SIU Credit Union donates $45K for SIU Day of Giving

Pictured left to right: Jennifer Phillips, Mike Lantrip, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Sara Bond, Kim Babington, Tom Brummer, Brian Croft, Matt Kupec, John Pollitz, Mark Dynis, and Kevin Clark.

As has become tradition, the SIU Credit Union kicked off the SIU Day of Giving with a donation to multiple areas of campus.

This year, the SIU Credit Union donated $45,000, which included $20,000 to SIU’s New Student Programs, $15,000 to Touch of Nature Environmental Center, and $10,000 to Morris Library.

“We want this partnership with SIU,” said Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union Vice President of Community Outreach. “It helps not only the credit union grow, but it helps SIU grow. That helps us here in our economy in Carbondale.”

Members of the credit union team gathered Thursday, March 23, at Anthony Hall to present Chancellor Austin Lane and other SIU representatives with the check before the Day of Giving officially started.

“Our students need to bridge the financial gaps, and this is one way for them to be able to do that,” said Chancellor Lane.

For the credit union, making such a donation reflects its mission.

“I’ve been here my whole life, so being able to give back to the university that helped me get to where I am is a great feeling,” said Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union President and CEO and a 1991 graduate of SIU’s College of Business and Analytics.

Pictured left to right: Jennifer Phillips, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, Kim Babington, Tena Bennett, Jennifer Jones-Hall and Mark Dynis.

New Student Programs facilitates the integration of students into campus and the community. These funds will enhance its ability to engage with students.

“All of the funds that we receive go back to the students to really enrich their experience while they’re on campus,” said Jennifer Phillips, director of New Student Programs.

Pictured left to right: Sara Bond, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, Tom Brummer, Kim Babington, Tena Bennett, Brian Croft and Mark Dynis.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center is a premier outdoor activity facility in the Midwest. The funds will largely go toward the Dawg Days summer camp.

“The money that SIU Credit Union is giving us is really going to help us grow and expand,” said Brian Croft, director at Touch of Nature. “Dawg Days is, in essence, a four-day, three-night summer camp for incoming freshmen.”

Pictured left to right: Sara Bond, Chancellor Austin A. Lane, Mike Lantrip, Mark Dynis, Kim Babington, Kevin Clark and John Pollitz.

Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz said the library’s portion of the funds are earmarked for furthering their vision for the future.

“We are going to be using this donation to establish the Digital Scholars Commons on the first floor of the library,” he said.

The credit union’s generosity was just the spark at the beginning of a record-breaking SIU Day of Giving. The SIU Foundation raised $4,037,918 through 3,702 individual gifts during the seventh annual 24-hour fundraiser. For more details, visit

SIU Day of Giving: More than 3,700 donors give over $4M

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane (left) speaks with SIU Foundation CEO Matt Kupec on Tuesday, March 28, during the SIU Day of Giving live broadcast in the WSIU TV studio on campus at SIU Carbondale.

The 2023 SIU Day of Giving reached new heights raising $4,037,918 in 24 hours.

The funds will enhance scholarship opportunities, supporting faculty, purchasing equipment, and much more. There were 3,702 individual donations made from donors in 45 states. The total raised and amount of donations are both new SIU Day of Giving records.

“The Day of Giving continues to be a marquee event on campus,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “Each year, the excitement builds, and Saluki Nation shows what it can accomplish when everyone comes together.”

Areas of campus with the highest dollar total raised were:

  • College of Business and Analytics, more than $819,000
  • School of Medicine, more than $652,000
  • College of Liberal Arts, more than $488,000
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics, more than $156,000
  • Touch of Nature, more than $123,000

Hundreds of alumni, largely connected to the Carbondale in the ’80s and ’90s Facebook group, donated to the Balancing Education, Experience, and Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarship. That group raised more than $50,000 – enough to endow two more B.E.E.R. Scholarship – and lead the way with 837 total gifts.

Other groups with the largest individual gift totals were:

  • WSIU Public Broadcasting, 765
  • Saluki Athletics, 299
  • School of Medicine, 260
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics, 250

“These incredible numbers tell the story,” Kupec said. “Our alumni and friends see the value of this university. Their support drives us forward and inspires the next generation of Salukis.”

Going live

For the third consecutive year, the SIU Day of Giving featured a live broadcast from the WSIU studio. Streamed on multiple platforms and hosted by Kupec, the broadcast featured Chancellor Austin Lane, the dean of every college and school, multiple members of the faculty and staff, and students.

