Charles Helleny donates fourth-largest gift in Saluki Athletics history

Charles Helleny donates fourth-largest gift in Saluki Athletics history

By Ron Reeves

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Saluki Athletic Scholarship Fund (SASF) is excited to announce the fourth-largest gift in Saluki Athletics history, which was given by Charles Helleny (Class of ’57). Helleny is a proud Saluki season-ticket holder and donor, and a top contributor to the program for more than 60 years.

“Charles has been loyal to SIU since the day he walked into this place, he never misses a game, he supports every program, he’s a special person,” said SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill. “I don’t know if I’ve ever met a more giving guy than Charles. I appreciate the tremendous gift, because not many people are willing to step up and do that, and the more who can, the more we can solve problems.”

In honor of Helleny’s gift, the first Division I men’s basketball home game each year will henceforth be known as the Charles Helleny Tip-Off Classic game. This year’s matchup will take place versus Buffalo on Nov. 12 at SIU Arena.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the game itself,” Helleny said. “I am embarrassed, but honestly this is a great honor, as I love SIU. We have had our ups and downs and we have always remained competitive. This year we are primed for top-two finishes in all sports in the conference.”

Helleny said his history with Saluki Basketball goes all the way back to the Walt Frazier era, and he gets excited recalling the many exciting home wins, such as the 2001 victory over eventual National runner-up Indiana and the thrilling battles with arch-rival Creighton. Those memories help fuel his desire to give back to SIU.

“Giving to the SASF is a commitment – not just a one-time donation — but a lifetime commitment,” he explained. “Donors help offset the budget for the department and help secure funding for scholarships, trips and recruiting.”

The Charles Helleny gift will continue to help support the SASF and the scholarship costs for 350 student-athletes in 17 intercollegiate sports, and will also help toward the Forever SIU campaign.

“The Charles Helleny Tip-Off Classic is a great way to honor Charles – a special and unique partnership created by Saluki Athletics and the Helleny family,” SIU Associate Athletic Director Jason Fairfield said. “Charles has a long history with SIU and we wanted to be able to honor his legacy with something that will live on forever.”

Faifield said Saluki Athletics will have more announcements to come from the Charles Helleny gift in the coming months.

“Charles is very passionate about lifetime giving and is a big reason why we have been successful over the years,” Fairfield added. “Supporters like Charles have helped us not only support the lives and scholarships of our student-athletes – but help us continue to build the rich traditions of SIU athletics.”

 

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Donation to help upgrade SIUC Mortuary Science program lab, provide assistantships

Donation to help upgrade SIUC Mortuary Science program lab, provide assistantships

Present for the donation was Abel Salazar, clinical instructor of mortuary science (from left); Kevin Lee, vice president of community engagement, Mid-America Transplant; Carrie Hering, funeral home liaison Mid-America Transplant; Scott Collins, director, School of Allied Health; Anthony Fleege, mortuary science and funeral service program director, and Andy Wang, Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

by 

CARBONDALE — A donation by Mid-America Transplant Foundation will mean renovations and additional equipment for Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service embalming lab and continued undergraduate research assistantships for the program.

The bulk of a $98,000 donation presented Aug. 17 will be for renovations and equipment, with $15,000 going toward supporting students with assistantships, said Anthony Fleege, program director. This is the third year the foundation has provided support and the donation is the largest to a non-medical unit, he said.

The foundation approached the program about three years ago as it identified a shared purpose in serving families and supporting the community. To date, the foundation has provided nearly $134,400 to the university and SIU Foundation in support of the Mortuary Science and Funeral Service program, Kevin Lee, vice president of community engagement for Mid-America Transplant, said.

Mid-America Transplant Foundation has been “our greatest supporter and collaborator,” Fleege said. In addition to supporting students through assistantships, scholarships and board fee reimbursement, the foundation supports faculty through grants to travel and continue professional development and research.

Lee said Mid-America Transplant and its foundation are proud to partner with the university “as it educates the next generation of funeral home professionals.” The foundation has shown a commitment to the ongoing development of a strong, skilled workforce within its designated services area and is continually reviewing opportunities to support students.

