Student hits rare giving milestone

Sarah Hollis, SIU Foundation Student Caller

By Jeff Wilson

Sarah Hollis never planned on coming to SIU, but now, she and SIU are certainly glad she did.

Her parents are SIU alumni, and the Battletown, Ky., native was eventually persuaded to come to Carbondale.

Sarah has spent 3 ½ years as a student caller with the SIU Foundation. During that time, she raised about $65,000 through 750 donations.

“It made me a more social person,” she said about her time as a student caller.

Graduating this spring with a degree in foreign language and international trade punctuated a fulfilling Saluki experience for Sarah.

Active in student government, she served as co-chair of the Internal Affairs Committee for two years, worked with the Naming Committee and serves as a senator for the College of Liberal Arts and West Campus.

She has also spent time studying abroad in Beijing and Taiwan.

While in Beijing, Sarah was a participant in the U.S.-China Student Summit and served as SIU’s student representative at the Beijing International College Fair.

During her time in Taiwan, she gained important work and life experience through an internship with INTAI Technology Corporation and Sun Chun Stainless Co. Ltd.

Locally, Sarah has volunteered at the Local Organic Garden Initiative of Carbondale.

Whether traveling to a foreign country to calling potential donors, Sarah said her experiences have given her a positive outlook.

“I’m a little more fearless,” she said. “Doing something you’re afraid of makes things very rewarding.”

Sarah Hollis is the first recipient of the SIU Foundation's Outstanding Student Philanthropy Award. Roger Tedrick, SIU Foundation board president, and Susan Rashid, SIU Foundation board president-elect, presented Hollis with this award at the SIU Foundation 75th Anniversary Celebration on May 6, 2017.

Sarah Hollis is the first recipient of the SIU Foundation’s Outstanding Student Philanthropy Award. Roger Tedrick, SIU Foundation board president, and Susan Rashid, SIU Foundation board president-elect, presented Hollis with this award at the SIU Foundation 75th Anniversary Celebration on May 6, 2017.

2017 Graduating Bertrand Scholarship Recipients

2017 graduating Bertrand scholarship recipients

The Bertrand Scholarship was established by Marsha (’70) and Gary Bertrand in 2014. This scholarship provides financial assistance for students from middle income families attending Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Noelle McIntyre - Bertrand ScholarNoelle McIntyre studied marketing. She is from Pinckneyville, Illinois.

“I remember opening the letter announcing I was the recipient of the Bertrand scholarship. I could not believe I was chosen. To this day, that was one of my best days ever. I want to thank the Bertrands for their help because my family just couldn’t afford for me to come to SIU.” 

Noelle plans to move to either Nashville or St Louis and work for a large advertising/marketing firm. Noelle would also like to pursue her MBA in marketing as well.

Kaegan Mestel - Bertrand ScholarKaegan Mestel studied biological sciences. She is from Waltonville, Illinois.

“When I met the Bertrands last fall, I was amazed at how down-to-earth and friendly they were. I hope to be as generous someday as they were to me.”

Kaegan has plans to attend the University of Minnesota where she will pursue a graduate degree in genetic counseling.

Marija Mileva - Bertrand ScholarMarija Mileva studied health care management and business administration. She is from Bolingbrook, Illinois.

“The Bertrand’s gift of a scholarship really changed my life at SIU, so I want to thank them for their generosity. It meant so much to me.”

Marija plans to move to Chicago and work as a health care practice manager in a clinic or hospital. Marija also wants to pursue her master’s degree in health care administration.


If you would like to give to Southern Illinois University, please contact us at 618/453-4900.

SIU Foundation Launches $75 Million Campaign for Students

Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A three-year, $75 million fundraising campaign will provide scholarships and other support for the students of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students” was launched Jan. 1 by the SIU Foundation, which raises private funds to support the university. It will end in December 2019, the year of the university’s 150th anniversary.

The foundation has already raised $33 million toward the goal, according to campaign co-chair Dan Korte, a 1985 SIU alumnus.

“These funds will have an immediate impact changing the lives of our students,” he said during a May 6 event marking the public launch of the campaign.  “We see the goal as being very achievable given the generosity of SIU’s current and future donors.”

