Siblings Support Saluki Family: Brother-sister duo make gift to name Guida-Moller Family Alumni Center

Julie Guida and Scott Moller

When considering the opportunity to make a transformational gift to SIU, the idea of naming the Alumni Center made perfect sense to Julie Guida and Scott Moller, siblings and proud SIU alumni.

With their $500,000 donation, the C-wing of Woody Hall will be named the Guida-Moller Family Alumni Center. The funds will be used to support the SIU Alumni Association, its scholarships, and programs.

“We feel fortunate to give back to the university that gave so much to us,” Moller said. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to commemorate our time at SIU with this naming.”

In 2019, the Alumni Association moved into a newly renovated space in Woody Hall. The center includes amenities that allow the Alumni Association to continue its mission of connecting with alumni and current students and sharing the success of SIU with the world.

“Woody Hall is an iconic building on campus. It is centrally located and once served as a female dormitory,” Guida said. “While we attended, the building housed class registration and the bursar’s office. I definitely spent my fair share of time in Woody Hall.”

Guida and Moller can’t help but laugh when talking about their experience as students inside Woody Hall.

“We both remember the ‘Woody Shuffle,’ which was the term used to describe the rigmarole students were put through to put together a semester class schedule,” Moller said. “The experience was nerve-racking.”


Guida, who graduated in 1979, and Moller, who graduated in 1985, both earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism with specializations in advertising. Moller later returned to SIU to earn his Master of Business Administration.

Both worked at the SIU Arena, in what was an 11,000-seat facility at the time, marketing events and selling tickets to some of the university’s biggest shows. Guida worked as promotions director from 1979-81. Moller worked part-time in the ticket office from 1980-83 and then as promotions director from 1984-86.

“At the time, the arena was the mecca of Southern Illinois entertainment,” Guida said. “Working there was probably just as good an education as my classes. People from throughout the region came to the Carbondale campus to see the most popular entertainers of the time.”

Guida and Moller promoted some of the biggest rock ’n’ roll and country tours of the day, including REO Speedwagon, Elton John, ZZ Top, Kenny Rogers, Foreigner, Hall & Oates, Alabama, Van Halen, Aerosmith, and more. Other entertainment acts included Ringling Bros. Circus, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Sesame Street Live. When you combine their tenures as promotions directors, the duo brought more than 250,000 people to the SIU campus.

Guida recalls Bruce Springsteen’s love for playing to live audiences. In fact, as the night wore on, Springsteen just kept playing and playing one song after another.

“We thought we might have to turn the lights on inside the hall to get him to end his performance,” Guida said with a laugh.

Moller was a Sammy Hagar fan and enjoyed the fact that he promoted him first as a solo performer and then later as a member of Van Halen.

Guida also worked in sales for the Daily Egyptian. Moller worked for Campus Services and held off-campus jobs at the University Mall, WTAO Radio, and WSIL-TV3.

“We worked hard and played hard,” Moller said. “We had multiple jobs and an active social life. Julie and I were definitely all in. I encourage all college students to make the most of their college years.”


After leaving SIU, Guida went on to work at the St. Louis Checker Dome, and then for a motorsports event promoter. Moller worked for a concert and theatrical promoter in Houston.

In 1987, they teamed up and founded Marketing Werks, a consumer-based marketing firm, and grew it into a $100 million-plus company. The firm developed strategy and execution for experiential marketing campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands, including Verizon, Walgreens, Hershey, LEGO, PlayStation, Bridgestone, Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra, and many others.

“At its height, we employed more than 200 full-time professional service employees at our headquarters in Chicago and offices in New York City and Southern California,” Moller said. “We also contracted with 3,000 field staff to implement programs for the agency’s clients.”

Marketing Werks was regularly recognized in numerous industry and business publications. Crain’s Chicago Business chose it as one of Chicago’s 50 Fastest Growing companies for five years running. Promo magazine and Event Marketer magazine consistently ranked Marketing Werks as the top independent experiential agency in the U.S. The Chicago Tribune included the company several times in its annual list of Best Places to Work.

