from chemistry to engineering to medicine, focused on future-driven collaborative research.

Dr. Cheon’s scientific advancements in chemistry and nanomedicine have been recognized with many of the top scientific awards in South Korea, including Ho-Am Prize (2015), KCS Academic Achievement Award (2013), POSCO ChungAm Prize (2012), and Inchon Prize (2010) and the Presidential Young Scientist Award (awarded by the President of Korea in 2002). On the international level, Dr. Cheon received recognition as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Reuters (2014). Currently, Dr. Cheon serves as a Fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, Royal Society of Chemistry, and American Chemical Society. He is member of the Editorial Advisory Boards for multiple ACS and RSC chemistry journals focused on Nanoscience and Materials Science, including serving as Senior Editor for ACS Accounts of Chemical Research.


H.E. Rev. Dr. Iva Camille Gloudon

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Her Excellency Rev. Dr. Iva Camille Gloudon in October 2015 completed a four-and-a-half-year diplomatic assignment as the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s High Commissioner to Jamaica; nonresident Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti and Permanent Representative to the International Seabed Authority.

She has also worked for over thirty years in the field of Sport and Physical Education culminating in her professional position for twenty-five years as Director of Sport and Physical Education at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr. Gloudon was an accomplished field hockey athlete and represented Trinidad and Tobago internationally for over ten years. She was the 1979 Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Hockey Player of the Year and in 1992 became the first and only woman to win the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Administrator of the Year award. In 2000, she was named one of her country’s top 20 Sport Administrators of the Millennium. She is also a past president of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Hockey Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Football Association.

Dr. Gloudon is a recipient of a Trinidad and Tobago National Sports Scholarship (1980) which enabled her to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA where she completed her Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees. She is also a recipient of the Commonwealth Sports Award (2012) and the Caribbean Awards for Sport Icons (2015).

Dr. Gloudon has taught at all levels of education—from elementary school to university—in various local and international institutions.

She is the founder and director of University Placement Consultancy Limited, a nonprofit/philanthropic organization that facilitates the international university placement of high school students from Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean.

Dr. Gloudon has been a practicing Christian for the past twenty years and is a member of Trinidad Christian Center where she is an ordained Minister of the Gospel.

Dr. Gloudon has mothered three girls, Jamila, Q’wando and Shania.


Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh

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M.T. Geoffrey Yeh has made significant and lasting contributions to the construction and financial sectors in Hong Kong, serving as chair of the Hsin Chong Group of Companies, including Hsin Chong Construction Group, Ltd., a publicly listed company, until his retirement in 2002. He is the current chair of Hsin Chong International Holdings, Ltd.

After studying civil engineering at the University of Illinois and earning a master’s degree from Harvard University, Yeh joined Hsin Chong and Company in Hong Kong, the construction company founded in 1955 by his late father, Mr. K.N. Godfrey Yeh. Yeh’s commitment to community service is reflected in his membership on Hong Kong’s Town Planning Board from 1976 to 1984. He also chaired the Construction Industry Training Authority from 1975 to 1987 and served as a member of the consultative committee on the new airport and related projects from 1995 to 1998. He was a longtime council member and Past President of the Society of Builders, and was a member and officer in the Building Contractors’ Association.

Yeh founded the Yeh Family Philanthropy, a family foundation, in 2011. A member of the President’s Council of the University of Illinois Foundation, Yeh was the lead donor for the M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Student Center, a 20,500-square-foot addition to Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory that provides state-of-the-art classrooms, meeting rooms and informal gathering space for students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois.


Byung-Ho Chung

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Dr. Byung-Ho Chung, a native of the Republic of Korea, is the founding director of the Institute for Globalization and Multicultural Studies at Hanyang University. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Illinois in 1983 and 1992, respectively.

Dr. Chung was honored for his work on social activism and education reform extending throughout East Asia. The founder or co-founder of six civil society social justice organizations, he has focused particularly on the relationship between North and South Korea, promoting multiculturalism and peace and establishing organizations to care for refugees, many of them children. His leadership at Hanyang University and his anthropological research have inspired students and community leaders in efforts for social reform.


MuKeun Lee

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Dr. MuKeun Lee earned a Ph.D. in vocational technical education from Illinois in 1977. Dr. Lee, a native of the Republic of Korea, was honored for his contributions to vocational-technical education and human resource development as well as his work in government commissions that have helped shape economic and labor policies in Korea.

