Category Archives: Donor Stories

Morefield scholarship fund powered by planned gift

Eclipses reconnect donors to campus, region

Kevin and Denise Morefield watch the solar eclipse in Australia in 2023.

By Jeff Wilson

Between the two total solar eclipses that crossed over the Southern Illinois University campus, Kevin and Denise Morefield made an astronomical impact of their own – a generous planned gift to establish the Morefield Opportunities Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Established in 2021, the scholarship fund benefits Murphysboro graduates in need of a financial boost.

“Our scholarship is about helping others have the same opportunity I had,” Kevin said. “My choice to attend SIU changed my life profoundly, so we decided to pay that forward to others.”

The Morefield’s planned gift is a bequest, which means they have indicated the amount they will direct to SIU through their estate plan. They also decided to partially fund the scholarship while they’re both still living.

“Planned giving is a worry-free and easy way to give back. The endowment will keep giving in perpetuity with funds that, by definition, we didn’t need,” Kevin said. “After making the decision to contribute, I found myself thinking often about the lives the scholarship would affect. That led us to start early and partially fund the scholarship so we could see some of the impact in our lifetime.”

Kevin, a graduate of Murphysboro High School, received his bachelor’s degree from SIU in cinema and photography in 1985. That passion for photography has led him around the globe chasing eclipses. As fate would have it, that trek has brought him back to SIU twice, once in 2017 and again in 2024.

Photo by Kevin Morefield: Capturing the first and second diamond ring during the total solar eclipse across Southern Illinois on Monday, April 8, 2024.

“This was my eighth total solar eclipse. I have witnessed them in the outback of Australia, the polar Arctic, an atoll in the South Pacific, the Atacama Desert in Chile, and in Antarctica,” he said. “For there to be two over my hometown and alma mater is mindboggling and truly unique.”

After witnessing the grandeur of solar eclipses worldwide, the opportunity to be part of two so close to home was particularly powerful.

Kevin and Denise Morefield are pictured with Kevin’s mother, Betty Morefield (left), celebrating the 2024 eclipse at PK’s.

“The way SIU embraced these events is heartwarming. Eclipses always bring together a diverse group of people all with a common goal. That kind of broad feeling of community is rare and should be treasured,” Kevin said. “If someone had told me back in 1984 that 40 years later, I would be having a beer at PKs while everyone talked about total solar eclipses, I would not have believed it!”

To learn more about making a planned gift, visit siufgiving.org.

Technical Service Center naming honor Missavage’s legacy

Family honors longtime director, professor with $500K gift

Ribbon Cutting (Left to Right) John Brajkovich, Dennis Missavage (Brother of Roger Missavage), Dean Liu, Arlene Liss (Sister of Roger), Gene Liss (Arlene’s Husband and Brother-In-Law of Roger), and Jason Fairfield

By Jeff Wilson

Roger J. Missavage, a longtime professor at Southern Illinois University, was an outstanding faculty of the College of Engineering. He was director of the Computer Assisted Instruction & Research Laboratory for 29 years.

When Roger passed away in November 2021 at age 71, his brother Dennis Missavage, and sister and brother-in-law, Arlene and Gene Liss, established the Roger J. Missavage Endowed Fund for Engineering Education with a $500,000 gift in Roger’s memory.

Xiaoqing “Frank” Liu, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

On April 19, 2024, Xiaoqing “Frank” Liu, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics, hosted a dedication of the Roger J. Missavage Technical Service Center. The center will bolster information technology initiatives within the college.

“This is an exciting moment for this college,” Liu said. “Technology is the foundation of our college. The funds from this endowment will cover the technological needs of this college. Our students, faculty, and staff will benefit from this endowment in a significant way.”

Roger Missavage, a Herrin, Illinois, native, graduated from SIU in 1978 with a degree in engineering and added a master’s degree in mining engineering in 1991. He taught multiple courses at SIUC, including mechanics of rigid bodystatics, mechanics of rigid bodies-dynamics, rock mechanics principles and design, and analysis and design of mine excavations. He was also a Professional Engineer, which requires licensure from a state board of registration to practice engineering. He provided outstanding information technology support to the college for a long time.

John Brajkovich, director of the Roger J. Missavage Technical Service Center, gave a tour of the facility.

John Brajkovich, who will manage the Roger J. Missavage Technical Service Center, was a student worker for Missavage and a former colleague.

