Professor-student bond inspires memorial scholarship

Hagy donates $10K to honor memory of John Jones

Black and white photo of John Jones.

Image of John Jones.

By Jeff Wilson

When John Jones entered his first class with professor Brad Hagy he made an immediate impression.

“He sat in the front row,” said Hagy, a senior lecturer of Information Sciences and Technology at SIU. “He was a model student and was going to do anything to further his future.”

Jones, who worked in IT for the SIU Foundation, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.  In Jones’ memory, Hagy donated $10,000 to establish the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit non-traditional students who are majoring in Information Technology (ITEC).

The 37-year-old Jones was one semester away from earning his bachelor’s degree in information technology. He made straight A’s and was on the Dean’s List every semester.

“I want to promote what John loved,” Hagy said. “He was working to better his life. I want to help students like John.”

Jones had started his college career in 2002, but he left school after his father passed away. He returned to SIU more than 14 years later determined to get his degree. In an email to Hagy after the Spring 2020 semester, Jones shared his appreciation.

“The one thing that we all lose is time, and there is not a way to get that back,” Jones said in the email. “So, in my journey, I was fortunate enough to meet people at SIU that reminded me of myself as a young man fresh out of high school living carefree and people that are willing to help anyone who gives their time to learn. Mr. Hagy you have made this transition from working full-time to full-time student one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Reading that message, in which Jones goes on to express his hopes for the future, Hagy can’t help but become a bit choked up.

“John understood time,” he said. “He knew he had lost time, but he was still willing to go back and get his degree. In that email, he was speaking from his heart and for his future.”

Hagy spoke at Jones’ memorial service and has remained close to Jones family, to the point that Jones’ mother gifted a pair of blue and white Air Jordan from his shoe collection that matched the color of Jones’ motorcycle. They were both members of the Carbondale Eagles 2569 Eagle Riders motorcycle club that has an annual charity ride for the Southern Illinois Special Olympics.

“Those shoes are now on the shelf in my office,” Hagy said. “He wasn’t just a student. He was a great person, a friend.”

John Jones, 1983-2021

Born and raised in Carbondale, Jones exceled in math and information technology. More than anything, Jones is remembered as a family man.

He is survived by his son, Jerald Cameron Jones; and fiancé, Tamara Buchannan-Boens; and her sons, Christopher Buchannan, Warren Eanes, and Dominique Boens. He is also survived by his mother, Debra Johnson-Jones; sister, Raven-Iman Jones; grandmother, Barbara Sanders; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jones enjoyed participating in American Poolplayers Association competitions, riding his motorcycle with his fellow Eagle Riders, shooting targets at the gun range, and working on and building computer/robotics systems.

After his planned graduation, the SIU Foundation was set to make Jones a full-time member of the IT staff.

“We thought the world of John,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “He was liked by all. His words and his actions were always consistent. Everyone at the Foundation was deeply saddened by his untimely passing. Professor Hagy’s inspiring gift is a testament to their connection and the impact they had on one another.”

To make a gift to the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship, visit

Pictured left to right: Brad Hagy and Matt Kupec

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SIU Credit Union donates $500K to SIU’s Touch of Nature

Chancellor Austin Lane discusses the impact of the $500,000 donation made by SIU Credit Union to construct an event center at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

SIU Foundation Media Services

CARBONDALE – The SIU Credit Union presented a $500,000 check to SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center at an event Thursday morning in the office of SIU Chancellor Austin Lane.

“Touch of Nature is a pride and joy of SIU. We have our own oasis right there,” Chancellor Lane said. “This partnership with SIU Credit Union is magnificent. This gift will provide the credit union with great visibility among our students and the community.”

The funds will be used to build the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature, which is located at 1206 Touch of Nature Road in Makanda, just a few miles from campus.

“The opportunity to give back to our community and to help it grow was a proposition that couldn’t be passed up. The Touch of Nature Event Center will showcase more of the beauty and fun of Southern Illinois, and we liked being able to help make a project like this happen,” said Mike Lantrip, CEO of SIU Credit Union. “SIU is the economic engine of our region, and this facility can be instrumental in helping our tourism industry. Similar projects have been proven in other regions to be a quality-of-life enhancement and have a great impact on the local economy. We don’t see why this can’t have the same impact on our area.”

