Donation supports business students, hands-on experience

Top left to right: Mark and Laura Ford
with daughters Adelyn and Kiley.

Mark and Laura Ford, ’02 and ’01, have pledged $40,000 to the SIU College of Business and Analytics. The money will be split between the dean’s general fund and paying for upgrades to the technology used by the Saluki Student Investment Fund.

The Saluki Student Investment Fund gives undergraduate students hands-on experience in portfolio management and investment research. The SSIF is modeled after real investment management firms, and the students are focused on making the best investment decisions possible on behalf of their primary client, the SIU Foundation. Mark was a member of the Saluki Student Investment Fund during his time at SIUC.

The students now work on Bloomberg terminals, which are computer software systems that enable students to access Bloomberg Professional Services and monitor and analyze real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform.

“When I was a member of SSIF in ’01-‘02, we did our research and made our stock trades through a low cost online brokerage account set up for the fund. It is exciting to see now how far the program has come over the past 20 years, and now under the direction of Tim Marlo. To have its own current technology and trading platform, that can also be used for a number of different business courses, is a very important asset to SIUC, COBA, and SIUC students,” added Mark. “I’m very thankful for Dr. Peterson, and for what the SSIF program did for me developing real life experience. It was important to me to pay that forward, and to make sure future students are offered the same opportunities that were made available to me through the dedication of the SIUC staff, and the financial contributions of those alumni that came before me.”

“For regular investment firms, it would cost about $24,000 to pay for the software for just one terminal,” said Tim Marlo, faculty advisor for the SSIF and a clinical investment assistant professor. “Our students rely heavily on these terminals and use them daily. Fortunately for our group, they will only charge us $24,000 to upgrade all four terminals.”

Marlo, who has advised the group for five years, has watched students build their confidence and presentation skills and says the experience prepares the students for real-world applications.

“We manage about $2.7 million for the SIU Foundation, and we fall into the top 10 percent of mid-managers,” he said. “Most of our students receive job offers before they even graduate, so it is donors like the Fords who really step up and make a difference in the lives of these students.”

Strengthening bonds

Mark and Laura Ford credit much of their success to SIU, which made it important to them to lend a helping hand to the current students.

Mark, a Senior Vice President of First Horizon Bank in Nashville, TN, specializes in providing banking services and financial advice to clients in the music industry; primarily artists/musicians, publishing companies, record labels, royalty collection societies, and event production/festival companies. Throughout his 15-year career, Mark has worked closely with internationally known musicians, major music companies, professional athletes, and NASCAR drivers/team owners.

“I was raised in Du Quoin, Illinois, and grew up attending SIU sporting events and concerts from a really young age,” Mark Ford said. “SIU really opened doors of opportunity for me once I started college, and it is in Carbondale where I met my wife and where I found my interest in finance.”

Mark Ford said the SIU College of Business and Analytics has a great reputation and shared his admiration for the professors and administrators, especially Dr. Mark Peterson and Dean Terry Clark.

Laura Ford started attending college at University of Illinois but found it wasn’t a good fit for her. She became introduced to SIU when she visited friends who were studying in Carbondale.

“I loved the campus and how beautiful it is,” she said. “When I found out that SIU had a zoology department, I just really fell in love with it. I had great professors and discovered my niche was in medical research. We’re having conversations with the College of Science as well to find ways of supporting students and programs.”

After graduation, Laura worked for Vanderbilt University doing medical research on cancer until 2016.

“I learned a lot during my time at SIU, and I hope students who are there today just keep their eyes open for opportunities, work hard and respect your peers. You will be surprised at how far you can get in life with that outlook,” she said.

The Fords enjoy spending their time living in Nashville, Tennessee, and raising their two daughters, Adelyn, 9, and Kiley, 4. Mark serves as a member of the COBA Dean’s Advisory Board, as well as the Advisory Board for the School of Analytics, Finance, and Economics.

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Connecting with Camille Davidson: SIU Law’s new dean emphasizes alumni, student needs

Camille Davidson was drawn to SIU School of Law and its people.

“I was very deliberate when looking at schools,” said Davidson, who took over as dean in July. “I was most struck by the opportunities that are available at SIU.”

Davidson was also taken with SIU’s physical location.

“One of the first things I noticed was the nature, the beauty,” she said. “It’s remote enough that distractions are limited, but we’re not far from major cities. It’s the perfect place to come and study law.”

While face-to-face interactions have been limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, Davidson has been able to get a feel for her new surroundings.

“There’s a real sense of ownership here,” she said. “Students are able to see our graduates working in the law profession. We’ve built a pipeline to the profession. We see people working for the public good, and our graduates take that very seriously.”

Even with the school’s success, Davidson sees an opportunity to expand the influence of SIU Law.

