Jeff Eckmann '74
NIU's 1973 Defensive Player of the Year and the university's most outstanding student-athlete, Jeff Eckmann also excelled in the classroom, earning second-team Academic All-American honor as a senior. After earning his degree in accountancy, Eckmann began his career as a certified public accountant with Price Waterhouse before moving onto BATUS Inc. in 1980. He worked for related companies in a variety of leadership roles until retiring from Reynolds American as Group President.
"My academic, athletic and leadership experiences at NIU definitely played a significant role in preparing me for success," Eckmann said. "The many life lessons I learned playing a major college sport were terrific. Particularly, having the confidence to take risks, knowing that you will win consistently with the right people on your team, and understanding that any problem can be solved."