The SIU Credit Union has a long history of supporting the university, including major donations during the annual SIU Day of Giving. In recent years, the credit union has supported SIU’s New Student Programs, Saluki Food Pantry, and Touch of Nature.

“We have had a great partnership with SIU Credit Union over the years,” said JD Tanner, director of Touch of Nature Environmental Center. “This gift speaks volumes about how they value the quality of our environment and community.”

Touch of Nature is a full-service outdoor education center that serves SIU, the region, and the nation. It provides opportunities for team building, environmental education, zip lining, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, overnight camps, and more. Nationally recognized for its therapeutic recreation camp, Camp Little Giant, Touch of Nature has provided camps and programs for people with disabilities since 1952. Touch of Nature is an ACA-accredited facility, a National Environmental Education Landmark, and soon to be home to an IMBA -designed Mountain Bike Park.

“We have sponsored and helped with a number of camps, events and other programs at this unique facility, and this seemed like a perfect fit to continue and grow in that capacity,” Lantrip said. “Mountain biking is growing in popularity, and we thought helping establish a facility such as this would be an asset to all parties involved. In addition to being a family-friendly destination, it will also help with student, faculty, and executive recruitment, bolster an already-strong forestry program within SIU, and cultivate our growing tourism identity. These are all things that will help our region, our members, and our local businesses prosper.”

From left: Mark Dynis, SIU Credit Union vice president of marketing, Sara Bond, SIU Foundation director of development, JD Tanner, Touch of Nature Environmental Center director, Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union vice president of community outreach, Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union CEO, Chancellor Austin Lane, Leah Weil, SIU Credit Union marketing assistant, and Matt Kupec, SIU Foundation CEO, pose for a photo with the $500,000 check the credit union donated to Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

‘SIU Changed my Life’

Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett isn’t an SIU alumnus, but he’s most certainly a Saluki.

Raised in the historically black coal mining town of Colp, he attended University School, which was located in Pulliam Hall. It wasn’t easy for a child growing up during a time of racial division, but SIU made him feel right at home.

“SIU changed my life. Walking through campus on my way to class in third grade was like a dream world,” Dr. Hatchett said. “There was a feeling of utopia, and I never felt so accepted, so loved and appreciated, and it meant everything to me, and it still does even to this day.”

It’s that connection that brought Dr. Hatchett to SIU with the following pledge – $100,000 over four years to establish the Phoenix Cannabis Production Scholarship within the School of Agricultural Sciences. The scholarship, named after his son, Phoenix, will be available to African-American and Hispanic students.

“It was this campus, this university and my childhood experience that changed my life at a very critical time. I want the university and the caring people there to offer this same tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of talented young people by adding to the well-needed diversity in the cannabis industry,” he said.

Over time, Dr. Hatchett said he hopes to develop externships and create an endowment for the program.

Beyond his $100,000 commitment, Dr. Hatchett provided an additional $6,000 to fund the development of facilities in the School of Agricultural Sciences building to support the cannabis program. The upgrades will help improve research opportunities. “This is really important for us,” said Karen Jones, faculty coordinator for Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems. “This financial support helps us stay modern and gives students the opportunity to work with plants.”

Even though recreational cannabis only became legal to sell in Illinois at the start of 2020, SIU has been working toward having a program in place for years.

“Our goal is to help the people of Southern Illinois to explore this new, emerging career path,” Jones said. “Any time you start a new initiative, getting started is one of the biggest hurdles.”

Once Dr. Hatchett became familiar with Karen Jones and the School of Agricultural Sciences, he knew SIU was the right place for his investment.

“You never realize how much talent there is in a department until you look,” he said. “We are hoping to develop a footprint in the industry and highlight the talent we have.”

After attending Marquette University on a full basketball scholarship, Dr. Hatchett completed his medical school education at the University of Chicago and completed his internship and residency training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He eventually finished his fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital through Harvard Medical School.

A well-known urologist, Dr. Hatchett founded Southern Illinois Urology in Herrin in 2003. He has also spent time as a speaker for Pfizer pharmaceuticals, being featured both nationally and internationally.

“My path into the cannabis industry was atypical,” he said. “My mother, who was around 90 years old, was seeking pain relief alternatives, so I began researching cannabis.”

