McCurry honored as educational foundation leader

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s chief fundraiser is a recipient of the CASE Commonfund Institutionally Related Foundation award. Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, is one of two educational foundation leaders receiving the honor. McCurry and Elizabeth King, president and chief executive officer of the Wichita State University Foundation, were both cited for their extraordinary contributions and longtime support of their foundations and the overall profession.

McCurry and King will be honored March 25 during ceremonies at the 17th Annual Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “While my name may be on the award, this honor is a testament to the leadership of the Foundation Board, the hard work of our staff and the generous support of our friends and donors,” McCurry says. “I am honored to have the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of all of those individuals and Southern Illinois University. McCurry has served as vice chancellor for institutional advancement and Foundation CEO at SIU Carbondale since 2000. Under his leadership, Southern’s endowment has grown from $42 million to $85 million, and, the University completed its first comprehensive campaign in June 2008, surpassing its $100 million goal by $6 million. McCurry is credited with building a strong relationship between the University and its foundation, which has created stronger teamwork between departments and a broader understanding of fundraising. He has also worked closely with the university’s board and encouraged members to interact with foundation directors to identify best practices.

The Humboldt, Tenn., native oversees the activities of the SIU Foundation, the SIU Alumni Association, Constituent Relations and Special Events, and Advancement Services. Prior to joining Southern Illinois University, McCurry served as associate vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs, and campaign director at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has been in the advancement profession for 25 years. The awards are underwritten by Commonfund, a nonprofit corporation with more than 1,800 members and more than $40 billion in assets under management. Commonfund provides fund management services and investment advice to educational institutions, hospitals, foundations and other nonprofits. McCurry received another prestigious honor in December. The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), formed in 1887, appointed McCurry to the executive committee of its Council on Strategic Communications and Advancement. McCurry is serving a three-year term with the council, which provides a forum for examining concerns of campus professionals in communications and public affairs, development and fundraising, and alumni relations. NASULGC is the nation’s oldest higher education association.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is one of the largest international associations of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, and independent primary and secondary schools in 61 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of educational fundraising, communications and marketing, and alumni relations.

Event will honor Lesars, raise scholarship funds

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The SIU School of Law is preparing for a birthday celebration that honors the vision of the law school’s founding dean, while also raising scholarship funds for students. A party celebrating Barbara Lesar’s 90th birthday is set for 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 29, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.

The cost to attend the party is $90 per person, with proceeds going to the Hiram H. Lesar Professorship Fund. Mrs. Lesar turns 90 years old on March 30. “We’re pleased to celebrate Mrs. Lesar’s milestone birthday with her. We are even more excited that she is allowing us to use this opportunity to highlight Dr. Lesar’s life and legacy,” Dean Peter C. Alexander said. Barbara Lesar’s late husband, Hiram, organized and developed the law school with its charter class in August 1973. Prior to that, the only law schools in the state were at the University of Illinois and in Chicago.

The ongoing goal is to raise $250,000 for the Lesar Professorship Fund. The incumbent law school dean will be designated “Dean and Hiram H. Lesar Professor of Law.” The fellowship fund began in 2006. The endowment also generates a scholarship for a law school student in good academic standing who demonstrates high achievement or the potential for high academic achievement. Because of meal considerations, the pre-registration deadline is March 26. To register by e-mail go to and click on the RSVP link to “Celebrating Barbara Lesar’s 90th Birthday.” Registration is also available by e-mail to development officer Judi Ray at or calling 618/453-8135.

Ray said it is Mrs. Lesar’s wish to raise funds for the fellowship in lieu of birthday gifts. The University will honor Barbara Lesar with a Distinguished Service Award during the law school’s commencement ceremony on May 7 in Shryock Auditorium. In February, Alexander noted Barbara Lesar considers it her responsibility to make sure her late husband’s vision is supported in every way possible, actively serving on the law school’s Board of Visitors, and attending every law school event. Barbara Lesar is also co-chair of the committee working to endow the professorship in Dean Lesar’s honor.

ShawneeLink equipment donation aids students

by Christi Mathis

ShawneeLink equipment donation aids SIU students

New equipment — David Johnson (left) and Bryan Pumphrey, both Southern Illinois University Carbondale students from Chicago, work with computer routers and related equipment that ShawneeLink Corp. recently donated to the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. (Photo by Christi Mathis)

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The world at your fingertips — accessible with a few taps on a computer keyboard. But, it doesn’t happen without connectivity. Thanks to an equipment donation from ShawneeLink, some students in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts are getting enhanced personal experience in making that connectivity happen.

The Internet service provider and communications company donated technology equipment valued at more than $37,000 to the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies for use by network security and wide area network installation and administration classes. In addition, the SIUC Cyber Defense Team, also known as the “Security Dawgs,” is utilizing it as well.

“Given that ShawneeLink believes today’s IT (information technologies) graduates need not only a strong theoretical foundation, but also practical, hands-on experience they can apply in industry from the first day on the job, we are donating these four ImageStream Gateway routers to SIUC’s Information Systems and Applied Technologies program to enable students to get that experience,” said David M. St. Pierre, Internet operations manager for ShawneeLink.

