Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Banterra Bank announce arena naming-rights agreement

Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Banterra Bank announce arena naming-rights agreement

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Banterra Bank, the region’s largest, locally-owned bank, announced a 10-year naming-rights agreement that will rebrand SIU Arena as Banterra Center.  The multi-million-dollar agreement, which includes a 10-year extension option, annual payments plus an affinity program, offers up to $10 million for SIU, with a $4-million guarantee for the first 10 years.  The partnership is the largest corporate naming-rights agreement in SIU’s 150-year history and the first naming right for the 55-year-old arena.

In addition to signage, advertising and promotional opportunities, the agreement includes exclusive rights to an SIU Athletics-branded affinity debit card through Banterra Bank.  Profits from the debit card initiative, which is still in development, will go to a newly established Banterra-SIU Scholarship Fund.

“The partnership represents Banterra’s commitment to the success of the university, our athletics program and the region,” said John M. Dunn, SIU chancellor. “We’re deeply grateful for Banterra’s generous financial commitment, which includes scholarship support for student-athletes. The Banterra Center will continue to be at the heart of our men’s and women’s basketball programs, attracting fans, community members and many others who support Saluki athletics.”

The naming rights partnership comes at an exciting time for SIU Athletics following SIU’s recent announcement of hiring men’s basketball coach, Bryan Mullins.

“We’ve sponsored SIU Athletics for 10 years, because we know the value of having this university in our region and the number of passionate, loyal Saluki fans among our four-state footprint and beyond,” said Jeff May, president and CEO of Banterra Bank. “We’re proud to have our Banterra name on an iconic facility such as SIU Arena, to take our partnership to an entirely new level with SIU Athletics, and to have an ongoing reminder that our company truly takes care of our communities.”

SIU Athletic Director Jerry Kill led the efforts to get SIU’s first corporate naming-right partner in the university’s 150-year history.  His said the partnership with Banterra serves as a strong example of future naming-right opportunities for SIU’s athletic venues.

“As we sought out a naming rights partner, it needed to be a company that aligned with our core values and had the brand power to take us to the next level,” said Kill. “I knew after our first meeting with Banterra’s leadership that this was a group that we wanted on our team. Both Saluki Athletics and Banterra are going to make the most of this partnership to benefit our students-athletes, customers and fans.”

Working alongside Kill and the entire athletics administration is Saluki Sports Properties, which played an integral role in helping Banterra elevate its relationship. As the university’s athletics multimedia-rights holder and local Learfield IMG College team, Saluki Sports Properties oversees athletics’ corporate partner program and has worked closely with Banterra Bank over the past ten years.

The community can expect to see updated signage with a new Banterra Center logo on arena exterior, interior, and marquee sign as well as other marketing efforts for traditional and digital advertising, promotion and business development, Kill said.  The marketing efforts will begin immediately following the May 16th announcement.

Press Conference Opening Remarks
Chancellor John M. Dunn
“This is an exciting day for SIU and SIU Athletics. Banterra Bank, like SIU, is one of the region’s largest employers. They understand the economic needs of Southern Illinois and the role that SIU plays in this region. Banterra has been a committed partner to SIU Athletics, but taking the support to a naming-rights level speaks to its commitment to the success of the University, our Athletics program and the region. As we all know, SIU is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with the themes of Saluki tradition, Saluki pride and Saluki promise. This commitment represents all three. The tradition of community support has made a positive difference since SIU’s founding in 1869. The pride in the University and its athletic programs today and the promise for a strong future are made possible by supporters like Banterra Bank. We are deeply grateful for Banterra’s contribution and the example set as the largest corporate naming-rights partner for the University. We especially appreciate not only the long-term financial commitment as part of this partnership, but the agreement to benefit a Banterra-SIU scholarship program for our students as well.”