“It’s turned out to be a day of excellence,” Chancellor Lane said during his live segment. “To showcase all of the departments, and for people to be able to see exactly where their dollars are going, it’s a great day.”

The live broadcast began out of necessity in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of the tremendous success of the event, the SIU Foundation has continued the tradition. It ended near 2:30 p.m. with an address from Chancellor Lane at Morris Library.

Seven years of success

Beginning in 2017, the SIU Day of Giving has become a tremendous day of alumni and donor activities. Growing each year in both amount raised and participation rates, campus was aflutter with activity this year.

Morris Library hosted a “Dunk the Dean” event, which allowed donors to make a small gift on their phones and attempt to dunk Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz and others into a dunk tank. The School of Law hosted a food truck and celebrated its 50th anniversary. Numerous other groups set up tables and encouraged giving throughout the day.

For a full recap of the SIU Day of Giving totals, visit

SIU Day of Giving supports students, faculty

Donors can utilize Venmo to make a gift

CARBONDALE – The 7th annual SIU Day of Giving is Tuesday, March 28, and this year’s focus is on engagement.

After raising nearly $10 million in its first six years, the SIU Foundation is asking more people than ever to go to and make a donation – small or large.

“The SIU Day of Giving is about Saluki spirit. It’s about engaging with the university and being a part of something bigger,” said Matt Kupec, SIU Foundation CEO. “When thousands of Salukis focus their energy on a singular goal, it’s an incredible sight to behold.”

Each year, the SIU community comes together for a 24-hour online Day of Giving. Supporters are encouraged to visit on Tuesday, March 28, and make a gift of any size. Donations can be directed to any college, unit, program, or initiative.

Last year, more than $3.5 million was raised through more than 2,400 individual donations. Donors can choose to be honored on the Donor Wall, give in honor of another, or give anonymously. All gifts are made securely and are tax-deductible.

This year, gifts can also be made through Venmo by searching for “@SIU-Foundation” under the Charities tab and typing “Day of Giving” in the message. Donors should also add the area of campus they want to support.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, university leaders and students will gather at the Morris Library rotunda for a Day of Giving announcement from Chancellor Austin Lane.

Going live from WSIU

For the third consecutive year, the SIU Day of Giving will feature a live broadcast from the WSIU-TV studio. Follow along at or the SIU Alumni Association’s Facebook page, Post a comment during the broadcast, and watch it pop on the screen in real-time.

The broadcast will feature Chancellor Lane, every college’s dean, members of the faculty and staff, students, and it will be hosted by Kupec.

“The live broadcast adds a unique element to the Day of Giving,” Kupec said. “We were the first college to go live back in 2020, and it’s been so fun and so well received that we wanted to keep doing it.”

Getting involved

Other than making a gift and watching the broadcast, there are other ways for alumni and donors to support the Day of Giving.

Simply by using #SIUDay on social media and sharing posts from the SIU Foundation and other units on campus is a great way to show support. It’s not too late to become an SIU Day of Giving ambassador by signing up at Ambassadors get special Day of Giving updates and are encouraged to share their own Day of Giving messages with others.

Day of Giving funds support online textbook initiative

SIU Morris Library

Morris Library launched the SIU Affordable Textbook Initiative in 2021 to increase equity in student success by decreasing course material costs.

The initiative is just one of myriad critical ways that SIU’s Day of Giving has made a daily impact on Salukis. The Day of Giving is a 24-hour fundraiser during which donors are encouraged to give whatever they can to support SIU students and faculty.

“We’ve used Day of Giving money to fund the initial two years of the SIU Affordable Textbook Initiative. Building on the early success of the Initiative, we’ve also received additional grant funding from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI) to develop open textbooks and open course materials for high enrollment courses,” Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz said.

These open textbooks reside in the public domain or have been legally released for repurposing. Faculty are incentivized to find out about potential avenues for open textbooks and adapt them to their classes.

“We’ve tried very hard to raise awareness of free online textbooks and how they make college more affordable,” Pollitz said. “There’s been significant movement around the country to create open educational resources. They are an important tool in student retention.”

This leaves printing pages of the online textbooks, which is optional, as the only cost to students enrolled in courses which use an open textbook. After tuition, textbooks are usually the biggest financial drain facing students. According to the most recent data by the SIU Office of Financial Aid, an undergraduate will spend an average of $1,100 on textbooks during the 2022-23 academic year.

Funds from the Day of Giving allow Morris Library to advance the creation of open textbooks in the curriculum, which keeps money in students’ pockets.