ShawneeLink, a regional Internet service provider, donated Linux-based equipment that complements the Microsoft operating system and Cisco hardware already in place at SIUC. Company officials said ShawneeLink simply outgrew the capabilities of these four routers, but they are still very current, available for purchase new and still carry six to 18 months of warranty.

“The support of industry is extremely important to my school,” said Will Devenport, director of the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies. “ShawneeLink’s very generous donation gives a great boost to our networking and security curriculum. No other program on campus provides students with the ‘hands-on’ experience now available with this wide area networking equipment. I truly appreciate the support of this Southern Illinois regional partner. Thank you, ShawneeLink!”

Essentially, the donated equipment gives students the chance to work in the classroom on a different connectivity system than they previously experienced. “Really what this gift means is that we can stop being vendor-specific,” said Belle S. Woodward, ISAT assistant professor and Cyber Defense Team faculty adviser. She said students can now train using both Gateway and Cisco systems, giving them a well-rounded education that improves their range and employability.

“Any time you have more equipment to do hands-on work with, it promotes and improves our preparedness,” Woodward said.

During a recent wide area network installation and administration class, Bryan Pumphrey and David Johnson, both ISAT majors from Chicago, were attempting to “ping” the nearby computer Michael Woodside and Afton James were working on, thereby establishing communication between the computers. “We’re trying to find out if these computers are connected over the gateway,” said Johnson, a senior. A big smile spread on Pumphrey’s face as the junior found the correct IP address and established a network connection. “It gives us more variety, more experience and connectivity speed,” Woodside said of the equipment donation. Woodside is a senior ISAT major from Pinckneyville. “The more devices we have to work with, the more diverse experience we have that we can apply someday in the workplace,” added James, also a senior ISAT major from Pinckneyville. “They’re able to use this equipment to demonstrate its functionality rather than just read about it,” said Tom Imboden, assistant ISAT professor. “They can implement it and create the functionality in our classroom. It allows our students to have hands-on experience that few institutions have the ability to duplicate. This is very sophisticated.” St. Pierre is an SIUC alumnus, earning a bachelor of science in computer science in December 2006. With a previous career in healthcare, IT represents a mid-life career change for him. He began working at ShawneeLink two months before graduating from SIUC. Headquartered in Equality, ShawneeLink Corp., along with its sister company Shawnee Telephone, are wholly owned subsidiaries of Shawnee Communications. When created in 1996, ShawneeLink Corp. initially offered long-distance telephone service. The following year, the company added dial-up Internet service for its service area and by 2003 ShawneeLink offered high-speed DSL.

Library patio will incorporate Old Main stonework

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — As the extensive renovation and expansion of Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale nears completion, plans are under way for a new patio at the east end of the building, an idea conceived in 2006 as library focus groups considered numerous options. “This picturesque, well-shaded corner of campus should prove a popular spot and I hope library patrons, staff and donors alike will support this idyllic space,” said David N. Carlson, dean of Library Affairs. The brick patio design features tables and benches with a special touch: the incorporation of some architectural elements from the historic Old Main building, destroyed by fire in 1969. The patio plans call for use of some of the building’s stonework, saved after the fire. Pieces of the limestone and granite will help form an exterior patio border and serve as benches. Plans also are in the works to recreate an Old Main archway featuring a star at its pinnacle to serve as a patio entrance. The design was a joint project involving the Friends of Morris Library, library staff, Engineering Services student worker Eric Leitner and Brian Gorecki, an architect with Plant and Service Operations. Gorecki said engraved paving bricks “will enhance the historical nature of the patio” and give supporters the opportunity to be part of “a permanent piece of history.” The Friends of Morris Library lent its support for the patio project, contributing $8,000 toward the estimated $130,000 price tag. Private funding will cover the patio cost and one source for that funding is the sale of commemorative bricks. The bricks will comprise part of the walkway curving through the middle of the patio. The engraved bricks, of high-quality materials, carry a 100-year guarantee.

Each four-inch by eight-inch brick costs $250 and offers space for engraving of three lines of text, each line having a maximum of 11 characters, including spaces. For $500, supporters can purchase an eight-inch square paver brick that offers the option of adding to the engraving the Pulliam clock tower or the Saluki athletics logo for an additional $50. A $4,000 contribution covers the cost of tables with seating while a $2,000 donation pays for an interior bench. A $5,000 gift underwrites the cost of creating a perimeter bench from Old Main stone. Reconstruction of the Old Main arch will cost $30,000. “The patio project represents a unique opportunity for all members of the SIUC community to make a very substantial addition to our beautiful campus,” said Rob Jensen, chairman of the Friends of Morris Library patio committee. “This patio will be an ideal complement to the newly renovated library and it will further enhance the library’s role as the heart of our academic ventures.” Individuals or groups interested in assisting with the project by sponsoring engraved bricks or other patio elements may contact Kristine McGuire at or by calling 618/453-1633. (Gordon Pruett contributed to his release.)