Jeff May, President and CEO of Banterra Bank
“On behalf of Banterra I want to share with SIU and our attendees here today that our company is excited about partnership. For Banterra, this is more than a marketing or naming opportunity. SIU is a critical economic engine for the region. The main reason our Banterra board chose to do this, we saw this decision as an investment in the positive influence on our region’s economy and its growth. We are all citizens of Southern Illinois. I heard a lot of mayors’ names, but Cindy and I always call ourselves citizens of Southern Illinois because we know everybody in every town. A successful athletic program should drive student enrollment, grow the University and expand the economy regionally, and that’s our goal. Banterra has supported SIU Athletics for more than 10 years as a sponsor with Saluki Athletics. We want to take that commitment to a higher level. This naming rights agreement is a 10-year arrangement with a 10-year option. It has the potential for the school to earn $10 million, with a guaranteed $4 million contribution the first 10 years. The thing I like best about this agreement, with annual payments to the scholarship fund, is an SIU-branded Banterra Visa debit card. A good chunk of the proceeds of theses funds will go to a newly funded scholarship for students-athletes and students here at SIU. This new card will be linked to the Banterra checking accounts and we’ll also launch it with the new student-design accounts later this year with a significant portion of the profits of this account going to the scholarship fund. It’s an excellent opportunity for all the Saluki fans in the region to support the University. We see a lot of potential in this. Banterra has been supporting our communities for 40 years and we have 40 branches in the region, and I would say the majority of our team members and our customers are SIU fans. We are proud to have Banterra brand this iconic facility — the SIU Arena that is now called the Banterra Center. This partnership started many months ago and probably wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Jerry Kill. It was his leadership, his character, his vision for SIU and its athletic program to convince Banterra to make an investment of this size. He is also the reason we are confident, from a long-term perspective, this has a lot of value for us in the region.”

Jerry Kill, Director of Athletics
It’s a tremendous day for the Salukis. I will tell you that when I approached Jeff the first time, he fell out of his charge and thought I was crazy. I am crazy, so that’s kind of how that worked out. You have to think about this a little bit. We struggled here a little bit from enrollment, to being successful on courts and where we want to be as Salukis. We want to be in the big time. You think about what Banterra Bank has just done for us, just think about it, I call it blind faith. Jeff and I have a good relationship. We laugh about it all the time, we might have gotten this done in two days, right? We just shake hands and trust each other because I think we’re similar people. Banterra Center makes us big time. I get tired of the mid-major. We’re the big time. What they have done in blind faith, for Saluki Athletics, our University, our region, is remarkable. I can’t wait, with the hire of Bryan Mullins, that’s a good hire now (applause), with this arena packed, you will remember this day. This is what I call momentum. Remember this day, Banterra Bank is giving us the opportunity, when we look down the road 10 years from now, I guarantee you this day will be the difference in Saluki Basketball (applause). I thank Banterra’s team, what they’ve put into this and the hard work they have done, it’s been a long year to get this finished. I thank our team, because I really didn’t do too much except ask the question, I had a great team, and there’s so many involved it would take too long to mention them all. It’s a team. I want to emphasize that, too. We’re a region. We have our mayors here today — it’s going to take a team — and Banterra has jumped out there with us. We need everybody to jump in there with us. They have made a commitment and an investment in our University and our region to make our region the best it can be. This is more than a historical moment for me, this is our future. Jeff – I can’t thank you enough, and I can’t thank the people of our region enough, and all I ask for you to do is appreciate what these people have done for us today. They have started a legacy here at Southern Illinois.

About SIU Arena

SIU Arena’s construction began in 1962, and was completed in 1964 at an original cost of $4.3 million.  The 8,284-seat, multi-use facility received a $29.9 million renovation that was performed in phases over a 15-month time span and completed in 2010.  The arena is home for SIU Saluki men and women’s basketball, as well as ongoing events and it has a rich history of providing memorable concerts to the region.  This vast list of concerts ranges from Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis, Fleetwood Mac to Garth Brooks, Van Halen to The Temptations.  Family events have included performances such as Harlem Globetrotters, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, and Sesame Street Live.  The arena is also used for SIU graduation, youth basketball camps, high school tournaments and other ongoing events.

About Southern Illinois University and Saluki Athletics

Excellence on the field of competition and in the classroom is the standard at Southern Illinois University and Saluki Athletics, which provides 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. All sports compete at the NCAA Division I level within the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), except for football, which belongs to the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC), and men’s swimming & diving, which competes in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The proud Saluki tradition includes many former professional athletes, 50 Olympic athletes, and recent NCAA post-season appearances by men’s basketball, football, softball, men’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s track & field. SIU leads the MVC with 98 Academic All-Americans all-time. For more information, call 877-SALUKIS or go to www.SIUSalukis.com.

About Learfield IMG College

Learfield IMG College unlocks the value of college sports for brands, fans and universities through the representation of collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas. As a fully integrated sports marketing and solutions platform, Learfield IMG College provides access to licensing and multimedia sponsorship management, including publishing, radio, digital and social media; fan engagement, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue technology systems.

