The Chicago Illini of the Year Award, cosponsored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) and the Chicago Illini Club, was created in 1997 to recognize the accomplishments of Chicago-area graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Up to three distinguished alumni who live and work in Chicago, or a Chicago suburb, are honored each year.
In 2008, Caroline Becker Joss '84 ACES alumni was recognized as one of three reciepents. Caroline is the co-founder and designer of Caroline Rose Inc. Caroline Becker Joss got her start in 1987 with the help of her UI degree, further studies in fashion and law, and her mother and business partner, Rose Becker. She now heads Caroline Rose Inc., an Oak Park company that creates clothing sold in upscale boutiques and major department stores in the United States. A former board member of the Fillmore Center for Human Services and current president of the Women's Board of Directors for the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Joss remains a loyal supporter of the U of I. In 2003 her company designed and helped produce hand-painted, orange and blue silk scarves to assist the College of ACES Alumni Association. Additionally, she has worked to bring together fashion industry professionals and UI faculty and students. Joss is also involved with the Illini Leadership Council, which consists of UI alumni who advocate for the University in the Chicago area.