Alumni Award Honorees
This award recognizes outstanding academic, professional, personal, and community contributions that are representative of our graduates. It is presented to a graduate whose achievements may serve as a role model to inspire other graduates and students.
Donald Donahue, ’81
Donald Donahue of Ashton, Maryland, earned a Bachelor of Science with concentrations in sociology and political science from Excelsior University (then the Regents External Degree Program) in 1981. He is a professor of global health with the University of Maryland Baltimore. He was previously managing partner of Diogenec Group, vice president with Jefferson Consulting Group, senior marketing manager for Magellan Health Services, department administrator and corporate consultant for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and deputy surgeon for Plans and Fiscal Administration for the Army Reserve.
Donahue’s military career spanned 28 years and resulted in earning more than 30 military awards. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Royal Society for Public Health and a senior fellow of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Additionally, Donahue serves as a board member of the American Academy of Disaster Medicine, Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, and Team fEMR, a fellow and co-founder of the Commission Internationale de Médecine de Catastrophe/International Commission on Disaster Medicine, a peer reviewer for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and co-chair of the World Humanitarian Forum Medical and Health Programming Board.
He has been honored with many awards within his field and in the military, including but not limited to the American College of Healthcare Executives Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award in 2014, Fast Company Magazine “Fast 50” in 2004, Department of Veterans Affairs Achievement in Contracting Excellence (ACE) Award in 2000, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and many other awards.
Donahue earned a Master of Business Administration from Baruch College, a Master of Jurisprudence from Seton Hall University School of Law, and a Doctorate in Health Education from A.T. Still University.
The Alumni Service Award recognizes outstanding service to Excelsior University by a graduate whose efforts in advocacy, recruitment, or outreach may serve as a role model to others in helping Excelsior achieve its overarching goals. Candidates for this award are nominated by the Alumni Leadership Council, Excelsior staff, Excelsior Board of Trustees, or the alumni community at large.
Sandra Butterfield, ’86
Sandra Butterfield of San Diego, California, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Excelsior University (then Regents College) in 1986.
Butterfield has worked in various areas of nursing, including the emergency department, telemetry unit, the MICU, SICU, postpartum, med-surg, in-school nursing, and psychiatric units. She has worked in California and Idaho in multiple nursing capacities and has been house supervisor of entire hospitals many times. Butterfield has also held positions as the manager of a 54-bed telemetry unit, charge nurse, and assistant charge nurse of various units. She is an avid volunteer for many organizations and has spent a great deal of time volunteering at medical clinics around the world. Notably, Butterfield has volunteered for the International Medical Corps and National Nurses United, where she served in disaster zones such as Houston during Hurricane Harvey and Haiti during the 2010 earthquake. She responded to crisis situations in Puerto Rico and, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she gave out 2,000 COVID vaccinations per day for a week.
In addition to working in a hospital full-time, Butterfield teaches nursing theory and in the clinical area with a focus in psychiatric/mental health, labor and delivery, postpartum, pediatrics, NICU, and newborn nursery. She is a role model for service for the Excelsior community and previously served on the Alumni Leadership Council. She supports an Ever Upward Scholarship annually in honor of her parents and volunteers her time, energy, and talents to Excelsior by hosting well-received webinars and events.
She earned a Master of Science in Nursing and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from St. Joseph’s College of Maine. She is in the process of finishing a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
Presented to an outstanding nursing graduate in recognition of the accomplishments and vision of Dr. Carrie Lenburg, coordinator of the Regents College Nursing Program from 1973 to 1990. It commemorates her commitment to helping nurses attain their educational and professional goals. This award is presented to a nurse who demonstrates a commitment to nursing education as well as academic and professional accomplishments in the field of nursing.
Linda Sue Hammonds, ’84
Linda Sue Hammonds of Crestview, Florida, serves as an associate professor for the University of South Alabama. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Excelsior University (then Regents College) in 1984.
Hammonds began her nursing path in 1977 as a nursing assistant. Hammonds has experience as an RN in small rural hospitals, on a Native American reservation in Montana, and in various urban settings. She worked as a family nurse practitioner in North Carolina and Missouri. Additionally, she spent time as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and has progressed as a nurse educator from Instructor to associate professor.
She has developed a body of work in mental health and transcultural nursing. Hammonds has been published more than 20 times in various nursing publications, many alongside her doctoral students. She is a mentor for nursing students, nurses, and nurse educators, a premier member of the American Nurses Association, and the awardee of the Excellence in Clinical Practice: Advanced Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing award from the University of South Alabama (2008).
Hammonds also earned an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Family Nurse Practition, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health from University of South Alabama. She holds a post-master’s certificate (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) and a post-doctoral certificate (Nurse Educator) in addition to her degrees.
Named after Excelsior’s first president, this award is presented in recognition of outstanding public service and community involvement by a graduate.
Matthew Kilner, ’18
Matthew Kilner of Campbelltown, Pennsylvania, serves as a full-time emergency response planner and joint training coordinator for the Pennsylvania National Guard Joint Staff, and the first sergeant of a light infantry weapons company. He earned a Bachelor of Science in National Security from Excelsior University (then Excelsior College) in 2018.
First Sgt. Kilner was born and raised in California and joined the United States Army after 9/11. He served as a team leader, squad leader, and platoon sergeant during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and continues his service with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Kilner has 21 years of cumulative service in the United States Army and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. In addition to his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, his prior operational experience includes state active-duty mobilizations in support of civil authorities in Louisiana, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as multinational training efforts in Germany, Lithuania, and North Macedonia.
After serving as an instructor at the Regional Training institute, Kilner was selected to serve in his current capacity as an emergency response planner, project officer, and liaison team member for the Pennsylvania National Guard. In this capacity, he has helped to plan and coordinate support to civil authorities in several states; plan and coordinate large-scale training exercises in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania; and host and speak at several preparedness and response conferences in 2021 and 2022.
He has donated many hours of volunteer service to his community and to the Commonwealth, and plays an instrumental role in the development and mentorship of service-oriented future leaders in his professional capacity.
Kilner also earned an Associate of Science in Letters Arts and Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science in Applied Psychology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.