“As funeral home professionals, these students have the ability to impact thousands of lives during their career,” Lee said. “Every day, these dedicated individuals work with families in times of unimaginable grief, providing compassion and comfort. We, too, seek to offer solace by providing their loved one with the opportunity to save lives through organ and tissue donation. We are grateful for the role funeral home professionals play in their communities and for their support of the organ and tissue donation process.”

The embalming lab renovations will provide students with one of the most up-to-date facilities in the Midwest, said Fleege, noting that there have not been “any significant upgrades” in about 40 years. The facelift will include drywall repair, paint and new ergonomic flooring. The project should be completed by Jan. 1, 2019.

The equipment donation will provide for:

• A camera/microphone over each embalming station connected to a large monitor over each station and a DVR to record all embalming and restoration operations. The monitors will also be connected to a laptop computer to assist students while they are embalming and doing lab activities.

• A new embalming table, so there will be four individual workstations for the optimal student-to-donor ratio.

 

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Challenging Alumni to Make a Difference

Interim SIU System President Kevin Dorsey

By Rebecca Renshaw

Note: Since the publication of this article, Dr. Kevin Dorsey has assumed the role of interim president for the SIU system as of July 30, 2018.

If you talk to Dr. Kevin Dorsey for more than a few minutes, you’ll recognize that his life passion is reflected within the mission of SIU School of Medicine, which he led for 14 years. That mission is “to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.”

Dorsey, who has been with the school since the early 1970s, says it was founded to improve the health of central and southern Illinois residents.

“We recruit and admit students from those regions, educate them and hope that, after they complete their training, they will return back to central or southern Illinois because the people in those areas need physicians,” he says.

Dorsey’s other commitment is to total community health.

“I’m pretty passionate about community health and service,” he says. “It’s just not enough to create physicians to go back to our Illinois communities. We must get out into the community to improve poverty and education and housing. Social determinants of health are critically important.”

He says the new generation of doctors will make a difference.

“Our students are great,” he says. “They are more committed to social justice, they have a strong conscience and they want to do good in the world. We need to enable their success, which is why I decided to initiate the SIU School of Medicine ‘Alumni Class Challenge.’ ”

As his parting act as dean and provost of the School of Medicine, Dorsey issued an SIU School of Medicine “Alumni Class Challenge” in 2015. He challenged each class to collectively raise at least $25,000 to endow a scholarship in honor of their class. Matching grant funds totaling $500,000 would be available to double the gifts or pledges received by Dec. 31, 2015.

The result was a resounding success. Most notably, gifts in honor of Dorsey’s leadership established the J. Kevin Dorsey Endowed Scholarship. This is the School of Medicine’s largest endowed scholarship fund, and it will assist several students each year for generations to come.

The need for the scholarships might be a surprise to some, but not to Dorsey.

“One thing you must understand about our students is that, coming from central and southern Illinois, they are in the lower parental income brackets,” he says. “However, medical students across the nation tend to be from the top 20 percent in parental income.

“When you look at the average indebtedness of an SIU School of Medicine graduate, he or she comes out with an average accrual of roughly $180,000 in debt. That figure is significantly higher compared to other medical schools that can offer huge scholarships to students. The Alumni Class Challenge will help more students with more scholarships to assist them in their medical studies.”

Dorsey came to SIU School of Medicine as one of its founding faculty members, arriving with a Ph.D. in biochemistry and teaching the first two classes in the school’s history. Dorsey then became a student in the third class and obtained an M.D. degree from SIU. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Iowa before returning to southern Illinois to practice rheumatology.

“While I had obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at Johns Hopkins a few years before, I recognized that a career in bench research just wasn’t going to do it for me,” he says. “I wanted to directly and immediately make a difference in people’s lives.”

As the end of his tenure as dean and provost in December 2015, more than 2,600 medical students had graduated from the School of Medicine.

The school offers an M.D., a master’s degree and doctoral degree in various biomedical sciences, including a master’s degree for physician assistant students, as well as advanced training in clinical specialties (17 residencies and 13 fellowships). There also is a small number of SIU students each year who pursue combined degree programs in law and medicine, or in medicine and public health.

When asked what he wants his legacy to be, his answer is simple: “I tried to fulfill the mission.”