About Banterra Bank

Banterra Bank  began as a single bank in Ridgway, Illinois in July of 1975.  Today, Banterra has nearly $2 billion in assets and is ranked in the Top Ten Percent of U.S. Charter Banks and Top Five Percent for Illinois Charter Banks, according to asset size.  Banterra has 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arizona.  In addition to offering a variety of personal and business banking products, Banterra provides services nationwide through specialty lending divisions including Aircraft Finance, Machine Tool Finance, Corporate, Transportation and RV and Marine Lending.  Banterra also offers Banterra Insurance for auto, home, life, business and Banterra Investment services. For more information, call 866-BANTERRA (226-8377), or go to www.banterra.com.

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Mother shows appreciation for daughter’s scholarship

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Jeff Wilson

Dailey Wilson, J.D. ’05, received the $500 Harold Hannah Scholarship during her time as a student. She has gone on to a successful career in law, working with her father and two brothers at Wilson Law Firm, PLLC, and as the assistant county attorney in three Kentucky counties.

“That scholarship was very appreciated,” said her mother, Laura, in a letter recently sent to SIU School of Law. “At that time, we had three children in college with one attending another law school.”

With that letter, Laura sent the SIU School of Law a check for $1,000. The first $500 was earmarked to repay the scholarship, and the other $500 was meant as a thank-you for giving Dailey the opportunity to pursue her ambition.

“I think SIU’s determination that Dailey would be able to succeed in the practice of law has come to fruition,” Laura Wilson said. “I know (the school) will put the donation to good use to help someone else achieve their dream.”

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Hard Work Pays Off

Dave Baer - SIU Scholarship Donor

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Thomas Edison once quipped, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Fortunately for SIU, 1971 alumnus Dave Baer never missed an opportunity to work.

In fact, he started early. Whether he was cutting other people’s grass or shining shoes, Baer closely followed his mother’s advice as she instilled a work ethic in him that few others could emulate.

Baer’s strong work ethic enabled him to come to SIU in the mid-1960s fully equipped to pay his own way. Upon leaving the military, he arrived on campus not certain which direction he wanted his career to take. He recalls walking by a building with a huge banner strung across the front welcoming students to learn more about what is now known as the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Curious, he stepped inside and met the dean, who helped pave the way for his entrance into the brand-new program.

“It was a great fit,” Baer says. “I already had many friends who were in law enforcement – and, coming fresh out of the military, it just felt comfortable.”

While at SIU, Baer met the love of his life, Cheryl, at the university’s bowling alley. Together, they shared more than 37 years of marriage – and also an abiding connection to the university that brought them together.

As one of the first graduates from SIU’s Administration of Justice program, Baer went on to a fulfilling 37-year career with Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, as its chief of police. His memorable achievements include working with the FBI to provide valuable information on a 9/11 attack collaborator who was later sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Perhaps Baer’s most notable achievement was his work with several state legislators to help get a law passed for private Illinois universities to create their own police departments, making Bradley the first private Illinois university to do so. Baer also served as a president of the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and as the secretary for the Peoria County Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a lifelong member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Beta Eta Chapter, at SIU.

After the passing of his wife and his mother, Baer retired from his position with Bradley. With time to reflect on his life and what is most important to him, he remembered the positive influence SIU had upon his life. He and Cheryl had always spoken of starting a scholarship fund but had never gotten around to doing so.

Baer realized the time was right.

“While my wife and I both received an outstanding education at SIU, my mother – who was one of the brightest women with an intelligent mind – never had the opportunity to go to college, he says. “So I wanted to help enable a young person to have that chance. My mother raised me to work hard and to give back to others. That’s why I felt so strongly about including her name in the $25,000 scholarship.”

Its full title is the David A. Baer, Cheryl A. Walker Baer and Naomi D. Baer Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship supports students in the criminal justice and criminology program.

Baer has plans to establish three more endowed scholarships in the near future. One scholarship will go to the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the other two will go to the Department of Sociology in honor of Baer’s wife.

 

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Tilden Parks – Superfan!

Foundation Tilden Parks Donor Tilden Parks donated $400.000 to SIU.

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Sports statisticians are fascinated by streaks. For example, Joe DiMaggio’s 56- game hitting streak with the New York Yankees is often touted as the one baseball record that will never be broken.