Once Illinois legalized recreational cannabis use, Dr. Hatchett became majority owner of Cannabliss Depot. “Medical cannabis helps with PTSD, seizure disorders, pain relief, and it has some anti-cancer applications,” he said. “It also helps with drug addiction if someone is hooked on opioids.”

According to Dr. Hatchett, doctors share the responsibility when it comes to solving these issues.

“We should be part of the solution and play a role in the future of cannabis,” he said. “We should allow research and prepare for the expansion of its use. I, personally, never used cannabis in my life, but I think it can help people.”

Challenges will arise, but Dr. Hatchett said he believes it’s possible to figure out all the legal details.

“I see the negative. We’re not promoting it for the young,” he said. “This is about responsible, adult use. We hope people will use good judgment.”

Ong establishes scholarships, brings academic competitions to SIU

By Jeff Wilson

Henry Ong has lived and worked all around the world, but he hasn’t forgotten the role SIU played in his life.

“I had an enjoyable experience at SIU and the wonderful outdoor experiences in Southern Illinois,” he said. “That was some of the best times of my life.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the College of Business, Ong spent many successful years working for Whirlpool. Then, in the mid-90s, he made a career change and began to focus on education.

“I wanted to create resources that would align with 21st Century learning concepts,” he said. “I have always been good at mathematical games. I started working with an educational supply company. I learned about the educational system.”

From there, he decided to develop his own mathematical competitions and founded the Singapore International Mastery Contests Center (SIMCC).

“We started in 2006, and it has grown quickly into one of the largest academic competitions in the world,” he said. “We’re now in 38 countries.”

Working with SIU’s Center for International Education, Ong has established two endowed scholarships for international students, and the SIMCC recently entered a partnership with SIU. The university will host future competitions.

“Beyond simply competing, we created a pathway for students to win awards through competition,” he said. “There are more than 200,000 students who take part in these competitions worldwide.”

A long journey

Like all young men from Singapore, Ong was required to serve in the country’s military. After that, he spent a year teaching and applied to SIU. He was accepted and came to Carbondale in January of 1982. It was then that he applied for and received a scholarship for international students.

“That helped me finish my degree,” he said. “SIU was very generous to me.”

He had a job offer from Whirlpool when he graduated but had to wait on his visa to be approved. For six months, he worked as an intern in the university controller’s office. Once he started working for Whirlpool, he rose through the ranks quickly.

Ong transferred from his U.S. position to a position in Hong Kong and later become managing director for Whirlpool in Malaysia and Singapore. He ended his career with the corporation as Asian Audit Director and took a job developing new appliances with a mentor of his in San Francisco.

“Not long after that, I decided Asia was much more attractive, so I moved back to Singapore to distribute products in Asia,” he said.

A few years later, he transitioned to the world of producing educational resources. Since founding the SIMCC, he’s seen the power of the academic competitions and is excited about bringing them and scholarships to SIU.

“We’re looking forward to this partnership,” he said. “I hope these students can also enjoy the same fantastic experience I had at SIU.”

A family legacy of teaching

Marilyn Black smiles as she signs her gift agreement for the Marilyn A. Black Scholarship in Elementary Education.

The legacy of teaching runs strong in Marilyn Black’s family. Black, a 1960 alumna from the SIU College of Education, learned about the value of teaching from her parents, who were themselves graduates of the SIU College of Education. Black’s father was a school superintendent and her mother was her high school English teacher. “Education was important to them,” said Black.

At SIU, Black benefitted from a scholarship that helped her reach her goal of becoming a teacher, ultimately teaching in the Carbondale elementary school district for over 20 years. Black and her late husband, Frank, had three children who all attended SIU.  Marilyn loved teaching and inspired two of her children to become educators as well.

In recognition of the importance of teachers, she recently established the Marilyn A. Black Scholarship in Elementary Education, saying simply, “Somebody helped me, so I want to help now.” Her scholarship will support aspiring elementary education students to reach their goals of becoming teachers, just as Black did.

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Interview with Dan Korte

Meet Dan Korte, ’81. Korte is a board member for the SIU Foundation. Korte also serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for the School of Engineering.