“He was just a guy who would help you with anything you needed,” he said at the dedication. “He would make loans to students if they were having problems. Anything he could do to help. A very charitable man. A very giving man.”

Liu credited Roger Missavage with being influential in many of the college’s advancements in information technology and facility and philanthropic support.

“The Roger J. Missavage Technical Service Center will permanently establish Roger’s legacy at our college and SIU,” he said.

Dennis documents eclipse, connect with scholarship recipients

Left to right: Robert Dennis, Dorcas Brou and Ethan Grimm

By Jeff Wilson

Robert Dennis ’84 embarked on a unique journey to capture the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

His decision to travel to SIU for the eclipse was motivated by both professional and personal reasons. Invited to participate in the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast Initiative, Dennis seized the opportunity to witness the eclipse on campus, reconnect with SIU, and engage with students who have benefited from scholarships he has established.

“Several locations were considered, but Carbondale was the obvious choice … to experience the event on campus, come home so-to-speak, and visit with students in my old stomping grounds,” he said.

Equipped with an arsenal of photography gear, he immersed himself in the eclipse photography experience. Describing the thrill of the clear skies during the eclipse, Dennis was excited to photograph such a phenomenon at his alma mater.

“It was a bit overwhelming at times,” he said. “You could feel the crowd’s excitement like electricity in the air.”

Connecting with Scholarship Recipients

During the eclipse, Dennis connected with scholarship recipients Ethan Grimm and Dorcas Brou, sharing memorable moments and capturing a selfie together. Through interactions with students throughout the event, Dennis witnessed their enthusiasm and dedication to their craft.

“I shared my work on the day with many of the CAM (College of Arts and Media) students,” Dennis said. “It was a true pleasure to engage in their enthusiasm as they worked on the production.”

Dennis hopes that scholarship recipients will remember the privilege of witnessing such a rare astronomical phenomenon and be inspired to give back to their university.

“I encourage each recipient to reach back to the school during their careers … to bring others along to share in their success, and give back often,” Dennis said.

Beyond the eclipse, Dennis remains committed to supporting scholarship recipients throughout the year. From phone conversations to social media interactions, he maintains a connection with students, offering guidance and mentorship.

Clubhouse 145 donates $3,500 to the Dawg Pound

Clubhouse 145 presents check for $3,500 to the Dawg Pound.
From left: Emma Buesing, Dawg Pound executive vice president, Malayna Russell, Dawg Pound vice president of gameday operations, Jacob Bryant, vice president of gameday operations, Sean Cooney, Dawg Pound advisor, Jacob Vezensky, Office of Student Engagement graduate assistant, Zipper Brandhorst, Clubhouse 145 member, Tyler Lawrence, outgoing Dawg Pound chief of operations, Dylan Chambers, outgoing Dawg Pound president, Corey Crombar, Dawg Pound president-elect, Steve Falat, Clubhouse 145 member, Rick Runge, Clubhouse 145 member, Jolene Falat, Clubhouse 145 member, Tim Leonard, SIU athletic director, Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, and Byron Hetzler, Clubhouse 145 member, pose for a photo in the Banterra Center.

By Jeff Wilson

Saluki fans are good at lots of things, but for Clubhouse 145 the main three are cheering on the Dawgs, keeping the party going after the game, and giving back to the university.

The group recently donated $3,500 to the Dawg Pound. Last year, it donated $3,000 to the Balancing Education, Experience, and Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarship.

Clubhouse 145, named after the Banterra Center parking space at which they congregate after Saluki football and basketball games, has become a tradition like no other. Started a few years ago by Mike Austin, Rick Runge, Zipper Brandhorst, and Steve Falat, members of the group enjoy a cocktail and some Saluki pride after the games. Many others have become regulars at Clubhouse 145.

“It’s grown beyond our initial expectations,” said Falat. “Our goal is to have fun and show support for SIU and Saluki Athletics.”

Anyone is welcome to join the party, and the group accepts donations during their after-game gatherings. Of course, it takes regular participation to become an official member of Clubhouse 145, which includes branded hats and polos.

The support for the Dawg Pound comes at a moment when the registered student organization is more involved than ever before. Led by SIU senior Dylan Chambers, the Dawg Pound has become the largest RSO on campus. Chambers, who will graduate in May and is a member of Clubhouse 145, is handing the reins over to new Dawg Pound President Corey Crombar.

