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2014 Inductees

Our 2014 inductees have the distinction of being members of the inaugural Hall of Fame class. During their return to the Illinois State campus, each inductee was paired with a student host, which provided an opportunity to connect with current students and learn more about today's Redbird experience.

Bob Freitag

Bob Freitag

Bob Freitag began preparing for a lifetime of public service as a student leader at Illinois State University in the early 80s. Freitag joined Illinois State as a transfer student from Moraine Valley Community College in August of 1982. After completing his bachelor's degree in political science in 1984, he went on to earn a juris doctorate from the University of Illinois. He went into private practice in Champaign, IL, for two years, returning to McLean County as a public defender before joining the State's Attorney's Office. For a decade, he was the prosecutor who partnered with undercover police officers to attack drug trafficking. Chosen as an associate judge in 2000, he won election as a circuit judge eight years later and continues to serve in this role.

Soon after enrolling at Illinois State, he took a leadership role in the organization that is now known as the Student Government Association. During his senior year, he served as president of his class leadership council and further developed his leadership skills through work with Preview, the University's new freshman orientation program.

Freitag continues to demonstrate his deep commitment to ISU through his work as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the University's Attorneys Advisory Board. He was inducted into Illinois State's College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010. Recently, Freitag partnered with four alumni friends to create the Redbird 5 Scholarship as a way to give back to the University and its students. In addition, Freitag is a loyal Redbird Athletics fan and a long-standing member of the Redbird Club.

Freitag's achievements are many and diverse. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Moraine Valley Community College in 2008, contributed to the Illinois Judicial Benchbook On Criminal Law And Procedure, published in 2013, and is a former mayor of the Village of Carlock, Illinois. He continues to serve his local community of Carlock as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom through the Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Erik Tomlin

Erik Tomlin

Erik Tomlin found his passion for music when he started singing with his church choir as a child. He went on to complete a bachelor's degree in music education at Illinois State in 2002 and a master's in music business at Columbia College Chicago in 2005. Now the Coordinator for Music and Media Licensing at MTV Networks Europe, Tomlin uses his expertise to analyze media rights and license music for television.

Involvement has been a theme throughout Tomlin's life. While attending Illinois State, Tomlin sought opportunities in PRIDE, Preview, and LeaderShape. He became an active member in PRIDE and eventually became an executive board member. He represented currently enrolled students to prospective students and their families by providing numerous tours of campus as an Open House tour guide. His high level of involvement continued into graduate school leading to the honor of being selected as a graduate student speaker at his commencement ceremony at Columbia.

Soon after completing graduate school, Tomlin moved to New York City to do licensing work for a music publisher before quickly being recruited by MTV/Viacom Media Networks. While in New York, the company established several Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs), one of which was dedicated to LGBT employees. Upon moving to London with MTV Networks Europe, he wanted to provide the same positive experience for London employees. At his urging, the London office agreed to create similar organizations and he is now the co-organizer of Emerge UK, the LGBT Employee Affinity Group at Viacom International Media Networks. In this role, he has spearheaded an on-air LGBT anti-bullying Campaign, added an LGBT charity to the list of ViaCommunity Day options, and is currently working to develop guidelines and expectations from LGBT employees as business expands in Russia.

At MTV Networks Europe, he is on the steering committee for InterMedia, a conglomeration of the London-area LGBT networks at media organizations. He also volunteers as a mentor for Stonewall's Youth Leader Programme, which helps youth develop anti-homophobic bullying campaigns. In addition, Tomlin's work with the London Gay Symphonic Winds has led to increased membership and performances, one of which was featured on BBC Radio.

Joanette McBounds

Joanette McBounds

Joanette McBounds earned a bachelor of science in information systems from Illinois State in 2008 and a master's in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Roosevelt University. McBounds is an IT Release Manager at AT&T Inc. and demonstrates her commitment to civic engagement as a nonprofit leader.

As an Illinois State student, she served as a Resident Assistant (RA) for University Housing Services. In this capacity she was a member of the Resident Assistant Think Tank organization and contributed a great deal to the International Floor where she served as an RA. Selected by University Housing Services to represent her fellow RAs, she was a delegate to the 2006 Illinois Resident Assistant Association conference. She was a member of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society. McBounds was also the recipient of the TriO/Student Support Services (SSS) Student of the Year Award for two consecutive years.

In her role at AT&T, McBounds oversees the implementation of IT billing applications for customer service representatives through performance testing. Due to her demonstrated leadership, she has been selected to lead high-revenue projects during her tenure. She is founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Sowing S.E.E.D.S. (Sowing Success through Education to Encourage Dreams to Soar), which provides educational programming for youth including scholarship and college preparation workshops. McBounds has served meals and provided winter clothing to the homeless as part of the organization's community outreach efforts.

In addition to her professional work, McBounds is the former president of Women of AT&T-Northern Illinois, where she led over 700 men and women through professional and philanthropic growth and initiatives. Under her leadership, the group was named 2013 chapter of the year. Specifically, McBounds's efforts included assisting girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through programming efforts.

Lee Noel

Lee Noel

After graduating from Illinois State Normal University in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in business teacher education, Lee Noel went on to earn a master's degree at the University of Illinois and doctorate from Northwestern University. With 31 years in higher education as well as high school teaching and administration experience, Noel has made substantial contributions to the field of education.

In 1984 he co-founded Noel-Levitz, a national college management consulting firm that is now considered the premier organization of its kind in the United States. Noel lent his expertise to over 400 colleges and universities across the country through a focus on enhancing the on-campus student experience to increase retention. He remains one of the nation's most recognized enrollment authorities.

While at Illinois State Normal University, Noel was actively involved in student council as a student leader. In addition, he served as a student senator and was a member of the Newman Center. The impact of being involved in campus organizations and governance created in him a passion for student-centered retention efforts.

He has served as an alumni chapter leader, a member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association, and a member of the Alumni Association President's Roundtable. He has also served the University as a member of the Foundation Board from 2002 - 2010. Noel has been a friend to the Division of Student Affairs through his counsel and support for the Institute for Leadership Development.

Noel received the University's Alumni Achievement Award in 1985 and was inducted into the College of Education Hall of Fame in 2005. He has led a number of national institutes and studies on innovative practices in higher education. Noel served as contributing editor of the newsletter, Recruitment and Retention in Higher Education, and co-authored publications in the areas of marketing, recruiting, student retention, quality service, organizational development, and institutional effectiveness. He is also a co-author of the foundational book, Increasing Student Retention.

In 2001, Noel served as a keynote speaker at the Student Leader Recognition Banquet. His speech focused on "Student Leaders as Architects of the Future." In 1956, he surely didn't realize that he would become the very kind of architect that he described to student leaders in his keynote address.