“We took the information we learned in class, combined it with the real-life work and social experience we had in Carbondale, and applied those learnings to our life and work after SIU,” Guida said. “SIU offers students hands-on experiential learning that has lifelong value.”

They sold the company in late 2013.

Today, Guida splits her time between Newport Beach, California, and Chicago. She is an active board member of Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center. Moller resides in Chicago. He is a principal of AKA Partners, a marketing communications firm. He also serves on the SIU Foundation Board and SIU Alumni Association Board.

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Celebrating a life well lived: Scholarship honors lifelong business professor

Marvin Tucker

High school sweethearts Patricia and Marvin Tucker from Paducah, Kentucky, enjoyed a life well lived. Married young, the couple attended Western Kentucky State University together, where they both received bachelor’s degrees. Following that, they moved to Indiana where Marvin earned his master’s in accountancy. Upon graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in accounting at the University of Alabama.

“Legendary football coach Bear Bryant and (quarterback) Joe Namath were making history at Alabama,” Patricia said. “Marvin and I got $1 tickets to every game, and we got to watch two iconic figures change college football forever. It was a magical time.”

Marvin received his Ph.D. in accounting in 1966 and was courted by several universities. He chose SIU because of its midwestern values and proximity to hometown Paducah.

Marvin began his career as an assistant professor but quickly rose through the ranks to become full professor. During that time, he helped establish, and later directed, the university’s Master of Accountancy program.

“Marvin loved SIU, loved his students, and he loved that program. He was one of the few professors who had extended office hours – his door was always open to students. The students loved Marvin,” Patricia said. “His goal was always to try to change the life of a student who may not have had the ability to do it on his or her own.”

Marvin had numerous scholarly publications, and he co-authored three books. He was a member of the National Association of University Professors, the American Management Association, the Illinois Retired Teacher Association, and the American Accounting Association.

The Tuckers embraced the Carbondale community. Marvin coached Little League while their three sons were growing up. Marvin also loved his church and church family, serving as deacon and greeter at University Baptist Church. He was also active in the hospital auxiliary. The family thrived in their neighborhood, enjoyed the schools in Carbondale, had season tickets to Saluki football games, and often went to the Rec Center to swim and rock climb.

When Marvin retired from SIU after 32 years, he and Patricia drafted their will.

“We gave a copy to the dean of the SIU College of Business at the time. In the will, Marvin stipulated that if he predeceased me, I would set up a scholarship for the SIU Master of Accountancy program. He wanted the decision of choosing the scholarship recipient to come from the faculty so they would know the students and their backgrounds,” Patricia said. “It was quite a bit of money, but while I was Marvin’s first love, SIU was definitely his second love. We both felt good about our decision to give back and help future students succeed. We lived a blessed life, and I thank God for it every single day.”

Terry Clark, dean of the College of Business and Analytics, shared his appreciation for the Tuckers’ generosity.

“The Tuckers’ gift to the College of Business and Analytics is visionary. Its impact on the lives and careers of students will resound for generations. Marvin had an outstanding career with our college,” he said. “His kindness and dedication linger with us. We are so grateful for Marvin and Patricia’s generosity. Through this scholarship, he and Patricia continue to reflect the spirit of giving that has been their legacy.”

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New Name, More Hope: Major gift to School of Medicine will transform Alzheimer’s care, research

Erin R. Hascup, Ph.D., (center) who serves as the center’s director and as a part of the faculty in the Neuroscience Institute at SIU School of Medicine, is surrounded by her colleagues.

“As longtime Springfield residents, we’re proud of the impact the School of Medicine has had on the community,” Dale Smith said.

That impact prompted Dale and his wife, Deborah, to donate a substantial financial gift to the Alzheimer’s Center at SIU to expand research, enhance programming and improve care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and assist their caregivers.

“The efforts of the Alzheimer’s center inspired us to give and hopefully create a consciousness within the community around the breadth of research and patient care we have here,” Dale Smith said. “Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, and we hope our gift can help researchers at SIU Medicine produce better clinical outcomes that improve our community, one family at a time.”

The center is now named the Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at SIU Medicine. This gift will transform the health care of people throughout Illinois and beyond.

