Remembering the past and building a better future

Gene and Laura Basanta have always been interested in society and what is going on around them, particularly societal injustices. When they came across information while researching their ancestors, they knew they needed to act.

In late 2021, the Basantas established a $25,000 scholarship fund for Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) students studying agriculture at SIUC. In 2022, they donated another $25,000 to the scholarship.

“Recently, we began researching our ancestries. I come from a deep farming background and our farmland is still actively being farmed,” Laura said. “Doing some research, I discovered that in the will of my fourth great-grandfather, a Revolutionary War veteran, there is a listing of his property, which included slaves. Just reading the names, ages, and gender of those individuals listed next to curtains, a ladle, and a mule was deeply disturbing to me.”

Both Laura and Gene’s ancestors came from an agrarian background. Laura’s ancestors have been farming in Kentucky for 150 years and Gene’s ancestors owned a sugar plantation in West Indies in the 1800s.

Gene, who is the SIU School of Law’s Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law Emeritus, made a similar discovery when he began searching his family roots. Like Laura, his ancestors owned several slaves.

“I learned my family operated a sugar plantation in Trinidad. Slaves fueled the operations of such plantations. While Laura and I honor and revere our ancestors, we also must acknowledge that our current privilege came in part from the work of enslaved individuals,” Gene said.

Supporting the future of ag

The Basantas have an interest in agriculture and are aware that SIU’s College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences is making great strides, especially through its sustainability programs.

“As we reflected on what we learned, we knew we had to do something and a scholarship for Black students at SIU seemed appropriate,” Laura said. “And because we both love agriculture, we turned to Dean (Eric) Brevik from the college and talked how we could set up an agriculture scholarship.”

Gene said the scholarship gives he and Laura personal satisfaction, and they hope it makes a difference in the lives of students.

“We want to give students opportunities to do great things. We know that our faculty accomplishes important work,” he said. “But when students go and accomplish greatness, that is the greatest satisfaction of all.”

Dean Brevik is thankful for the support of the Basantas.

“We are very grateful to the Basantas for supporting minority students who want to major in agriculture,” he said. “It is very important that we have a diverse agricultural workforce.”

SIU legacy

The Basantas have a long history with SIU and the Carbondale community.

Beyond his emeritus title, Gene was a professor in the Department of Medical Humanities at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He also founded SIU’s Center for Health Law & Policy. In 1989, he helped create the law school’s M.D./J.D. program. He served as interim dean for the law school in 2002.

Laura and Gene moved to Carbondale in 1980 and began establishing their family. Prior to their move, Laura received a BFA from Louisville School of Art and has produced art while working and raising their children.

Both have served the community with many groups, including The Varsity Center, Women’s Center, Carbondale Community Arts, and the General John A. Logan Museum.

Learn more about making a similar impact at siuf.org.

Compardo: Going Forward Together

Diane Compardo HeadshotDiane Compardo is not afraid of hard work. In fact, the drive to succeed was instilled in her at an early age.

“Both of my parents grew up on farms in Illinois and they eventually owned two farms where I was raised. I was one of six children who helped tend to the livestock and various crops,” she said. “I still remember waking up at 5 a.m. with my siblings to go pull weeds out of the bean fields. Growing up on a farm taught me what I wanted out of life and what I did not.”

Compardo knew early on that she wanted to go to SIU.

“My dad was a first-generation Saluki who received his degree in agriculture. He loved SIU so it just felt natural that I would follow in his footsteps,” she said.

When her parents dropped her off at Thompson Point, it was a defining moment in her life.

“I came from a rural area with a small town and high school nearby, and suddenly here I was in what felt like a big city. It was both scary and exhilarating as I watched my parents drive away,” she said. “SIU made a big imprint in my life from that moment on.”

Compardo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1991 and went on to receive her master’s degree in accounting in 1992.

