Smith focusing on the future of education

Dean M Cecil Smith HeadshotM Cecil Smith had big plans as the first dean for the new School of Education, despite arriving in July 2020 amid a pandemic.

“I feel as if the past 30-plus years of my career have prepared me well for this position. Now, we can accelerate and implement the exciting initiatives,” he said.

Smith said he wants to revitalize and enhance the school’s existing community partnerships and establish new relationships.

“This is my vision, my mantra for SIU’s School of Education: ‘Always learning, always leading,’” he said. “My goal is to work with the faculty and staff to assure we have a high-quality, rigorous program.”

While the School of Education has a dedicated legion of supporters, Smith said it’s more important than ever to ensure students are fully supported.

“We are fortunate to have many scholarships for our students, and we are grateful. But we need other kinds of funding support,” he said. “The pandemic took a toll on our students’ well-being and their ability to manage the various aspects of their lives.”

“We also need to recruit teacher candidates from underrepresented groups. We need teachers to reflect the diversity that is growing in the Southern Illinois region. Research shows that students of color who have teachers who are persons of color are much more likely to stay in school.”

Implementing initiatives

Smith is especially excited about an initiative known as the Saluki Teacher Residency Partnership, funded by a recent award from the Illinois State Board of Education.

It awarded $50,000 to plan the partnership and $200,000 to implement the residency partnership. Currently, the school is working with five local districts: Cairo, Meridian, Vienna, Murphysboro, and Carbondale’s two school districts.

“The plan is to create a teacher residency, much like a medical residency, geared toward recruiting students from under-represented racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups,” Smith said.

Christie McIntyre, director of teaching and education and an associate professor, wrote the grant. In it, a student resident teacher collaborates with a community mentor and works in the school for an entire school year.

“We are proud to be implementing the fruits of Christie’s efforts this fall with three teacher residents placed in each of those five communities. The community mentors will provide the residents with advice on professionalism, inform them about the larger community, and will give the teacher residents overall support,” Smith said.

During the pandemic, students suffered a significant amount of learning loss. To get these students up to speed, the School of Education will employ retired teachers, community mentors, and university students to provide afterschool tutoring as part of the Illinois Tutoring Initiative, a statewide project funded through the governor’s office. Thus far, the school has partnered with four local districts with plans to expand the program this fall.

Smith is especially excited about the Illinois Grow Your Own (GYO) initiative, which provides funding to prepare local community members for teaching careers in early childhood education and special education. GYO supports racially and economically diverse individuals who have a desire to become teachers within their home communities. The goal is to prepare teachers who will become leaders inside and outside their hometown classrooms.

The funding pays up to $25,000 for tuition, books, childcare, and transportation for each qualified student. The school graduated 17 special education teachers who were supported by the program. Eight students will graduate in December 2022 and seven will graduate in 2023. The school also has a cohort of 12 early childhood educator candidates who will graduate in 2023.

To support scholarships and initiatives such as these, visit ehs.siu.edu/giving.

Enjoying a new home

Smith and his wife, Ellin, are finding Southern Illinois a great fit for their lifestyle.

“We enjoy cycling, kayaking and visiting local wineries, and this region provides a wide array of opportunities for us to enjoy those activities,” Smith said.

Smith is also enjoying the close camaraderie he is experiencing with the other SIU deans.

“We had everyone over for dinner recently, and it is great that we all get along and support one another. The future looks bright for our colleges and schools at SIU. I’m proud to play a part,” he said.

SIU extends Forever SIU fundraising campaign: Chancellor announces $500 million goal

Chancellor announces $500 million goal

CARBONDALE – Chancellor Austin Lane has announced the expansion of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign with a new goal of $500 million.

The announcement came in front of a large crowd as SIU kicked off its Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark on Wednesday, March 2.

“This will reshape the way we imagine the future of SIU,” Chancellor Lane said.

After raising more than $3 million during the SIU Day of Giving, Chancellor Lane was overjoyed at the show of Saluki spirit.

“This is about supporting our students and strengthening the university,” he said. “Our alumni and donors understand the importance of this mission, and their generosity is what has set us on this path to half a billion dollars.”

Forever SIU

The Forever SIU campaign was launched in 2017 with a goal of raising $75 million in three years. The Foundation sped past that milestone seven months early, which prompted the decision to set a new goal of $90 million.

“At the end of 2019, we had already surpassed that new goal,” Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, said. “That’s when we set our sights on $200 million, and we’re well ahead of schedule. It’s clear that we need to keep this momentum.”