The center provides clinical care, research and community programs throughout 93 Illinois counties. Since 1986, its employees have diagnosed, treated and educated Illinoisans with Alzheimer’s and similar conditions and their families. In the past year, the center, along with its Memory and Aging Network, has served more than 4,000 patients and their families. The National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $7.2 million in grants to the center for Alzheimer’s-related research in the past three years.

“This gift from Dale and Deborah Smith will continue to propel research at SIU that may translate into novel treatments and interventions for patients in the future,” said Jerry Kruse, M.D., MSPH, dean and provost at SIU School of Medicine. “It will also provide much needed clinical, educational and community support for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.”

Despite decades of pharmaceutical development and drug testing, Alzheimer’s disease continues to be incurable, and prevention may hold the greatest hope for combating this disease. The research team is focused on discovering ways to stop the progression. In addition to a better quality of life, early and accurate diagnosis and timely intervention could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and health care costs, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Erin R. Hascup, Ph.D., serves as the center’s director and as a part of the faculty in the Neuroscience Institute at SIU School of Medicine. She is an associate professor in the Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology.

“What we want to do is understand the changes that are occurring across disease progression, including in the very early stages,” she said. “Many have Alzheimer’s for up to 30 years prior to cognitive decline, so we want to intervene earlier to slow or stop disease progression and improve patient outcomes and quality of life.”

The center’s Beyond the Medical Center program also focuses on creative ways to improve the quality of life for both patients and caregivers through art therapy, music therapy and movement for individuals with dementia.

Springfield-area caregiver Janet Scott and her husband are two of the more than 4,800 patients and caregivers who have participated in one of these programs in the last two years.

“I cannot imagine what my life would be like had we not come here,” she said. “SIU has meant everything to me. They’ve been like my third arm; I’ve depended on them for so much.”

Currently, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. Illinois communities will continue to be impacted by various forms of dementia as the population ages, and the Smiths are eager to be a part of the solution locally and beyond.

Gifts received by the SIU Foundation support the growth of the School of Medicine, including its medical research efforts.

For those interested in donating, visit

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Saluki Spotlight – Q & A with Dr. John J Cooper

Dr. John Cooper, he is an SIU alumni from the IMAE (IT) programDr. John J Cooper, a three-degree alumnus of SIU Carbondale, is now a professor and recruiter for the university’s Industrial Management and Applied Engineering (IMAE) program.

He received degrees in Industrial Technology (now IMAE) in 2004; Manufacturing Systems (now Quality Engineering and Management or QEM) in 2006; and Workforce Education and Development in 2011.

As both a professor and an alumnus of SIU, Dr. Cooper’s perspective is a unique one. So, we sat down with him to get his views on everything from SIU, to Extended Campus, and the importance of philanthropy.

Question: What did you like most about the SIU IMAE (and beyond) programs when you attended? 

Answer: To say my experience at SIU was life altering is no exaggeration. There were so many opportunities for growth as an individual that I found I learned as much, if not more, from my SIU experiences outside my classes as I did from the many subjects I studied. I had an opportunity to teach numerous classes and labs as a Teaching Assistant, serve as a manufacturing lab consultant for an award-winning SIU Robotics Team, present my research at a national conference, and so much more. None of these things would have been possible though without the support and guidance of the wonderful IMAE faculty and staff.

Q: What do you like most about your job, especially at your location?

A: My office is located at Daley College in Chicago. This area, Cook County, has the most manufacturing jobs of any county in Illinois and I see so much opportunity for those seeking direction as to career path possibilities. I really enjoy raising awareness of what is available academically and by extension, showing students the pathway to these life-changing opportunities in this well-paying field. Giving hope and a sense of direction to those trying to find their way, whether they are new to the world of work, seeking advancement opportunities in their current career field, or mid-life career changers like myself, is exciting stuff. To see someone’s eyes light up with a renewed spirit and sense of relief after struggling to find their way and have them come back after graduation and say I got a great job because of SIU, “Thank you!” is intoxicating. This is much so much more than just a job. We are changing people’s lives.

Q: What’s it like to interact with students all over the country to help them achieve their goals?