Reflecting on his parting gift as dean and how others could contribute, Dorsey says, “Whatever anyone can contribute – whether it is time, talent or resources – all of it is valuable and important.”

Donations to SIU Carbondale increase by 25 percent

SIU Pulliam Clocktower

Donors contributed more than $25.2 million last year to support Southern Illinois University Carbondale students and programs, a 25 percent increase over the previous year, according to SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno.

“Our alumni and friends believe in SIU, and they are coming together to advance the university,” Montemagno said. “Their investment in our students and our future is incredibly important. On behalf of the entire campus community, I thank all donors for their support and confidence as we move forward to fulfill our vision for the university.

“These gifts support scholarships for SIU students, equipment for laboratories, library resources, positions for outstanding faculty and much, much more,” Montemagno added. “Many students wouldn’t be able to attend SIU – or benefit from all we offer — without the generosity of our alumni and friends. Donors make the difference.”

All of the gifts and pledges were made between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

More than $15 million of the total came in the form of cash and other gifts that can have an immediate impact, said Jim Salmo, the foundation’s chief executive officer. The balance includes pledges for the future. For example, many donors make a commitment to include SIU in their estate plans, he said.

“All gifts — large and small — are important and valued,” Salmo said. “Donors have a lot of options in the ways they can structure a gift to serve a cause that is important to them – whether it’s paying it forward with a scholarship or investing in student and faculty research or academic facilities.”

SIU is in the midst of a three-year, $75 million fundraising initiative called “Forever SIU: The Campaign for Students.” To date, the campaign has raised more than $60 million.

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.foreversiu.org or call 618-453-4900.

Impact of scholarships featured at annual luncheon

In February, a group of donors and students gathered for the 2018 SIU Academic Scholarship Lunch. Dozens of scholarship recipients were given the chance to meet and thank the very people who made their scholarships possible.

“It’s amazing to see people who were able to be successful come back and give to people and help them be successful, as well,” said scholarship recipient Jacob Trammel. “I can’t express how thankful I am.”

Dr. Marsha Ryan, a member of the SIU Board of Trustees and scholarship sponsor, addressed the crowd during the annual event.

“What truly matters in our communities and at this university are the people we make of ourselves and the people we assist in the making of themselves,” she said. “The nice thing about SIU is that it’s a wonderful place to do both.”

Scholarship recipients Abbie Spiwak and Saikrishna Balasubramanian spoke about the significance of financial assistance and how they hope to make a long-term impact.
“The thing I’ve had in my mind since starting school and wanting to be a dietitian is to help other people,” Spiwak said.

“What this scholarship has enabled me to do is really achieve my dreams, and I hope to give back to other students someday,” Balasubramanian said.

Forever SIU campaign co-chair Dan Korte said students need support because they are the future.

“These young people are going to change the world and help propel the future that we depend on,” he said.

To make a gift, visit www.siuf.org/giving.

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The ripple effect

The Ralph E. Becker Boat House and Pavilion Dedication

Ralph E. Becker, third from left, joins university officials to open the renovated Ralph E. Becker Boathouse Pavilion.

It all started with a phone call in August 2016.

“I can remember it clearly,” said Jim Salmo, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations. “The phone rang and it was Ralph Becker, a 1955 SIU alumnus, pioneer of SIU’s radio-television program, and loyal donor. He called to challenge me with a $1 million donation that would make a difference on campus.”

Salmo presented Becker with several projects, and Becker chose the Campus Boathouse. As the renovations began, the SIU plant and service operations crew set up a camera so Becker, who lives in North Carolina, could watch the renovation progress.

Fast forward 18 months to April 28, when the SIU Foundation dedicated the newly renovated Ralph E. Becker Boathouse Pavilion. Hundreds came to attend the ceremony, and many lingered to offer Becker a heartfelt thanks and to share their memories of what the boathouse meant to them.

Sally Wright waited in line to share a memory. When she reached Becker, she said, “I just want to thank you for restoring the boathouse. My husband Mike and I were married here. This year will mark our 31st wedding anniversary. This place has some unforgettable memories for us and I just want to thank you for your generosity.”

Troy Vaughn, recreational sports and services director, believes the renovated boathouse will reenergize both students and the community.