So far, so good on that one.

Before Joltin’ Joe, however, there was another baseball record that the record-keepers swore would never be broken. That was the amazing accomplishment of Lou Gehrig (another Yankee), who played in 2,130 consecutive games between 1925 and 1939.

But Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles proved them wrong. He competed in 2,632 consecutive games over a 16-year span to eclipse the mark set by baseball’s “Iron Horse.”

At SIU, Tilden “Tim” Parks (a ’76 Saluki alumnus) has a little streak of his own going on.

In fact, Parks just might own the record for the longest streak in sports ever – by a fan, at least. Parks officially started keeping track of his Saluki sports attendance in 1978, and he’s proud to share that, to date, his unblemished attendance streak stands at 207 home football games and 519 men’s home basketball games. That’s no misses for 40 years. When this streak began, Jimmy Carter was president of our country – and gasoline sold for less than 85 cents a gallon.

“Believe me, there were a few times I didn’t think I was going to make it, with a couple of ice and snow storms we had throughout the years,” he said. “But I’ve always had a passion for sports, and for SIU.”

“One of my favorite memories was when the SIU football team won the Division 1-AA championship in 1983. That season, students took down the goalposts at McAndrew Stadium and carried them down Illinois Avenue.”

Over the last five decades, Parks has seen such greats as Joe Meriweather, Mike Glenn, Ashraf Amaya and Darren Brooks grace the basketball court at SIU Arena. In the SIU football stadium, he has witnessed such Saluki football legends as Brandon Jacobs, an NFL running back for the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers; Deji Karim, a running back who played for four NFL teams; Carl Mauck, a former NFL player and NFL coach; Bart Scott, an NFL linebacker; Sam Silas, a former NFL lineman; and Terry Lee Taylor, another former NFL player.

“I remember my dad bringing me to my first SIU basketball game back when I was in eighth grade,” he said. “From then on, I was hooked – on basketball, football and on SIU.”

Parks graduated from John A. Logan College in 1973, then transferred to SIU and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1976.

“The country was going through an interesting time during the 1970s, what with the Vietnam War and Kent State,” he said. “It was a great time to feel as if I was making a difference.”

It was Parks’ parents, especially his father, who encouraged him to go to school. As a first-generation student, Parks saw how hard his father worked. The senior Parks quit school in seventh grade at age 12 to go to work as a timber cutter. He also bought his first animal, a hog, for $15 when he was 12 years old. Park’s uncle was a cattle trader, which intrigued him, and he eventually became one of the most successful cattle brokers in Illinois. Like his father, Parks is extremely generous, philanthropic and quick to help people in need.

Parks recently established several memorial scholarships in honor of his parents. These scholarships are dedicated to helping student workers at Morris Library, the School of Journalism and Animal Science – and, of course, the Saluki Athletic Scholarship Fund.

So the next time you’re at a Saluki football or men’s basketball game, cup your hands and yell as loud as you can, “Are you here, Tim Parks?”

We know what the answer will be.

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Law school scholarship recipients embody Lesar’s dream

Pictured left to right: scholarship recipient Aaron Herkert and Judge Richard Mills

Pictured left to right: scholarship recipient Aaron Herkert and Judge Richard Mills

By Jeff Wilson

Founding SIU School of Law Dean Hiram Lesar and Judge Richard Mills have more in common than passion for the law. Each of them heeded the call to go above and beyond.

In 1972, Lesar saw the need for a School of Law at SIU Carbondale, and he led the charge to make it a reality. Decades later, Mills saw the need for financial support of law students, so he spearheaded the creation of the SIU School of Law Judge Richard Mills Scholarship.

“Hiram Lesar laid the groundwork for a tremendous law school. There was a dearth of legal teaching in Southern Illinois,” Mills said. “He wanted to put lawyers into this area. It was wonderful.

“In this day and age, it’s difficult to afford a graduate school education without incurring large amounts of debt. Financial support is a necessity.”

The most recent recipient of the scholarship, which benefits a second- or third-year law school student, was awarded to Aaron Herkert.

“Without scholarships like this, I wouldn’t be here,” Herkert said. “I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a lawyer.”

The Taylorville native hopes to return to his hometown and practice criminal law.

Beyond easing the financial burden on students, Mills hopes the impact of the scholarship is felt long after the recipients leave SIU.