A: I have found that no matter where a student may be located geographically, there is a universal truth they all have in common. They want to get away from working two or three jobs with no benefits just to get by. They want a career with advancement opportunities, a living wage that provides them a healthy work/life balance, doing work they are proud of, and they aren’t afraid of the commitment and hard work needed to make these things happen. Having been in their shoes for many years, I feel privileged to now be part of a team in a position to support and nurture their dreams to fruition.

Q: What does being a Saluki mean to you?

A: When I reflect on my life, I remember growing up with a belief in two commonly accepted facts, education and hard work are the keys to success. I had attained a certain level of success before I came to SIU, but had hit a ceiling on my assent up the career ladder because my associate degrees from the local community colleges only took me so far. I had lots of ambition but no access to a bachelor’s in my rural location, so I spent many frustrating years locked in a dead end job with no potential for advancement. When my life circumstances unexpectedly changed and I was able to attend SIU and earn my bachelor’s degree, it was like the opportunities I had longed for previously, and so much more, were now within my grasp. When recruiting I say, “I am the poor kid who never thought I could go to college and now I am a university professor. SIU has definitely changed my life! Thank you, SIU!” Yes, it’s great to be a Saluki!

Q: Would you ever recommend any SIU Extended Campus, online or on-campus programs to another person?

A: Absolutely! Of course I know the high caliber of instructors in the IMAE and QEM programs and what those programs have done for me personally, so I recommend them without hesitation. Even though I don’t know all the instructors from the other Extended Campus programs, I do know that since SIU is an accredited institution, all instructors for our programs are highly-qualified so I am confident in the quality of those programs as well. But to take it a step further, as a recruiter for many years, I have had the opportunity to compare tuition rates with other universities and have found no other school more affordable than SIU. Plus, SIU has over 700 scholarship opportunities that make earning an advanced degree from SIU more affordable than ever. SIU is a great school, and we have thousands of graduates worldwide who couldn’t agree more!

Q: Would you recommend that others donate to SIU?

A: I would definitely recommend anyone seeking a worthy cause to donate to SIU. Growing up in a low-income home, I didn’t know there was money available for poor kids like me. Without the financial assistance I received, my life could have gone very differently. Your donation can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I know firsthand what a difference these donations can make.

Q: Would you ever consider giving back to SIU Extended Campus programs? If so, why?

A: Yes, I would. I believe there is a need for more outreach to underserved areas. Although I had heard of the IMAE program, I had no access to it because I lived in such a rural area. I would have enrolled in the program 15 years earlier than I did if local access had been available. The list of available online programs through Extended Campus continues to grow to reach those underserved areas, but more needs to be done.

Q: If you had $1,000 dollars to give to SIU, where would you decide it should go?

A: Without a doubt, I would give it to the IMAE program in the form of scholarship money for low income students. Not only does this degree open career opportunities to well-paying jobs, but there is so much need from low-income students like I was who just need a hand up.

To learn how you can donate to SIU Extended Campus, click here.

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Hamilton County graduate receives Don and Edith Braden Scholarship

Brandon Peters, a freshman in aviation management, received the Don and Edith Braden Scholarship.

Brandon Peters, a freshman in aviation management, received the Don and Edith Braden Scholarship.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Brandon Peters, SIU freshman and recipient of the Don and Edith Braden scholarship award, graduated from Hamilton County High School in 2020 and is pursuing a degree in aviation management from SIU.

“I was accepted into other universities, such as Purdue and Western Michigan, but SIU just fit me better,” he said. “Plus, it is closer to my family. I also chose SIU because its aviation program is also one of the top programs in the nation.”

Peters recently spoke to his scholarship donor via a conference call and thanked him for the scholarship.

“It costs quite a bit to go to the aviation program, and I told Mr. Braden how thankful I was for his help. So many students here have significant financial debt, and I wanted him to know that with his help. I will graduate with minimal debt,” he said. “I am thankful for people like Mr. Braden who lend a helping hand to students like me.”

Peters also comes from Braden’s parents’ hometown.

“I played as a point guard for Hamilton County High School’s basketball team for all four years. I was fortunate enough to win the Jerry Sloan Award last year, and Mr. Braden actually knew Jerry Sloan (Hall of Fame NBA coach), so we had that shared connection,” he said.