“This brings an incredible amount of energy to the campus,” he said. “So many units came together to make it a reality. It was just an incredible team effort.

“Students are going to have a blast here,” Vaughn added. “The diversity of events is going to be amazing. Biology professors can hold classes here, student organizations can meet at the boathouse, and community members can rent it for a variety of events. We even hope to host weddings here again.”

In remarks made at the ceremony, SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said, “The Becker Boathouse is a transformative gift that symbolizes the resurgence of SIU and its prominence as the bright maroon jewel in the crown of Illinois higher education.”

Becker summed up the celebration. “This is absolutely terrific. I never expected the university to go to this extreme,” he said. “Everything I ever accomplished started right here at SIU Carbondale. Seeing this, and all of the people who came out, I believe this is the best day of my life.”

“The campus lake restoration and the boathouse renovation are the two most uplifting projects we have promoted this past year … they just bring back good memories for people,” Salmo said.

 

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Campaign Update: A Goal Within Reach

Forever SIU campaign goal is $75 million and we have currently raised $60 million. (80 percent)

SIU Carbondale launched the Forever SIU at the beginning of January 2017 with a goal of $75 million. Thanks to the generosity of many donors during the past year and a half, 80 percent of the goal has already been achieved, according to campaign co-chair Dan Korte, a 1985 SIU alumnus.

“It’s a great place to be at this point in the campaign, but the public phase of any campaign can be more challenging because it requires a greater number of people to make many smaller gifts,” said Korte.

“That’s why we need the help of all loyal Saluki donors now more than ever, because in the increasingly competitive world of higher education, this campaign is vital to ensuring that SIU Carbondale will continue to be a university that future generations of students want to attend.”

As attendees learned at last year’s public kickoff event, the campaign goals include increased scholarships for students, provide expanded opportunities in the classroom, enhance facilities and resources, and offer a deeper community engagement.

As of April 30, 2018, approximately 30,000 gifts have been received for the $60,616,889, or 80 percent of the $75 million goal, according to Jim Salmo, chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation.

“Support from alumni has made a major impact in the early success of the Forever SIU campaign. More than 57 percent of all donations have come from alumni. More than 27 percent have come from other friends of the university,” said Salmo.

Salmo urges donors to connect with the foundation staff members to identify the many different opportunities to make a gift.

“Many alumni mistakenly think we are looking for only large donations, but that is just not true,” said Salmo. “We offer a number of ways to make donations of all sizes, from matching gifts, to securities, or to honor loved ones.”

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.foreversiu.org or call 618-453-4900.

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New Student Programs benefits from SIU Credit Union corporate gift

SIU Credit Union gives $20,000 on SIU Day of Giving

In March, SIU Credit Union kicked off the 2018 SIU Day of Giving with a $20,000 donation to New Student Programs.

“We are thrilled to receive the donation and are appreciative of the great corporate partnership the university has with SIU Credit Union,” said Cordy Love, director of New Student Programs.

The money will support the annual Saluki Start Up and Weeks of Welcome programs, which help new students as they begin their Saluki journey.

This year, representatives from the credit union will speak to new students and their families about financial planning and banking. During these sessions, New Student Programs will give away 3,000 USBs containing a pre-made budget and other financial information.

SIU Unveils Impressive New Boathouse

Ralph E. Becker Pavilion at SIU Campus Lake

by Rebecca Renshaw

Carbondale, IL – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will unveil an impressive renovation of the Campus Lake boathouse on April 28.

Alumnus Ralph Becker contributed $1 million to renovate the popular boathouse, a focal point of Campus Lake for more than six decades. Construction workers have put the finishing touches on the project just in time for this year’s 45th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, which is returning to Campus Lake this year. The structure sits at the starting point for the race.

The SIU Foundation will host a dedication celebration of the boathouse, located at 1493 Douglas Drive on campus, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 28. The 45th Annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta will be held at 1:00 pm that day.

“This boathouse holds many sentimental memories for our alumni, and I am pleased to say that it will create many more lasting memories for our students and those to come,” said Jim Salmo, CEO of the SIU Foundation and vice chancellor for development and alumni relations.