The St. Louis resident’s career encompasses more than two and a half decades of high-level client service and management experience. Compardo began her career with the international accounting & consulting firm Price Waterhouse (now PwC). After rising to the level of manager at PwC, she left to join Moneta which today is consistently ranked as one of the largest Registered Investment Advisory firms in the country. At Moneta, she became the first professional in Moneta’s 150-year history to be promoted to the role of partner from within the firm’s advisor ranks. Today, Compardo leads her own team at Moneta comprised of 30 professionals specializing in providing financial planning & wealth management services to successful families throughout the world. A nationally recognized leader, Compardo has been consistently honored as one of America’s Top 100 Women Advisors by Forbes, Barron’s, and The Financial Times, and is the only advisor in Missouri named to all three lists. In 2018, The Wall Street Journal featured her for successfully developing a sustainable business and developing team talent to ensure a successful outcome to succession planning. Also in 2018, Ingram’s magazine named Compardo as one of “50 Missourians You Should Know.”

As president-elect of the SIU Foundation, Compardo’s goal is to be a passionate leader and a have big voice in reaching alumni who may have lost their connection with SIU.

“I would like to see more of our great alumni reconnect with SIU – see first-hand all the great things going on, find ways to give back, and perhaps help pay it forward to current Saluki students. It would be great to make it the university we remember when we were there,” she said. “It’s my hope that we continue to refocus and build on the momentum currently underway. After all, SIU gave us a great start on life and our careers, and it just makes sense for us to now lend a helping hand to students who need it.”

Compardo is also a well-known role model for professional women. In 2017 she was named by InvestmentNews as one of its “Women to Watch” based on her leadership. Working Mother magazine named her to its 2017 inaugural and subsequent lists of “Top Wealth Advisor Moms.”

“As my career grew, I became passionate about helping women obtain leadership roles in the financial services industry. As there are still comparatively few women role models and mentors in finance, I make it a point to mentor and coach as many women as possible in the industry to help them succeed,” she said.

Compardo is a longtime SIU supporter. She and her husband, Ron Wienstroer whom she met while at SIU, established the Compardo/Wienstroer School of Accounting Endowment Fund at SIU. They are both members of the SIU College of Business & Analytics Hall of Fame, the Rehn Society, and lifelong members of the SIU Alumni Association. Compardo currently serves on the Boards for the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Guardian Angel Settlement Association.

Compardo spends as much free time as possible with family. She enjoys reading, golfing, running, and spending time with friends. She and her husband have three children, Alex, 21, Sam, 19, and Jack, 15.

Remembering John Jones: Scholarship endowed, degree awarded

Professor-student bond inspires fundraising effort

Black and white photo of John Jones.

Image of John Jones.

By Jeff Wilson

When John Jones entered his first class with professor Brad Hagy he made an immediate impression.

“He sat in the front row,” said Hagy, a senior lecturer of information sciences and technology at SIU. “He was a model student and was going to do anything to further his future.”

Jones, who worked in IT for the SIU Foundation, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.  In Jones’ memory, Hagy donated $10,000 to establish the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit non-traditional students who are majoring in Information Technology (ITEC).

With the large donation from Hagy and support from numerous donors through the SIU Foundation’s crowdfunding platform, SalukiFunder, the scholarship was recently endowed with $25,000. The scholarship will produce a $1,000 scholarship each year.

During the 2022 Spring Commencement, Jones was honored with a posthumous Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics. Members of Jones’ family attended the ceremony to receive his degree.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and share your pride in his accomplishments,” Chancellor Austin Lane said.

To make a gift to the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship, visit salukifunder.siu.edu/johnjones.

‘He wasn’t just a student’

The 37-year-old Jones was one semester away from earning his bachelor’s degree in information technology. He made straight A’s and was on the Dean’s List every semester.

“I want to promote what John loved,” Hagy said. “He was working to better his life. I want to help students like John.”

Jones had started his college career in 2002, but he left school after his father passed away. He returned to SIU more than 14 years later determined to get his degree. In an email to Hagy after the Spring 2020 semester, Jones shared his appreciation.

“The one thing that we all lose is time, and there is not a way to get that back,” Jones said in the email. “So, in my journey, I was fortunate enough to meet people at SIU that reminded me of myself as a young man fresh out of high school living carefree and people that are willing to help anyone who gives their time to learn. Mr. Hagy you have made this transition from working full-time to full-time student one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Reading that message, in which Jones goes on to express his hopes for the future, Hagy can’t help but become a bit choked up.