Co-chair Camelle Logan, a 1989 graduate, said a committee of volunteers who share a commitment to SIU and its students is leading the campaign.

“We will encourage alumni, friends, faculty, staff and anyone who is committed to higher education to come forward and make a gift or pledge to this important cause,” she said.

The highest priority of the campaign is to raise more than $48 million for scholarships to help students stay in college and graduate, Logan added.

Other priorities include expanding opportunities through internships, career development and other initiatives; enhancing facilities and resources such as teaching laboratories and library materials; and deepening student and faculty engagement with the region through community-focused research, cultural events and outreach to high school students.

Donors may give to any priority as well as to the priorities of individual colleges and units, Korte said.

Interim SIU Carbondale Chancellor Brad Colwell said scholarships and other resources allow students to focus more of their time on their education.

“SIU students are well known for their determination and hard work,” he said. “They are our greatest asset, and sometimes a helping hand is all they need to succeed.”

More information about the campaign and opportunities to give can be found at

(More information: Contact Jim Salmo, SIU Foundation, 618-453-7174.)

Provost’s $25K gift spurred by pride, passion

Dr. Susan Ford gives back to SIU.

By Rebecca Renshaw

As a nationally renowned researcher and current SIU provost, Susan Ford understands the powerful impact that giving back has on the future. Since she came to SIU in 1979, Ford has served as a mentor to many graduate and undergraduate students and taught thousands more.

Even though Ford’s schedule as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at SIU is full, she still manages to also teach a core curriculum online course.

“For almost 40 years, I have been teaching at SIU,” she said. “I have a true passion for it and for my students here at SIU. Through my teaching, I can help to positively impact the next generation.”

During SIU’s first Day of Giving on March 1, Ford donated $25,000 to establish an endowed scholarship for graduate students in SIU’s Department of Anthropology, her academic home, noting that she has been considering making a significant gift for some time.

“Although I grew up and went to school on the east coast, SIU has always been special to me. SIU let me build my career and has been home to my research,” Ford said. “I have a deep connection to this university and believe strongly in this institution. I have made lifelong friendships. All of my immediate family members are also SIU alums. It just has a special place in my heart and my family’s heart.”

One glance around her office reflects Ford’s passion for SIU, her research and for life. Her lifelong dedication to researching South American primates is evident in the mementos and photographs of research expeditions. Her interests in photography and travel are evident as well. But one item that hangs at the entry of her office reveals a generational pattern of a philanthropic heart.  A framed message sent in 1940 from Ford’s great grandmother to her grandson during Christmas reads, in part,

“We are told that ‘brotherhood and love are the paramount features of the Christmas message. Giving gifts is merely a method of expressing such sentiment’… My wish for you is that you may find a sense of brotherhood for all those who touch your life – that love may become the motive of a life lived largely and fully. These are the things that make life worthwhile.”

Ford’s generosity, her love for SIU, and her firm belief that SIU will continue to stand strong and offer a great education to future students is a direct reflection of her great grandmother’s words so eloquently expressed nearly 80 years ago.  She urges others to join her in sharing their collective passion for SIU.

“I believe in this institution with all my heart,” she said. “I decided to establish an endowment for the future because I believe we are still going to be attracting the best and the brightest for decades to come.”

If you would like to give to Southern Illinois University, please contact us at 618/453-4900.

SIU Crowdfunding: AFS Campus Lake Fish Habitat Improvement Project

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

By Rebecca Renshaw

While the campus lake beautification project will benefit humans, a group of students want to make sure the lake’s aquatic inhabitants will also benefit.  That’s the goal of SIU’s chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

After the lake was dredged to eliminate toxic algae, it left little to no cover for bluegill and crappie spawn. According to recent fish population assessments, campus lake contains a large number of largemouth bass which are preying on baby bluegill and crappie that have no cover or refuge in the shallow lake. The group of students from the American Fisheries Society want to add artificial fish habitat structures in the lake so that the baby fish will have a chance to grow. These structures include PVC pieces that mimic downed trees and vegetation, but will last longer than natural structures that decay.

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

Aaron Schiller, a graduate student in the SIU College of Science, says they need about 20 structures, which costs $2,000.  Local businesses have donated pvc to build two structures, but the group needs more pvc materials.  “We are really hoping our Salukifunder project will help us raise the rest of the funds we need to complete this project. This is a project that will have lasting benefits on the fish population and on campus lake itself,” said Schiller.

