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2012 Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Geneva Belford
Geneva Belford

CS Emeritus Professor Geneva Belford (PhD Math '60) has positively influenced students at the University of Illinois for more than 48 years, first as a professor of Mathematics, next as a professor of Computer Science, and then as the CS Department’s Graduate Program Coordinator, even after her official retirement in 2000. 

With research interests in databases and distributed systems, Belford joined the CS faculty in 1977, and she quickly became one of the most popular faculty advisors. In addition to supervising the research of CS graduate students, she enthusiastically advised the work of students with little or no computer science background, who qualified for an MCS degree offered by the department at the time. In all, she supervised more than 40 PhD graduates and more than 100 CS master’s degree graduates, many of whom were international students. Her students have fondly described her as encouraging, accessible, and able to dispense constructive advice.

Belford’s positive impact on students extended beyond the CS department to the entire campus. In the early 1980s, she served as an associate dean in the Graduate College. Later, she devoted much time to improving the university as a member of the faculty senate. She also shared her expertise as a member of campus committees that addressed challenges such as the implementation of on-line registration, educational technologies, and administrative data processing.

An outstanding educational leader, teacher, and mentor, Belford has received several campus honors, including the 1986 College of Engineering Halliburton Educational Leadership Award, the 1991 Dad’s Association Outstanding Faculty Award, the 2005 Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, and the 2007 Mom’s Association Medallion of Honor.