“It opens a lot more doors for graduates,” he said. “By relieving some of the financial stress, it can give them more personal freedom to take more career paths. They may not feel the pressure to join a large firm and can invest more time in other areas.”

Mills has been a regular speaker at the School of Law and presided over moot court competitions. In 1988, he became one of two inaugural SIU School of Law honorary alumni.

Judge Richard Mills is pictured with his wife Rachel.

Judge Richard Mills is pictured with his wife Rachel.

A Beardstown native, Mills, 89, earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Illinois College in 1951. He earned his law degree from Mercer University School of Law in 1957, and a master of laws degree from University of Virginia School of Law in 1982.

Mills is a retired U.S. Army colonel with 33 years active and reserve service. He served 14 months in Korea with the 3rd Infantry Division, 8th U.S. Army, and earned a Bronze Star. He also was a major general in the Illinois State Militia.

“Lesar’s dream was to produce competent, ethical practitioners of the law, and that’s exactly what the SIU School of Law is doing,” he said. “I’ve had 17 law clerks from SIU, and there hasn’t been a single bad one.”

Judge Richard Mills is pictured with three of his former law clerks. Left to Right: Tom Patton, Tom Wilson, Judge Mills and Judge Stuart Borden.

Judge Richard Mills is pictured with three of his former law clerks. Left to Right: Tom Patton, Judge Mills, Tom Wilson and Judge Stuart Borden.

150 Stories of Philanthropy: The right chemistry

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Bob Gower’s personal narrative over the past seven decades offers a touching portrait of the American dream. SIU played a part in his story of accomplishment, generosity and determination. Born in West Frankfort to parents with an eighth-grade education, Gower knew that hard work was going to be his personal key to achieving success.

“I worked and paid my own way through college, which wasn’t easy to do when majoring in chemistry,” Gower said. “Balancing classes and working on weekends was difficult, but through hard work I grew up fast. I learned that success doesn’t come automatically and that I just had to persevere through the hard times.”

Gower said that his experiences at SIU taught him so much about other people. He said those experiences taught him about character, taught him about honesty, and gave him an appreciation of diversity.

“In West Frankfort, Illinois, there were no African-Americans in the 1950s. When I arrived at SIU, I met all types of people from other cultures and countries, and it was a new and stimulating experience. I learned about people, what drove them and how to work with others who did not come from my background,” he said.

While he was a senior getting his undergraduate degree, Gower was encouraged by friends to go on a blind date with freshman Mary Beth Miller.

“I remember sitting across from this beautiful young girl, sharing a soda with her when she told me she was taking a freshman chemistry course and could really use some help with it. I thought, God must be smiling on me right now. I knew I was good at chemistry and that I could help her,” he said.

Fifty-eight years later, Gower credited his wife for helping him far more than when he helped her with her chemistry class.

Gower went on to receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SIU in 1958 and 1960, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1963.

Upon graduation from SIU, Gower began an industrial career starting at Sinclair Oil Corporation as a research scientist.

“I quickly realized that I was just as able as some of the people running the companies that I worked for, so I asked to be moved into sales and experienced a range of business development and planning positions to broaden my background,” he said.

Gower soon rose to prominent positions in Atlantic Richfield and its divisions of the company. He became vice president of ARCO Chemical Co. in 1977 and senior vice president in 1979. In June 1984, he became senior vice president of Atlantic Richfield Co. Gower became president of Lyondell Petrochemical Co. when it was formed in April 1985 and was elected chief executive officer in October 1988. That same year, Gower led Lyondell through the largest initial public stock offering up to that time.

While Gower has had an illustrious career, he and his wife have always maintained a steadfast loyalty to SIU Carbondale’s chemistry department. Recently, Gower gave $800,000 to the department.

“SIU is moving toward being a well-recognized research institution with excellent faculty,” he said. “Beth and I would like to help it become a great research institution.”

One might think that with all of the success he achieved in his life, Gower would sit back and take it easy. Not so.

One of his current passions is the field of nanotechnology, which he has used to help develop a therapeutic, abuse-resistant opioid pain drug.

“It is currently in clinical trials, and the FDA recently gave Ensysce Biosciences a fast-track designation, which means we won’t have such a lengthy process to approval,” he said.

Gower said that opioid drugs are the only way to handle certain types of severe pain, so simply banning them from use is not the answer.

