SIU Carbondale Day of Giving totals exceed $909,000

SIU Day of Giving Thank You

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The totals are in, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s March 6 Day of Giving raised more than $909,000 for scholarships, programs and other SIU priorities.

“We’re deeply grateful to our many donors – alumni, faculty, staff, students community members and more — for their generous support of our students and the university,” said Chancellor John Dunn. “You have made a very positive difference.”

The third annual 24-hour fundraising campaign far exceeded last year’s total of $480,000, said Rae Goldsmith, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and CEO of the SIU Foundation. This year, more than 2,900 gifts came from 45 states and 10 countries.

“The Day of Giving also served to launch our year-long celebration of our 150th anniversary,” she said. “Many donors wanted to be part of this historic event at the same time they wanted to invest in the university’s future.”

The day included a friendly competition among units and organizations for raising the most money or attracting the most gifts. This year, trophies will be given to both academic and non-academic units.

Among academic programs, the School of Medicine attracted the most gifts and also raised the most funds.

Among non-academic programs, a Facebook group raised the most gifts for the new “Balancing Education, Experience and Reality” Scholarship, while Saluki Athletics will take home the trophy for most dollars raised.

“The Day of Giving involved the entire SIU community. It was a great demonstration of the power of philanthropy bringing people together for the greater good,” Goldsmith said. “Thank you to everyone who helped us far exceed our goals.”

thank-you video is online, and photos highlighting the Day of Giving and anniversary launch can be found on SIU’s Facebook page.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Shaping the future through philanthropy

Nancy Mundschenk

By Jeff Wilson

It may seem obvious to say education is the heart of a university, but at SIU, that statement rings especially true.

That’s why Nancy Mundschenk and her husband, Paul, established the Teachers Shape the Future matching fund for the SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 6. They’ll be matching donations up to a total of $5,000 to benefit the Office of Teacher Education within the College of Education and Human Services.

“We’re so proud of the tradition here, but we’re also looking to the future,” said Mundschenk, director of teacher education.

With its roots as a normal school, which was the term used for colleges that focused on training teachers, SIU’s history is one based in educating educators. As the university celebrates its 150th birthday, Mundschenk wants to put the spotlight on the important role educators play.

When walking past the Office of Teacher Education in the Wham Building, one can’t help but notice the Post-it notes filling up the window. On each one, a current teaching candidate has written about an educator that inspired them.

“It’s really the rollout of a yearlong celebration,” Mundschenk said. “It’s a reminder that we’re surrounded by educators, and it allows us to demonstrate that in a very personal way.”

There are teacher prep programs throughout the university, and teaching candidates in each college would benefit from the Mundschenks’ matching gift. The money will help pay for several things, including students’ licensure tests, which cost $300.

“Education is a gift,” Mundschenk said. “It’s fundamental to a democratic society, and SIU plays a critical role in that.”

For more information about the Day of Giving or to make a gift, visit siuday.siu.edu/ehs.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Campus police raising funds for K9 unit

Paul Melzer and Ian Reinhart, both SIU alumni and Country Financial representatives, have chosen the department’s K9 fund for a Day of Giving matching gift.

By Jeff Wilson

The SIU Department of Public Safety wants to add one more dog to a campus represented by dawgs, and it’s getting some help March 6 during the SIU Day of Giving.

“DPS seeks to acquire a K9 trained in explosives detection,” said Chief Benjamin Newman. “The K9 will be utilized during major events on campus. In the past, we’ve requested assistance from other agencies to provide this service.”

Paul Melzer and Ian Reinhart, both SIU alumni and Country Financial representatives, have chosen the department’s K9 fund for a Day of Giving matching gift.

Through Country Financial, the pair secured $3,000 in grants to be given to the fund. They’re encouraging others to match those dollars as the department attempts to raise $50,000 to fully fund the K9 unit.

