June 15, 2009

Rundblad honored by Eastern Illinois University

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A woman who serves as a mentor and inspiration to many Southern Illinois University Carbondale students recently earned a significant honor.

Eastern Illinois University honored Mythili Rundblad, SIUC student development coordinator, as a 2009 Outstanding Graduate Alumnus.

The political science department, part of the College of Sciences, nominated Rundblad for the award. The Council on Graduate Studies and the Graduate School Alumni Advisory Board select the Outstanding Graduate Alumni. The awards recognize outstanding graduates who earned their graduate degrees at least eight years previously at EIU and who have an established record of career achievement.

“Mythili is a true professional in every sense of the word,” said Ryan Hendrickson, political science professor at EIU. “She has excelled since her graduation from EIU and we are delighted that she accepted our distinguished graduate award. She is clearly deserving of this honor.”

Four other alumni also received 2009 Outstanding Graduate Alumni recognition during the recent alumni event. The honorees enjoyed breakfast with administrators, reunions with the departments from which they graduated and an awards dinner.

“Being selected as an Outstanding Graduate Alumnus by my alma mater is humbling,” Rundblad said. “Realizing my dream of higher education in America at EIU was awesome; to get this award is icing on the cake. I am grateful to my faculty mentors at EIU for welcoming me into their homes when I was new to the country.”

Rundblad is actually a two-degree graduate of Eastern, earning a Master of Arts in political science in 1991 and Master of Science in education in guidance and counseling a year later at the Charleston university. A native of Bombay, India, she previously earned her undergraduate degrees in economics and political science at Bombay University. While attending EIU, Rundblad won the Presidential Award for Outstanding Graduate Student and the Glen Hubele Award, achievements recognizing her academic excellence, leadership and civic involvement.

Hired in 1994 after a national search as coordinator of the International Students and Scholars Office at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., Rundblad then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as international student adviser. She came to SIUC in 1999 and actually serves three roles at the University. As coordinator of Student Development, she oversees the Saluki Volunteer Corps, the SIUC Chapter of Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps, and Service Learning.

Rundblad said she thoroughly enjoys her work with students, encouraging them and leading them in civic volunteer efforts. Each year, more than 5,000 students get involved, contributing thousands of hours to various service organizations, programs and events with Rundblad coordinating it all and mentoring the students.

“My parents instilled in my siblings and me to care about others and to go the extra mile. This guides my work with the students involved in Saluki Volunteer Corps and AmeriCorps,” Rundblad said. “The students are enthusiastic about learning and strive to make a difference. To see them develop as citizen-scholars is very rewarding.”

Appointed in 2007 to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, Rundblad served a year with her fellow board members, coordinating the Illinois’ Promise program, administering programs funded by the Corporation for National Service and providing volunteerism support. She is a nine-year member of the Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps Advisory Council board of directors.

Rundblad has also served on other student civic engagement advisory councils and given presentations at a variety of professional conferences. A two-time winner of the Ethic of Service Award from AmeriCorps, she also received the Central Region Outstanding Advisor honor from the Golden Key Honor Society. An application that Rundblad wrote enabled SIUC in 2006 to win the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Award for the best community service program in Illinois.

In addition to her work at SIUC promoting civic involvement and volunteerism among students, Rundblad is active in the Carbondale community. As a member of the board of directors, she’s given her time and energies in support of both the Boys and Girls Club and the Jackson County Habitat for Humanity. Rundblad’s dedication, devotion and abilities earned her a place among the Fifth Annual Outstanding Graduate Alumni Awards class for EIU.