University of Illinois System

Distinguished Service Medallion 1991


Assistant to the President (1961-1964), associate secretary of the Board of Trustees (1964-1966), and secretary of the Board of Trustees and of the University (1966-1990). Provided thoughtful, professional counsel and dedicated service to the University, its trustees, and its presidents. Dr. Porter was awarded the Medallion posthumously at the Urbana-Champaign commencement; it was accepted by his daughter, Dr. Laura Smith Porter.

Board of Trustees Minutes
September 13, 1990


President Wolff, on behalf of the entire board, presented the following recommendation from Trustee Reese:

The Trustees' Distinguished Service Medallion was created to recognize individuals
whose contribution to the growth and development of the University of Illinois, through extraordinary service or benefaction, has been of unusual significance.

It is now recommended that the Distinguished Service Medallion be awarded to
Earl W. Porter, the late secretary of the Board of Trustees and secretary of the

Dr. Porter came to the University of Illinois in 1961 as assistant to the president
after serving Duke University for 13 years as director of public information and
assistant to the president. While at Duke, he earned the Doctor of Philosophy in

In 1964, he was appointed associate secretary of the Board of Trustees and in
1966 became the secretary of the board. He served in that capacity until his death in February 1990.

For nearly thirty years, the University, its trustees, and its presidents were the
recipients of his thoughtful, professional counsel and dedicated service. His stable,
yet responsive, leadership of a vital and sensitive part of University administration
has set a standard for his successors to emulate.

On motion of Ms. Reese, this recommendation was approved.

Ms. Reese then thanked Mr. R. C. Wicklund, associate secretary, for his eloquent words in drafting the memorial tribute to Dr. Porter presented at the board meeting of March 1990.

President Ikenberry added an expression of enthusiasm from the administration of the University for the award of the Trustees' Medallion to Dr. Porter, stating that Earl Porter was a role model to all as a gentleman and a professional. President Ikenberry added that at the October meeting of the board in Urbana there would be a tree and a plaque dedicated to Dr. Porter near the Henry Administration Building.