“They’re a little shy of being able to purchase the dog,” said Melzer, who is a veteran of the United States Navy. “Our gift, with the help of those who match it, will get the department that much closer to beginning this process.”

Both men expressed the importance of supporting the campus police department.

“Small amounts of money can make a big dent,” said Reinhart, who is former law enforcement officer. “This is something that’s a little less heralded and deserves funding.”

A K9 unit would be utilized during sweeps of Saluki Stadium and SIU Arena before sporting events, areas for special events, other community events and areas subjected to bomb threats.

“An explosives detection K9 would be a benefit for the agency and the university,” Newman said. “We are seeking to fund this program specifically through donations.”

Melzer and Reinhart will be presenting a check to Chief Newman and providing lunch for the department March 6 on the Day of Giving.

“We believe in this stuff,” said Melzer. “They’re keeping folks safe. This is a proactive step. They’re going above and beyond.”

For more information on the fund or to make a gift, visit police.siu.edu/k9.php. For more information about the matching gift and the Day of Giving, visit siuday.siu.edu.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Grad assistant to paddle the Mississippi to support veterans at Touch of Nature

By Jeff Wilson

Greg Nejmanowski, like many SIU students, enjoys the great outdoors. Of course, he’s probably the only one with a plan to canoe the entire length of the Mississippi River.

That’s right, Nejmanowski is planning to hop in his canoe on May 24 in the Minnesota headwaters of the world’s third-largest river and paddle his way to the Gulf of Mexico. More than just a thrill-seeker, he’s doing it for a cause.

“It’s called Paddle for Patriots,” said Nejmanowski, an SIU alumnus, Touch of Nature graduate assistant and Veteran Adventures coordinator. “I’m going to be raising awareness and money for the Veteran Adventures program.”

Veteran Adventures offers outdoor activities to post-9/11 veterans, including hunting, hiking, backpacking trips, whitewater rafting and more. The program is funded through grants and private donations, and it just recently lost a large state grant.

“We believe that through camaraderie, shared experiences, support and a common purpose, veterans can receive the tools necessary to navigate and overcome obstacles often encountered by those who have served our nation,” Nejmanowski said.

So, to spur donor support, he’s embarking a 2,300-mile trip down the mighty Mississippi. On paper, the plan is simple: Begin in Itasca State Park in Minnesota and spend two to three months canoeing down the river, camping on sandbars and gravel banks.

Of course, that’s an oversimplification of what the trip entails. Nejmanowski expects the journey to involve varying circumstances, including more challenging conditions at the beginning, avoiding barge traffic, navigating areas controlled by locks and dams and fast-moving water from Alton to the Gulf.

Nejmanowski, who is American Canoe Association certified, took a 140-mile trip down part of the Mississippi last summer. He’s also previously hiked the Southern Illinois River-to-River trail, which required trekking 160 miles over nine days.

“I’ve been paddling my whole life,” he said. “Last summer, I did an adventure race (a multi-disciplinary event, including biking, paddling, hiking, etc.), and it lit a fire under me.”

The trip will take Nejmanowski through 10 states and several major cities. He will be reaching out to local news agencies along the way and make his pitch for support of Veteran Adventures.

“The relationships formed during high-intensity and challenging situations are some of the strongest humans will ever create,” Nejmanowski said. “Veteran Adventures aims to build those unwavering bonds with participants by providing challenging and adventurous opportunities that push them outside of their comfort zones.”

To learn more visit, ton.siu.edu/program-areas/veteran-adventures. To support Touch of Nature and Veteran Adventures during the SIU Day of Giving on March 6, visit siuday.siu.edu.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Ag Students Express Their Appreciation, Excitement

Chloe Buchanan and Logan Kennard

By Jeff Wilson

Paul Georgy’s decision to donate $50,000 was based largely on his passion for SIU Farms and his hope to inspire a new generation of students and alumni.

“Alumni can step up and get stuff done,” he said. “We can make a nice home for the livestock. We can get more hands-on opportunities for the students and open some eyes to the farms.”