Morris Library staff member Amber Burtis, who oversees the Affordable Textbook Initiative, noted that studies have shown that a majority of faculty and students perceive the quality of open textbooks to usually be equal, if not better than, commercial textbooks.

Pollitz estimates students have saved nearly $40,000 to date, but he hopes that the number reaches six figures soon with increased exposure to the program for students and opportunities created by faculty.

In past years, Morris Library has also used Day of Giving money for a state-of-the-art podcast booth and a high-tech scanner. Your Day of Giving donation to Morris Library is an investment in SIUC students. Learn more at

Odenkirk to visit SIU, receive degrees:


Bob Odenkirk headshot.
Bob Odenkirk. Photo by Sharon Alagna

CARBONDALE – Because of overwhelming response, the Bob Odenkirk honorary degree presentation and Q&A session Monday, April 3, will be moved to the Banterra Center. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is no longer required to attend this event. Seating will be first come, first served. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The 1984 SIU graduate will receive two degrees during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, April 3, at the Banterra Center. The first will be the bachelor’s degree he earned as a student. The second will be an honorary doctorate bestowed upon him in 2020.

After the presentation of his degrees, there will be a discussion and audience Q&A session. This event is hosted by the SIU Foundation and the College of Arts and Media (CAM).

“Bob Odenkirk is one of the bright stars in our vast Saluki universe,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “We are so excited for him to be back on campus and share his experiences.”

Before the public event that evening, Odenkirk will spend most of the day on campus. He will speak to two CAM classes and meet with students, faculty, staff, and university leaders.

“Being able to have someone like Bob Odenkirk speak to our classes is a truly unique experience for our students,” said Hong Cheng, dean of the College of Arts and Media. “When our most successful alumni engage with us in this way, it makes our college stronger and more robust.”

Odenkirk was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at spring commencement in May of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to give a virtual address. It was during that address he coined the phrase, “I am a Saluki, you fools, and I will destroy you,” which has become a popular T-shirt worn by Salukis everywhere.

In the past, Odenkirk has spoken fondly of his time at SIU, including during appearances on talk shows, red carpet interviews, and in magazine articles.

Before the 2019 Emmy Awards, he was interviewed by Jenny McCarthy, who also attended SIU. McCarthy asked him if he knew they attended the same college.

“That’s where I graduated from,” Odenkirk said. “Salukis! I love that college. Look at us, SIU made us.”

From Carbondale to Hollywood

Odenkirk grew up in northern Illinois. After coming to SIU, he spent time as a radio DJ and comedian, working at student radio station WIDB. He earned a bachelor’s degree from SIU in radio-television.

After graduating, he moved to Chicago, where he performed comedy and took classes at the Players Workshop. He was later hired to write for “Saturday Night Live,” where he helped create beloved sketches such as “Da Bears” and “Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker.”

After many other writing credits and parts in film and TV, Odenkirk co-created the HBO sketch comedy show “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” alongside comedian David Cross. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Odenkirk could be found in a number of movies and television shows.

In 2009, he joined the cast of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” which catapulted him into the limelight. His character, lawyer Saul Goodman, quickly became a fan favorite. The character was also the focus of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul.”

Both shows were critically acclaimed, earning Odenkirk numerous awards and honors, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Odenkirk also recently starred in the hit movie, “Nobody,” and his newest show “Lucky Hank” is set to premiere on AMC on March 19. “Lucky Hank” is based on the novel “Straight Man” by former SIU English professor Richard Russo.

Poshards take the lead at the Saluki Ball

By Jeff Wilson

When Glenn and Jo Poshard were told about the fundraising focus of the Saluki Ball, they knew it was the perfect initiative to support. Thus, they decided to become presenting sponsors of the ball, dedicating $100,000 to the cause.

The inaugural Saluki Ball, to be held Saturday, April 22, at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, will help students bridge the financial gap as they strive to reach their ultimate goals.

“We both love the university. It gave us both opportunities we would have never had otherwise,” Dr. Glenn Poshard said. “The purpose of the ball – supporting low-income students – is consistent with what we believe in.”

For many students, alumni support is vital to their pursuit of a degree and the opportunity to improve their lives.

“Across the country, students are being forced to take time off school, and then are unable to finish,” Dr. Poshard said. “The funds raised during the Saluki Ball will enable them to finish on time. This kind of commitment to our students builds the reputation of our university.”

The Saluki Ball is black tie optional and will feature a performance by R&B legend Brian McKnight. It will be hosted by ESPN radio host and SIU alum Marc Silverman. There will be special awards for outstanding alumni and students.

