Banterra Scholarship Opens Doors to Opportunity

Danielle Lorentz

Danielle Lorentz

by Rebecca Renshaw

Danielle Lorentz’s heart bleeds maroon. A senior majoring in communications with specializations in interpersonal and organizational communication, Lorentz refers to herself as a “townie.”

“My mother worked at SIU, so I grew up in Carbondale. We attended tailgates, football games, you name it, we were there. It just felt natural that I would attend SIU. I could not be prouder to be both from Carbondale and be a Saluki,” she said.

In her junior year, Lorentz says, she stumbled upon a study abroad program through the College of Business that would apply toward a minor in international marketing while studying in Grenoble, France. However, she was concerned about the expenses involved with the program and decided to take one of the campus prerequisites to see how she liked the material.

At the same time, Lorentz learned she was a recipient of a Banterra Bank scholarship.

“Knowing I had the funds to study abroad allowed me to continue to pursue my interest in marketing. It was as if a door had opened up and exposed me to a whole new side of the business world. If I hadn’t received the scholarship, I would never have pursued a new path in marketing,” she said.

As it turned out, Lorentz discovered she enjoyed the class and the content. She felt earning a minor in marketing would pair nicely with her communication degree and give her an opportunity of a lifetime to study abroad.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lorentz did not get to realize her dream of studying in France. However, she said the excitement the scholarship gave her and the new path it presented made all the difference.

“I want to thank Banterra Bank for its generosity and its willingness to positively impact students’ lives in ways that didn’t even seem possible. I have already been so fortunate in what SIU has given me and this scholarship added even more,” she said.

Jeff May, president of Banterra Bank, said the Banterra Scholarships were part of an agreement to name the Banterra Center on campus.

“Ensuring that a scholarship program was set up as part of our naming-rights agreement was a key requirement for us to move forward with our SIU partnership,” May said. “Being able to assist with education needs of our youth as well as grow enrollment for one of the region’s largest employers is incredibly important to Banterra.”

When Lorentz heard the scholarships being announced at a SIU basketball game, she felt pride sitting in the stands knowing she was one of the recipients.

“That amount of money can make or break a student’s opportunities. It gives young people like myself the freedom to pay for books or pay for a program or get certified online,” said Lorentz.

“I also want to express to potential donors out there that even though they are giving a monetary donation, for students, it is so much more. Not only does it provide opportunities, it is also a sign of encouragement for students to keep moving forward,” she said.

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A Lasting Legacy: Future farmers, teachers to benefit from former professor’s gift

Jim and Sue Legacy

Jim and Sue Legacy

By Rebecca Renshaw

Jim Legacy’s passion for agriculture started at an early age. Now, he and his wife, Sue, are sharing that passion with others.

The Legacys donated $1 million from their charitable trust to the SIU College of Agricultural Sciences. Per their wishes, 80 percent will help fund scholarships for SIU students who participated in Future Farmers of America, and 20 percent will go toward faculty.

Jim Legacy came to SIU in 1977 as professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He retired at the end of 2001.

“The most enjoyable experience of my life was being a professor,” he said. “As an instructor, you have these 18-year-old kids who come ready to learn from your knowledge. They carry a great deal of respect for a professor, and you end up playing an important and often extended role in their lives.”

During his tenure, he had multiple students come to his home for dinner and attended many of their graduation ceremonies and even weddings.

Legacy participated in international agricultural projects that took him all over the world.

“SIU gave me so many memorable experiences that I will never forget,” he said. “I traveled to Africa, China, Jamaica and Western Samoa to do meaningful work. It definitely enriched my life.”

Hard work & education

Born on a dairy farm in upstate New York, Legacy’s first agricultural experience came when he was 10 years old and his grandfather gave him 50 chicks to raise. As he neared high school, he received land from his father, and he milked 15 cows every day for nearly four years.

“I took math and science and vocational agriculture at Franklin Academy High School, and those classes furthered my interest in getting higher education degrees in agriculture,” Legacy said. “I had an agriculture teacher who encouraged me to go to college and get a degree in agriculture. I listened to him.”