“John understood time,” he said. “He knew he had lost time, but he was still willing to go back and get his degree. In that email, he was speaking from his heart and for his future.”

Hagy spoke at Jones’ memorial service and has remained close to Jones family, to the point that Jones’ mother gifted a pair of blue and white Air Jordan from his shoe collection that matched the color of Jones’ motorcycle. They were both members of the Carbondale Eagles 2569 Eagle Riders motorcycle club that has an annual charity ride for the Southern Illinois Special Olympics.

“Those shoes are now on the shelf in my office,” Hagy said. “He wasn’t just a student. He was a great person, a friend.”

John Jones, 1983-2021

Born and raised in Carbondale, Jones exceled in math and information technology. More than anything, Jones is remembered as a family man.

He is survived by his son, Jerald Cameron Jones; and fiancé, Tamara Buchannan-Boens; and her sons, Christopher Buchannan, Warren Eanes, and Dominique Boens. He is also survived by his mother, Debra Johnson-Jones; sister, Raven-Iman Jones; grandmother, Barbara Sanders; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jones enjoyed participating in American Poolplayers Association competitions, riding his motorcycle with his fellow Eagle Riders, shooting targets at the gun range, and working on and building computer/robotics systems.

After his planned graduation, the SIU Foundation was set to make Jones a full-time member of the IT staff.

“We thought the world of John,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “He was liked by all. His words and his actions were always consistent. Everyone at the Foundation was deeply saddened by his untimely passing. Professor Hagy’s inspiring gift is a testament to their connection and the impact they had on one another.”

Pictured left to right: Brad Hagy and Matt Kupec

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Day of Giving trophies awarded: B.E.E.R. Scholarship donors, COLA, Law, Medicine, and Athletics honored

By Jeff Wilson

The SIU Day of Giving trophy presentation has become a tradition that puts an exclamation point on the annual fundraiser.

Each year, the SIU Foundation hands out five trophies honoring areas of campus that performed the best during the Day of Giving, but this year a sixth trophy was added. The winners are:

  • College of Liberal Arts: Largest Dollar Amount Raised, Academic Unit
  • School of Medicine: Most Individual Gifts, Academic Unit
  • College of Liberal Arts: Largest Average Gift
  • Saluki Athletics: Largest Dollar Amount Raised, Non-Academic Unit
  • Balancing Education, Experience & Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarship: Most Individual Gifts, Non-Academic Unit
  • School of Law: Highest Alumni Participation Rate

SIU Foundation CEO Matt Kupec kicked things off by expressing his appreciation for everyone involved in the Day of Giving and his excitement for the future of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign.

The most recent goal for the Forever SIU campaign was $200 million, but the Foundation recently surpassed that goal early, and the campaign was extended to 2028.

“This year, we set a Day of Giving goal of $3 million, and in typical Saluki fashion, we surpassed expectations by raising more than $3.5 million,” he said. “At the end of the Day of Giving, we kicked off the Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis, and Chancellor (Austin) Lane announced to the world that we would raise that goal to $500 million.”

The success of the Day of Giving and the extension of the Forever SIU campaign fit perfectly into the Imagine 2030 strategic plan set forth by Chancellor Lane.

“We don’t get to 2030 without your support, your energy, and your stories,” he said to the crowd gathered at the front steps of Shryock Auditorium. “I can feel the passion, the excitement, and the energy. We can get there, and that’s because of you, our alumni.”

President Dan Mahony and Chancellor Lane both came to SIU when the Day of Giving goal was a bit more modest.

“When I first came to SIU, the Day of Giving goal was $1 million, and we shot past that. At the time, Matt (Kupec) told me we could do even better, but I never envisioned we would be at $3.5 million,” he said.

Andrew Balkansky, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, received two trophies during the ceremony. The college raised $723,265 on the Day of Giving and had the largest average gift.

“We made this a priority from Day One,” he said. “It takes a great team, and we have that here.”

Dr. Jerry Kruse, dean of the School of Medicine, accepted his school’s trophy and promised to take it to locations across the state. The school had 372 individual donors.

“The best thing is the spirit of working together,” he said. “This will be a true traveling trophy.”