The money raised through the campaign has funded scholarships, campus improvements, supported faculty, and enhanced alumni engagement.

“The SIU Foundation acts as an accelerator for the university,” Kupec said. “It’s a role we embrace every day, and we’re excited to continue the Forever SIU campaign.”

For more information about the Forever SIU campaign, contact siuf@ia.siu.edu.

*****

Media Contact: Rebecca Renshaw, SIU Foundation associate director of communications, 618-453-1328.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Donation supports business students, hands-on experience

Top left to right: Mark and Laura Ford
with daughters Adelyn and Kiley.

Mark and Laura Ford, ’02 and ’01, have pledged $40,000 to the SIU College of Business and Analytics. The money will be split between the dean’s general fund and paying for upgrades to the technology used by the Saluki Student Investment Fund.

The Saluki Student Investment Fund gives undergraduate students hands-on experience in portfolio management and investment research. The SSIF is modeled after real investment management firms, and the students are focused on making the best investment decisions possible on behalf of their primary client, the SIU Foundation. Mark was a member of the Saluki Student Investment Fund during his time at SIUC.

The students now work on Bloomberg terminals, which are computer software systems that enable students to access Bloomberg Professional Services and monitor and analyze real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform.

“When I was a member of SSIF in ’01-‘02, we did our research and made our stock trades through a low cost online brokerage account set up for the fund. It is exciting to see now how far the program has come over the past 20 years, and now under the direction of Tim Marlo. To have its own current technology and trading platform, that can also be used for a number of different business courses, is a very important asset to SIUC, COBA, and SIUC students,” added Mark. “I’m very thankful for Dr. Peterson, and for what the SSIF program did for me developing real life experience. It was important to me to pay that forward, and to make sure future students are offered the same opportunities that were made available to me through the dedication of the SIUC staff, and the financial contributions of those alumni that came before me.”

“For regular investment firms, it would cost about $24,000 to pay for the software for just one terminal,” said Tim Marlo, faculty advisor for the SSIF and a clinical investment assistant professor. “Our students rely heavily on these terminals and use them daily. Fortunately for our group, they will only charge us $24,000 to upgrade all four terminals.”

Marlo, who has advised the group for five years, has watched students build their confidence and presentation skills and says the experience prepares the students for real-world applications.

“We manage about $2.7 million for the SIU Foundation, and we fall into the top 10 percent of mid-managers,” he said. “Most of our students receive job offers before they even graduate, so it is donors like the Fords who really step up and make a difference in the lives of these students.”

Strengthening bonds

Mark and Laura Ford credit much of their success to SIU, which made it important to them to lend a helping hand to the current students.

Mark, a Senior Vice President of First Horizon Bank in Nashville, TN, specializes in providing banking services and financial advice to clients in the music industry; primarily artists/musicians, publishing companies, record labels, royalty collection societies, and event production/festival companies. Throughout his 15-year career, Mark has worked closely with internationally known musicians, major music companies, professional athletes, and NASCAR drivers/team owners.

“I was raised in Du Quoin, Illinois, and grew up attending SIU sporting events and concerts from a really young age,” Mark Ford said. “SIU really opened doors of opportunity for me once I started college, and it is in Carbondale where I met my wife and where I found my interest in finance.”

Mark Ford said the SIU College of Business and Analytics has a great reputation and shared his admiration for the professors and administrators, especially Dr. Mark Peterson and Dean Terry Clark.

Laura Ford started attending college at University of Illinois but found it wasn’t a good fit for her. She became introduced to SIU when she visited friends who were studying in Carbondale.

“I loved the campus and how beautiful it is,” she said. “When I found out that SIU had a zoology department, I just really fell in love with it. I had great professors and discovered my niche was in medical research. We’re having conversations with the College of Science as well to find ways of supporting students and programs.”

After graduation, Laura worked for Vanderbilt University doing medical research on cancer until 2016.

“I learned a lot during my time at SIU, and I hope students who are there today just keep their eyes open for opportunities, work hard and respect your peers. You will be surprised at how far you can get in life with that outlook,” she said.

The Fords enjoy spending their time living in Nashville, Tennessee, and raising their two daughters, Adelyn, 9, and Kiley, 4. Mark serves as a member of the COBA Dean’s Advisory Board, as well as the Advisory Board for the School of Analytics, Finance, and Economics.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Longtime SIU educator establishes scholarship

By Rebecca Renshaw

Todd Headrick, an emeritus faculty member of the SIU School of Education, has donated $50,000 to establish the Todd Headrick Endowed Scholarship for Graduate Studies in Education.