“Seeing this kind of support just shows how special the SIU community is,” said Crombar, an SIU freshman and Carbondale Community High School graduate. “It’s going to help greatly with travel expenses, giveaways, shirts, and so much more. We’re so thankful to Clubhouse 145.”

The Dawg Pound presents Clubhouse 145 with a lifetime membership.

Chambers also presented the members of Clubhouse 145 with an Honorary Lifetime Membership to the Dawg Pound.

McPheeters continues support of SIU, Saluki Ball

Lynn McPheetersBy Jeff Wilson

Few SIU alumni have created a legacy as impactful as Lynn McPheeters.

His first major philanthropic act at SIU came in 2006 when he and his late wife, Susan, donated $585,000 to create the Susan F. and F. Lynn McPheeters College of Business Leadership Endowed Chair. In 2017, he donated $1 million to endow the McPheeters Family Scholarship, and in 2022, he announced a $1 million estate gift to supplement that fund and establish the F. Lynn McPheeters Chair of Finance Endowment Fund in the College of Business and Analytics.

For the second straight year, he is one of the major sponsors of the inaugural Saluki Ball. With a $25,000 donation, McPheeters is a Saluki Platinum sponsor.

“Last year’s inaugural Saluki Ball was such an exciting event. You could feel the electricity in the room as alumni came together to celebrate and raise much needed scholarship funds for existing and future students,” he said. “So, it was an easy decision to be a sponsor again this year. Thanks to Chancellor and Mrs. Lane for bringing an elevated level of commitment to the vision for SIUC’s long-term success.”

 

The Saluki Ball, to be held Saturday, April 20, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk hotel, will help students bridge the financial gap as they strive to reach their ultimate goals.

“This event celebrates SIU’s reputation for providing a first-class education and will raise money for scholarships,” said McPheeters, 1964 graduate of the College of Business. “It pains me that so many people are coming out of school with mounds of debt. In recognition of this situation, the SIU Foundation has significantly increased its efforts to provide scholarship assistance, as so many other universities have done.”

The ball is black-tie optional and will feature a performance by R&B legends En Vogue. It will be emceed by ESPN radio host and SIU alumnus Marc Silverman.

McPheeters transferred to SIU from Canton College, now Spoon River College, a community college in his hometown of Canton, Illinois, and finished his accounting degree at SIU.

Soon after, he started at Caterpillar, Inc., and began a steady rise through the company. In 1973, he moved to Switzerland to serve in a financial management position with Caterpillar overseas. He also worked in Tokyo for Caterpillar Mitsubishi and in Hong Kong at Caterpillar Far East Limited. He retired in 2005 as vice president and chief financial officer for Caterpillar.

“SIU led me to an incredible career with Caterpillar that took our family around the world and gave us tremendous opportunities,” McPheeters said. “I was very fortunate to have a supportive family throughout my 40 years with the company.”

In the decades since his graduation, McPheeters has served SIU in multiple ways. He joined the SIU Foundation Board in 2002 and served as chair of the audit committee and board president. He was one of the first members of the College of Business and Analytics external advisory board and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 1988. Among other honors, he earned the College of Business Alumni Achievement Award in 2004. In 2016, he received one of the university’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award.

He never anticipated the success that his SIU education would help provide.

“When I graduated, I was just happy to have an education and a job,” McPheeters said. “I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. I was very fortunate that SIU was there.”

For more information about the Saluki Ball, visit salukiball.siu.edu.

SIU Credit Union donates $35K to Touch of Nature, New Student Programs

Gift kicks off 8th annual SIU Day of Giving

SIU Credit Union has long been a resolute supporter of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and once again it was on display to jumpstart the SIU Day of Giving.

The credit union donated $35,000 in total, designating $20,000 to New Student Programs and $15,000 to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. This gift, and all Day of Giving donations, benefit the Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

“I look forward to this every year,” said Chancellor Austin Lane. “We can’t thank SIU Credit Union enough for this partnership.”

These gifts will help the university welcome new students by funding programming and offer experiences that build Saluki spirit and help them form lifelong bonds with each other and the university. One such event is Dawg Days, hosted each fall at Touch of Nature.

“Touch of Nature wouldn’t be what it is today without the SIU Credit Union,” said Brian Croft, director of Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. “Thank you for everything you do for SIU students.”

In the fall, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature. That project stems from a $500,000 donation the credit union previously made.

