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: Chris Edwards — Saluki Booster Club Athletic Scholarship recipient

Chris Edwards — Saluki Booster Club Athletic Scholarship recipient

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

By Ron Reeves

Chris Edwards, a junior on the men’s cross country and track & field team from Columbia, Missouri, received the Saluki Booster Club Athletic Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic school year. Edwards is one of the leaders of the SIU track program and a philanthropist in the community.

Chris has worked very hard for his opportunities, and he started out as an underdog.

“I was not heavily recruited out of high school,” said Edwards. “In fact, I did all of my own recruiting – most schools were not interested in a guy who had only run a 4:50 1600m going into his senior year.”

Edwards is the definition of determination and being a team player. By the end of his senior year of high school, he would go on to push nearly 29 seconds off his 1600 time and earn himself a scholarship to SIU.

“Running for a Division I school has always been a dream of mine,” said Edwards. “I will work harder than anyone; I would do anything for the team.”

Just like during his high school career, he promises to work his hardest and to bring excellence to everything that he does. Chris is also the top male volunteer in the athletic department during the NCAA Service Challenge and is on the Executive Board for SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee).

“I am very impressed with his commitment and how willing he is to help out in the community,” said Raluca Mita, academic coordinator who oversees the SAAC and the NCAA Service Challenge. “Chris has done a great job in SAAC by bringing in new ideas to every meeting and being available when help is needed at events.”

On the track, Edwards has contributed to the success of the Salukis. During the 2018 season, he helped the team by scoring in both the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Edwards was part of the indoor 7th place distance medley relay, and in outdoor finished 6th (9:16:40) in the 3000 steeplechase.

“Chris is one of the best teammates that you could ask for as he puts the team first in each of his decisions,” said Kevin Cataldo, head cross country/assistant track & field coach. “This has helped him develop as a runner and leader on the team because he is willing to put in the extra work to become a better athlete while pushing his teammates to do the same.”

Edwards will continue to help his team in the classroom, in the community and on the track. He is proud to be a Saluki and proud to have received the Saluki Booster Club Athletic Scholarship.

“My work is not finished though. While here at SIU the goal is to win a conference championship as a team,” said Edwards. “One day it will pay off.”

To see a full list of athletic endowments, click HERE.

150 Stories of Philanthropy: SIU Scholarship Recipient Nicholas Oglesby

150 Stories of Philanthropy: SIU Scholarship Recipient Nicholas Oglesby

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

Nicholas Oglesby is a unior from Belleville, Illinois, studying physiology.

Why did you choose SIU?
SIU has been proven to get students prepared for the workforce and their career.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I have always been interested in the structure and functionality of the human body. The efficiency at which the body can operate is completely fascinating to me and I want to know more about it.

What was your reaction when you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was overjoyed because without the scholarship I more than likely would not have been able to attend this year. My parents have two children in college and they cannot afford to put both of us through school.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
Once I obtain my degree in physiology, I want to go to medical school and become a pediatrician. After I have enough experience, I am going to start my own affordable practice in East St. Louis, Illinois, where many people do not have the money or resources to get proper medical care.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I appreciate this scholarship more than I can express and I am determined not to let your generosity go to waste.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
Many students can not afford to pay for school but have the talent and aspirations to do great things. How will we know what people can do if they are never given a chance to show us?

Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
Yes, I want to help other students just like I have been helped.

 

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Emilyee McGiles awarded the Jane Talley Phelps Scholarship

Emilyee McGiles awarded the Jane Talley Phelps Scholarship

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

By Ron Reeves

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Emilyee McGiles, a sophomore on the women’s golf team from Orland Park, Illinois, received the Jane Talley Phelps Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic school year. McGiles is currently studying exercise science with the plan to attend physical therapy school after graduation.

“My journey thus far has exceeded my expectations,” said McGiles. “I have met so many incredible people here that help me every day, from my professors and coaches to my teammates and many more.”