Saluki Athletics finished with a Day of Giving total of $109,645. Kupec, who is also the interim athletic director, was handed his department’s trophy by Chancellor Lane.

“The future of Saluki Athletics is incredibly bright,” he said. “You know what SIUC stands for – Southern Illinois University of Champions.”

The School of Law earned the new Saluki Spirit Award, which honors the academic unit that saw the highest rate of alumni participation during the Day of Giving.

“Res ipsa loquitur. That’s Latin for ‘It speaks for itself,’” said Camille Davidson, dean of the School of Law. “We may be small, but we are mighty.”

Represented by about 15 alumni, the group known for the B.E.E.R. Scholarship was honored with a trophy for the fourth consecutive year. This year, 698 individuals made a gift to the scholarship fund.

“The amazing thing about this one is how many people donate to it,” said Jim Raffensperger, who represented the group. “Small donations make a large difference. This year, there were six B.E.E.R. Scholarships awarded from this fund. Amazing.”

For more about the Forever SIU campaign, visit foreversiu.org.

 

Finding Stability in Turbulent Times

Kathryn Sime, SIU Foundation Senior Director of Gift Planning

Have the constant ups and downs of the stock market lately reminded you of a roller coaster? While a thrill ride in an amusement park may be fun, market volatility can make your head spin and stomach churn for completely different reasons. The good news is that opportunities exist to make a difference through your giving to benefit Southern Illinois University while also offering some potential financial advantages in your planning for the next tax season.

Even though the market is down from the highs of 2021, you may still have some considerably appreciated assets. If you make a gift of stock to the SIU Foundation directly from your brokerage account, you will likely bypass capital gains taxes and may also take advantage of a charitable deduction on your taxes next year. Even better, your stock is sold immediately and turned into student scholarships, faculty development, facility improvements and more at Southern Illinois University.

Some donors use appreciated stock as a basis for a charitable gift annuity (CGA). With a CGA, you receive an annual annuity payment, largely tax-free, with a portion of your gift going to the SIU Foundation at the end of your life. When funded with appreciated assets, you avoid capital gains taxes and may take advantage of a charitable deduction, while benefiting from an annuity based on the current price of the stock when it is gifted to the SIU Foundation. In uncertain financial times, many donors appreciate the constant source of income from the annuity, while also knowing that their gift will ultimately support the mission of Southern Illinois University.

Donors who are 70.5 or older and have an IRA have one more win-win option available: giving through their IRA as a Qualified Charitable Deduction (QCD). A QCD, sent directly from your financial institution to the SIU Foundation, ultimately reduces your income tax obligations related to your required minimum distribution (RMD). While seniors don’t have to take an RMD until they are 72, the option to make a QCD begins at age 70.5.

Want to learn more about how you can find win-win solutions that may provide tax-wise solutions for you and benefit SIUC? First, always consult your financial advisor to learn how these ideas may impact your personal financial situation. Then, for more information about giving through the SIU Foundation, contact Kathryn Sime in the SIU Foundation gift planning office: kathryns@foundation.siu.edu or 618-453-4268.

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SIU Day of Giving totals more than $3.5 million: Annual event has raised over $10 million in six years

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane and SIU Foundation CEO Matt Kupec prepare for their SIU Day of Giving Livestream at the WSIU Public Television studio.

CARBONDALE – The SIU Day of Giving reached new heights this year by raising more than $3.5 million.

In its sixth year, the 24-hour online fundraiser received more than 2,400 donations and set numerous records. In its six years of existence, the Day of Giving has brought in more than $10 million.

“Once again, Salukis everywhere came together and showed their spirit,” Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, said. “We were awed by the outpouring of support throughout the day.”

The Day of Giving was capped by Chancellor Austin Lane announcing the expansion of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign. The SIU Foundation plans to raise $500 million in its continuing effort to support the mission of the university. After surpassing its original $200 million goal, Chancellor Lane said he’s excited to keep going.

“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.”

The $3.5 million total is the highest in the history of the SIU Day of Giving. Last year, the university raised $2.8 million on the day, which started in 2017.

The College of Liberal Arts led the way by raising more than $723,000, and the School of Medicine came in a close second, bringing in more than $681,000.