For two current students, the impact of Georgy’s gift is already being felt. Not only has it brought new livestock to the farms, it’s strengthened their Saluki spirits.

IMPROVED STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Chloe Buchanan and Logan Kennard share a passion for livestock and agriculture. A chance to learn and work at SIU Farms is what drew each of them to SIU.

“The opportunity to learn hands-on at the farms gives SIU students the upper hand when it comes to job placement or admission into higher levels of education, such as veterinarian school or master’s programs,” said Buchanan, a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana. “The farms have always been a special place for me because I have always felt welcome and comfortable there.”

Both Buchanan and Kennard are members of the Livestock Judging Team. Kennard, a senior from Mount Carmel, is the team president.

“The new pigs will make it easier for us to practice,” Kennard said. “Previously, the swine center only had pigs with production-oriented genetics. There is a divide between show stock and production stock. Having show-quality pigs will allow us to practice on campus instead of traveling or relying on Web-based classes.”

A DEEP APPRECIATION

SIU Farms will continue feeling the effect of Georgy’s gift long after the delivery of the new pigs and cattle.

The importance of the donation has made an impression on everyone connected to the beef and swine centers.

“Knowing that there are alumni and supporters whose lives were changed by the farms – just like mine had been – is something that keeps me going,” Buchanan said. “It’s just another reason I’m so thankful that I go to SIU.”

Beyond adding better pigs, more cattle, raising money for much-needed repairs and improvements and improving the experience of the Livestock Judging Team, Georgy’s donation will help ensure SIU Farms continues to offer a unique experience to students.

“This gift truly speaks to the influence of the program,” Kennard said. “To see that people are willing to donate their hard-earned money to the college proves to me that SIU was the right choice.”

Beef, Swine Center Donation Goes Beyond Animals

Paul Georgy

By Jeff Wilson

Venture inside SIU’s beef and swine centers, and one will find students gaining hands-on experience and dedicated faculty and staff. Look a bit closer, though, and one will see a great need for improvements and expansion.

That’s exactly what University Farms Director Greg Osman is hoping a recent $50,000 donation will bring, even if it takes a little time.

The gift, made by Paul Georgy ’73, will bring a new lot of pigs and cattle to the farm. The short-term effect will be the immediate improvement of the quality of the livestock, but the long-term benefits are expected to go much further.

“This opens 100 other doors for teaching,” Osman said. “To make the necessary improvements, this is the kind of thing we’re going to need.”

SIU show-quality pigs

GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING

The pigs were delivered to University Farms in October. They are of a higher genetic quality than previous litters. Simply, this means a higher profit down the road when they are sold.

“These are show-quality pigs,” Osman said. “They’re going to help us improve the foundation of our program.”

Bringing in show-quality pigs will also mean an improved experience for the Livestock Judging Team.

“Before, our students were going to shows and looking at the high-quality pigs brought by other teams, and thinking ‘What the heck?’” said Colten Collier, manager of the beef and swine centers. “Now they’ll know what it’s like to be on the other side of that.”

As for the cattle, that’s more of a numbers game.

Georgy’s donation will bring more cattle onto the farm, and the increase will bring in more money and help the beef center become more self-sustaining.

“We’ll be able to better utilize our pastures and fill them with our own calves,” Osman said.

The profit from selling more and higher-quality animals will inject new money into the farms and allow for much-needed improvements.

Collier and Osman were quick to point out that they’re not talking about major overhauls, but repairing and replacing some of the farms most basic needs, such as fences.

FILLING THE NEED

Georgy, a Trenton native, came to SIU as a transfer student. His dorm room for the first year at SIU was located at the beef center.

“Each farm had a dorm room,” he said. “We were able to experience farm life and student life at the same time.”

