Island Lake resident among Lincoln Academy’s 40th annual class

December 12, 2014

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University senior Sydney Marie Van Alstyne, the daughter of John and Kristine Van Alstyne of Island Lake and a Wauconda High School graduate, was among 54 of the state’s outstanding college students honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in ceremonies at the state capital this fall. Lincoln Laureate 038a

The Lincoln Academy’s Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from among all the community colleges in Illinois. Each student receives a Student Laureate Medallion, a $1,000 educational grant and a certificate of achievement.

“Receiving this award was a very pleasant surprise,” said Van Alstyne, who participates in the American Medical Student Association, Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and the Pre-Physician Assistant Club on campus while maintaining a 3.571 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) as a Health Science major. “It’s nice to know that all your hard work is being acknowledged,” she added.

Van Alstyne, who plans to attend graduate school next year to pursue her goal of becoming a physician assistant, said she selected Benedictine for her undergraduate studies because of its small class sizes and friendly atmosphere.

“I really liked the feeling of being part of a family, of being part of something bigger than myself,” she said. “I have learned so much at Benedictine about being a leader. I have become a much stronger person and have gained so much confidence in myself and my abilities.”

The Lincoln Academy, unique among the 50 states, was established more than 50 years ago to honor distinguished citizens with the state’s highest award, the Order of Lincoln. This is the 40th year Lincoln Academy has celebrated students’ excellence in Illinois.

“I want to commend these students for their hard work, both in the classroom and in their communities,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said. “Their achievement and dedication attests to the value of higher education in Illinois, and the high quality students our schools produce.”


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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