The endowed gift will fund scholarships for graduate students in education who maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Headrick began his career at SIU in 1999 and has held several positions in the College of Education and Human Services, including a full professorship, chair of his department, the appointment of associate dean of research and his time as a fellow in the provost office. Headrick retired from SIU in January 2020 and now attends law school at Arizona State University Law School.

For Headrick, the importance of giving back was instilled in him at a young age.

“My grandfather would lend a helping hand to others around him, and he was always giving donations for causes he believed in. My mother and her husband are also generous to others, so it seems natural for me to lend a helping hand to students at SIU who are trying to get an education,” he said. “SIU has been good to me, so I want to pay it forward for students who could use the help.”

Between the recent reorganization process and the current COVID-19 situation, the way SIU educates future teachers has changed quite a bit.

“With the reorganization of colleges and schools, the School of Education is now much more focused on education, and it has streamlined the process of educating teachers,” Headrick said. “And, COVID-19 has really pushed the university to pivot into an online learning experience. I am hopeful SIU will continue to gain strength in providing a top-notch online learning environment.”

School of Education Dean M Cecil Smith thanked Headrick for the gift and shared his excitement about the future.

“First, it is a wonderful capstone to his career at SIU. Second, it clearly demonstrates his dedication to ensuring the success of students in the School of Education,” Smith said. “We will be able to provide anywhere from one to four new scholarships in the next academic year as a result of Dr. Headrick’s generosity.”

If you would like to learn how to donate to the School of Education, please click here.

Student inspires food pantry donation

Olivia Hood

Inspired by the hard work and dedication of Olivia Hood, an SIU student and member of the Leadership Development Program, Scott Moller ’85 has decided to donate $2,500 to the Saluki Food Pantry.

Moller, a member of the SIU Alumni Association and SIU Foundation boards, made the gift after meeting Hood and witnessing her fundraising work with campus RSOs. He said he hopes the gift will spur others to do the same.

The Saluki Food Pantry is located on the Lower Level of the Student Center and is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays. Any student with a valid student ID can access the pantry’s resources. To learn more, visit www.studentcenter.siu.edu/services/saluki-food-pantry.php.  

Veterans benefit from Touch of Nature program

SIU Touch of Nature veteran adventure

By Jeff Wilson

Shane Brady graduated from SIU in May 2017, taking with him a bachelor’s and master’s in outdoor recreation resource management. He left behind much more.

Brady, a U.S. Army veteran who served a 14-month tour in Iraq and a 12-month tour in Afghanistan, came to SIU in 2013. In the spring of 2015, he started working as a graduate assistant at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

While there, Brady spearheaded the creation of the Veteran Adventures program. Offering outdoor activities to post-9/11 veterans, the program has become a huge success.

“Veteran Adventures was born out of the idea that there needed to be a program that brought veterans together in hopes of easing the transition from military life to civilian life,” he said. “Getting out of the military can be a very challenging life event. For veterans who are going to college for the first time it means trading your support group for a group of strangers and an experience that is completely new.”

The program includes a number of activities, most of which take place near SIU. There are pheasant and deer hunts, hikes, backpacking trips and recently a whitewater rafting excursion in Tennessee.

“These are deeply discounted or cost-free programs,” J.D. Tanner, director of Touch of Nature, said. “They can help relieve a little bit of the stress these veterans can face.”

Early on, most of the funding for the program came from community-level fundraising. This included profit-sharing promotions at local businesses. In September, Touch of Nature received a $30,000 grant to fund the hiring of a graduate assistant to run the program.

Most of the trips include 10 to 12 veterans, but Tanner said he hopes to expand the program to larger groups, more trips and a wider array of activities.

Tanner and Brady are both hopeful that the importance of both Touch of Nature and the Veteran Adventures program won’t go unnoticed during the Forever SIU campaign and upcoming Day of Giving on March 7.

“Since its inception, Touch of Nature has been an important part of SIU and to the Southern Illinois region as a whole,” Brady said. “It has done, and continues to do, amazing things for SIU and the community.”

The next Veteran Adventures event is a backpacking trip along Southern Illinois’ River to River Trail. It begins March 10 and is free of charge. To register or learn more, visit http://ton.siu.edu/program-areas/veteran-adventures/trips/.

For more information about the Forever SIU campaign, visit www.foreversiu.org. To make a gift benefiting the SIU Day of Giving, visit siuday.siu.edu.

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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.

Engage with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.