“We are very excited about the ball,” Jo Poshard said. “It’s new, and it’s a first. The event itself is going to be fabulous. We’ll have family attending, many friends, and be surrounded by our Saluki family.”

The Poshards were also inspired by the current administration’s dedication to community outreach.

“I have been so impressed with Chancellor Austin Lane and President Dan Mahony,” Dr. Poshard said. “Chancellor Lane has become the face of the university, meeting more and more students locally. Through the Saluki Ball and other events, he’s sending the same message to Chicago alumni.”

A lifetime of service

Dr. Poshard is a three-degree graduate of SIU, receiving a bachelor’s in secondary education in 1970, a master’s in educational administration in 1974, and a Ph.D. in administration of higher education in 1984.

He taught high school and served as the director of the Southern Illinois Educational Service Center in Benton until 1984 after being elected to the Illinois State Senate. In 1989, he earned a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran for governor in 1998 and left Congress the following year.

Dr. Poshard returned to SIU in 1999 as the vice chancellor of administration, where he served until his appointment to the SIU Board of Trustees in 2004. At the start of 2006, he was hired as the SIU system president, serving in that role until 2014.

Jo Poshard is a 1971 alumna of SIU’s College of Education. She is a retired schoolteacher, who has served on numerous university and community boards.

Together, they started the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, which raises funds to care for abused children and victims of domestic abuse throughout Southern Illinois. The Poshards are longtime benefactors of SIU and many local charities.

“Somebody was there for us when we were students,” Dr. Poshard said. “If you’re an alumnus, try to give something back. You’ll feel better for having done it. The university benefits. The students benefit.”

The ball’s other presenting sponsor is ULLICO, Inc., and Laborers’ Local 773. To learn more about the Saluki Ball, visit

Salukis take over St. Louis during Arch Madness

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane addresses the crowd at the Saluki Takeover Tour St. Louis.

For the second straight year, the Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis brought together SIU alumni and friends to celebrate their shared school spirit.

Coinciding with the Missouri Valley Conference Arch Madness Tournament, Saluki maroon flooded the streets of downtown St. Louis from Wednesday, March 1, though Saturday, March 4.

More than 275 Salukis and friends gathered with university leaders on Thursday at Schlafly Tap Room for the Chancellor’s Reception.

“What an incredible sight,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “I hope you feel the energy that’s in this room. We’re excited, we’re fired up, and we have a lot more work to do.”

SIU System President Dan Mahony echoed Chancellor Lane’s sentiment, leading the crowd in the refrain, “Salukis get it done!” between making points.

“We’re up over 40 percent in our freshman enrollment from where we were in fall of 2019,” President Mahony said. “We have, year after year, set records on our Day of Giving. That’s on March 28, and we’re going to set another record.”

Starting with a bang

Before Thursday’s main event, the Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis featured two gatherings on Wednesday.

One was a social for College of Business and Analytics alumni at Ballpark Village.

“The Dawgs are in the house,” said Marc Morris, interim dean of the college. “We’re going to be in St. Louis every year.”

Not far away, the SIU Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Group was hosting a similar event at Schlafly Tap Room.

“Saluki Nation is really showing out,” said Brian Munoz, SIU Alumni Association board member. “Events like this are so important to connect people.”

Earlier in the week, Chancellor Lane, President Mahony, Associate Chancellor for Enrollment Management Wendell Williams, and others met with local high school administrators in an effort to push SIU’s recruitment efforts.

An exciting weekend

On Friday, the SIU Foundation and its corporate division hosted a Corporate Networking Breakfast at Mid-America Transplant – The Family House.

Chancellor Lane led the conversation, discussing how companies could best interact with SIU and produce a pipeline that connects businesses to SIU graduates.

Later that day, Saluki alumni and friends gathered at the Crown Room in Ballpark Village for a pre-game event before the men’s basketball team took on Missouri State at the MVC tournament.

Joined by the Saluki Spirit Teams, Marching Salukis, and Grey Dawg, revelers sent the Salukis off in style. The Dawgs defeated Missouri State, 54-51, in a heart-pounding quarterfinal game.

After another send-off event on Saturday, this time at PBR St. Louis, the Salukis fell to Drake, 65-52, in the tournament’s semifinals.

More to come

After multiple successful Saluki Takeover Tours across the country, including stops in St. Louis, Chicago, Florida, and Nashville, plans are in motion to bring more events to alumni in other areas.

“We want to take the university where our alumni live,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “Salukis are everywhere! We’re looking to engage our alumni and to ignite Saluki Nation.”

Stay up to date on all SIU Foundation events, including Saluki Takeover Tours at