SIU-C American Fisheries Society Student Subunit

The project is also part of a larger habitat improvement project the group is organizing for the lake. The group currently submitted an application to the Green Fund to plant vegetation in the lake, which will help the fish community and serve to beautify the lake at the same time.

If you would like to learn more and help these students realize their goal, please donate by visiting  The deadline for raising funds for this project is April 21, 2017.

Cohen, design department founder, made lasting mark on SIU

Harold Cohen, founder of SIU School of Design

By Jeff Wilson

Harold Cohen had a tremendous impact on SIU. He founded the design department, was responsible for bringing Buckminster Fuller to Carbondale and left the SIU Foundation with one of its most profitable patents.

During this year’s Design Days, Cohen brought something else to the university – a message of inspiration and a call to action.

Recruited by Burnett H. Shryock, the first dean of the School of Fine Arts, Cohen came to SIU in 1955. The decision to bring Cohen on board was ultimately made by President Delyte Morris.

Cohen accepted a position at SIU saying he wanted the university to have a design department separate from art. He wanted students to feel empowered and unafraid of failure.

“The university is a greenhouse,” he said April 7 in Morris Library’s Guyon Auditorium. “There are many seeds that can grow.”

When he first arrived at SIU, he had no office. So, he set up shop in a broken women’s bathroom in Allyn Hall. Still, it wasn’t long before he earned the trust of President Morris and urged him to hire Fuller as a research professor.

Cohen was instrumental in connecting other notable artists and designers, such as Ray and Charles Eames, Josef Albers, Kenneth Snelson, Harry Callahan and Chermayeff, to the university.

While at SIU, Cohen designed housing, modular buildings and furniture. He also directed the Experiment in Higher Education project and started many influential design courses.

Before leaving the university in the mid-1960s, Cohen planted a seed of his own. He, along with Isaac Shechmeister, were awarded a patent for a disposable animal cage. This patent went on to be one of the foundation’s most profitable.

Now 92 years old, Cohen passed bits of wisdom from his experiences, both in teaching and life.

“Design is a process of thinking, a very powerful method of thinking,” he said. “We are great manipulators of the Earth’s resources. You have to recognize your own creativity.”

Cohen went on to teach at John Hopkins University and the Institute of Behavioral Research in Maryland and was later the dean of the School of Architectural Planning and Design at the University of Buffalo, The State University of New York.



Lighting the Way: Crowdfunding makes LED project possible

Sharon Youck - SIU College of Agricultural Sciences student

By Rebecca Renshaw

We often share stories of donors giving to the university, or of gifts received for specific initiatives, but rarely do we hear stories of the impact those gifts make upon students.

This is one of those rare times.

With the first successful SIU crowdfunding venture for the College of Agricultural Sciences LED lights, the 32 donors who generously gave between $10 and $450 (with a total amount of just over $3,000) can now hear “the rest of the story” – and discover how their donations improved students’ learning environments.

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

On March 31, 2017, the College of Agricultural Sciences held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its LED light green space. Sharon Youck, a senior who will graduate with a plant and soil sciences degree in May, beamed with excitement as she explained her independent study.

“These lights make a world of difference in my plant and soil sciences independent study,” she said. “In two weeks I can already see the positive effects the LED lights are having on these plants.”

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

Youck also explained one of the many reasons why these LED lights are so important not only to her, but to other students as well.

“One of the required courses in greenhouse management requires students to memorize between 150 and 200 types of perennial plants,” she said. “With existing greenhouses in disrepair, students had to travel to the University Farms greenhouse, located on the edge of campus, to visit the perennial plants located there. With limited time and limited access to vehicles, this made it difficult for students to study for their required classes.

“Now they can stop in room 169 in the College of Agriculture Services building and learn about the variety of perennials on display. It makes such a huge difference.”

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences LED Room

Youck plans to work after graduation with C.H. Robinson Worldwide as a carrier representative. She hopes to someday work for a fresh produce company, helping to increase yields, map forecasts, and eliminate pests and diseases.

