Published July 31, 2017

Hall of Achievement

Gibson ’81, Helton ’72 to receive College’s most prestigious honor
MONMOUTH, Ill. — Two Monmouth College alumni with national reputations will be recognized for their achievements as part of the 2017 Homecoming celebration on Nov. 3-5.

Susan Sandner Gibson ’81 and Lon Helton ’72 will be inducted into the Hall of Achievement, the highest honor the College bestows upon its graduates. The Alumni Impact Award ceremony will be held Nov. 3.

Appointed in 2016 by President Obama, Gibson is the inspector general for the National Reconnaissance Office. Helton is one of the most well-known names in country music, and has received the Country Music Association’s National Broadcast Personality of the Year honor seven times, most recently in 2014.

In announcing Gibson’s appointment as the first presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed inspector general of the National Reconnaissance Office, the office’s director cited her “extensive intelligence community experience and superior integrity.”

Headquartered in northern Virginia, the National Reconnaissance Office is the federal agency in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites. It is one of the main U.S. intelligence agencies, along with the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.

Prior to joining the NRO, Gibson was principal deputy general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where she provided legal guidance on intelligence reform, government procurement and fiscal law, privacy and information sharing, ethics, and administrative law. In 2015, she received a Presidential Meritorious Rank Award for her “sustained extraordinary accomplishment” as a career member of the Senior Executive Service.

Gibson served for more than 20 years in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, retiring as a colonel.

Since its inception in 1992, Helton has been known to listeners nationwide as host of one of the format’s most popular radio series, Westwood One Radio Network’s Country Countdown USA. The host of other nationally broadcast country music series and specials, Helton is recognized as country radio’s best-known star interviewer.

His radio roots go back to his college days, as he worked in Monmouth as a night DJ while still a student. After working at WGIL-AM in Galesburg, moved on to radio jobs in Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles.

In 2006, Helton launched Country Aircheck as a multi-faceted news and information source. It has gained traction with the same quality of widely respected news, analysis and Mediabase-powered charts as those which Helton directed during a 23-year run as Radio & Records country editor and Nashville bureau chief. He continues to oversee the official Mediabase country airplay charts.

Helton is a board member of the Country Music Association, and he has served as the CMA’s president and chairman. In 2006, he was inducted into the Country DJ Hall of Fame.

For more information about Homecoming weekend or to register, go to: monmouthcollege.edu/homecoming.
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