“The problem is that people quickly become addicted to opioid drugs,” he said. “We need to prevent abuse. What we have done with our drug is to modify it so that the drug is not active when taken. Only when it is in the digestive system and it meets an enzyme known as trypsin does it become activated via a two-step reaction. If a person snorts it or dissolves it and injects the drug, it will not be activated. If chewed, the reaction still will not take place until it gets to the digestive system.

Gower is also passionate about providing opportunities for underprivileged children. For the past 30 years, he has worked with Communities in School, and he headed its operation in Houston for much of that time. CIS is a campus-based, nonprofit organization providing direct services and resources to under-served children with unmet needs, many with mental health issues. By surrounding them with a community of support, CIS empowers students to stay in school and achieve in life.

“Anyone can do what I have done, or something better, or something comparable. Each of us brings our own unique set of contributions to society. Everyone is important on this stage,” he said.

To find out how you can contribute to the SIU College of Science and the chemistry department, visit foreversiu.org/colleges-units/science.

150 Stories of Philanthropy: Business alumnus Lynn McPheeters donates to help future business Salukis succeed

Lynn McPheeters

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Growing up on a farm near Canton, F. Lynn McPheeters never imagined he would become the chief financial officer and vice president of Caterpillar Inc. Now, he’s donating $1 million to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, his alma mater, to help future Salukis succeed.

The endowment gift establishes the McPheeters Family Scholarship to benefit undergraduate College of Business students, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno announced this week.

“Without SIU, I would never have been in a position to have the opportunity to do something like this,” McPheeters said. “I’m a first-generation college student, and being able to attend SIU – a national, state-supported college – enabled me to have the career and life I’ve had. My hope is that this scholarship will allow others who are in similar situations the opportunity to attend SIU and succeed in their chosen field as I was able to.”

Benefitting business students

McPheeters’ gift will enable the university to award about $40,000 in scholarship assistance annually to deserving first-generation business students.

“Mr. McPheeters has been a longtime supporter of SIU, and we are very appreciative of his ongoing involvement and this generous contribution,” Montemagno said. “Countless students will realize their dreams of attending college because of this gift, and its impact on the world of business will reach far into the future.”

The scholarship funds are earmarked for first-generation students in the College of Business who are from Illinois counties located south of I-80; preference will be given to those who major in finance or accounting. Recipients must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to retain their eligibility and the scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

The McPheeters story

McPheeters is a 1964 accounting graduate from SIU’s College of Business. He joined the Fortune 500 company soon thereafter and held a number of finance-related positions in the United States and abroad during a 40-year career capped off by a term as CFO. He fostered a working partnership between SIU and Caterpillar during his career. Since he retired, he remains active professionally on behalf of SIU and as a proponent for public education and charitable causes.

McPheeters was the first to enroll at and graduate from Spoon River Community College, then known as Canton College, and he established the Francis G. and Dorothea B. McPheeters Scholarship there in honor of his parents. He continues to serve as a board member for several companies, including RLI Inc. and WPC Technologies.

A member of the SIU Foundation board since 2002, McPheeters has served as chair of the audit committee and later as board president; he is currently an emeritus board member. He was one of the first members of the College of Business external advisory board, holding a seat since 1988. He was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 1988 and has earned a number of other honors, including the College of Business Alumni Achievement Award in 2004.

In 2006, McPheeters and his wife, Susan, supported SIU with a $585,000 gift of appreciated Caterpillar stock, which was invested to create the Susan F. and F. Lynn McPheeters College of Business Leadership Endowed Chair, the college’s first endowed chair. The McPheeters’ philanthropy has also extended to various other charitable organizations and efforts in the health, education and abuse-prevention areas, earning them the title of Outstanding Philanthropists for Central Illinois in 2006.

“Lynn McPheeters has been associated with SIU and the College of Business for a long time. He has also been a loyal and generous friend,” said Terry Clark, dean of the College of Business. “Over the years, his love for our institution has been shown in many ways, from serving on the college’s External Advisory Board to serving on the SIU Foundation Board. Lynn’s institutional spiritedness is legendary. We are deeply grateful for his most recent gift. Through his generosity, another generation of Salukis will be helped onto the ladder that Lynn climbed so notably upon graduation from the college in 1964.”

Forever SIU

The McPheeters Family Scholarship endowment was made in conjunction with the Forever SIU fundraising campaign, to advance the university’s goal of providing the best education possible to students of all disciplines. More information about the campaign is available at foreversiu.org.