“Being an alumnus, it’s important for me to give back to the university that got me where I am,” said Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union president and CEO and a 1991 graduate of SIU’s College of Business and Analytics. “Touch of Nature has a special place in my heart.”

Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union’s vice president of community outreach, complimented the staff of Touch of Nature and Student Affairs, which operates New Student Programs.

“It makes such a difference to see the passion that they have for their programs,” she said.

Beyond the experiences, the funds play a major role in bringing students to campus and keeping them here.

“I want to emphasize what the credit union’s support and commitment means to us,” said Jennifer Phillips, director of New Student Programs. “It’s important to recruitment and retention, and we couldn’t do it without you.”

Each year, the SIU Day of Giving brings thousands of Salukis and SIU supporters together for a 24-hour, online event, which has raised nearly $14 million over its first seven years. Gifts can be made all day Wednesday, Feb. 28, at siuday.siu.edu, and every day at siuf.org.

John and Jayne Simmons make $10M gift to SIU’s law school

Historic donation will expand, enhance opportunities for students, faculty

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A $10 million gift from John and Jayne Simmons will impact generations of Southern Illinois University Carbondale law students and strengthen the law school’s ability to serve its students and the region. In honor of their generosity, the law school will be named Simmons Law School, pending approval from the SIU Board of Trustees in April.

The transformational donation comes as the law school is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It will enhance and expand the educational offerings to students and opportunities for faculty.

“Fifty years ago, we were founded in the public interest to serve the public good,” said Camille Davidson, dean of the SIU School of Law. “This generous gift empowers us to advance our mission on a larger scale and with an even greater impact.”

This historic gift – the largest SIU Carbondale has ever received – was announced Monday, Feb. 5, further cementing John and Jayne Simmons’ legacy at SIU, which includes a $10.2 million commitment to the Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. Their most recent contribution comes as a major step in the ongoing $500 million Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

SIU School of Law exterior image with the text "Simmons Law School" located above the entryway.
Simmons Law School is depicted in this digitally altered image.

“We are so incredibly excited and inspired by this act of generosity,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “John and Jayne Simmons are shining examples of the impact individuals can have on our institution and the entire region. Their unwavering support and diligent service speak volumes.”

John Simmons, a native and resident of Alton, is an SIU Edwardsville graduate, member of the SIU Board of Trustees, and chairperson and founder of Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm. His and Jayne’s support will help provide more access, services and opportunities to students seeking educational opportunities.

The law school is the alma mater of more than 180 local, state and federal judges. It has alumni practicing law in 48 states and more than 10 countries. It also features legal clinics that serve members of underrepresented communities and offer students real-world experience.

“The SIU university system has provided me with many opportunities to better my life,” John Simmons said. “A thriving law school will help support others in southern Illinois who are working hard day-to-day to improve their own lives. SIU holds a special place for me. We would really like people to look at Simmons Law School as an attainable place where they are welcome, they belong and they can thrive.”

A legacy of service, philanthropy

John Simmons has served two stints on the SIU Board of Trustees, the first from 2004 to 2015, and he was appointed again in 2019 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He has previously functioned as the board’s secretary and chairman. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University and previously served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer.

In 1999, John founded Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s law firms. The firm has dedicated the past 25 years to representing workers and families impacted by mesothelioma, a fatal and preventable asbestos-related cancer. Under his leadership, the firm expanded to new practice areas and now employs more than 250 people, including more than 80 attorneys, in offices across the country. Most recently, the firm successfully helped lead the national effort to hold manufacturers and distributors of prescription opiates accountable for the opioid epidemic. Firm employees have donated more than $1 million to local charities through the Simmons Employee Foundation and more than $20 million to cancer research nationwide.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has long been involved with SIU’s law school, providing internships and employing its graduates.

“We have been working collaboratively with Simmons Hanly Conroy for years,” Davidson said. “Its broad reach as a national law firm will help to elevate the law school’s recognition and reputation.”

The Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine is a community-based patient care, research, education and outreach program created to improve cancer care for the citizens of central and southern Illinois. John Simmons also started an initiative to provide free dental care for veterans at the SIUE Dental School in Alton.