“I’d love to engage with our alumni base,” she said. “Our alumni are the best spokespeople for the school. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. I love connecting with people.”

The SIU School of Law is more than a place to learn, it’s a hub for students to gain the necessary experience and education to become effective attorneys.

“We want to provide a full education and experience to our students,” Davidson said. “Everything isn’t covered by grants, and declining state funds have affected everyone.”

The need for funding goes well beyond scholarships at SIU Law.

“If our students can’t afford to focus on studying for the bar exam and passing it, we’re doing them a great disservice,” Davidson said.

While many law students find promising careers after their time at SIU, the reality is they deal with the same issues as all students and the added pressure of passing the bar exam.

“Law schools have students that face food insecurity and the same real-life issues that all college students face from time to time,” Davidson said. “Part of our promise to them is that we’ll be there when they need assistance. That requires regular investment.”

To make a gift to SIU School of Law, visit

Forever SIU Campaign Update


Saluki Alumni Plaza

Since Southern Illinois University Carbondale expanded the Forever SIU Campaign in December 2019, supporters of SIU have given over $20 million toward the university’s $200 million campaign goal.

This generous outpouring of gifts supports a number of the university’s needs and opportunities, such as scholarships, academic and supporting programs that promote student success, faculty, including endowed chairs, research initiatives and facilities.

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, SIU has experienced outstanding generosity from friends. Since the expansion of the campaign in December 2019, gifts have come in from over 28,000 SIU alumni and friends. As SIU strives to reach and eclipse its $200 million campaign goal, the support of alumni, donors, and friends continues to be invaluable.

“We are profoundly grateful to our alumni and friends who have given their generous and enthusiastic support to the campaign’s vision of SIU as a leader in public higher education,” said Chancellor Austin Lane.

SIU Foundation Board President David Delaney, a 1983 alumnus who studied agriculture and is currently serving as the CEO of Itafos, said that the campaign has spurred the philanthropic spirit of alumni who want to give back to the university.

“Philanthropy is powerful and fulfilling for both the university and its donors,” Delaney said. “A gift can transform the life of a student or open the doors to ground-breaking research. The foundation’s role is to strengthen and facilitate meaningful connections that benefit everyone.”

The campaign extension aligns the Forever SIU campaign with the majority of university fundraising campaigns, which typically last seven or eight years, according to Matt Kupec, chief executive officer of the foundation.

“This fundraising success we have seen so far is among the most powerful statements that our donors could make about their hopes and expectations for our great university,” said Kupec.

” Extending the campaign allows us to connect with even more supporters who are devoted to SIU’s future.”

Donors have a wide array of ways they can make gifts, from donating stocks, mutual funds or bonds to establishing endowments. Supporters can also make outright cash donations or they can opt to make pledges or deferred gifts. There are many tools that can help make a difference in the lives of students.

For more information visit

WSIU Supports SIU Foundation’s Day of Giving Livestream

Special thanks to the outstanding team at WSIU Public Television for making our livestream a reality!

The SIU Day of Giving is proof that it truly does take a village to pull off a victory. Without the continuous help from others across campus who graciously step up each year and help fill the gaps, we would not witness such phenomenal success year after year.

In 2019, it was the SIU’s theater department who agreed to do a theatrical performance at the rotunda in the Morris Library. The stage production department also graciously agreed to build an elaborate gift box for the SIU 150th celebration. Plant and Service Operations agreed to play a version of Happy Birthday from the bell tower at Pulliam Hall. It is yearly contributions from departments like those who help make the SIU Day of Giving continually sparkle.

This year, the foundation was faced with the dilemma of trying to host another SIU Day of Giving during a pandemic. The foundation team asked themselves how they were going to capture people’s attention if they could not gather or engage with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community across campus. Thanks to some creative thinking, the foundation determined it would use a livestreaming platform to capture the needed attention. As the details of what was needed emerged, the foundation’s marketing staff quickly realized this would stretch their capabilities to the limit. In short, they worried if they could pull off an eight-hour livestream featuring dozens of deans, heads of units, the chancellor, and several foundation development officers.

That’s when in walked WSIU and extended a helping hand. WSIU’s Interim Executive Director Jak Tichenor, Larry Hunter, Darryl Moses, Mark J. St George, Abby Asher and several other team members, graciously agreed to help co-produce the event at their WSIU station located in the SIU Mass Communications building. Known as the largest station south of Chicago, WSIU helped the foundation staff deliver a professional, polished production that rivaled any fundraising event airing anywhere on television.

The event was a success and the 24+ hour effort resulted in 3,440 gifts from donors representing all 50 states and 11 countries. The $2,800,000 raised during the Day of Giving shattered last year’s results of $1.6 million and gifts are still being counted.