Peters hopes to become a certified flight instructor and someday teach at SIU. Once he accumulates enough hours, he plans to become a commercial airline pilot.

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Donor fulfills parents’ dreams with scholarship fund

Don and Edith Braden

Donor Wayne Braden honored his parents, Don and Edith Braden, by establishing a scholarship in their name.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Wayne Braden isn’t an SIU alumnus, but he certainly has the heart and spirit of a Saluki. Braden recently donated $25,000 for an endowed scholarship and made a $1 million planned gift commitment to honor his parents, Don and Edith Braden, who were from rural southeastern Illinois. The scholarship is to be awarded to a student who graduated from Thompsonville High School or Hamilton County High School in Illinois.

Braden’s parents grew up in Hamilton and Franklin counties in the early 1900s. Both attended one-room schools, but Edith was not able to attend high school as the nearest school was too far for her to travel on horseback or foot. Don was a good student and his father intended for his son to attend SIU and had even saved to begin his education. Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 caused their bank to fail and all of Don’s college funds were wiped out. Don and Edith married, and they eventually settled in Detroit where they worked in auto factories.

“Even though their circumstances were beyond their control, my parents deeply regretted not receiving a higher education,” Wayne said. “I think that is why it was important to them that my sister Judy and I got college degrees. Turns out, we both went on and achieved advanced degrees.”

A few years ago, after the Bradens had both passed away, Wayne and Judy began looking for a way to honor their parents and their commitment to education.

“Our attorney suggested that many people establish scholarships in the name of their parents to honor them and we thought that was an excellent idea,” he said. “My dad would have chosen to go to SIU, and he had plans to study engineering. We all know how SIU serves the Southern Illinois region where my parents grew up, so it just made sense to choose SIU for a scholarship in their name. I figured that if we gave a scholarship to a young person from McLeansboro, it would be as if we were looking out for my parents’ neighbors. Looking out for your neighbors was important to my folks, so I wanted to continue looking out for their community.”

Wayne said he has donated to charitable organizations much of his adult life and has been involved with the Salvation Army for several years.

“Charitable gifts are wonderful, and everyone should give back,” he said. “This scholarship in honor of my parents means so much more than just giving to an organization. I recently did a conference call with the young man who is the recipient of my parents’ scholarship. Realizing I was helping him accomplish a very important goal felt deeply satisfying.”

Wayne Braden currently lives in Portland, Oregon, and his sister, Judy Braden Armstrong, resides in Maryville, Michigan.

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Rosser seeks to inspire with $1M basketball scholarship

Dr. James M. Rosser is a three-degree alumnus of SIU.

Dr. James M. Rosser is a three-degree alumnus of SIU.

By Jeff Wilson

Dr. James M. Rosser is thankful for the opportunity presented to him by SIU, and he has been sure to pay it forward at every turn.

“I was very fortunate,” said Rosser BA ’62, MA ’63, Ph.D. ’69. “SIU gave me a new lease on life.”

Raised in East St. Louis, Rosser was the youngest of eight children and the first in his family to attend college. He came to SIU on a basketball scholarship. He was an honor student and earned degrees in health education and microbiology. Now, he’s honoring that experience by establishing a $1 million scholarship for Saluki Men’s Basketball. It’s the single largest endowed scholarship for any Saluki Athletics program.

“I want to help lift men’s basketball back to where it should be and give Coach Bryan Mullins a real leg up,” he said. “In today’s world, major revenue sports are attractive to prospective students.”

Rosser combined two previously established endowments to create a single million-dollar scholarship that will be directed to a men’s basketball player who maintains a 3.0 grade-point average in the field of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

“This scholarship is not about me,” he said. “It’s about the institution that inspired me to achieve. I want to inspire other people of modest means to create opportunity for those who come after us.”

Part of SIU history

Dr. James M. Rosser (fourth from right) and Dr. Harold R. Bardo (second from left) were members of the 1960-61 Saluki Men’s Basketball team, coached by Harry Gallatin. (Photo provided by Dr. Harold R. Bardo)

Dr. James M. Rosser (fourth from right) and Dr. Harold R. Bardo (second from left) were members of the 1960-61 Saluki Men’s Basketball team, coached by Harry Gallatin. (Photo provided by Dr. Harold R. Bardo)

Coming to SIU in the late 1950s, Rosser has fond memories of his time in Carbondale. He was mentored by some of SIU’s most storied faculty and administrators and friends with some of the university’s most well-known Salukis.