Some of the other highest totals were:

  • College of Business and Analytics: More than $230,000
  • College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences: More than $188,000
  • College of Arts and Media: More than $167,000
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics: More than $135,000
  • Saluki Athletics: More than $109,000

Donors to the Balancing Education, Experience, and Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarship continued their tradition of Day of Giving support by combining to make nearly 700 gifts and raising more than $52,000.

Other areas with the most donations were:

  • School of Medicine: 374
  • Saluki Athletics: 184
  • College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences: 147
  • College of Arts & Media: 128
  • College of Health and Human Sciences: 108

“The Day of Giving is one of the best days of the year at SIU,” Kupec said. “Our alumni and donors make it so much fun. They have made it into an unbelievable success.

Going live

For the second straight year, the SIU Foundation hosted a livestream event during the Day of Giving. Featuring presentations from Chancellor Lane, deans, university officials, students, and staff, it showcased some of the best that SIU has to offer.

“We were the only university to go live last year, and it was so terrific that we knew we had to do it again,” said Kupec, who hosted the livestream from the WSIU-TV studio.

Broadcast on the SIU Alumni Association’s Facebook page, followers were able to comment and interact with the livestream as Kupec made real-time announcements about gifts and other important news.

Salukis in St. Louis

The Day of Giving wrapped up with the Chancellor’s Reception at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark as the university kicked off its inaugural Saluki Takeover Tour St. Louis.

The takeover event lasts four days in conjunction with the MVC men’s basketball tournament. Numerous events around the city allow alumni and supporters to gather and celebrate the Saluki spirit. Chancellor Lane and others have also announced partnerships with St. Louis-area high schools and community colleges as part of the university’s effort to increase enrollment.

“The excitement surrounding these events is palpable,” Kupec said. “Saluki pride is an incredible thing, and it has been on full display this week.”

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

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SIU Credit Union Makes First Corporate Gift for SIU Day of Giving 2022

Pictured left to right: Leah Weil, Emily Spann, Rachel Brewster, Jennifer Jones-Hall, Mark Dynis, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Jeffery Burgin, Kim Babington, and Matt Kupec.

The SIU Day of Giving simply wouldn’t be as special without the support of the SIU Credit Union. This is the sixth year that the SIU Credit Union has kicked off the day with a gift.

This year, they presented SIU with a check for $35,000. The first donation of $20,000 will benefit SIU’s New Student Programs and the second donation of $15,000 will go to SIU Touch of Nature’s Dawg Days program.

The SIU Credit Union was represented by Kim Babington, vice president of community outreach and Mark Dynis, marketing director.

Chancellor Austin Lane received the donations from the group and said he appreciates the support SIU Credit Union has consistently demonstrated.

“This generous gift goes a long way toward helping us recruit students. It is this type of gift that will help us continue our trend of increased enrollment for the freshman class,” he said.

Jennifer Jones-Hall, SIU dean of students, was ecstatic about the donation.

“SIU Credit Union is consistently so good to us, and we love how they continue to show up and support our students. They are great leaders in our community,” she said.

Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the SIU Credit Union’s continued support of the Day of Giving is inspirational.

“The SIU Credit Union is an amazing partner of SIU. We appreciate how they always help us launch our SIU Day of Giving with the first gift of the day,” he said.

Tom Brummer, director at Touch of Nature, appreciates the ongoing support.

“We are honored the SIU Credit Union is recognizing the value of the work we do here at Touch of Nature,” he said.

Pictured left to right: Leah Weil, Tom Brummer, Mark Dynis, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Jeffery Burgin, Matt Kupec, Kim Babington, Sara Bond, and Brian Croft.

The SIU Foundation is encouraging others to follow the SIU Credit Union’s philanthropic lead and help make an immediate difference in the lives of current and future Salukis. To make your gift, visit siuday.siu.edu and give to your favorite SIU initiative.

SIU Day of Giving brings excitement, livestream March 2

CARBONDALE – The 6th annual SIU Day of Giving is Wednesday, March 2, and the show is hitting the road.

After introducing a Day of Giving livestream last year, the SIU Foundation will add a second live event from the Saluki Takeover Tour kick-off event in St. Louis.

