Family Helping Family

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences

When alumni and supporters think of SIU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the word “family” often springs to mind.

Seburn Pense, professor of agricultural education, recently was quoted in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ spring e-newsletter as saying, “Students come here and they see the campus and the facilities. They see that this college is like a family.”

Karen Midden, associate dean and professor for the college, agrees.

“The College of Ag really is just an excellent college with so much to offer its students,” Midden says. “We are very much like a family. The university farms provide hands-on experience for the students. It’s a backbone of the animal science teaching program, (and) it’s critical for agronomy and horticulture as well. The leading research at the farms provides experiential learning and prepares students for jobs in industry and academia, or to pursue graduate degrees.”

Right now, University Farms is in need of some assistance in several areas. The 2,000-acre farm system has significant upkeep needs – and, with the budget cuts and restricted spending in place across campus, the college hopes alumni will step forward and help.

After all, that’s what families do.

The following are areas that need assistance:

Research Greenhouse

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences Research Greenhouse

When visiting the research greenhouses where students do significant research on soybeans and tomato plants, the need for updates is evident. As Midden explains: “The SIU research greenhouses were built sometime in the 1950s and are extremely outdated. What they need is to update their systems.”

The soil in all research greenhouses must first be sterilized before any planting can begin. To sterilize the soil, SIU greenhouse employees use a soil steamer. Unfortunately, the steamer no longer works, so employees must borrow one, which is inconvenient in scheduling and transporting.

The heating and cooling systems are in need of modernization, which would include the replacement of pipes, thermostats and vent motors. The propane boiler, which heats the greenhouse, also needs to be repaired or replaced.

Swine and Beef Centers

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences sanitation truck

At the farm’s swine and beef centers, a sanitation truck is used to transport the manure from the livestock areas. This truck, which is between 25 and 30 years old, has a faulty engine in need of repair. The centers also have several tractors more than 50 years old that require constant repairs and upgrades.

Perhaps one of the biggest needs is for an automated hog feeder. Currently, an SIU employee must hand-feed the hogs each day, hauling between 50 and 60 buckets every morning, seven days a week.

Colten Collier, senior agricultural research technician, also points out fencing that needs repair at the beef center.

Colten Collier, senior agricultural research technician, also points out fencing that needs repair at the beef center.

“Bulls often break through these fences to get to the cows, and we don’t have the lumber to replace it,” Collier says. “So we patch it as best we can.”

But Collier says the fences are not the only issue.

“One of the challenges we face is that we can’t put the cows in several of the pens, because the watering system is so old that it can’t hold water any longer,” he says. “If there’s no water, then the space can’t be used for the cattle.”

Service Center

SIU College of Agricultural Sciences Service Center

In the farm’s service center sits the farm’s only combine, used to service 700 acres of corn and beans. The motor for the combine is more than 25 years old and is in constant need of repair.

“Our herbicide sprayer burned out six years ago, so now we contract that service out,” Midden says. “The problem with contracting is that we can’t control when we get the spraying done. That’s critical, because there is such a small window of when to spray and when to plant. It would be nice if we could control the timing to suit our needs.”

University Farms is more than a working farm system. It’s also a classroom, a laboratory and a social scene for students who learn and work at SIU. Students conduct feed efficiency research projects and learn animal husbandry at the beef and swine centers, and they conduct soil fertility and plant growth research projects in the research greenhouse. Some of these projects are faculty-mentored student studies, while others are faculty research with student assistants, but everything at the farms contributes to the hands-on learning community the College of Agricultural Sciences created.

Monetary donations to support these areas of the farm or donating actual items is the best way to ensure University Farms continues its success.

To learn more about the College of Agricultural Sciences’ University Farms program, visit http://coas.siu.edu/research/university-farms-forest-research/. To learn more about the needs of the College of Agricultural Sciences, visit http://foreversiu.org/colleges-units/agricultural-sciences.php.

Exploration at SIU’s Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

SIU Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

Fathead minnows under research at the SIU’s Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences.

Some hidden gems across campus go unnoticed because of their geographic locations, and such is the case for the McLafferty Annex research facility.

Located on the outskirts of campus, the 65,000-square-foot annex holds a state-of-the-art research facility that houses SIU’s Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences.

SIU Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

“The research in fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic sciences goes far beyond what most people would think about in relation to fish,” said Andy Coursey, researcher and manager of the massive facility. “We have graduate and undergraduate researchers who come in and do research projects. SIU’s marine biology program sends students over to study our starfish and crabs. The behavioral analysis and therapy programs come here to work with octopus and zebrafish to learn more about cognitive development, autism and behavioral psychology.”

SIU Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

He added: “We have a major project currently going on researching the federally endangered pallid sturgeon species. This facility is used by many disciplines, and we are proud of it.”