McGiles has excelled on and off the course at SIU. During the 2017-18 season, she received two separate honors from the Missouri Valley Conference – Academic Honor Roll and Golfer of the Week (Sept. 20).

“I am very happy that Emilyee was selected for the Jane Talley Phelps Scholarship,” said women’s golf coach Danielle Kaufman. “It is well deserved; she works very hard and has no problem leading the team.”

McGiles’ Golfer of the Week performance was followed by her eighth place finish at the Ball State University Cardinal Classic. She finished with a career low of 220 (+4) which also ranked sixth in the Saluki record book for all-time low 54-hole score.

McGiles’ freshman year was stellar with an average of 78.2 strokes per round. She also shot a career low of 71 at the MVC championships and finished in the top-10 at three different tournaments.

“I can’t imagine myself being anywhere else,” said McGiles. “To be a recipient of the Jane Talley Phelps Scholarship is an honor and I am very thankful. Jane was an avid sports fan and I wish I had the chance to meet her. Every time I play a round of golf, I will be thinking of her.”

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: SIU Scholarship Recipient Melina Launay

150 Stories of Philanthropy: SIU Scholarship Recipient Melina Launay

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

Melina Launay is a senior from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, studying elementary education.

Why did you choose SIU?
I chose to go to SIU because they made me feel confident in their ability to lead me onto becoming a great teacher. I am very excited about the progress I have made as a future educator.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I decided to become a teacher because I want to be that positive influence in the students who may not have someone at home. I love children and I have a strong desire to see our future generations grow up and lead the country. Strong and caring teachers need to be teaching our future politicians, doctors, and inventors.

What was your reaction when you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was actually very surprised. I had not heard anything from the scholarships and just assumed I did not make the cut. I was very overwhelmed with joy upon receiving notice of my scholarship.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
This scholarship made me realize how fortunate I am a student of Southern Illinois University. I am passing the word and encouraging other students to apply for SIU and their scholarships because they are available for so many different students of all kinds.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I would like to thank you for your generous donation. This scholarship is helping me pay for schooling, as well as limit the amount of student debt I will have upon graduation. I am using this money towards school, which ends up helping me buy supplies for my future classroom because I have more money in my pocket. I greatly appreciate your scholarship, and I hope to use this to take every opportunity I have at becoming the best possible teacher.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
I am very fortunate. However, many people I know do not continue their education because they cannot afford it. Financial aid can be hard to complete for students who may have messy family situations. Scholarships are a great way to give back to the community and invest in the life of a prospective leader.

Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
I will definitely consider finding a way to give some sort of donation to either a student or school in the future. I want to make a difference in the lives of others, and I was very appreciative of my scholarship.

 

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: SIU Scholarship Recipient Leah Hall

SIU Scholarship Recipient Leah Hall

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

Leah Hall is a freshman from Carbondale, Illinois, studying animal production.

Why did you choose SIU?
SIU has a great animal science program that could offer me a lot of hands-on experience.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I’ve been obsessed with animal science since I was a kid. I would always choose Animal Planet over cartoons and I decided to turn that childhood passion into a career.

What was your reaction when you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was so surprised. This scholarship took a huge weight off my shoulders. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my tuition for the semester, so it felt like the greatest gift ever.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
Every single scholarship I receive motivates me to be a better student and a better person. Having complete strangers believe in me and my ability to succeed just makes me confident that my passion will impact others.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I’m so grateful that you saw something in me that was worth rewarding. Lately, every time I feel down I just remember this blessing and that without it, I could have been in a much worse situation. Thank you.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
There shouldn’t be a price tag on education, but unfortunately, there is. There are thousands of students like me who have to work while attending school and that kind of pressure shouldn’t be put on anyone if it doesn’t have to be.

Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
I want to give back by using what I learn at SIU to enter the agricultural industry and leave my mark.