As a student, he was a member of SIU’s Livestock Judging Team, which managed to win their first competition despite their members’ lack of experience. Georgy believes the access to quality livestock is very important to building a winning team.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in animal science, Georgy spent several years managing a purebred Simmental operation before starting a research/brokerage firm, Allendale Inc., which helps producers become better marketers of their products. He spent 18 years serving the futures industry on the board of directors of the National Futures Association.

His connection to SIU Farms spurred him to take action.

“How can I impact the most people?” Georgy said. “In this venture, we have the ability to impact thousands of people.”

Georgy encourages others to get involved and make a difference, pointing out that gifts don’t have to be only monetary in nature.

“Any type of donation can benefit the whole project,” he said. “Donations of manpower, time, effort, gifts-in-kind, these are all ways that we can help restore and elevate the SIU farms to premier status.

“SIU Farms are an attribute that many other universities don’t have. It offers experiences you can’t get elsewhere. I’m excited about the opportunities that we can provide to our SIU students, parents, the community and the agricultural industry.”

For more information about how to give, visit www.foreversiu.org or www.siuf.org/giving/ways-to-give.

Ameren Corporation Frankie Muse Freeman Trailblazer Scholarship

By Rebecca Renshaw

Longtime civil rights leader, lawyer and activist Frankie Muse Freeman passed away earlier this year at the age of 101.

Freeman, whom some would later call “Frankie Freedom” became a civil rights attorney who fought to end segregated housing and promoted equalrights in St. Louis and nationwide during the civil rights movement.

Upon her passing, Ameren Corporation established the Ameren Corporation Frankie Muse Freeman Trailblazer Scholarship. In October 2018, Ameren contributed $5,000 to the SIU School of Law. This will be the first of four payments of $5,000.

The scholarship specifications stipulate that the award be given to a full-time third-year law student in good academic standing, with specific preference given to a student who identifies as a female from an under-represented community with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and social justice.

The first recipient of this award is SIU law school student Adaku Oti. Oti is a third-year SIU law school student from Toronto who is deeply committed to humanitarian efforts. She was nine-years-old when she created a foundation in support of orphanages along the coast of West Africa. The foundation’s most recent donation has gone to the Children’s Home for the Deaf and those with Mental Disabilities in Accra, Ghana in January 2018 in hopes to advance the quality of life for the children and young adults that residethere.

“Receiving a scholarship from a company such as Ameren encourages me tremendously,” said Oti. “I am humbled they thought enough of my humanitarian efforts to help. Receiving this from Ameren makes me realize that everyone can contribute something small and it just might end up becoming something bigger.”

“We are very proud of the work of Adaku Oti, whose passion for helping those less fortunate embodies the founding mission of the SIU School of Law, which was “created in the public interest to serve the public good,” said Cindy Buys, interim dean for the SIU School of Law.  “We also are grateful to Ameren Corporationfor their support of our law students. These types of scholarships facilitateour students’ success in law school and beyond,” Buys said.

To learn more about how you can give to the SIU School of Law, visit http://foreversiu.org/colleges-units/law.php.To learn more about the Forever SIU campaign, visit www.foreversiu.org.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Scholarships bridge the gap: MEDPREP students receive, prepare to give back

SIU MedPrep Students

By Jeff Wilson

For many, a career in the upper levels of health care can seem out of reach. Finding the time and money it takes to earn the necessary education is a daunting obstacle for most.

In 1972, the SIU School of Medicine established the Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program, better known as MEDPREP. The program provides assistance to educationally and/or economically disadvantaged students, and it has helped more than 1,000 students matriculate into medical or dental school.

Even with the MEDPREP option, students face an uphill battle when it comes to paying tuition and bills, while juggling classes, work and a personal life. It’s in this area that scholarships fill the void.

A lasting legacy

A longtime biology instructor for MEDPREP, Shirley McGlinn passed away in late 2012. After her death, the Shirley J. McGlinn Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to benefit MEDPREP students. To honor Shirley’s contributions, MEDPREP is holding a special fundraising drive this year to endow the scholarship to ensure student support for years to come.