Following are some photos from the day’s activities.

SIU Day of Giving raises over $2.8 million: More than 3,000 donors chip in

Pictured left to right: Chancellor Austin A. Lane and SIU Foundation CEO Matt Kupec discuss the importance of SIU Day of Giving on set in the WSIU-TV studio.

CARBONDALE –  The numbers are in, and they tell an incredible story.

More than $2.8 million was raised during the 2021 SIU Day of Giving, shattering last year’s record.

“What an incredible day to be a Saluki,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “Our alumni and donors take a lot of pride in supporting this university, and the Day of Giving puts their dedication on display.”

There were more than 3,400 individual gifts made during the 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday. This, too, far outpaced totals from previous giving days. Donations were made in 50 states and 11 countries.

“The sheer number of people who decided to log on and make a gift is inspiring,” Kupec said. “All gifts, no matter how large, make an impact. Our students, faculty, and staff are thankful for every donor.”

The highlights

Whether supporting a college, program, or specific scholarship, donors were able to choose from several initiatives.

The Balancing Education, Experience & Reality Scholarship received more than 900 individual gifts, which totaled more than $63,000. That’s enough to endow two more B.E.E.R Scholarships.

The idea for the scholarship was born out of the Carbondale in the ’80s and ’90s Facebook group before the 2019 Day of Giving. Through the generosity of Day of Giving donors, there will now be six endowed B.E.E.R Scholarships.

The SIU School of Medicine earned the largest amount of total dollars, bringing in more than $363,000. The College of Liberal Arts came in a close second with more than $325,000. Here are the other areas that finished in the Top 10:

  • College of Business and Analytics, $319,000
  • Saluki Athletics, $266,000
  • College of Health and Human Sciences, $188,000
  • College of Agricultural, Life and Physical Sciences, $129,000
  • Morris Library, $111,000
  • College of Engineering, $102,000
  • School of Law, $94,000
  • School of Education, $67,000

Exact totals were still being finalized Thursday morning. For a full list giving totals, visit

The livestream

The Day of Giving went live on the SIU Alumni Association Facebook page and the Day of Giving website at 8 a.m. Wednesday. For the next eight ours, viewers were able to watch 22 segments and more than 100 videos.

The livestream was broadcast from WSIU’s television studio, and staff from WSIU and the Foundation worked together to produce the daylong event.

“WSIU was integral in making this a success,” Kupec said. “We knew we had to do something different because of COVID-19 restrictions, and a livestream made a lot of sense. We presented them with our plan, and their expertise elevated the entire day.”

Chancellor Austin A. Lane was the featured guest during the afternoon section of the livestream.

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, we’re still charging forward,” said Chancellor Lane during the livestream. “We’re not just surviving, but we’re thriving. That’s the Saluki spirit.”

For more information about the SIU Foundation or to make a gift, visit

Special thanks to the outstanding team at WSIU Public Television for making our livestream a reality!

Poshards honor others with $100,000 gift to Morris Library

Pictured left to right: Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm (Associate Dean of Special Collections Research Center), John Pollitz (Dean of Library Affairs), Jo Poshard and Glenn Poshard.

Glenn and Jo Poshard’s philanthropic spirit has touched countless people around the region. With their recent donation to Morris Library, the Poshards decided to honor four people who touched their lives.

Their $100,000 donation will name four rooms in the library’s Special Collection Research Center. They will be named after Dr. Paul Sarvela, Dr. John Haller, Dr. Duane Stucky, and Paula Keith. Each left a lasting impression on the Poshards.

“When we sat down to determine our planned giving, we began to think of the people in our lives that made a powerful impact,” Glenn Poshard said. “Jo and I served 8 ½ years as the president of the SIU system, and during that time, we worked with wonderful people. We determined we want to give back to this great university and honor the people with whom we worked.”

Dr. Sarvela was a tenured professor at SIU and served in many different roles within the SIU system. He worked as acting and interim chancellor of the Carbondale campus for four months until his untimely death in November of 2014.

“I will always remember Dr. Sarvela’s booming laugh,” Glenn Poshard said. “He would come through the back door of the Stone Center, bellowing out loud with laughter. He was always so happy.”

Dr. Haller is an emeritus professor and served for 20 years as vice president of academic affairs for the SIU system.

“I talked him into delaying retirement,” Glenn Poshard said. “He is such an accomplished man. He has published over 40 books and is still the most prolific researcher I know.”

Dr. Stucky is the senior vice president for financial and administrative affairs and worked closely with Poshard.

“In some of the most difficult financial times higher education has faced, Bain Corporation ranked SIU in the top 15 percent of the best financially managed public universities in America,” Glenn Poshard said. “That was due to Dr. Stucky’s leadership.”