When asked what she has found most surprising in her studies, she said she did not realize how many variables – and how many people – it takes to get an apple on the shelf at the grocery store.

“I have a greater appreciation for the farmers and the food producers who work to get food products to the public,” she said. “SIU has taught me all of that.”

If you would like to fund your passion at SIU, please visit to see the many new projects that need your help.

World Travelers Give Back to Their Roots

Darlene Albert Knott, World Travelers Give Back to Their Roots

by Rebecca Renshaw

Nine hundred dollars. That was all she needed to remain in school.

But Darlene Albert Knott just didn’t have it.

That was back in 1969, when she was a sophomore at SIU.

Knott grew up in the small town of Mulberry Grove, Illinois in a farming family of five children. While the family always had food on the table, her parents didn’t have the extra money to continue her education in Carbondale after her sophomore year. And for her father, debt was something to be avoided.

“My father never borrowed money for my education,” she said. “He was just co-signing on a loan on my behalf. It was my responsibility to pay it back. He just did not like debt and thought I had already borrowed too much for the first two years. … So I had to withdraw from school. It broke my heart.”

It was a setback – though, thankfully, not a permanent one – for an intelligent young woman who made good grades in high school and impressed her high school math teacher so much that she encouraged her to apply to SIU.

She did – and, with a loan of $1,800, she arrived in Carbondale in 1967.

“My parents basically just dropped me off in front of Bowyer Hall in Thompson Point, and there I was,” she said. “I knew no one – and, coming from a tiny, rural area, I thought Carbondale was this huge city. I met all types of people from other cultures and countries, and it was magical.

“While most kids complain about the size or condition of their dorm rooms, I thought mine was wonderful because it had an indoor bathroom.”

Mark Knott, a Saluki patrol student at the time, recalls how he met his future wife.

“I was walking my rounds, and I kept running into this gorgeous girl in Lentz Hall,” he said. “She turned me down several times, but finally she agreed to go out with me. I was smitten.”

The Knotts agree that their professors at SIU made a tremendous impact on their lives.

“They were so passionate about what they were doing, and they took a genuine interest in the students,” Darlene Knott said. “I think that’s why SIU remains so near and dear to our hearts; it’s because of the influence of our professors.

“That, and the fact that we fell in love there.”

The couple married in 1970, and Mark Knott soon was drafted into the Vietnam War. By carefully saving their money, the Knotts returned to SIU and earned their degrees in 1975. They experienced successful careers in accounting and in securities brokerage firms until both retired to pursue a shared passion for travel. They have visited all seven continents, and their favorite destination is Africa, which they have visited 10 times.

“Our college educations transformed our lives, and we believe that education is the key to success and opportunity,” Darlene Knott said. “I look back at my life growing up in a rural community, and kids just weren’t encouraged to go onto college. Mark and I want to change that, so we created a scholarship for students in the Mulberry Grove area to receive an SIU scholarship for four years of room and board.

“We know that education was the opportunity to get out of a limited environment and go on to do something better. We just want to lend a helping hand so that no student should have to drop out of college and miss an opportunity to find success.”

Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Stella Uzoewulu

SIU Scholarship Recipient Stella Uzoewulu

Stella Uzoewulu is a freshman pre-medicine student specializing in physiology with plans of becoming a pediatrician.

Why did you choose SIU? I came to Southern Illinois University because it had an amazing science and research program. I knew that SIU would be able to prepare me for medical school and for life after college.

How did you feel when you received notification that you received the scholarship? I felt incredibly honored to receive this scholarship because any money that can help me further my education is greatly appreciated by me and my family.

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals? Growing up in a low income, single parent household, I was always taught from an early age that money was important and but always scarce. This scholarship shows me that through hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals. With this scholarship, my mother now has one less thing to worry about and can relax a little. It has also enabled me to remain at SIU and has further encouraged me to never give up on my goals for the future.

What inspired you to choose your area of study? I want to become a pediatrician because I know that children in low income families don’t always receive medical care. I want to work with these children in low income areas and give them access the care they need.

Do you have a message you would like shared with your donor? I would love to thank everyone who has made this scholarship possible. It is an honor to be given this scholarship. My family and I are very grateful.

Hear more from scholarship donors and recipients from our SIU Academic Scholarship Brunch in this video.