He is one of the founders of the first vocational doctoral program in Korea in the Department of Agricultural and Vocational Education at Seoul National University. He was the president of Kyungil University and Dongmyung University and has been made a fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. Dr. Lee received the Blue Stripes Medal in the Order of Service Merit, which is the highest honor presented by the South Korean President to educators. Dr. Lee was the first president of the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (KRIVET).


S. Ismat Shah

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Dr. S. Ismat Shah earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Illinois in 1986. Dr. Shah, a native of Pakistan, holds a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware.

He was honored for his humanitarian efforts in helping to raise funds and resources for Pakistani and Afghan refugees displaced by natural disaster and war; his promotion of higher education in Pakistan by building schools, providing equipment, delivering lectures and workshops; and advancing the use of alternative energy sources in developing nations from Eastern Europe to South Asia. The award also honored his long-standing commitment to promoting dialogue and fostering cross-cultural understanding between the Muslim community and other religious and social groups in Delaware, particularly after 9/11.


Sri Mulyani Indrawati

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Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992 and her undergraduate degree from Universitas Indonesia in 1986. A native of Indonesia, Dr. Indrawati was named a managing director of the World Bank Group in June 2010.

Before taking the position, she was appointed Minister of Finance of Indonesia by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and she held that position from 2005 to 2010. During that time, she guided the economic policy for one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia, successfully navigating the global economic crisis, implementing key reforms, fighting corruption and earning the respect of her peers across the world. She is credited with increasing direct investments in Indonesia, and helping to steer the country through the challenging but successful transition from autocracy to democracy.


Bir Bahadur Singh

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Bir Bahadur Singh graduated from the University of Illinois with his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant breeding and genetics in 1965 and 1967, respectively. He is currently a visiting professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, where he is conducting research on cowpea breeding and teaching world agriculture and international plant breeding.

Dr. Singh’s contributions in cowpea and soybean genetics and breeding methods have led to the development of sustainable cropping systems that have enhanced food security, family nutrition and income generation for millions of farmers and their families in India and Nigeria. Dr. Singh has made major contributions through breeding of early maturity cowpea varieties by improving resistance to major diseases, insect-pests, nematodes, and tolerance to drought and heat. Dr. Singh’s efforts and successes led to an increase of cowpea production from approximately 1.2 million tons in 1981 to over 6.3 million tons in 2009 globally.


Rafael Correa

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President Rafael Correa Delgado received a Master’s degree in 1999 and a Ph.D. in 2001 in Economics at the University of Illinois.

After returning to Ecuador, Correa continued his academic career as a Director of the Department of Economics at San Francisco de Quito University. In 2005, Correa became Minister of Economy. During his time as Minister, Correa gained much popularity after introducing critical reforms to Ecuador’s method of managing profits. The newly introduced laws ensured that national funds are being allocated toward domestic development and social programs. Correa was elected President in November 2006 and took office in February 2007. As President, Correa has responded to the needs of the rural population in his country, while introducing several social programs to support education, health care, and economic development.


Bo Zhang

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A native of Gansu Province, China, Bo Zhang received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering at Illinois in 1992 and 1999, respectively.

In pursuit of his lifelong passion to improve the economic welfare of his fellow citizens in China, Bo Zhang has founded and/or managed seven national and three international companies that have introduced new technologies, created new jobs and promoted economic development. He was president of one of the first consulting firms to introduce international business practices to China and founded a company that designed and developed advanced hydraulic rescue tools specifically for the Chinese market, now the leading tools used in earthquake disaster relief. He is Executive Councilman of China Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs, a national non-profit community organization composed of compatriots who invest in the enterprise of China and well-known overseas Chinese organizations, and he is Chairman and CEO of American Electronic Products, Inc., headquartered in Oak Park, Illinois, and Chairman of the Ningbo Bosheng Precision Machinery Co., Ltd, and Bestech Abrasives Co., Ltd.


Kandeh K. Yumkella

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Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella received his Ph.D. from Illinois in 1991 in Agricultural Economics.

He is the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a specialized agency of the United Nations whose mandate is to promote sustainable industrial development in the developing countries and economies in transition. Dr. Yumkella is a former Minister of Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone. With over 20 years’ experience in international development, he has provided leadership for various initiatives and managed high-level consultations and negotiations with Member States on global development issues. He served as Director of the Africa and LDCs Regional Bureau and UNIDO Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria. Dr. Yumkella has authored and co-authored several publications.