Keith was a part of the SIU System Office during Poshard’s tenure and continues in that role today.

“As administrative assistant, Paula Keith not only handled the day-to-day affairs of the President’s office, she was an integral part of our leadership team and participated in every important decision we had to make,” he said.

The lasting impacts these individuals left on SIU and the Poshards made them clear choices for this honor.

“When Glenn was president, there were many hours of focusing on projects and goals to move SIU forward,” Jo Poshard said. “These four people and their staffs cared deeply about each other and SIU.”

A lifelong connection

Glenn Poshard first came to SIU in 1966 as a student. It was then that he first fell in love with Morris Library.

“Fifth-five years ago, I was a 21-year-old starting at SIU on the GI Bill, and I opened the doors to this library, and I was floored. It was so beautiful,” he said. “It was one of the greatest buildings I’d entered in my young life.”

Years later, as president of the SIU system, worked to expand and renovate the library.

“I’m so proud of what all the people who worked with us have done to make this one of the greatest libraires in the state of Illinois” he said.

By naming rooms in the library, the Poshards have ensured that their legacies and the legacies of those who helped them, and SIU will be properly honored.

“This is a wonderful day for the library and for special collections,” said John Pollitz, dean of Library Affairs. “I am so impressed with Dr. and Jo Poshard and how they have always supported the community and the library. What is so honorable is that the Poshards are thinking of others instead of naming themselves. That is the mark of true humility”

Giving back is at the heart of the Poshards’ mission, and they hope their gift will inspire others.

“I would encourage others to give back to SIU,” Glenn Poshard said. “There are multiple naming opportunities in this library. How inspiring to make way for your future generations to see your generosity and commitment.”

Quotes from honorees

Dr. Duane Stuckey:

Dr. Poshard is an extraordinarily special man. He is a talented leader but he always remembers the ordinary people and each one of the people who work with him.

Paula Keith:

It has been an honor to work with and be a part of an administration under Glenn and Jo’s leadership.

Dr. John Haller, Jr.:

It is humbling that Dr. Poshard would pick other people to recognize when he and Jo have done so much. They are the ones who should really be recognized. I worked with six SIU Presidents and Dr. Poshard is the finest of them all.

Debra Sarvela and daughter Kristin Sarvela:

I was so touched when Dr. Poshard called and asked if it would be okay to honor my late husband, Paul Sarvela. It touched us deeply.

To learn more about how to give to Morris Library and the university, visit

People Helping People – SIU Credit Union Kicks Off 5th SIU Day of Giving

Pictured left to right: Lori Stettler, Mark Dynis, Kim Babington, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, Emily Spann, and Sara Dailey.

By Rebecca Renshaw

SIU Credit Union’s “people helping people” philosophy is never more apparent than during the annual SIU Day of Giving – a 24-hour fundraising effort where supporters are encouraged to visit on Wednesday, March 3, and make a gift of any size. This year, SIU Credit Union kicked off the special day with two gifts. The first donation of $20,000 will benefit SIU’s New Student Programs and the second donation of $15,000 will go to Touch of Nature’s Dawg Days program.

The SIU Credit Union was represented by Mike Lantrip, CEO, Mark Dynis, Marketing Director and Kim Babington, Vice President of Community Outreach.

Carefully adhering to proper social distancing practices, Chancellor Austin Lane received the donations from the group and said he appreciates the continued support SIU Credit Union has demonstrated throughout the years.

“SIU Credit Union has been an incredible partner with SIU. We appreciate the help they give to our students to discover pathways to success. They are a true pillar in our community,” he said.

Lori Stettler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs says the support of the SIU Credit Union is impactful.

“We appreciate SIU Credit Union’s continued support of our students and their willingness to be leaders in our community. We love how they continue to show up and support our students,” she said.

“We are thrilled to play a part in the SIU Day of Giving,” said Babington.

“It is just the right thing to do and SIU Credit Union has always supported SIU. We hope to continue this tradition for a long time to come,” she said.

Pictured left to right: Lori Stettler, Mark Dynis, Kim Babington, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, J.D. Tanner, and Sara Dailey.

Babington said that three years ago she did not know much about SIU’s Touch of Nature, but a colleague took her out to their facilities and introduced her to the many programs Touch of Nature offers. She knew then that SIU Credit Union had to play a part in their efforts.

J.D. Tanner, Touch of Nature’s Director, appreciates the ongoing support from SIU Credit Union.

“This generous cash donation is definitely an enhancement for SIU and we appreciate SIU Credit Union’s support. More importantly, we are honored the community is recognizing the value of the work we do here at Touch of Nature,” Tanner said.

To see updates to the giving page, visit