Dan is currently the global vice president, aerospace at PPG Industries.  He oversees more than 3,500 employees at over 25 plants, application support centers, laboratories, research centers and technical support sites worldwide.  He has 35 years of experience as a leader in the aerospace industry, working for companies such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce and LMI Aerospace.  Dan also serves on numerous company and charitable boards.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from SIU and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University.  He is a graduate of the strategic thinking and management for competitive advantage program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Everyone who attended SIU has a story about their experiences during college. Below is the inspiring story about Korte’s journey to SIU as told by him in first person:

Dan Korte, circa 1970s.

Dan Korte’s SIU Story

In one’s life, there are key moments that have a lasting impact. For me, one of those moments came late in the summer after I graduated high school, when on rare occasion my father shared some advice. To that point, I had planned to follow in his footsteps and those of my uncles and many cousins who had jobs in construction.

“Son, you don’t have the back for it,” my father said. “You better figure out a way to use your mind.”

Because my father did not give advice often and this was the first career advice he had given me, his words weighed heavily. Perhaps a bit impulsively, my 18-year-old self loaded some clothes into the back of my car and set out on the two-hour drive from Breese, Illinois, toward Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The fall semester started the next day, and I had not yet enrolled as a student or registered for classes. In fact, I didn’t even have a place to live.

The first night, I managed to crash on the couch of a friend from my hometown. The following morning, as I stood at the trunk of my car brushing my teeth, I glanced down the street and, as if looking into a mirror, I saw another guy doing the same. Without hesitation, I introduced myself to Greg and that is how two kids in need of a place to live became instant roommates and lifelong friends.

That sunny day in 1978, I also stepped foot onto the campus of SIU and became the first person in my family to take even one college course. I would spend the next seven years gaining two degrees while working at the Student Center to help pay tuition, buy books and scrape together a little food with what little money remained each month. Financial aid did help defray my college expenses, yet almost every semester when I went to Woody Hall, I would hear those dreaded words, “I’m sorry, but you cannot register for classes until you clear your bursar’s hold.” Fortunately, each semester I managed to pay enough to keep going.

When I look back through the years at my successful career as an engineer and business leader, and recall that 18-year-old boy who started his college journey with only a carload of clothes, a mind to use and the will to persevere, it is easy for me to contribute to SIU. Each time I give, I know I am helping the latest generation of students that grace the halls of SIU pursue their dreams and become the bright leaders we need to address the world’s many challenges today and tomorrow. I ask you to consider doing the same.

Fun Fact

When a board member or an outstanding alumnus is featured in this campaign newsletter, we try to share something about the person that others may not know.

“I have always been curious, even at a young age. I remember taking apart my mother’s vacuum cleaner at age 8 and dismantling the dashboard of my dad’s new truck again at age 11. But, my pathway to learning really started at SIU and has continued with me throughout my life. In fact, one of my joys in life is receiving the National Geographic magazine in the mail each month. I sit down and read it cover to cover. It teaches me about culture, the planet and the universe. I can’t imagine a life without learning.”

Poshards honor others with $100,000 gift to Morris Library

Pictured left to right: Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm (Associate Dean of Special Collections Research Center), John Pollitz (Dean of Library Affairs), Jo Poshard and Glenn Poshard.

Glenn and Jo Poshard’s philanthropic spirit has touched countless people around the region. With their recent donation to Morris Library, the Poshards decided to honor four people who touched their lives.

Their $100,000 donation will name four rooms in the library’s Special Collection Research Center. They will be named after Dr. Paul Sarvela, Dr. John Haller, Dr. Duane Stucky, and Paula Keith. Each left a lasting impression on the Poshards.

“When we sat down to determine our planned giving, we began to think of the people in our lives that made a powerful impact,” Glenn Poshard said. “Jo and I served 8 ½ years as the president of the SIU system, and during that time, we worked with wonderful people. We determined we want to give back to this great university and honor the people with whom we worked.”

Dr. Sarvela was a tenured professor at SIU and served in many different roles within the SIU system. He worked as acting and interim chancellor of the Carbondale campus for four months until his untimely death in November of 2014.

“I will always remember Dr. Sarvela’s booming laugh,” Glenn Poshard said. “He would come through the back door of the Stone Center, bellowing out loud with laughter. He was always so happy.”

Dr. Haller is an emeritus professor and served for 20 years as vice president of academic affairs for the SIU system.

“I talked him into delaying retirement,” Glenn Poshard said. “He is such an accomplished man. He has published over 40 books and is still the most prolific researcher I know.”