“This is going to be one incredible day,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “We’re excited for it, and we know our alumni are as well.”

What is the Day of Giving?

Each year the SIU community comes together for a 24-hour Day of Giving. Supporters are encouraged to visit siuday.siu.edu on Wednesday, March 2, and make a gift of any size. Donations can be directed to any college, unit, program, or initiative of the donor’s choice.

Last year, more than $2.8 million was raised through more than 3,400 donations. There were donations from all 50 states and 11 countries. Donors can choose to be honored on the Donor Wall at siuday.siu.edu or give anonymously. All gifts are made securely and are tax-deductible.

Two livestreams

Last year, SIU was one of the only universities in the country to host a Day of Giving livestream, and this year it’s adding a second one from St. Louis.

The first livestream will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until about 2 p.m. It will be available on the SIU Alumni Association’s Facebook page, facebook.com/siualumni, and at siuday.siu.edu.

The event will feature Chancellor Austin Lane, a parade of college deans, university officials, students, and alumni. The schedule for that event is available at siuday.siu.edu.

“We can’t wait for everyone to see this year’s livestream,” said Kupec, who will host. “We’re going to be live from the studio at WSIU, and it’s going to be a great time.”

After the first livestream ends in Carbondale, preparations for the grand finale in St. Louis will begin. Things will pick back up on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page and the Day of Giving page at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.

Chancellor Lane will update the Day of Giving totals and make an exciting announcement that will impact how we imagine the future of the university. This reception will be broadcast live from the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark.

“We’re trying to break Day of Giving records and set the stage for Chancellor Lane as he makes a major announcement,” Kupec said. “It’s going to be a great day to be Saluki.”

Saluki Takeover Tour

After taking over Chicago in October, SIU is hosting its inaugural Saluki Takeover Tour St. Louis. In conjunction with the MVC Arch Madness men’s basketball tournament, there will be multiple Saluki-themed events taking place in St. Louis and the Metro East.

The Chancellor’s Reception, which will run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, will be the first of multiple events between then and Saturday, March 5.

“SIU will be all over the city,” Kupec said. “We’ll be cheering on the Dawgs, meeting with alumni, building partnerships with local schools and community colleges, and spreading Saluki spirit everywhere we go.”

For a full schedule of events or to register for the Chancellor’s Reception, visit siuf.org/stlouis.

Get involved

Other than making a gift and watching the livestream, there are a few other things alumni and donors can do to support the cause.

Simply using #SIUDay on social media and sharing posts from the SIU Foundation and other units on campus is a great way to show support. It’s also not too late to become an SIU Day of Giving ambassador by signing up at siuday.siu.edu. Ambassadors get special Day of Giving updates and are encouraged to share their own Day of Giving message with others.

“The Day of Giving has become one of the most anticipated days of the year,” Kupec said. “We hope everyone is inspired to get involved by watching the livestream and joining us in St. Louis.”

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

SIU College of Business and Analytics Prepares Students for Success

Students in the SIU College of Business and Analytics receive a helping hand through the many services its Business Placement Center offers. Students receive training on everything from etiquette lessons to how to craft an effective resume.

Services start the first day a student attends classes at the College of Business and Analytics and continues throughout the student’s career.

Thomas Becker, employer relations coordinator for the college says that students benefit from a wide array of career development opportunities, programs, career fairs, and receive exposure to many employment options.

“We host business fairs for the students and connect students to employers. We also like to take students on exploration trips to corporation headquarters in cities across the country. In the Spring of 2019, we took approximately 50 students to Nashville’s Country Music Association’s (CMA) headquarters where they listened to the CEO of CMA share her business experiences with the students,” said Becker.

Bridgette Sargent, Assistant Dean of Students Services at the College of Business and Analytics says the goal is to take the students to major cities across the country.

“We have taken trips to St. Louis where we visited the St. Louis Blues Hockey headquarters and that trip was invaluable. We would love to take them to Indianapolis and Atlanta as we have several alumni in those cities as well. The experience for the students is impactful and they learn a great deal from our alumni about business. It is so worthwhile to let them get first-hand experience.

But, it costs money to make such trips,” said Sargent.

