Alumni Association Recognizes Alumni Contributions

October 4, 2021

On Oct. 1, the Bradley family came together in the Dingeldine Music Center for the annual Founder’s Day Convocation. This event is designed to celebrate and honor Lydia Moss Bradley, the remarkable founder of our university. At this annual event, we also honor some of our very own who continue Lydia's legacy of excellence. Below, you'll find three alumni who were awarded during the convocation.

Lydia Moss Bradley award — David Fahrenkamp (pictured right)

This award honors our namesake’s passion for making her community better and stronger.

Dave graduated from Bradley in 1975 with a degree in political science. He attended St. Louis University law school and has a criminal defense practice in Edwardsville, Illinois.

He became a lawyer because he was driven to do something meaningful: helping people whose voices are often lost in our system. One of the most important moments in his career came from a case he didn’t win.

There in the courtroom, right after the verdict, he saw his client was smiling at him. When Dave asked why, since they’d lost the case, the client said, “This is the first time in my life I’ve had a seat at the table and someone to speak for me.”

In addition to being a legal advocate, Dave has stepped up to make the lives of others better through his charitable foundation. His son Colin was a talented soccer player whose high school team won state twice, and his club team won nationals for the under 18 group. When Colin was killed in a car accident, Dave turned his grief into a message for young people about using painful life experiences to move your life forward. Eventually, the foundation became part of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, which offers a scholarship in Colin’s name to promising players who might not be able to afford the gear or equipment. Colin’s legacy is access and opportunity.

Dave is driven to share lessons from people who were with him as a student, and give back some value to the community. He has been a guest speaker at communications classes and pre-law mock trials back on campus. He served two terms on Bradley’s alumni association board. Dave says that he gets more than he gives from his alma mater, but the best thing Bradley did for him was educating his daughter, Megan, class of 2005.

Dave has lectured for the Madison County Bar association on topics including evidence, DNA, and trial strategy. He’s a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Bar Association, and he has been awarded the Pro Bono Service Award from the Madison County Pro Bono Committee.

Outstanding Young Graduate award — Skyy Calice (pictured middle)

This award goes to an alum under 40 who has shown exceptional professional achievement while staying involved with the university.

Skyy Calice is an award-winning second-generation police officer who has given marginalized and underrepresented young women the opportunity to learn their true value and capacity for success.

She graduated in 2011 with degrees in sociology and administration of criminal justice, and joined the Aurora, Illinois Police department in 2013. She is currently the School Resource Officer for East Aurora High School. She works with students, administrators, and anyone else who has a voice in educating and sustaining young people. You’ll see her at school dances and football games after hours, because she believes it’s important to be seen as more than a uniform.

In 2017, Skyy started the organization Girls Run the World. She was tired of seeing young women make poor decisions because they thought they had no other options. Many of them had leadership skills but their potential was going to waste.

The first thing Girls Run the World does is eliminate the barrier that a uniform can carry. The young women have the opportunity to overcome real-world challenges including domestic abuse and period poverty. They learn how to manage money, how to nail a job interview, and they start working through and processing their pain by designing programs that make a positive difference. Most importantly, they learn to trust each other, and they learn that they are capable of more than they ever realized.

Skyy’s motivation came in part from her time at Bradley. She wants to create opportunities for young women to grow as leaders much like she did as a college student.

Today, Girls Run the World is active in four high schools. Their fundraising events not only pay for programming, but every graduating senior in the group also gets $500 to put towards her education.

In the past few years Skyy has received Mayor of Aurora Richard Irvin’s Mayoral Commendation for Service, the Chicago Wolves Hometown Hero award, the African American Leader of the Year award from the City of Aurora’s African American Heritage Advisory Board, and the City of Aurora celebrated “Skyy Calice Day.”

Earlier this year, she received the Law Enforcement Award from the Illinois State Bar Association. And, in addition to her role with the Aurora Police Department, she’s also an adjunct at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy at the College of DuPage, where she teaches a course she designed on interacting with juveniles.

Skyy has returned to campus several times to host informative events for students with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., on topics including reducing gun violence, responding to weather emergencies, and active assailants.

Distinguished Alumna award — The Honorable Laura J. Kelly (pictured left)

The recipient of the Distinguished Alumna award is also named a Centurion of the university.

To learn more about Governer Kelly, click here.