Dr. Stucky is the senior vice president for financial and administrative affairs and worked closely with Poshard.

“In some of the most difficult financial times higher education has faced, Bain Corporation ranked SIU in the top 15 percent of the best financially managed public universities in America,” Glenn Poshard said. “That was due to Dr. Stucky’s leadership.”

Keith was a part of the SIU System Office during Poshard’s tenure and continues in that role today.

“As administrative assistant, Paula Keith not only handled the day-to-day affairs of the President’s office, she was an integral part of our leadership team and participated in every important decision we had to make,” he said.

The lasting impacts these individuals left on SIU and the Poshards made them clear choices for this honor.

“When Glenn was president, there were many hours of focusing on projects and goals to move SIU forward,” Jo Poshard said. “These four people and their staffs cared deeply about each other and SIU.”

A lifelong connection

Glenn Poshard first came to SIU in 1966 as a student. It was then that he first fell in love with Morris Library.

“Fifth-five years ago, I was a 21-year-old starting at SIU on the GI Bill, and I opened the doors to this library, and I was floored. It was so beautiful,” he said. “It was one of the greatest buildings I’d entered in my young life.”

Years later, as president of the SIU system, worked to expand and renovate the library.

“I’m so proud of what all the people who worked with us have done to make this one of the greatest libraires in the state of Illinois” he said.

By naming rooms in the library, the Poshards have ensured that their legacies and the legacies of those who helped them, and SIU will be properly honored.

“This is a wonderful day for the library and for special collections,” said John Pollitz, dean of Library Affairs. “I am so impressed with Dr. and Jo Poshard and how they have always supported the community and the library. What is so honorable is that the Poshards are thinking of others instead of naming themselves. That is the mark of true humility”

Giving back is at the heart of the Poshards’ mission, and they hope their gift will inspire others.

“I would encourage others to give back to SIU,” Glenn Poshard said. “There are multiple naming opportunities in this library. How inspiring to make way for your future generations to see your generosity and commitment.”

Quotes from honorees

Dr. Duane Stuckey:

Dr. Poshard is an extraordinarily special man. He is a talented leader but he always remembers the ordinary people and each one of the people who work with him.

Paula Keith:

It has been an honor to work with and be a part of an administration under Glenn and Jo’s leadership.

Dr. John Haller, Jr.:

It is humbling that Dr. Poshard would pick other people to recognize when he and Jo have done so much. They are the ones who should really be recognized. I worked with six SIU Presidents and Dr. Poshard is the finest of them all.

Debra Sarvela and daughter Kristin Sarvela:

I was so touched when Dr. Poshard called and asked if it would be okay to honor my late husband, Paul Sarvela. It touched us deeply.

To learn more about how to give to Morris Library and the university, visit

People Helping People – SIU Credit Union Kicks Off 5th SIU Day of Giving

Pictured left to right: Lori Stettler, Mark Dynis, Kim Babington, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, Emily Spann, and Sara Dailey.

By Rebecca Renshaw

SIU Credit Union’s “people helping people” philosophy is never more apparent than during the annual SIU Day of Giving – a 24-hour fundraising effort where supporters are encouraged to visit on Wednesday, March 3, and make a gift of any size. This year, SIU Credit Union kicked off the special day with two gifts. The first donation of $20,000 will benefit SIU’s New Student Programs and the second donation of $15,000 will go to Touch of Nature’s Dawg Days program.

The SIU Credit Union was represented by Mike Lantrip, CEO, Mark Dynis, Marketing Director and Kim Babington, Vice President of Community Outreach.

Carefully adhering to proper social distancing practices, Chancellor Austin Lane received the donations from the group and said he appreciates the continued support SIU Credit Union has demonstrated throughout the years.

“SIU Credit Union has been an incredible partner with SIU. We appreciate the help they give to our students to discover pathways to success. They are a true pillar in our community,” he said.

Lori Stettler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs says the support of the SIU Credit Union is impactful.

“We appreciate SIU Credit Union’s continued support of our students and their willingness to be leaders in our community. We love how they continue to show up and support our students,” she said.

“We are thrilled to play a part in the SIU Day of Giving,” said Babington.

“It is just the right thing to do and SIU Credit Union has always supported SIU. We hope to continue this tradition for a long time to come,” she said.