150 Stories of Philanthropy: Childress Scholarship grows benefitting business students

James B. and Rosemary Samuel Childress

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Braden Drake had been paying his own way through Southern Illinois University Carbondale, so learning he was one of this year’s James B. and Rosemary Samuel Childress Scholarship recipients was quite a relief.

Drake, a 2018 accounting graduate from Carterville, said the scholarship was a big help in paying tuition, fees, books, apartment expenses, medical and vehicle insurance bills and other costs of living. He was also excited to learn that upon their deaths, the Carterville couple added a $2 million bequest to SIU’s scholarship fund bearing their names, allowing students to benefit even more from the scholarships in the future.

“Any time I’m able to receive a scholarship, it helps me get one step closer to covering my expenses without having to take out any student loans,” Drake said. “I really want to thank the Childresses for their donation to College of Business students and helping me be able to reach my goals.”

James and Rosemary “Dee” Childress married as high school sweethearts before James went off to serve as an electrician’s mate with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. He returned to his hometown, graduated from Carterville High School and then earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The couple lived in a small second-story apartment, and he worked at the Carterville Post Office to put himself through school.

While their married life began with meager means, James became a successful businessman. Over the course of his career, he went on to own or co-own various steel erection, construction and sales businesses as well as motels and nursing homes in the Midwest and south, according to Robert Howerton, a relative of the couple who served as their attorney. Hard work and wise investing grew the Childress fortune, Howerton said.

“They were unable to have children but they were very successful, very devoted to each other, very family-oriented and very generous and charitable to others,” Howerton said. “They also realized the value of a good education and wanted to do something to help other people, people who they hoped could also go on to be successful if they just had a little help.”

Thus, the Childress’ philanthropy included SIU. The couple originally endowed a scholarship at James’ college alma mater in August 1989, earmarking the funds to go each year to SIU business students who are graduates of high schools in Jackson or Williamson counties or to students who graduated from community colleges and high schools within those counties. Financial need is considered and preference goes to students who are working to help cover their college expenses. Applicants must also submit an essay. Recipients are eligible to apply for a scholarship renewal.

Dee Childress passed away in July 2015 and her husband died the following May. Both were 90 at the times of their deaths, and they had given untold amounts through the years to charitable causes, particularly education, civic, health, historical and relief organizations. Their final wish was to offer a helping hand to even more young people, so they added a $2 million gift to SIU’s James B. and Rosemary S. Childress Scholarship endowment. SIU Foundation officials estimate the fund will now generate about $80,000 annually that can be awarded to SIU business students.

“We know scholarships make a difference in the lives of our students,” said SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno.  “We at the university witness that every day. The Childresses felt that impact while they were living. Seeing how scholarships affected students meant a great deal to them. Their bequest to the Childress Endowment will help students in the College of Business in an even more significant way for years to come. Those students and SIU are most appreciative of the Childress’ generosity.”

 

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Turning Dreams into a Reality

Lori Quig Scholarhsip Donor at Southern Illinois University

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Rebecca Renshaw

It often is said that while most of us dream about great things, engineers just go and do them.

That certainly rings true for Lori Quigg, a 1991 alumna of the SIU College of Engineering. Quigg didn’t let the fact that she was entering a male-dominated field stop her when she began her engineering education in 1988. She worked hard, made the grades and did the work necessary to get her degree.

Nor did it stop her a few years later, when she decided to start her own engineering firm.

“When you wake up one day and say, ‘Today is the day I’m going to go $500,000 in debt’ – well, that took some courage and perseverance,” she says, laughing. “But I did it somehow. There’s a fine line between being really smart and really stupid. Fortunately for me, everything worked in my favor.”

Quigg Engineering Inc., now headquartered in Springfield, Illinois, has seen steady success and growth over the past 10 years.

“We went from two employees in a little office in Jacksonville to now over 75 employees in multiple offices in Illinois, as well as Iowa and Florida,” Quigg says. “Yes, I work hard, but the saying is certainly true for me that ‘when you enjoy what you do, you are not really working.’ I go 24/7. In fact, my entire family’s motto is, ‘Work hard, play hard.’ ”

Quigg attributes much of her success to SIU.