The building has 17,000 square feet of aquatic research space, significantly more than most other universities. The Saluki Aquarium measures 7,000 square feet, while the Wetlab production facility is slightly larger, at 10,000 square feet.

Coursey also manages the 90 research ponds at the Touch of Nature site along with a 7½-acre reservoir. He allots space to research projects and assists students, who do a majority of the labor, fish harvesting and feeding, and equipment maintenance, too.

SIU Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

Because of the space and facility, SIU students receive plenty of hands-on experience in their major.

“Our students also have a very high success rate of receiving job offers when they graduate,” Coursey said. “Many of our graduates go directly to work for the federal and state governments, along with private companies such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill – just some of the big-name employers who are hiring our students.”

“There is so much to be proud of,” Coursey added. “Just a few weeks ago, Archer Daniels Midland aquatic research and development came to tour our facilities so they can update their research system to replicate SIU’s facility.”

Along with these many points of pride comes the reality of funding.

“It costs a lot to maintain Infrastructure and research systems, along with funding needed to conduct high-quality research,” Coursey said.

AQUATIC RESEARCH LABORATORY AND SALUKI AQUARIUM

Besides funding for the maintenance, the ultimate funding dream is to finish the construction of an 8,000-gallon display aquarium. The initial phase of the Aquatic Research Laboratory and Saluki Aquarium began in 2012 but is on hold pending additional funding. The cost to complete the aquarium stands at $350,000.

“It’s our dream that this world-class aquatic facility and aquarium will enable SIU to continue our important work in promoting greater understanding of, and education about, our precious aquatic resources,” Coursey said.

To learn more about supporting the project through Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students, visit http://foreversiu.org/colleges-units/science.php, or contact the foundation at 618/453-4900 or siuf@foundation.siu.edu.

A History of Philanthropy: Foundation fosters relationships, fortifies SIU

J.C. Garavalia and Dr. John Guyon, March 7, 1995

By Jeff Wilson

The SIU Foundation has been a cornerstone of SIU for more than half of the university’s existence.

For 75 years, the foundation has played a vital role in SIU’s expansion and development. Students, faculty, staff and the community have benefited from its philanthropic mission.

Starting with a $10 gift in 1942, the foundation has evolved in the way it serves the university. From land acquisition to endowments to rare book collections and beyond, the goal has always been the same: Help keep SIU moving forward.

In the early going, the foundation collected relatively few monetary donations. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the foundation cemented itself as the driving force behind the university’s fundraising efforts.

“The warmth generated by good ideas from good people for good causes quickly melts away all barriers and leads to inevitable success,” said SIU President Delyte Morris on March 12, 1960, the date of the university’s first Foundation Day.

During Morris’ tenure (1948-70), the university saw unparalleled expansion in terms of enrollment and physical presence. SIU grew from a teachers’ college serving a few thousand students to a three-campus system with tens of thousands of students.

The foundation’s impact also expanded during this time of prosperity.

As new buildings popped up around the Carbondale campus, the foundation played a role in establishing the Edwardsville campus and the School of Medicine in Springfield. Meanwhile, the foundation increased the value of its assets. The SIU Foundation currently supports the Carbondale campus and the School of Medicine. SIU Edwardsville has its own, separate foundation.

Volunteers at SIU Foundation’s annual fall Telefund, August 14, 1985

By 1967, the foundation’s assets were valued at more than $3 million. In 1971, the foundation gained more than $1 million in a single year. In 1974, the foundation began the Living Endowment campaign, which was the university’s first long-term fundraising event. It proved to be a success, raising more than $2 million in monetary and other gifts. In 1989, the foundation helped the College of Business and Administration raise $4 million during a yearlong campaign.

The efficacy of the foundation has allowed the numbers to rise continually – which, in turn, has led to expanded influence on campus.

In 2016, the foundation awarded 1,565 students more than $2.8 million in scholarship money. More than $2.3 million was earmarked for university and community programs. Nearly $2 million was designated for academic and research support.

On March 1, 2017, the foundation hosted the inaugural SIU Day of Giving. It was the university’s first 24-hour online fundraising campaign. After receiving 1,334 gifts totaling $341,121, excitement already is building for 2018’s Day of Giving, scheduled for March 7.

From the beginning, SIU has been a place of opportunity. It has been a place to learn, teach, grow and enrich. For the past 75 years, the SIU Foundation has led the charge.

This spring, the foundation continued that mission by announcing “Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students.” Over a three-year period, the campaign aims to bring at least $75 million to the students of SIU Carbondale. Campaign co-chairs Dan Korte ’85 and Camelle Logan ’89 have announced that the campaign already has raised $33 million toward that goal.

Donors may give to any number of worthy causes, ranging from scholarships to particular projects, and to colleges or other departments. For more information, visit www.foreversiu.org.

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.

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 foreversiu.org.

(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 https://salukifunder.siu.edu/project/5996.  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 salukifunder.siu.edu to see the many new projects that need your help.