Donor inspired by professor, lifelong friend

Madeleine Smith (below) stayed connected to SIU by sending postcards during her travels abroad.

Madeleine Smith (below) stayed connected to SIU by sending postcards during her travels abroad.

By Jeff Wilson

Tom Catania’s continued support of SIU is largely derived from the inspiration he received from one influential professor, Madeleine Smith.

Catania, a 1967 graduate, set up the Madeleine Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor the woman who guided him as a student and befriended him afterward.

“She was like no other person I’ve known. She had a brilliant mind,” he said. “She really inspired me.”

Smith came to SIU (then Southern Illinois State Normal University) in 1929. She taught French as part of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. She retired in 1971 but kept in contact with the university by sending postcards during her travels abroad.

From April 1943 to November 1945, she served as a member of the Signal Corps in the War Department in Washington, D.C. In 1946, she was selected as one of 100 American French instructors to visit France as part of a goodwill visit.

“She was working for us, for our government,” Catania said. “That’s says something about her, too.”

After receiving his degree in foreign languages and literature, Catania taught high school English and some French in Chicago. He and Smith continued their friendship until she passed away.

“She was a teacher in the truest sense of the word, like Socrates,” Catania said. “She taught by example. I tried to pass on a little bit of what I got from her. Besides being smart, she was a great person.”

Catania said he hopes his gift will honor Smith’s legacy and ensure that students have opportunities available to them.

“I think that it’s important to give young people an opportunity to find a school that gives them an education and the tools they need,” he said.

The goal of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign is to increase student scholarships and opportunities. To learn how you can help, visit


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SIU raises over $475,000 on Day of Giving

by Rebecca Renshaw

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The second annual Day of Giving for Southern Illinois University Carbondale raised more than $475,000 from more than 1,800 donors, and the donations are still rolling in.

With the theme of “Give the Gift of Experience” as its call to action, the 24-hour fundraising campaign rallied SIU supporters across the country and the globe in support of SIU students and programs.

The SIU Day of Giving website at shows where funds were donated.

Many small donations made a big difference

SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno thanked the many alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff who supported the campaign.

“The 24-hour campaign model provides a mechanism for people to connect with their giving,” Montemagno said. “It provides a framework so that everybody says, ‘My $50 gift or $20 gift is going to make a difference, because we’re all giving together as a community.’”

“These donations not only help the university with key projects, but also reveal the deep affection that many have for SIU Carbondale.”

Looking forward to SIU’s 150th anniversary

Jim Salmo, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the funds will make an immediate impact on the areas designated by donors. Another goal is to attract first-time donors.

“This event once again exceeded our expectations,” Salmo said, noting that the first Day of Giving raised $341,121. “We are already looking forward to next year as the kick-off to SIU Carbondale’s 150 anniversary celebration.”

Student involvement drove donations

Salmo said students played a pivotal role in the event’s success. Many students connected with the campaign through information booths at Morris Library, the Student Center and many colleges and units.

Trophies headed to CASA and Education and Human Services

Traveling trophies will be presented to the college or unit with the highest number of participants and for the college or unit that raised the most dollars.

“There was a tremendous amount of participation this year over last year and I think it came from a friendly competition among the colleges,” Salmo said. “I’m very pleased to announce that SIU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts will be awarded the trophy for receiving the highest number of gifts at 306. SIU’s College of Education and Human Services raised the most dollars at $96,996.”

The event would not have been successful without several online ambassadors and on-campus volunteers, including students and alumni who shared fundraising progress and messaging on various social platforms, Salmo said. A video highlighting the many exciting experiences students have on campus had nearly 50,000 views.

2018 SIU Day of Giving Thank You

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2018 SIU Academic Scholarship Lunch

“What truly matters in our communities and at this university are, first, the people we make of ourselves and, second, the people we assist in the making of themselves. The nice thing about SIU, and there are many, is that it is a wonderful place to do both.”
– Dr. Marsha Ryan, JD ‘87

Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Carmen Burkett

Carmen Burkett - Bertrand Scholar

Carmen Burkett is a senior from Carterville, Illinois, studying zoology.

Why did you choose SIU?
SIU is a beautiful campus, offering unique experiences, and the degree program I desired.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/or activity groups that you are currently involved in?
I enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings and outdoor activities close to SIU. It has been a great experience to meet International students through the conversation partner program and other activities.

What was your reaction when you learned that you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I felt extreme gratitude.

What does receiving the Bertrand scholarship mean to you? What difference did it make in your life?
I am so thankful–not only have I been given the opportunity to learn and grow academically, I have had so many wonderful experiences since starting at SIU. I have met people from all over the world, witnessed exciting research, and been part of something great.

