Day of Giving: More than 2,600 Salukis donate over $3.1M

Matt Kupec and Chancellor Austin Lane at WSIU
Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations Matt Kupec (left) and Chancellor Austin Lane discuss the SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the WSIU-TV studio.

The 8th annual SIU Day of Giving was Wednesday, Feb. 28, and once again, Saluki spirit was on display for 24 straight hours.

The SIU Foundation raised more than $3.15 million, and more than 2,600 donors participated. In total, there has been about $17 million donated during the Days of Giving. Every gift pushes the Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign one step closer to its goal of raising $500 million by 2028.

“We put those dollars to work,” said Chancellor Austin Lane during the Day of Giving livestream from WSIU-TV studio. “Once we receive the support that’s coming from those who give during the Day of Giving that were able to put that in hands of our students.”

Leading the way with 670 donors was the Balancing Education, Experience, and Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarships, driven by the Carbondale in the ’80s and ’90s Facebook group. Nearly $45,000 was raised for the endowed scholarship fund.

Other areas that topped the donor total list included:

  • WSIU Public Broadcasting: 502
  • School of Medicine: 279
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics: 240
  • College of Health and Human Sciences: 142
  • Saluki Athletics: 127
  • College of Arts and Media: 120

The College of Business and Analytics raised $764,835, the most of any college, school, or unit.

Other areas that received the highest dollar amounts included:

  • School of Medicine: $555,765
  • School of Law: $526,456
  • College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences: $195,917
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics: $188,893
  • College of Liberal Arts: $157,143
  • Touch of Nature: $93,510

Some donations were still being counted, including donations made through fundraisers at St. Nicholas Brewing Co. MDH at Southern Illinois Airport and Freddy’s in Carbondale. Both restaurants donated percentages of some of Wednesday’s sales to the College of Health and Human Sciences.

SIU Credit Union kicked off the Day of Giving by donating $35,000 in total, designating $20,000 to New Student Programs and $15,000 to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center.

The Day of Giving livestream aired from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and can be viewed in its entirety on the SIU Foundation YouTube channel. It featured segments from every college and school and many other units. Hosted by Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations Matt Kupec, there were interviews with campus leaders, including Chancellor Lane.

To see the full totals, visit

SIU Credit Union donates $35K to Touch of Nature, New Student Programs

Gift kicks off 8th annual SIU Day of Giving

SIU Credit Union has long been a resolute supporter of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and once again it was on display to jumpstart the SIU Day of Giving.

The credit union donated $35,000 in total, designating $20,000 to New Student Programs and $15,000 to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. This gift, and all Day of Giving donations, benefit the Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

“I look forward to this every year,” said Chancellor Austin Lane. “We can’t thank SIU Credit Union enough for this partnership.”

These gifts will help the university welcome new students by funding programming and offer experiences that build Saluki spirit and help them form lifelong bonds with each other and the university. One such event is Dawg Days, hosted each fall at Touch of Nature.

“Touch of Nature wouldn’t be what it is today without the SIU Credit Union,” said Brian Croft, director of Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. “Thank you for everything you do for SIU students.”

In the fall, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature. That project stems from a $500,000 donation the credit union previously made.

“Being an alumnus, it’s important for me to give back to the university that got me where I am,” said Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union president and CEO and a 1991 graduate of SIU’s College of Business and Analytics. “Touch of Nature has a special place in my heart.”

Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union’s vice president of community outreach, complimented the staff of Touch of Nature and Student Affairs, which operates New Student Programs.

“It makes such a difference to see the passion that they have for their programs,” she said.

Beyond the experiences, the funds play a major role in bringing students to campus and keeping them here.

“I want to emphasize what the credit union’s support and commitment means to us,” said Jennifer Phillips, director of New Student Programs. “It’s important to recruitment and retention, and we couldn’t do it without you.”

Each year, the SIU Day of Giving brings thousands of Salukis and SIU supporters together for a 24-hour, online event, which has raised nearly $14 million over its first seven years. Gifts can be made all day Wednesday, Feb. 28, at, and every day at

Saluki Takeover Tour heads to Florida

The Saluki Takeover Tour returned to Florida for the second straight year.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the SIU Alumni Association hosted an event at the Savannah Center in The Villages, followed by a Tampa Alumni Chapter gathering on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Coppertail Brewing Company.

Like last year, the first Chancellor’s Reception was hosted in Naples. Seventy-five Salukis came together at Windstar on Naples Bay.

“We need you to help us spread the message about how great SIU is,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “The more we come and engage with you, the more we hear about the great things you’ve done in your careers, we want to make sure we’re telling our students and campus community about that.”

Many guests stayed after the reception to watch as the Saluki Men’s Basketball team took on Murray State on ESPN+. The Dawgs won the game, 72-68.