John and Jayne are civic leaders, community advocates, real estate developers and act as a catalyst for transformational change in southern Illinois. Beyond Simmons Hanly Conroy, John and Jayne founded AltonWorks, a social impact redevelopment company focused on the revitalization of historic downtown Alton as a healthy, thriving, walkable city. Community contributions are an important part of their story. They have invested significant resources, including time, money and advocacy to people, programs, issues, initiatives and causes designed to create opportunities to help people better their lives.

AltonWorks was founded on the principles of livability, environmental stewardship, social justice and inclusivity and believes in rebuilding communities for optimum social impact. AltonWorks offers thought leadership, planning, convening and connecting, adding capacity to the region’s ability to attract funding, expand social impact, catalyze economic growth and anchor downstate recovery.

Scholarship dinner honors donors, encourages philanthropy

By Jeff Wilson

On Friday, Nov. 3, the SIU Foundation hosted the 10th annual SIU Scholarship Dinner in the Student Center Ballroom. The event, which celebrates the impact of scholarships, was attended by more than 100 donors and 73 scholarship recipients.

“We have so many more scholarships available, and so many more students accepting those scholarships, that we’re going to need a bigger room next year. This is our biggest crowd ever,” said Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and CEO of the SIU Foundation.

During the 10 years of the event, the Foundation has awarded 12,748 scholarships, totaling more than $28 million. In the most recent fiscal year, the Foundation awarded a record number of scholarships (1,645) and total scholarship dollars ($4,931,584).

“Right now, one out of every seven students on our great campus receives a scholarship through the Foundation because of one of you and your generosity,” Kupec said.

SIU System President Dan Mahony emphasized the value scholarships present to the students and the university.

“For students, scholarship support can make the difference and enable them to finish or help them decide whether to come to SIU in the first place,” he said. “It’s critical to our university’s future and our ability to increase enrollment. It has a generational impact. It impacts the student, affects their families, and the generation after that.”

Dr. Amanda Martin ’07 ’08 provided the keynote address, and shared the story of how a fateful high school trip to SIU changed her life.

“We came to an event at SIU for FFA, and my name was randomly drawn to receive a scholarship,” she said. “I knew at that point I was meant to be a Saluki.”

Majoring in agribusiness economics, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s from SIU’s College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences. She also met her husband, Nick, in class.

“I absolutely loved the passion of the people that I had around who were focused on feeding a growing world and helping other people. I knew that one day, because of the experience I had at SIU, I wanted to give back to the place that helped me gain so much both personally and professionally,” Martin said.

LaMya Roach, a junior from Metropolis studying information technology in the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics, gave the student perspective. A McNair Scholar, she has received the Sabrina Dawn Atkinson Scholarship and Mike Lawrence Scholarship. She was recently selected for the 2024 Alexander Lane Internship through the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

“As a first-generation college student, I knew that paying for college was going to be a huge hurdle. I was able to receive some amount of financial aid, but I knew that wasn’t going to cover all the costs. However, I wasn’t going to let that deter me,” she said. “When I saw the email that I had received a scholarship, I was so elated, and the stress I had been holding went away. I am so thankful for my donor because he is allowing me to continue my education, and he will never know how much that means to me.”

For more information about the SIU Foundation or to make a gift, visit siuf.org.

Smith endows chair, champions support for the university

By Jeff Wilson

Growing up in the small Randolph County town of Walsh, SIU was the only reasonable college option for Ron Smith.

“It was where you could get the most bang for your buck,” he said. “SIU was so good to me and changed my life and made it better than it would have been.”

Since graduating in 1964 with a degree in marketing and a master’s in business administration in 1966, Smith has stayed engaged with his alma mater, including donating close to $170,000 over the last 20 years. Now, he’s taken his support a step further, making a gift of stock worth more than $480,000 to endow the Ronald L. Smith Endowed Chair in Marketing at the College of Business and Analytics.

Endowed chairs help attract and retain high-level faculty members by making the position more attractive and keeping salaries competitive with other institutions.

“I’m doing this to help the students of SIU,” Smith said. “I want to make the program stronger and provide better opportunities and better training for the students. We want to attract big names and incentivize them to stay.”

Before making his major gift to endow the chair in COBA, much of Smith’s philanthropy has been directed toward Saluki Athletics. Despite living in California, he has maintained season tickets to Saluki Football games and supported the Blackout Cancer fundraiser.

Smith has fond memories of his time at SIU, noting that he attended the university during the Delyte Morris era and the time of College of Business Dean Henry J. Rhen, for which the COBA building is named. Smith was also classmates with another of SIU’s most prolific benefactors, F. Lynn McPheeters.