Sophie Leung

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Sophie Leung graduated from the University of Illinois in 1969 with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science and returned to Hong Kong, where she has made significant contributions in business, politics, public service, and philanthropy. Currently, Mrs. Leung acts as Director of Bay Apparel Limited and Director of Golden Emblem Investment Company Ltd. She served (2003-2008) as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Deputy, 10th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.

She is a member of key government and non-government organizations and institutes that support and enhance the development of the textile and garment industry. Mrs. Leung is widely recognized for her public service to the development and implementation of the health care system in Hong Kong; she was a founding member of the Hospital Authority until 2002 and served on a number of its constituent committees as well as acting as trustee of the Hospital Authority Charitable Foundation.


Barry McGaw

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Barry McGaw completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Measurement at the University of Illinois. He has dedicated his professional life to improving the quality of education for students both in his native Australia and around the world. From 1998 to 2005, he served at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris, first as Deputy Director for Education in the Directorate for Education, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs and, beginning in 2002, as the first Director for Education in the newly-established Directorate for Education. At OECD, he was highly influential in the design and conduct of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) standards, which analyze student educational achievements in participating countries around the world.

Dr. McGaw is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian College of Educators.


Emil Javier

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Dr. Javier completed his M.S. degree in Agronomy at University of Illinois in 1964 and his Ph.D. in 1969 at Cornell University.

He served for four years as chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), after serving from 1993-1999 as the 16th President of the University of the Philippines. Previously, he served in Taiwan from 1989-1993 as director general of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) and as Minister of Science and Director General for the National Science and Technology Authority of the Philippines from 1981-1986.

Dr. Javier was appointed Chancellor of the Los Baños campus of the University of the Philippines in 1979, where he oversaw the creation of five applied research institutes in the College of Agriculture. Earlier, in 1975, he had founded at Los Baños the Institute of Plant Breeding, one of the premier plant breeding institutes in Asia; his tenure as professor there started in 1969, after his return from the U.S.


Ashok S. Ganguly

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Dr. Ganguly received both his MS and his PhD (1959 and 1961 respectively) from the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Ganguly is currently the Chairman of Firstsource Solutions Ltd (formerly ICICI OneSource Ltd) and ABP Pvt Ltd (Ananda Bazar Patrika Group). He serves as a non-executive director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Wipro Ltd and Tata AIG Life Insurance Co Ltd., and as Chairman of the Advisory Board of Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd.

Dr. Ganguly has been a Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India since November 2000. He is also a current member of the Prime Minister of India’s Council on Trade and Industry, Investment Commission, India-USA CEO Council and National Knowledge Commission.


Atef Muhammad Ebeid

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Atef Ebeid received his Ph.D. in business administration from Illinois in 1962. After graduating from Illinois, he returned to Egypt, where he joined the faculty of Cairo University’s department of management and worked as a management consultant to various ministries within the Egyptian government.

In 1973, he formed the International Management Center, a consulting firm that helped restructure failing construction firms. He was president of that company until he entered government service in 1984. He served as state minister for administrative development from 1984-1993, and minister of private enterprises from 1993-1999.

He was appointed prime minister by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1999, and served in that capacity until 2004. As prime minister, he worked to liberalize the economy, increase economic growth, foster trade links with the European Union and the United States, streamline government and initiate social reforms.


Nobuko Matsubara

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A native of Tokyo, Nobuko Matsubara began her career as a student at the University of Tokyo, where she received a Bachelor's degree in International Relations in 1964. Upon graduation, she entered the civil service in the Ministry of Labor. She received a Fulbright Fellowship a few years later and came to the University of Illinois to pursue a Master's Degree in the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, which she completed in 1969.

She returned to Japan and to the Ministry of Labor where she served in a variety of positions, including Director of the International Affairs Division of the Minister's Secretariat, Director-General of the Women's Bureau, Director-General of the Labor Standards Bureau, and Director-General of the Labor Relations Bureau. In these positions, Ms. Matsubara worked actively to promote equal rights in employment for women, as well as the rights of all employees. Her success led to her appointment in 1997 to the position of Administrative Vice Minister of Labor where she served until 1998. Ms. Matsubara has continued to champion the rights of the underrepresented in her current position as President of the Japan Association for Employment of Persons with Disabilities.