Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Lillie Betts

SIU Student Lillie Betts - Bertrand Scholarship recipient

Lillie Betts is a senior from Jacob, Illinois, studying social work.

Why did you choose SIU?
It’s close to home so I can be around friends and family.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I have always wanted to help people, when I learned about social work I just knew it was something I would be able to make a difference.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/or activity groups that you are currently involved in?
I love getting into the dance studio especially when I am teaching. There’s something rewarding about teaching a child to dance and seeing their reaction when they realize they did the step right!

What was your reaction when you learned that you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was so thankful and grateful that I was chosen to be a Bertrand scholar for the second year in a row!

What does receiving the Bertrand scholarship mean to you? What difference did it make in your life?
It means I can finish my degree and start my career. It means I won’t have as much student debt. It also means that I can proudly say I am a college graduate and make my parents proud.

How has the donor’s generosity impacted your view on your educations and goals for the future?
It is so amazing to know that there are people who are willing to help students get through college and achieve their dreams. I can only hope that one day I can do the same for other students in the future.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
Receiving this scholarship means that I am able to finish my degree. Since I am going into the social work field I have such a wide variety of options to make a difference. Whether I choose to go into substance use recovery or family and children’s services even though it doesn’t impact society as a whole, every little step works.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I want to thank the both of you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to be a Bertrand scholar for the second year in a row. It is so amazing that I have been given this opportunity again to further my education. I will forever be thankful for the both of you and what you have done for me and all the other Bertrand scholars!


Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Leaving a powerful legacy

A $1.5 million estate gift from William Hill, a 1942 SIU graduate, will establish two scholarships each year to junior or senior zoology majors with grade point averages of at least 3.0 in all zoology courses.

“Scholarships are essential to attract the most talented students to SIU, especially in this highly competitive science field,” said Lori Achenbach, recently retired dean of the College of Science. “These students, whom we expect to serve as leaders in the College of Science, are vitally important to the program’s future success.”

Hill died Feb. 19 in Decatur, Illinois, at the age of 98. After graduating from SIU, he spent his career with the United States Food and Drug Administration, holding several prominent positions with the agency, ranging from inspector to director.

In retirement, Hill became even more appreciative of his SIU years. When he returned to campus in 2002 to mark the 60th anniversary of his graduation, he presented the university with a $100,000 gift to establish the William C. Hill Zoology Scholarship Endowment.

In a 2015 interview, Hill reflected on his initial gift, saying: “We had extra money and thought supporting SIU would be the best way to invest it. The education I received at SIU truly prepared me for success in the FDA. It provided me with knowledge that allowed me to be a great fit for what the organization required.

“This is my way of paying SIU back.”

Jim Salmo, chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, said the gift marks a positive development at a time when scholarships are needed to help minimize students’ debt burdens.

“William Hill knew what an education could mean for people, and he was committed to helping them go to school,” Salmo said. “His gift to the zoology department is going to be meaningful, and we hope it will inspire others to follow in his footsteps.”

Gift Honors Lives Of Discovery, Education

We rise by lifting others.

Haree Deutchman dedicated her life to the excitement of discovery.

Her mother, Muriel, is helping others who share her daughter’s passion by establishing the Muriel and Bernard Deutchman Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of Dr. Haree Lynn Deutchman. The fund provides scholarships to support graduate students in philosophy.

Haree earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from SIU in 1976 and 1979, respectively. Tragically, she passed away in 1984 at the age of 34.

While her time as a professional was short, it was productive. Haree was a prolific researcher involved in a number of published works.

She was particularly well versed in Native American antiquities, the subject of both her master’s and doctoral theses.

Haree spent time working on the Black Mesa Archaeological Project, a well-known initiative within the archaeology community. About 1.3 million Navajo, Hopi and ancient Anasazi artifacts were unearthed and delicately moved to another location.

A New York City native, Haree came to SIU after earning her bachelor’s degree at New York University. While studying in Carbondale, she received the SIU Dissertation Research Award and an SIU Fellowship. Haree was also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society on campus.

Muriel Deutchman said Haree had many wonderful memories from her time at SIU. She hopes the fund will help other graduate students with their studies. Recipients of the scholarship will be known as Dr. Haree Lynn Deutchman Scholars.

Haree’s father, Bernard, is also memorialized by the endowed scholarship. He was an educator in New York, and Muriel said it was important to honor Bernard’s legacy.

Education played an important role in the Deutchman family, and that was a key factor in Muriel deciding to make such a gift to her daughter’s alma mater.

She hopes that by keeping Bernard and Haree’s memory alive, others will be able to better afford their research and follow in their footsteps.

Endowments are a wonderful way to honor those who inspire and make a difference. Donors have the option of endowing a chair, professorship, visiting lecturer, faculty fellowship, graduate fellowship, scholarship or facility. Doing so ensures the gift leaves a lasting legacy while ensuring SIU students have access to a topnotch educational experience.

For more information about establishing an endowment, visit or call 618-453-4900.

Boat Dock And Pavilion Expected To Be Ready By Spring

SIU Ralph E. Becker Pavilion

Have you seen the progress at the boat dock and pavilion? You aren’t the only one.

Ralph E. Becker, the man responsible for the $1 million donation that’s funding the work, is also monitoring the construction via a private camera feed to his North Carolina home. Mr. Becker, one of the pioneers of the university’s radio-television program, is an SIU Carbondale graduate class of 1955 and an Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

Those watching have witnessed the first phase of the renovation of the more than 50-year-old structure. The boat dock has been reinforced and repainted. New lighting and decking have been added. Stonework now surrounds the water front and patio façade.