“Dr. Morris was wonderful to listen to, and I was lucky to be there during his era,” Smith said. “The university had lots of programs that were geared toward students with limited financial resources. I was fortunate enough to make good enough grades that my professors thought I was a good candidate for graduate school.”

After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and spent 30 months in Colombia. He worked with farmers and fishermen, teaching them how to make the most of their assets. He credits his education from SIU with giving him the expertise to share with those people and give them a vested interest in the business side of their industry.

Smith, a first-generation student whose niece now attends SIU as a fourth-generation student, said his continued support of the university shows the impact alumni can have even when they’re not able to get to campus as often as they may like.

“Is there a way you can help build up the university?” Smith said. “Even if you’re in California, like me, you can help folks in Southern Illinois.”

For more information about supporting the university, visit siuf.org.

Professor Sharp’s $1M Donation, Five-Day Celebration

Professor James Franklin Sharp headshot
Professor James Franklin Sharp

Editor’s note: recap provided by Professor Sharp and his team.

Introduction:

James Franklin Sharp grew up in Chester Illinois, and now lives and works in New York City.

He was a 1954 graduate of Chester High School and then completed in 1956 the two-year Pre-Engineering Program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (before SIU had a four-year Engineering Program). He had a great time at SIU. He lived in Doyle Dorm, which was in the back of the Baptist Foundation Building. Doyle Dorm was conveniently located near the compact SIU campus at that time when SIU only had about 4,000 students. He liked the small class sizes and had mainly senior professors, including the Head of Mathematics, Head of Physics, and Head of Economics. He participated in 7 intramural sports: football, corkball, volleyball, basketball, softball, badminton, and horseshoes for Doyle Dorm. He enjoyed being a member of Theta Xi Fraternity, which hosted the very popular annual Theta Xi Variety Show.

Professor Sharp is pleased to be able to give back to SIU with a $1,000,000 donation and is grateful to have the SHARP MUSEUM named after him. He returned to SIU 2023 Homecoming Week from Wednesday, October 18 to Sunday, October 22 for five days of special events celebrating the dedication of the SHARP MUSEUM.

Day 1. Wednesday

Melissa, Professor, Linda on AA Flight NY to St. Louis
Melissa Marks, Professor Sharp, Linda Li on American Airlines Flight from New York to St. Louis.

Wednesday Professor Sharp took an American Airlines flight from New York to St. Louis Air­port. He was accompanied by his Business Manager, Melissa Marks, and Assistant, Linda Li. At the St. Louis Airport, they were picked up by SIU Dean of Library Affairs (including SHARP MUSEUM) John Pollitz, and his Direc­tor of Development, Kevin Clark.

There was a 2-hour drive in an SIU van to the Hilton Suites Hotel in Carbondale, Illinois. They ordered takeout food and had a small wel­come dinner in the lobby of the hotel. They were soon joined by Professor Sharp’s sister, Rosanna Sharp Myers, and her daughter, Stephanie Myers Smith, who drove down from the St. Louis Airport, after a flight from Atlanta.

Day 2. Thursday Morning

In Front of SHARP MUSEUM, Melissa,Professor, Rosanna, Stephanie, Linda
In Front of SHARP MUSEUM, Melissa,
Professor, Rosanna, Stephanie, Linda

Thursday morning Professor Sharp, Melissa, Linda, Rosanna, and Stephanie toured the SHARP MUSEUM.

Plaques for Professor James Franklin Sharp, and Rosanna Sharp Myers, are being installed inside the SHARP MUSEUM.

SHARP MUSEUM has a Fine and Decorative Arts Collection, with more than 4,000 items. That includes regional historical and contempo­rary ethnic and folk art.

Professor James Franklin Sharp Plaque

SHARP MUSEUM has a Science Collection that includes more than 26,000 geological specimens and a collection of early 20th-century medical and dental items.

SHARP MUSEUM has a Humanities Collection with more than 22,000 items, including a historic collection of Southern Illinois and general American history. The Rosanna Sharp Myers Southern Illinois Gallery is named after Professor Sharp’s sister. One large painting shows Lincoln & Douglas at their debate in Jonesboro, Illinois.