Pictured left to right: Lori Stettler, Mark Dynis, Kim Babington, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, J.D. Tanner, and Sara Dailey.

Babington said that three years ago she did not know much about SIU’s Touch of Nature, but a colleague took her out to their facilities and introduced her to the many programs Touch of Nature offers. She knew then that SIU Credit Union had to play a part in their efforts.

J.D. Tanner, Touch of Nature’s Director, appreciates the ongoing support from SIU Credit Union.

“This generous cash donation is definitely an enhancement for SIU and we appreciate SIU Credit Union’s support. More importantly, we are honored the community is recognizing the value of the work we do here at Touch of Nature,” Tanner said.

To see updates to the giving page, visit

The last act of a giving heart: Hill, longtime SIU supporter, passes away at 104

Anne Hill, 104, long-time donor, alumna, and former SIU staff member, passed away Monday, Feb. 15. One of her last acts was to endow a scholarship award through the School of Music honoring her uncle – the Carl Deis Music Composition Award Endowment.

She believed in the importance of the arts, and she had been involved in the local art scene since 1979.

Recently, she made her greatest impact with a $25,000 donation to the SIU College of Liberal Arts. The Carl Deis Music Composition Award Endowment, named after Hill’s uncle, who was a well-known composer, will benefit students in the School of Music.

“I have no idea what kind of music will develop in the next 25 years, so I leave that up to the students to set the pace,” Hill said in the weeks before her death.  “That makes an opportunity for them to advance the state of music in a way that will be directed by their prize-winning compositions.”

Hill came to SIU as an employee in 1979, retiring in 1981. It was then that she set out to obtain her master’s degree in English. She graduated in 1986.

During her time in Carbondale, she was active in many university and community organizations, including the American Association of University Women and the John Thomas Strings Program. She has also been a donor to the McLeod Summer Playhouse and WSIU. She also helped establish the Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society.

“My grandfather immigrated here – he played trombone in the New York Symphony – because America needed music and musicians. This is still the case. We need to build audiences, too,” she said in a 2015 SIU Alumni magazine article. “I continue to enrich my own life in this community because I have made wonderful friends through the programs we have been able to serve in and support.”

It isn’t the first time Hill has given to the university and its students, but by endowing a fund, those gifts are made sustainable and will be given each year.

To read her full obituary, click here.

Aspiring physician a perfect fit for new scholarship

Maryam Makhdoom receives first Thanu and Nongyao Kulachol Library Scholarship

Pictured left to right: Maryam Makhdoom, Jared and Maryann Dorn.

By Rebecca Renshaw

Maryam Makhdoom hadn’t heard of the Thanu and Nongyao Kulachol Library Scholarship. It’s a new scholarship with a specific focus, and that made Makhdoom its ideal first recipient.

Established in 2019, the scholarship supports students who want to work with populations in Southeast Asia doing public health projects, which aligns with her desire to go to Singapore for a semester to learn more about international public health.

Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz contacted Makhdoom, a senior majoring in public health, to share the good news.

“I was thrilled to discover I was awarded this scholarship because it fits in so well with my desires to further my knowledge about public health in southeast Asia,” said Makhdoom, who is also the university’s 2020 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate.

Makhdoom plans to devote her life to helping improve the health and lives of people however she can. She is particularly interested in the emerging interdisciplinary fields of global health diplomacy.

Her goal is to become a physician, focusing on health disparities and inequalities. She said she will likely specialize in the care of women and children.

She is also seeking a Fulbright scholarship for 2021-22 to expand her research into how cultural values affect health outcomes.

“Should I be awarded the Fulbright, I will use the Thanu and Nongyao Kulachol Library Scholarship I have received to travel to Singapore,” Makhdoom said. “I have been so blessed that this scholarship fits so well with my dreams.”

The creation of the scholarship was a collaborative effort between the SIU Foundation and Library Affairs, along with donors Jared and Maryann Dorn.

“Sometimes many students are not aware of scholarships that are available to them that align with their future plans,” Makhdoom said. “Donors really open up career paths for students and broaden their horizons. Such opportunities open their eyes and allows them to focus more clearly on their hopes and plans. I would encourage other donors to give so more students could benefit from opportunities such as the ones I have received here at SIU. I am so thankful for donors like Jared and Maryann Dorn, and I am excited about the future before me.”