How has the donor’s generosity impacted your view on your educations and goals for the future?
I hope to one day be able to tangibly help others achieve their educational goals,thereby building society as a whole.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
I hope I, too, can be a source of inspiration and practical assistance to others who are working toward their goals.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I am so very grateful. Thank you.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
This is truly an investment in the future of society.

How would you like to support SIU students in the future?
I would like to be part of nourishing the learning environment for others.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – Diamond Trusty

diamond trusty

Diamond Trusty is a senior from Chicago, Illinois, studying journalism.

Why did you choose SIU?
I chose SIU because it is a beautiful campus. I also came here in high school for journalism camp and fell in love with the school. Also, once I got my very generous financial aid package, I was sold.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
I would tell them that SIU is a place that has many opportunities.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
My grandma would watch the news day in and day out and I always wanted to find unique ways to tell stories.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
My most memorable experience would have to be when I was awarded the Virginia Marmaduke Scholarship my sophomore year. It was a great honor.


What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
This scholarship meant that all my hard work did not go unrecognized.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Someone should consider giving money because we have been surrounded with people who want to make things happen but do not have the money for the resources.


If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
I would like to see that money benefit the multi-cultural resource center for more paper for the students to have free printing and color ink.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – William Locher

SIU Student William Locher, SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience

William Locher is a junior from Springfield, Illinois, studying international affairs and German.

Why did you choose SIU?
It sounds cliché every time I talk about it, but when I came to SIU for a visit, the staff and faculty laid everything out on the table and made it feel like they truly wanted me to come here. It was very apparent that this university cares about the students it brings in. I knew I could succeed with that kind of mentality among SIU faculty and staff. I haven’t been disappointed for a second in this regard since being here.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
The faculty and staff care about us doing well as students and want to help in any way possible. I would also say that there are just so many avenues to pursue success here. Again, it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Finding a group, professor, job, etc. to push you forward in your career is not a difficult thing to do here, it’s just a matter of taking the opportunities put in front of you.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I was on a school trip to Germany in high school where I lived with a host family for three weeks and traveled through Germany for an additional week. Throughout the experience, I was captivated by the culture, but also by the similarities and differences of the German culture and American culture. Learning about the German education, economic, and political system made me wonder about how our systems work together in the greater scheme of things. I’ve always wanted to work with people, as well. I told myself when we were standing outside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the United States Embassy that I would work in that exact building (the Embassy) someday.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
There are quite a few that come to mind, but definitely one of the top was the eclipse. I’ve told people that the eclipse was one of the top five single events of my life, really. It was incredible to see the masses of people come to Carbondale. I loved how everyone embraced it and showed our pride for everyone to see from all over the country.

Have you received any scholarships as a student? 
I am a University Excellence Scholar.

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
This scholarship means everything to me. I probably would have come to SIU even without the scholarship, just based on how the faculty and staff treated me when I came here for the first time, but it definitely helps. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to start my life after college on the right foot to avoid debt. This scholarship, paired with working as University Housing student staff has made it possible for me to pursue even higher goals for after my time at SIU. Saving money now means I have the opportunity to do more later.

How has SIU inspired you?
My courses at SIU have truly shaped the way I think. In the political science department, at least, my professors – especially Dr. Shulman and Dr. Tilley – have provided the best possible environment for productive discussion. I have learned more in their classes about people and ideas than anywhere else. They have taught me that there is always a counter-argument to every point and that we, as productive members of society, MUST be willing to see that counter-argument to any point we may make. It’s crucial to positively impacting our society and our world. It’s how we will move forward.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Because SIU is making life happen for a lot of people. It’s inspiring people to go out and do big things for the world. I know I’ve felt that way.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
I brag about how well I know my professors and how easy it is to get involved with anything you want. I love the relationships I’ve built with my professors; it’s something most other universities cannot offer. From what my friends at other places have said, they only see their professor when they go to class and sometimes even only on test days, which isn’t even close to the case for me. I brag about how easy it is to commit yourself to the university in any way possible and to develop yourself professionally and socially.

If you had $1,000 to donate to the SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
I would donate it for student worker positions or to help the prospect of new residence halls. Student workers are really important to the campus, but it could be argued that jobs are even more important to those students that have them or, more importantly, don’t have them due to a lack of funding. Many students work so hard to help themselves with school payments and other financial strains, and many of those that want jobs on campus can’t get them because of insufficient funds. I think the campus would benefit greatly from more students being directly involved with the campus and it would make many feel even better about being here.


You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018:

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