“I loved SIU because the professors actually taught me what I needed to know,” she says. “Sometimes, at large universities, professors spend all their time on research while teaching assistants do the teaching. Not SIU. I found that my professors who taught me were all very accessible and caring. That made a big impact on me that I’ve never forgotten.”

Quigg recently decided to give back to SIU and help those following in her footsteps by establishing an endowed scholarship for female engineering students.

“Whenever I see an issue, I always try to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem,” she says. “I have seen a problem in the state of Illinois in hiring female and minorities. The fact is there is a definite shortage of female engineers. Even the Illinois Department of Transportation is being forced to search for job candidates in other states because there are so few female candidates.”

Quigg says that her daughter, a pre-med student at SIU, continues to see women struggle in traditionally male-dominated fields.

“I always knew for the last 20 years that I wanted to start a scholarship specifically for women,” Quigg says. “I know how much an education costs, and how frustrating it can be. This is something I did because I have walked that path. Now I want to give a helping hand to other women who want to pursue this type of degree.”

Quigg wants students to know that getting a degree in engineering doesn’t mean they must be exceptionally gifted students.

“I always tell young people that they don’t have to be brainiacs,” she says. “I assure them that, as long as they are mathematically inclined, they will be fine. They will be taught and they will learn. I also want them to know that an engineering degree can open so many doors of opportunity. From transportation to oil and gas or the government, engineers are needed in so many fields.

“It’s a great career choice as a woman, especially if you want to raise a family someday. I have always made my family a priority throughout my career, and I want to encourage other women to do the same, if that is their goal. My career choice has truly allowed me to have the best of both worlds.”

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: The Art of Giving

Roy and Mary Ann Abrahamson

Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.

By Rebecca Renshaw

The first thing you notice about Roy and Marianne Abrahamson is the distinct twinkle in their eyes. Married 56 years, they share a life rich in art, laughter and the art of giving.

“Art is transformational,” says Roy Abrahamson, an SIU art education professor for 31 years until his retirement in 1996. “Art is the ability to transform what one sees into an artistic formation according to one’s inner holistic view.”

The transformational power of art led the couple to establish the Dr. Roy E. Abrahamson Art Education Endowed Scholarship to help students afford an education – so the students, in turn, can contribute to the artistic transformation of others.

“Roy is the type of artist that doesn’t sit and sketch what he sees,” Marianne Abrahamson says. “Instead, he takes in the scene and records it with an inner eye.”

Roy and Mary Ann AbrahamsonThe gift of expression is evident throughout the Abrahamsons’ home in Carbondale. The artwork that adorns their walls and coffee tables reflects Roy Abrahamson’s fascination with multiple types of art – from temperas, to oils, to caseins, to acrylics, to watercolors and wood sculptures.

Roy Abrahamson’s love of art has taken him from one coast to the other. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Minnesota, he studied with Henry Schaefer-Simmern at the Institute of Art Education in Berkley, California. After obtaining a master’s degree in elementary and secondary education from San Francisco State University, he served three years in the Army during the Korean War.

Following his military service, he taught public school in San Francisco. In 1960, Roy and Marianne married, and in 1963 they moved to New York, where Roy Abrahamson earned a doctoral degree in art education at Columbia University. In 1965, he joined the School of Art and Design faculty at SIU, teaching art education to hundreds of students during his tenure.

While at SIU he also served as president of the Illinois Art Education Association, and was a member of the National Art Education Association and the International Society for Education through Art. In addition, he wrote and published many research articles in professional journals. He also took part in a research grant program involving student teachers and mentally handicapped children and organized annual hands-on art sessions for children from southern Illinois schools.

Perhaps one of Roy Abrahamson’s greatest achievements came after his retirement from SIU. He was asked by the widow of his late mentor Schaefer-Simmern to co-edit a book titled “Consciousness of Artistic Form.” A copy of the book sits prominently in the couple’s living room.

Marianne Abrahamson says they recently saw an opportunity to give back to the university that was such a significant part of their lives.

“Being a native of Germany myself, and both of us growing up during WWII, the experiences of that time formed our outlook,” she says. “While we never had much money back in the early years, we knew how to make the most of what we had. And now that we have the funds, we want to help deserving students in art education get their education.”

“Throughout my career and throughout our lives, it’s always been about helping students demonstrate art that is true to their inner being,” Roy Abrahamson says. “Marianne and I established the scholarship to help students who could not otherwise afford an education. It is a good feeling to have.”

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