McGlinn was well-known for her support of students. She believed in mentorship and providing financial support. Along with fellow MEDPREP faculty members, she authored several editions of “Meeting the Challenge of the MCAT,” which helps prepare students for the test.

The scholarship is one of only a handful that support MEDPREP students, and like all scholarships, further support is always welcome. [A gift of any size to the Shirley McGlinn Endowed Scholarship fund will help us reach our $25,000 endowment goal and ensure continued scholarship support for students.]

Inspired to make a difference

Stacey Joseph lived with her family in Haiti for 11 years before moving to Florida in 2004. They came for a vacation, but family and friends urged them to stay and seek asylum in the U.S.

“My parents wanted to create a better life for me and my siblings,” she said. “I was fortunate to have that experience to live in Haiti. I was able to observe the suffering due to the poverty and the lack of medical services. That got me interested in helping people. I saw that even in the U.S. there were some areas that had similar issues.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida State, Joseph knew she wanted to be a physician. Her sister had a friend who was in MEDPREP, so she decided to apply.

“I knew that it caters to students that are underrepresented in the medical community,” she said. “I could tell by reading the information online that it was a family-oriented program. I needed that guidance.”

After being accepted, Joseph was awarded the McGlinn Scholarship.

“It was very inspiring to receive that scholarship,” she said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a MEDPREP student. It changed me as a person. Without it, I don’t think I’d be going to medical school.”

Helping the community

Oscar Castro grew up in East Moline and attend the University of Iowa as an undergraduate.

“I struggled to effectively study,” he said. “High school didn’t prepare me as well as I would have liked.”

Now, he’s nearing completion of the MEDPREP program and has two medical school acceptances on the table.

“The program showed me the best way for me to learn and how to implement what I learned,” he said.

Castro has had steady employment since his high school days, but receiving the McGlinn Scholarship allowed him to put more focus on his studies.

“It gives me some wiggle room,” he said. “During busy times, I can reduce my work hours. That has really helped me.”

While he hasn’t settled on a specialty, he knows that he wants to give back to his community and the program that opened so many doors for him.

“I would like to return to my hometown area and serve that population,” he said. “I want to help people who are in my former position and contribute to the MEDPREP scholarships. I think it’s important to help those people advance to where they want to be.”

Easing the burden

Chinue Wilford has always loved kids. She plans to go into pediatrics after her days in MEDPREP.

“Kids just bring a certain type of energy into a room,” she said.

Of course, becoming a doctor hasn’t always seemed to be a likely route for Wilford.

“Being an African-American female, there’s not a lot of representation,” she said. “There’s not a lot of people in the profession who look like me.”

Even with the opportunities provided by MEDPREP, financial assistance has been key to her success. The McGlinn Scholarship eased the burden on her and her parents.

“Financial aid can only do so much,” she said. “It was a great relief. My parents have helped me all they can, but I have other siblings that plan to attend college and also need financial assistance.”

Giving is important to Wilford, and she hopes to help others with her donations in the future.

“You never know what individuals are going through and what kind of impact you can have on their lives,” she said.

How to give

Donations can be made year-round at www.siumed.edu/foundation. For specific information on MEDPREP scholarship giving, please visit www.siumed.edu/medprep and click on “About/Scholarships.” On March 6, donors can help celebrate the SIU Day of Giving my visiting www.siuday.siu.edu and making a gift to benefit the scholarship, program or unit of their choice.

Transforming students into leaders

SIU Leadership Development Program

By Rebecca Renshaw

The SIU College of Engineering is one of very few STEM colleges (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the nation that offers a technical leadership program. The SIU Leadership Development Program provides a direct bridge from leadership training to a career as a technical leader. Founded in 2006 by Dick Blaudow, an engineering alumnus and chairman of the board of Advanced Technology Services in Peoria. Blaudow and his wife, Brigitte, established the program as a way to help develop the next generation of America’s technical leaders.