Thursday in Miami

Chancellor Lane, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Wendell Williams, and others met with representatives from Miami Dad College on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 22.

That evening’s Chancellor Reception was hosted at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Alumni and friends gathered to share stories and camaraderie.

Friday in West Palm Beach

The takeover tour in Florida wrapped up Friday with a Chancellor’s Luncheon at Norton Art Museum. This event was sold out.

Afterward, there was a visit to Oxbridge Academy to explore potential partnerships.

More to come

There will also be a Saluki Takeover Tour of Southern Illinois in April and May. Information on those events will be available soon.

To see highlight videos from previous Saluki Takeover Tours, click here.



What a difference a day makes – SIU Day of Giving 2024

SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, Februrary 28

Everyone can make an impact on Wednesday, Feb. 28

CARBONDALE – The 8th annual SIU Day of Giving is Wednesday, Feb. 28, and expectations are higher than ever.

Raising more than $14 million in its first seven years, the SIU Foundation is asking everyone to donate online at Every gift makes a difference, no matter the size.

“Each year, the SIU Day of Giving highlights the power of philanthropy and community engagement,” said Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and SIU Foundation CEO. “We ask our alumni and friends to show their Saluki spirit, and Saluki Nation never disappoints.”

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

Last year, more than $4 million was raised through more than 3,700 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.

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.

Day of Giving broadcast

The SIU Day of Giving will feature every college and unit on campus during its live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the WSIU-TV studio. Streamed on the SIU Alumni Association’s Facebook page and hosted by Kupec, there will be live interviews with Chancellor Austin Lane and other campus leaders and live Day of Giving updates.

“The broadcast is one of the most unique parts of the SIU Day of Giving,” Kupec said. “We engage with our campus leaders, showcase every area of our great university, and watch along as the totals rise. It’s an exciting, inspiring day.”

During the broadcast, viewers will learn about the exciting things happening each day at SIU and how they can best support their favorite area of campus.

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 advocate by signing up at Advocates get special Day of Giving updates and can share their own Day of Giving messages with others.

Saluki Takeover Tour visits Nashville

More events coming soon in Florida, St. Louis, and Southern Illinois
Chancellor Austin A. Lane thanks Drs. Pam and Phil Pfeffer for hosting the Chancellor’s Reception during the second annual Saluki Takeover Tour in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Saluki Takeover Tour made its second annual stop in Nashville, Tennessee, this week.

Between Monday, Feb. 12, and Wednesday, Feb. 14, representatives from SIU visited high schools and hosted events with alumni and friends.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Nashville State Community College President Shanna L. Jackson signed the agreement that includes the Saluki Step Ahead program during an event on the college’s White Bridge campus in Nashville – the first such pact in Tennessee.

“SIU Carbondale is providing Nashville State Community College graduates a seamless path to a bachelor’s degree, saving them time and money,” Chancellor Lane said. “And if students can’t come to us in Carbondale, Illinois, we are bringing the experience and resources of a doctoral research university to them through Saluki Step Ahead.”

Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Wendell Williams and others visited Independence High School, LEAD Southeast High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School, Brentwood Academy, and Hume Fogg Academic High School. These recruitment trips build bridges between potential future Salukis and the university.

“Strategically, we knew Nashville was an area we had to take over,” Chancellor Lane said. “Salukis are here. There are some exciting things happening. We’re hitting some really high points.”

This year’s Chancellor’s Reception was hosted by SIU alumni Drs. Phil and Pam Pfeffer. The Pfeffers, two of SIU’s most distinguished alumni, welcomed dozens of SIU alumni, staff, and friends into their home the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“Pam and Phil, thank you for hosting us and for your commitment and dedication and many years of service to SIU,” said Judge Phil J. Gilbert, chair of the SIU Board of Trustees. “It’s people like you that put us on the map.”

On Thursday, Feb. 14, the SIU Alumni Association hosted an event at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. Dozens of alumni enjoy food, drinks, and Saluki spirit before the Saluki Men’s Basketball team took on Belmont. The Salukis fell to the Bruins, 82-68.

The next stop on the Saluki Takeover Tour is a three-location run through Florida, including events in Naples, Miami, and West Palm Beach. Those events are Wednesday, Feb. 21, through Friday, Feb. 23. For more information, click here.

After that, Salukis will take over St. Louis during the Arch Madness MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Chancellor’s Reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Lindbergh Room at the Ballpark Village Hilton. For more information, click here.

There will also be a Saluki Takeover Tour of Southern Illinois in April and May. Information on those events will be available soon.

To see highlight videos from previous Saluki Takeover Tours, click here.

Lounsbury makes investment in supply chain students

By Jeff Wilson

When the 2023 Saluki Takeover Tour visited Naples, Florida, Chuck Lounsbury was excited to engage with representatives from his alma mater.