“Don Boydston, the athletic director at the time, set a high standard for us, and he closely monitored our progress,” Rosser said. “I was roommates with Charles Vaughn. Walt Frazier was a very good friend of mine. I was in graduate school when he was playing at SIU.”

One of Rosser’s closest friends from his time at SIU is Dr. Harold R. Bardo. The two men speak on the phone almost daily to this very day.

“I met Jim in 1958. He’s the ultimate example of what can happen for students when they’re given the opportunity. He was able to stay in school and get three degrees from SIU,” said Bardo, who earned three degrees from the SIU System, including his bachelor’s from SIU in 1962, a master’s from SIUE, and a doctorate from the SIU College of Education.

Bardo sees the potential impact of a gift of this magnitude, especially when it’s made by someone of Rosser’s background and stature.

“I know Jim has a lot of really good thoughts about SIU,” Bardo said. “This is a university that has traditionally offered opportunities to all people, particularly those from underrepresented communities. Jim is the ultimate example of what great things can happen. Many people will take pride in that example.”

A distinguished career

Rosser began his career as a member of the faculty at SIU and founded the Black American Studies program in 1968. He received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1982, the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2003. An Honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred by Pepperdine University in 2005.

Rosser served as president of California State University, Los Angeles, from 1979 to 2013, and was named president emeritus in 2013. Prior to his appointment at Cal State LA, he served for five years as vice chancellor of the State of New Jersey Department of Higher Education and served as acting chancellor in 1977. Earlier in his academic career, he was senior associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas, where he was also a tenured faculty member in the School of Pharmacy and the School of Education.

For three years early in his career, he was a research bacteriologist for Eli Lilly and Company. Over the ensuing decades, he promoted science and engineering education, and he sought ways to galvanize the synergies between science and engineering education, research, technology, and industry.

“My hope is that this scholarship will inspire incoming student-athletes to achieve at the highest level,” Rosser said. “I want to encourage them to aspire to be great and effective role models.”

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Ameren Illinois grant to support Paul Simon Institute’s ‘Illinois Authors’ series

Jason Klein, regional director of electric operations (left), and Brad Kloeppel, regional director of natural gas operations (right), pose with John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, to celebrate Ameren’s $10,000 contribution to support the institute’s “Illinois Authors” speaker series.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received a $10,000 grant from Ameren Illinois to expand its “Illinois Authors” speaker series statewide.

The institute started “Illinois Authors” in August to meet the writers who bring the Prairie State to life. The series builds on the institute’s “Illinois 101” essential reading guide, for which several Illinois leaders recommended histories, biographies, novels, or essays to provide a deeper understanding of the state.

The funding from Ameren Illinois will allow the institute to host a series of public events in 2022 in Carbondale and other Illinois communities.

“The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is very grateful to Ameren Illinois for this generous grant,” John Shaw, institute director, said. “It will help the Institute expand our ‘Illinois Authors’ program, which seeks to deepen our understanding of Illinois through compelling conversations with Prairie State authors. This grant will be instrumental as we present these conversations throughout Illinois.”

The grant funds were made available through the Ameren Cares program. Brad Kloeppel, regional director of natural gas operations for Ameren Illinois, said the key focus of the Ameren Cares program is to connect the company with the communities it serves to help empower and improve the quality of life in Ameren Illinois’ service territories.

“Illinois has such a rich history and we’re happy to support the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute as it helps expose students and the community to its literature as a way to successfully move forward,” Kloeppel said.

Sahlin establishes scholarship for the SIU College of Business and Analytics

Bill Sahlin has lived and worked all over the world, but he hasn’t forgotten the role SIU played in his life over 50 years ago.

