East High graduate awarded NIU’s Lincoln Laureate award

Education Matters

DeKALB, Ill. (WTVO) ─ Every year one outstanding senior from each of Illinois’ four year universities is honored for excellence inside and outside the of the classroom. Northern Illinois University’s 2019 Lincoln Laureate Award was presented to a Rockford native.

Ian Pearson graduated from East High School in 2016. He’s a first generation college student at Northern Illinois University, double majoring in Political Science and Nonprofit and NGO Studies.

“The more I got involved and the more I saw the impact that an education can have in a transformative sense,” said Pearson. “Learning professional skills. Being able to effect social change on a small scale to learn how to do it on a larger scale after you graduate. That became center stage for me.”

To say Ian is an engaged student is an understatement. He served on a non-profit board as a student trustee at the NIU Foundation. He is also the speaker of the student association senate and has served at the NIU Office of Federal Relations. Ian also leads four student organizations, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Political Science Chair Scott Schraufnagel says nominating Ian to be NIU’s 2019 Lincoln Laureate was a no brainier, especially with his unique leadership style.

“He’s not vociferous or demonstrative type leader. He leads by example,” said Schraufnagel. “Students follow his lead because they see him rolling up his sleeves and willing to do the hard work and so, they follow him very naturally and very easily.”

Ian plans to continue his education and would one day like to work in public policy.

“At the end of the day, I want to work on issues of inequality,” said Pearson.

“Ian is an exceptional student. Very deserving of this recognition,” Schraufnagel said. “The city of rockford should be very proud.”

Ian received the Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Award at a ceremony in Springfield earlier this month.

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