Ralph Becker’s vision

Becker, who will attend the dedication with his family, was one of the pioneers of the university’s radio-television program. He is a 1955 SIU graduate and an Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

Becker and his wife, Jane, live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and have been generous supporters of SIU. Becker’s philosophy is that once a goal has been achieved, one should work hard and set additional goals.

“I want to challenge everyone to give back to others, and to what is important to them,” Becker said. “It is extremely important to challenge others to do bigger and better than what I am able to accomplish. That is the only way progress will be made.”

Xanadu on the lake

Generations of SIU students, staff and community members have flocked to the boat house to enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences. One of the most popular was moonlight canoeing. Each month, when the moon was full, students and community members enjoyed a free canoe or paddleboat ride across the lake.

The boathouse has also been home to weddings, receptions and countless celebrations. The renovated facility will include event space for a variety of purposes, including classroom and social activities.

Many other events such as the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta were hosted at the boat house for over 40 years. Due to the draining and cleaning of the lake, the regatta was temporarily moved to a different location. Thanks to the restoration of the lake and the added benefit of a renovated boat house, the race is back where it all began.

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Design alumnus, entrepreneur strengthens legacy through philanthropy

Mark Stenftenagel, 1973 alumnus of the SIU Design program

By Jeff Wilson

Each spring, the SIU School of Art and Design hosts Design Days, which brings professional designers, both alumni and non-alumni, to campus.

With “Momentum” as this year’s theme, the focus was on moving the field of design forward. The event and its theme were each representative of the dedication needed to be successful.

Mark Stenftenagel is a good example of that dedication. A 1973 alumnus of the SIU Design program, Stenftenagel has made an impact through monetary donations and personal effort.

“I had an extremely rich, enjoyable experience at SIU,” he said. “The more I get involved, the more I enjoy it. It’s a great university. There are really good students here.”

Making a noticeable impact  

His philanthropy has helped the university’s Design program stay modern. In 2014, the program moved to a new workspace in Pulliam Hall, leaving behind the Blue Barracks on East Campus. A $30,000 donation from Stenftenagel helped ensure the program could thrive in its new location.

“Because of people like Mark, we have dedicated Design scholarships,” said Rob Lopez, interim director of the School of Art and Design. “It helps with recruitment and retention. Our students can be proud when they leave.”

Stenftenagel also facilitates the delivery of free furniture that comes from Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The mart is a wholesale design center, and when it gets new inventory, the old items need a home. Stenftenagel has made sure the SIU Design program is one of those new homes.

Before visiting SIU for Design Days on April 6, he loaded a truck and trailer (donated by his colleagues at Installation Specialists in Itasca) and brought a shipment of new furniture along with him.

From football to furniture design and beyond

Stenftenagel came to SIU on a football scholarship. He later decided to forgo football and focus on design.

“I wanted to study design, and I also wanted to play football,” he said. “Southern was the best place to do that. I hated to leave the team. It was tough.”

After his junior year, Stenftenagel took a break from the design program and started an on-campus preschool. He designed the furniture for the school so that it could be easily set up and broken down each day.

“It was called Alpha Preschool,” he said. “It had a really open environment, which is what a lot of schools are going to nowadays.”

After meeting his future wife, Margaret, a 1972 SIU alumna, Stenftenagel sold the preschool and finished his design degree. After graduating, the couple moved to Boston for about two years, before returning to Illinois and settling in Elmhurst.

In 1984, he founded Whitney Architects, which focuses on architecture and interior design. A year later, he started Q Design, which does industrial design, focusing mostly on furniture.

Mark Stenftenagel, 1973 alumnus of the SIU Design programA giant Q on the wall in the Pulliam Hall Design Wing, denotes Stenftenagel’s impact on the program. It represents the Q Lounge, which is filled with furniture he helped acquire.

“The world needs good design,” Stenftenagel said. “What we learned (at SIU) is more pertinent today. Design is the essence of problem solving. All kinds of companies are looking for design. The need is there.”

To learn more about the School of Art & Design, visit www.cola.siu.edu/artanddesign.

The SIU Foundation is in the midst of Forever SIU, a three-year fundraising campaign. To learn more about the campaign and how to give, visit www.foreversiu.org.

 

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