 

Student feedback regarding the exploration trips:

“Thank you for allowing us to take this trip to see first-hand how companies operate and how individuals become successful. It was nice to not have to worry about coming up with money to pay for the trip.”
Elizabeth Hall, Accounting.

 

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to broaden our horizons in career choices. As an accounting major, you sometimes forget there is more out there than jobs in audit and tax, but these trips help remind me there are so many more opportunities within my career field.”
Ragan Goldasich, Accounting.

 

“Thank you so much for giving me an insight as to what the real world is like. Experiences like these are invaluable.”
Katie Bevis, Finance.

 

“Thank you very much for the opportunity to travel and listen to speakers. I have never been a part of something like this and I learned a lot from this experience. Trips like this are beneficial to students and it helps them think outside the box of what other careers might be available to them with their degrees.”
Nicole Lopez,  Hospitality, Tourism, & Event Management.

 

Students also benefit from the Career Closet where they receive free business attire for their use during interviews.

“The closet includes over 800 pieces of professional business attire that is appropriate for interviews and other business functions. Students are able to visit the closet throughout the semester and borrow complete business suits or just the pieces they need to complement their outfit,” said Becker.

Since its creation in 2016, the Career Closet has provided over 1,400 items that have helped over 600 students participate in professional development events such as career fairs, interviews, and professional meetings.

“We dry-clean the suits and we provide everything right down to their shoes. We give them portfolios to put their resumes in so they aren’t just walking in with a single sheet of paper. All of this is donor driven and so we are hoping that our alumni and donors step up and help us out again this year,” said Becker.

Becker and Sargent are hoping to raise funds for the Business Placement Center during the upcoming SIU Day of Giving slated for Wednesday, March 2.

Sargent says that each year, the colleges alumni really step up and lend a helping hand to its students during the SIU Day of Giving.

“We did well last year but we are really hoping to turn the attention to the placement center so we can help more students,” said Sargent.

To learn how you can donate to the SIU College of Business and Analytics, visit siuday.siu.edu on March 2. If you would like to donate earlier, visit https://siuf.org/giving/college-unit/business.php and indicate your gift is for the SIU Day of Giving.

SIU Interior Design Students Take Trip to Chicago’s NeoCon Exposition

Last fall, students from SIU’s Art & Design and Interior Design departments traveled to Chicago to attend the annual NeoCon Exposition as part of the SIU Foundation’s Chicago Takeover Tour. Held at the renowned Merchandise Mark Plaza, NeoCon is a major event where the industry’s major manufacturers as well as emerging companies showcase thousands of new products and services in categories including furniture, fabrics, flooring, interior building products, interior finishes and technology.

Laura Morthland, Program Director of Interior Design, said the trip was a resounding success.

“The trip was spearheaded by Mary Carroll, development officer for the SIU Foundation, and she worked collaboratively with alumnus Mark Steftenagel, CEO of Whitney Architects in Chicago as well as the industrial design firm QDesign. Fifteen students and four faculty made the trip and listened to industry leaders and participated in several tours during the multi-day event. We were well pleased with how this trip unfolded for our students,” said Morthland.

Students and faculty kicked off the field trip with a tour of Kimball/National showrooms where they toured Kimball’s showrooms and learned about the latest trends in commercial office spaces and the changing healthcare needs. Students were also honored by a breakfast and tour at Whitney Architects where students were able to chat with several industry leaders, including special guest John Rouse, former editor of Contract Magazine.

On the first night of the St. Louis Takeover Tour, students attended Chancellor Lane’s Chicago Takeover Tour reception at the Palmer House where they listened to Chancellor Lane, President Mahony and alumnus Mark Silverman, co-host of the Waddle and Silvy Show on WMVP, ESPN1000 address the crowd of more than 200 proud Salukis.

While in Chicago, the students enjoyed the Merchandise Mark Plaza in their free time and returned to SIU with a wealth of experiences and knowledge on cutting-edge trends in the industry.

“I want to extend a big thank you to Mark Steftenagel, Byron Morton, John Rouse, Kay Wulf, Whitney Architects and Q Design. This was an unforgettable experience for our students that they will carry forward throughout their lives,” said Morthland.