Bruce DeRuntz, professor of technology at SIU and director of the College of Engineering’s Leadership Development Program, says the program truly transforms these students into leaders. “To be successful, these students know they have to prepare for success. It’s great to watch the transformation happen in these students as they go through the LDP program,” DeRuntz said.

Breanna Whitley, a junior, serves as the president of the LDP and is a scholarship recipient from the National Science Foundation. When asked to describe the program, Whitley responded, “Where do I begin? This program is not just an RSO. We develop a family here.  We truly care about each other,” Whitley said.

The team of students works on several community projects throughout the year. Some of the most recent projects include building a handicapped ramp to the women’s center and laying down new flooring for the Science Center.

LDP members’ personal experiences

Breanna Whitley

Breanna Whitley

“I believe the best leadership is an act of love. We all care about each other and how we can make a positive impact on the world,” said Whitley.

Bob Lozar-McDonald

Bob Lozar-McDonald

Bob Lozar-McDonald is a senior and has been in the program for since 2017. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation scholarship. “Traditionally, many engineering students are introverts. This program helps students develop those softer skills of building interpersonal relationships. Many corporations are willing to pay to develop those skills,” said Lozar-McDonald.

Andrew Paxton

Andrew Paxton

Andrew Paxton is a senior and is deeply committed to the LDP program.  “In the workforce, there is a demand for leadership but not many universities supply leadership training. It’s fantastic that we are able to enter the workforce possessing leadership skills and are ready to succeed,” Paxton said.

Dual Donations: Medicine and generosity in the Wilson Family

Dr. Margaret Wilson and Dr. Charles Wilson

Dr. Margaret Wilson and Dr. Charles Wilson

By Rebecca Budde

Dr. Margaret Wilson, a retired pediatrician, knows firsthand of the financial struggles of medical students.

“I remember what it was like to struggle with money while trying to complete medical school,” she said. “Scholarships for medical school are sorely lacking, even now.”

While cost of tuition at SIU School of Medicine remains one of the most affordable among public universities, medical students graduate with some of the highest debt – more than $210,000 on average – according to Erik Constance, MD, associate dean of medical student affairs.

“Scholarships are imperative for fulfilling our mission of sending well-trained providers in our central and southern Illinois communities,” Dr. Constance said.

To help future generations of female physicians, Margaret established a scholarship for female medical students at SIU. Her hope is that this scholarship will help make life a little less worrisome for the student and her family.

“These students have families, and they’re graduating from medical school with these huge debts,” she said.

While his wife’s generosity was bestowed on the medical students, Dr. Charles Wilson, a retired professor in SIU’s Division of Urology, wanted his gift to impact the work of his chosen specialty.

The SIU School of Medicine’s Founders Urology Care Scholars Program will support new investigators’ research and educational projects that benefit patients with urologic diseases. The funding will be used for basic, translational or clinical research in urologic diseases. The endowment is open to any donors who wish to support urologic research.

As Drs. Margaret and Charles Wilson enjoy their retirement, their son, Morgan Wilson, MD, ’05, is enjoying his career at SIU Medicine’s Division of Dermatology. Not only has Morgan generously supported the scholarship his mother began, but he also supports the Student Resource Fund and the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund.

“I have enjoyed seeing the educational yield of the SIU Dermatology Alumni Fund, which helps to offset the costs of books, meetings, courses and equipment for our dermatology residency program,” Morgan said. “It is fun to witness the consequent learning.”

Though the Jacksonville-based couple and their son chose different medical specialties and different areas to give, all agree that they’d like to help support the mission of the medical school and keep quality physicians in Illinois.

“I’ve always appreciated and benefited from the SIU School of Medicine’s commitment to educational quality, and I’d like to support the continuation of this emphasis,” Morgan said. “As a native of the area, I also believe in the mission of educating physicians who will consider coming back to downstate Illinois.”

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.