Rosanna Sharp Myers Plaque

After touring the SHARP MUSEUM, the Sharp Group looked at some of the nearby SIU Campus. Professor Sharp liked to see the old Doyle Dorm, where he lived at SIU, which is next to the SHARP MUSEUM. They all admired the Three Salukis Statue, across the street from the old Doyle Dorm, with the popular SIU symbol, Pulliam Hall, in the background.

Rosanna and Stephanie went inside nearby Woody Hall, where Rosanna first lived at SIU. Then Kevin Clark drove the group to see the Buckminster Fuller Dome House.

The group had Quarto’s famous deep-pan pizza for lunch.

Three Salukis Statue with Melissa & Linda

Day 2. Thursday Evening

Thursday evening there was a SIU Foundation Board Dinner, that honored Professor Sharp. SIU Marching Band, SIU Cheerleaders, and SIU Saluki Dog Mascot participated. Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, was the moderator. Matt, SIU President Daniel Mahony, and SIU Chancellor Austin Lane made remarks praising Professor Sharp.

Matt Kupec, SIU Foundation CEO

SIU Saluki Dog Mascot, Foundation Dinner

Day 3. Friday

Sharp Group had Brunch at the famous Mary Lou’s Grill, including having their very popular Biscuits & Gravy.

Standing Room Only At Dedication

The dedication Ceremony for the SHARP MUSEUM was Friday afternoon. There was a larger-than-expected attendance at the Dedication Ceremony, with a large standing-room-only number of people.

SIU Dean John Pollitz At Dedication

Dean John Pollitz was the moderator and made remarks praising Professor Sharp. SIU President Daniel Mahony and SIU Chancellor Austin Lane also made remarks praising Professor Sharp.

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane At Dedication

SIU System President Daniel Mahony At Dedication

Professor Sharp thanked Dean Pollitz, President Mahony, and Chancellor Lane. He then recognized the SHARP MUSEUM Curators: Wes Stoerger and Susannah Munson. Also, Chester High School Superintendent Mrs. Kimberly Briggs, Chester High School Principal Jeremy Blechle, former Doyle Dorm Roommate Roger Chitty, and Theta Xi Alumni who were present, were recognized.

Professor Sharp At Dedication

Friday evening there was a Dedication Dinner at the well-known Giant City Lodge Restaurant. Dean Pollitz again was the moderator. At the Dedication Dinner, Alumni of Beta Delta Chapter of Theta Xi Fraternity at SIU, represented by Scott Shelton, Julian Pei, and Scott Nordentoff honored Professor Sharp with a Plaque stating “In Recognition of Outstanding Service and Dedication.”

Theta Xi Plaques At Dedication Dinner

Also, Shawn Monsen, Theta Xi Fraternity Na­tional Director of Alumni Engagement traveled from Theta Xi Headquarters in Atlanta to honor Professor Sharp. He presented him with a Theta Xi Founders Circle Award Plaque and Rosette Lapel Pin.

Day 4. Saturday

Professor Sharp In SIU Homecoming Parade

SIU Homecoming Parade was on Saturday morning. Professor Sharp was an Honoree, riding in a classic BMD red convertible. Rosanna Sharp Myers also was in a red convertible, accompa­nied by her daughter Stephanie Myers Smith.

Rosanna In SIU Homecoming Parade

SIU Homecoming Football Game was Saturday afternoon in Saluki Stadium. There was a fly­over by a U.S. Air Force Plane just before the kickoff. Sharp Group was invited to watch the game from a luxury suite in Saluki Stadium. They had a great buffet lunch before and during the game. There was an excellent view of the football game and the halftime show by the SIU Marching Band.

In the Foundation’s Suite For SIU Homecoming Football Game

View of SIU Marching Band at Homecoming Football Game

Saturday evening there was a Farewell Dinner at the 20’s Hideout Steakhouse in Marion.

Day 5. Sunday

Sharp House in Chester

Sunday morning Rosanna and Stephanie drove their rental car back to the St. Louis airport to catch their flight back to Atlanta.

Dean John Pollitz and Kevin Clark drove Professor Sharp, Melissa, and Linda back to the St. Louis airport to catch their flight back to New York. They took Route 3 through Chester. They drove by the Sharp Home in Chester, where Professor Sharp and Rosanna grew up. They also stopped at Chester High School, where they sat on the Professor Sharp Bench, in front of the entrances to the Sharp Cafeteria, which also led to the Sharp Library & Media Center.

CHS Professor Sharp Bench