“Since the inception of the project, SIU has experienced a great collaboration with the architectural firm of Eggemeyer Associates (Herrin), Samron Construction (Murphysboro) and all of the talented SIU physical plant workers,” Scott Weber, university engineer, said.

SIU Ralph E. Becker Pavilion

In April, the first phase was finished, and the second phase of the project was put out for bid and was won by Marion-based Evrard-Strang Construction. The company will be redoing the plumbing, adding HVAC and insulation, installing a new roof and adding glass windows which will act as exterior walls.

The work is expected to be done by the end of February 2018. SIU Recreational Sports and Services will be responsible for the upkeep and administration of the facility. There will be canoe and paddleboat rentals available. Event space will be available for a variety of purposes, including classroom and social activities, banquets and even weddings.

Once completed, the facility is expected to be one of the crown jewels of campus.

For many, including Mr. Becker, that would be a welcome sight.

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Business alumnus Lynn McPheeters donates to help future business Salukis succeed

Lynn McPheetersby 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

Artist’s gift to benefit graduate students

Artist Jimmy Wright is providing a $1 million gift to fully fund fellowships for graduate students in art at SIU.

By Rebecca Renshaw

CARBONDALE – Artist Jimmy Wright, who earned a master of fine arts degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1971, is providing a $1 million gift to fully fund fellowships for graduate students in art at SIU.

The Jimmy Wright Fine Arts Fellowship endowment, announced by SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, will assist graduate students who need financial support as they pursue their graduate studies in art. Such a gift mirrors Wright’s experience at SIU.

“My graduate school years at SIU Carbondale were an incredibly rich time of education, studio practice and friendship,” Wright said. “I’m pleased to know that future young artists educated at SIU will, in some part, be my heirs.”

A dean’s fellowship provided Wright with the additional financial assistance he needed to complete his degree. He also received other important help along the way, including art department research and teaching fellowships.

“During my time in Carbondale, my home caught fire, destroying all of my equipment, clothing, household goods and artwork,” Wright said. “I was devastated. It was only through the generosity of students and faculty members from the art department who donated their artwork in an auction that I was able to get back on my feet.”

Wright left SIU to teach in New York State in 1973. Moving to New York City in 1974, today he is an accomplished oil and pastel artist and is represented by the DC Moore Gallery in New York City and Corbett vs. Dempsey in Chicago. His works hang in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Wright is also a member of the 1910 Society at Ox-Bow, the School of the Art Institute’s summer home in Saugatuck, Michigan, where he has served as a guest faculty member for eleven years.

“Mr. Wright’s commitment to our university is clear,” Montemagno said. “This gift will benefit graduate students for generations, and Mr. Wright’s legacy will extend far beyond this university.”

The estate gift, which was made as part of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign, furthers the university’s mission of providing the best experience for students across disciplines, including the arts and humanities. For more information about the campaign, visit

To learn more about Wright and his work, visit,,

Big hearts with big dreams

Calvin and Jean Ibendahl

By Rebecca Renshaw

Gilbert Kroening first came to know Calvin Ibendahl when they both attended SIU as students. Later, their paths crossed again when Kroening returned to SIU as the dean of the College of Agriculture at the same time Ibendahl re-enrolled in SIU.

Ibendahl, a World War II and Korean War veteran, had been unable to continue farming while originally attending SIU, so he left the university during his senior year in 1956. He soon was able to buy a bigger farm and found success.

It was only when Kroening returned to SIU that he and William Doerr, then the assistant dean of the college, found a way for Ibendahl to finish his degree in agriculture.

Kroening, B.S. ’59 and M.S. ’60, explains: “Calvin only needed one or two more courses of general study courses, but his farming activities in the spring and fall always got in his way. So we found a way to allow him to start a course in the spring and then finish it in the fall.”

At that point, Ibendahl and his wife, Jean, were successful, so it wasn’t about getting the degree to make a living. It was more about finishing what he had started – and that’s just what he did, earning his bachelor’s degree in ag business in 1983.

While Calvin Ibendahl was considered an introvert, his wife was just the opposite. Ibendahl was considered a progressive farmer for his time, and his spouse was equally driven. As a strong proponent of women in agriculture, she served as vice chairman of American Agri-Women and was president of Illinois Women for Agriculture and chairman of the National Livestock and Meat Board. She also was a member of a U.S. Department of Agriculture task force to help improve high school agriculture economics programs.

“Those opposite personality traits are probably what helped them to be such a successful and influential couple,” Kroening said.

The Ibendahls also initiated the Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarship in 1991. This scholarship is available to any woman between the ages of 18 and 23 who is engaged in farming, ranching or agribusiness. It supports the pursuit of accredited courses in agriculture leadership, communications, rural sociology, medicine or any other courses directly benefiting agriculture.

Calvin Ibendahl died in 2006; his wife continued the couple’s legacy until her death in early 2017.

The Ibendhals maintained a strong affinity for SIU, and in the early 1970s they gave a substantial real estate gift to the university. In their last years they arranged to give an estate gift of $300,000, ensuring that their legacy could be carried out far beyond their lifetimes.

Rhiannon Storm, development officer for the College of Agriculture, said she came to know Jean Ibendahl personally over the last few years.

“Jean wanted to make a mark and leave a legacy,” Storm said. “Since they never had children of their own, she liked to think the SIU students were her children. She just had a helping heart. She’d be pleased to know students are the ones that will end up benefiting from the Ibendahl legacy.”

To learn more about the needs of the College of Agricultural Sciences, visit

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.