Using the money he saved milking cows, Legacy attended Cornell University, earning his doctorate from Cornell in 1976. He was quickly hired by Purdue as an assistant professor of agriculture. After one year there, he began searching for a university that would give him the freedom to be his own person.

“SIU was a perfect match for me and my family. SIU allowed me to teach students how I wanted and run my program the way I saw fit,” he said.

An investment in the future

The Legacys strongly believe in the value of the FFA, which made it the clear choice for financial support.

“The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of high school students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success,” he said. “There are over 700,000 student members in grades 7 through 12 who belong to FFA chapters, and what is surprising is that most of them are not farm kids.

“It provides students with a huge structure. It teaches them how to speak in public, gives them direction and shapes them into leaders.”

Legacy said there aren’t enough instructors to teach all these students. Last year, Illinois universities graduated 28 individuals who received an Agricultural Education Teacher Certification. However, there were 97 open teaching positions throughout secondary schools in the state. He’s hoping more scholarship opportunities will encourage more agriculture majors to obtain a teaching certificate.

“Most high schools have abandoned vocational programs. Agricultural programs like the FFA are the few that still exist,” Legacy said. “It’s a program that can make so many young kids shine. My hope is that this donation will help SIU and further the mission of the FFA.”

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A helping hand: Day of Giving funds bolster student’s experience, opportunity

Diamoneek Green

By Jeff Wilson

Every donation made during the SIU Day of Giving benefits students.

That means funding scholarships, improving facilities, enhancing programs, supporting a cause, etc. Of course, some donations can have an even more direct impact.

That’s what Diamoneek Green, a student ambassador for the Department of Political Science, found out when she earned the 2020 Barbara Brown Internship from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

For a political science major with a pre-law specialty, the chance to work with state legislators in the General Assembly was perfect.

“I’m interning with the Illinois Municipal League,” Green said. “It’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents Illinois municipalities on a state and federal level. Its work positively impacts the entire state of Illinois and other local governments nationwide.”

Of course, moving from Carbondale to Springfield posed a significant financial challenge. Green was locked into a rental agreement with a local apartment complex but also needed a place to live in Springfield. Having two rent bills to pay would be difficult for anyone, especially a student working an internship.

While living and studying in Carbondale, she worked multiple jobs and found time to volunteer.

“Even with plans to work while doing the internship, it was going to be nearly impossible to make ends meet. I always prided myself on being financially independent,” she said. “I’ve always been ambitious. I didn’t want to go into debt.”

That’s when Green reached out for help. She wrote a heartfelt letter to Todd Bryson, director of the Student Multicultural Resource Centers, and Dr. Linda Baker, a professor at the Simon Institute.

“They were so helpful,” she said. “Todd kept telling me to be patient. He wanted me to focus on this opportunity and not stress about the money.”

It wasn’t long after that Green received a call from Bryson and Dr. Baker informing her that she would receive $1,000 from the Black Resource Center Emergency Tuition Fund. The money in that fund was donated during the 2019 SIU Day of Giving.

“I feel so proud to be part of something that’s bigger than me,” she said. “I can’t wait to give back to students like myself. SIU has been like a second family to me. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll go to a school where people will do everything they can to make sure you succeed. I want to make them proud.”

Drawn to SIU

Raised in Kentucky, Green’s family moved to Cairo, Illinois, before her senior year of high school. At first, she had plans of returning to Kentucky for college.

“My guidance counselor, Zachary Nelson, shared her experience at SIU,” Green said. “Jeff McGoy (director of SIU’s Exploratory Student Advisement) came to our high school. He’s so charismatic, and I looked up to him. I felt like I had to see what SIU was like firsthand. I visited campus and immediately fell in love. Everyone at SIU made me feel good about the transition.

“I’ve had a really good experience. Every one of my concerns was met with solutions. My time as SIU has taught me many lessons, both academic and about life in general. Some of those were tough lessons, but there’s been a recurring positive lesson as well: SIU takes care of those in need.”

If you would like to help students like Diamoneek Green, visit https://siuf.org/giving/college-unit/diversity.php.