 

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150 Stories of Philanthropy: Nigel Kilby awarded the Herrin Security Bank Athletic Scholarship

Nigel Kilby awarded the Herrin Security Bank Athletic Scholarship

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

By Ron Reeves

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Nigel Kilby, a junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana and a member of the Saluki Football team, received the Herrin Security Bank Athletic Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic school year. Kilby was honorable mention All-MVFC last season, recording a season-high seven catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns against South Dakota.

“Nigel is a transfer student-athlete to SIU who has done an outstanding job,” said head football coach Nick Hill. “He has done well in the classroom and has made a big impact on the field and we are looking forward to his senior year.”

While at Garden City Community College, Kilby was rated the No. 37 junior college prospect in the country, and according to 247sports.com, he was the No. 3 junior college tight end. During his first season as a Saluki, he caught 16 passes for 230 yards, a 14.38 yard average and scored 6 touchdowns.

“Nigel is in a difficult degree program (Exercise Science) and has powered through at every step,” said Hilary Wittenborn, academic coordinator. “He values his education and knows how to balance it all.”

This fund was established on behalf of Charles Helleny and Sharon Ruth Helleny, SIU graduates from the College of Business and Administration and the College of Education, respectively. Charles is a strong supporter of Southern Illinois University sports and WSIU-TV8. He graduated from SIU with a degree in business administration in 1954. In 1957, Helleny began his career as a bookkeeper at Herrin Security Bank during the bank’s first year of operation. During his tenure at Herrin Security Bank, Helleny worked as a teller, assistant cashier, loan officer, cashier and executive vice president. In 1975, he became the director of Herrin Security Bank and in 2001 was named president and chief executive. In 2018, SIU Athletics named the pavilion in SIU Arena the Charles Helleny Pavilion. Additionally, the first Division I home men’s basketball game has been named the Charles Helleny Tip-Off Classic.

“This scholarship will open an unbelievable amount of doors for me,” said Kilby. “It gives me the opportunity to earn my degree and compete in a sport I love.”

Kilby said he is grateful for the opportunity the scholarship has created for him.

“This scholarship has helped my family and me immensely. I am very blessed and thankful.”

To see a full list of athletic endowments, click HERE.

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: ZeVeyon Furcron awarded the Julius A. and Norma H. Johnson Athletic Scholarship

ZeVeyon Furcron awarded the Julius A. and Norma H. Johnson Athletic Scholarship

ZeVeyon Furcron awarded the Julius A. and Norma H. Johnson Athletic ScholarshipBy Ron Reeves

CARBONDALE, Ill. — ZeVeyon Furcron, a sophomore from Crest Hill and a member of the Saluki Football team, received the Julius A. and Norma H. Johnson Athletic Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic school year. Furcron helped pave the way for 1,000 – yard rusher D.J. Davis in 2018.

“ZeVeyon does everything right for our team and leads by example,” said head football coach Nick Hill. “His attitude and personality is contagious and makes people around him better.”

“Having a scholarship here at SIU is a huge deal for my family and me,” said Furcron. “I am the first one in my immediate family to go to college with a scholarship.”

Even though he redshirted during his first year at SIU, Furcron was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Academic Honor Roll and the team’s Defensive Scout Player of the Year. During this past season, he switched positions from defensive tackle to left guard which helped improve the offensive line.

“This scholarship shows that all my mom’s hard work didn’t go to waste,” added Furcron. “I am able to pay her back with this scholarship and by hopefully making it to the NFL one day.”

Julius Johnson was a St. Louis, Missouri native who earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from SIU in 1975. As a member of the 1956 and 1957 SIU gymnastics team, Julius was a stellar performer especially on the parallel bars. After receiving his degree, he served in the Army before earning his law degree from Howard University in 1963. Julius and Norma were married in June 1964. Julius worked as public defender, law school lecturer, and assistant U.S. attorney before his appointment as administrative judge for the Department of Labor in 1976. He was honored in 1997 as an SIU Distinguished Alumni. Norma Johnson was a Lake Charles, La. native, who was the first African-American women appointed as the U.S. District Court Chief Judge. Julius passed away in 2010, and Norma in 2011. Their legacy continues to this very day.

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