“I enjoyed my experience at SIU tremendously. Coming from urban Chicago to a small-town beautiful environment was refreshing. I worked at Neeley Hall as a maintenance manager at night and took classes during the day. Between that job and the scholarship I received, I managed to make ends meet,” said Sahlin.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the SIU College of Business, Sahlin went to Loyola University and received an MBA. Sahlin spent many successful years working for TransUnion Corporation headquartered in Chicago as an accountant. He ultimately worked for the U.S. Department of Defense as a senior auditor and retired from there in 2013.

During his professional career, Sahlin worked all over the world in such countries as Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan and Thailand. It was during his time in Hong Kong when he met and married his wife Kim. Together, they recently established the Bill and Kim Sahlin Endowed Accounting Scholarship to the SIU College of Business and Analytics. This scholarship will be funded through an estate gift of $62,500.

“I know I never would have received a four-year college degree had it not been for the scholarship I received,” said Sahlin.

“SIU is a good place to go, especially for people like me. Like so many who attended SIU, I was a first-generation student. SIU provided people like me with a good education and it was a great choice. I just want to help a young person who is in the same boat as I once was so many years ago.”

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Saluki Spotlight – Pete Renz – Donor-Teacher-Public Safety professional

Meet Peter Renz, ’97, who majored in Fire Science Management through SIU’s extended campus’ program, now known as Public Safety Management. Renz received his SIU degree at the off-campus location of Quinn Fire Academy with the Chicago Fire Department. He also earned a master’s degree in Non-Profit Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. Peter is a retired fighter from South Holland, Illinois, with a career that spanned 27 years working as an Engineer/Paramedic.

Renz currently works as an instructor, recruiter and as an advisor for the SIU’s Public Safety Management program. He is currently teaching public safety management, research, and risk reduction.

Renz says he receives great satisfaction in working with people from the first handshake all the way to their graduation from the program.

“It is very satisfying to see a student that you first met at a recruiting event or through word of mouth, and then to see them graduate and to see how happy their families are at graduation. After graduation, you can see the gratitude they have for us helping them succeed with a bachelor’s degree or their master’s degree,” said Renz.

Renz credits the SIU Extended Campus Program for allowing him to get his bachelor’s degree and appreciates the help he received from his classmates.

“If it wasn’t for this program, I would not have gone to college. The flexibility of this program allows a student to be successful. I also liked the comradery in the classrooms. Everyone was helping others if they were struggling. I especially enjoyed the labor relations, grant writing, and legal and budget courses,” he said.

Renz says that the courses he took during his time as a student in the SIU Extended Campus Public Safety Management allowed him to apply what he learned directly to his career.

“The labor relations course that I took in college helped me start our firefighter’s union, Local 4109 in South Holland. When I served as a school board president, I was able to negotiate one of the more difficult bargaining sessions, which I also learned from that course. Everyone involved was grateful at the ease of which the contract was hashed out. The grant writing course SIU offered me helped in an innovative way to give raises and fund special projects at the fire department,” said Renz.

Renz says one of the aspects of the extended campus program he enjoys most is that he gets to interact with students all over the country.

“I get to interact with students from a geographically wide range of locations. You quickly realize that every fire department shares many of the same issues from coast to coast,” he said.

Renz also enjoys the variety of his work and his interactions with a wide range of people.

“Depending on where I am on any given day, I may be meeting with the Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department, or the over 5000 members of the department, to the newest candidates at the academies. I also meet with the union leaders, officers, engineers and firefighters of many departments in the Chicago region,” said Renz.

Renz credits his wife for his success throughout his career.

“My wife, Lori and I were going to college at the same time. She would push me from time to time. She is the smartest person I know. I also learned from others around me that taught me how to do something and how not to do something. You can learn from others’ mistakes,” he said.

As a donor to the SIU Public Safety Management department, Renz gives back because he believes the program has developed him into someone that can make a difference.

“Being a Saluki has taught me to look out for others and to help where I can. You know, I’ve often wished that if I had a $1,000 to give to the program, I would like to start a lending library of public safety management textbooks. We have some students that struggle when it comes to the cost of books. I try to offer alternatives. A $1,000 would be a nice start. My hope is that others will help me give back to such a wonderful SIU program as the SIU Extended Campus,” he said.

To learn how you can donate to SIU Extended Campus, click here.