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.