“SIU has held a few functions in Naples, and it’s given me the chance to reconnect,” he said. “A school’s reputation is important to the graduate, and you should reinvest in the school’s mission.”

A graduate of the College of Business and Analytics, he was particularly interested in the expansion of the supply chain management program. So much so, that he decided to make a $500,000 donation to establish the Charles and Barbara Lounsbury Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will benefit students in the program.

“This will allow students to focus on what companies need and want out of their logistics and distribution employees,” he said. “I don’t think that’s happening at a lot of schools today. Hopefully, these funds make a difference in students’ lives and the program itself.”

Lounsbury’s connection to SIU dates to the university’s earliest day. His great-grandmother attended Southern Illinois Normal College, which trained teachers. His father and brother also attended SIU.

“I lived in Chicago, but my grandmother was from West Frankfort. I had a soft spot in my heart for SIU,” he said.

Heavily involved in campus life, Lounsbury was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and helped found the American Marketing Association at SIU. He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society in business and after graduation was elected to the COBA Hall of Fame. After graduating from SIU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island.

“I gave serious thought to working in academia and taught at Murray State for four years,” Lounsbury said. “I had no business experience, so I thought it would be good to get some real-world experience to become a better teacher.”

That decision led to an illustrious career in the business world, including leadership positions at Toro, Tenneco, Leaseway Transportation Corp., Skyway Freight Systems, and ended with his retirement in 2005 as senior vice president for supply chain solutions at Ryder Systems. He also continued to teach classes at Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Stanford, The Monterey Institute, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I always enjoyed the student contact,” Lounsbury said. “It was SIU that gave me my start, and I thought that my gift could make a significant impact there.”

His investment in the future of the university, college, and its students represents how Lounsbury feels about his time at SIU and the positive direction it’s going.

“SIU has a lot of outstanding graduates, who have had very successful careers, and that’s thanks largely to the education they got at SIU. It’s up there with any school. You get what you put into it,” he said. “I hope to influence others in my position to give back. I think it will help the next generation of students.”

John and Jayne Simmons make $10M gift to SIU’s law school

Historic donation will expand, enhance opportunities for students, faculty

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A $10 million gift from John and Jayne Simmons will impact generations of Southern Illinois University Carbondale law students and strengthen the law school’s ability to serve its students and the region. In honor of their generosity, the law school will be named Simmons Law School, pending approval from the SIU Board of Trustees in April.

The transformational donation comes as the law school is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It will enhance and expand the educational offerings to students and opportunities for faculty.

“Fifty years ago, we were founded in the public interest to serve the public good,” said Camille Davidson, dean of the SIU School of Law. “This generous gift empowers us to advance our mission on a larger scale and with an even greater impact.”

This historic gift – the largest SIU Carbondale has ever received – was announced Monday, Feb. 5, further cementing John and Jayne Simmons’ legacy at SIU, which includes a $10.2 million commitment to the Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. Their most recent contribution comes as a major step in the ongoing $500 million Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

SIU School of Law exterior image with the text "Simmons Law School" located above the entryway.
Simmons Law School is depicted in this digitally altered image.

“We are so incredibly excited and inspired by this act of generosity,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “John and Jayne Simmons are shining examples of the impact individuals can have on our institution and the entire region. Their unwavering support and diligent service speak volumes.”

John Simmons, a native and resident of Alton, is an SIU Edwardsville graduate, member of the SIU Board of Trustees, and chairperson and founder of Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm. His and Jayne’s support will help provide more access, services and opportunities to students seeking educational opportunities.

The law school is the alma mater of more than 180 local, state and federal judges. It has alumni practicing law in 48 states and more than 10 countries. It also features legal clinics that serve members of underrepresented communities and offer students real-world experience.

“The SIU university system has provided me with many opportunities to better my life,” John Simmons said. “A thriving law school will help support others in southern Illinois who are working hard day-to-day to improve their own lives. SIU holds a special place for me. We would really like people to look at Simmons Law School as an attainable place where they are welcome, they belong and they can thrive.”

A legacy of service, philanthropy

John Simmons has served two stints on the SIU Board of Trustees, the first from 2004 to 2015, and he was appointed again in 2019 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He has previously functioned as the board’s secretary and chairman. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University and previously served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer.

In 1999, John founded Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s law firms. The firm has dedicated the past 25 years to representing workers and families impacted by mesothelioma, a fatal and preventable asbestos-related cancer. Under his leadership, the firm expanded to new practice areas and now employs more than 250 people, including more than 80 attorneys, in offices across the country. Most recently, the firm successfully helped lead the national effort to hold manufacturers and distributors of prescription opiates accountable for the opioid epidemic. Firm employees have donated more than $1 million to local charities through the Simmons Employee Foundation and more than $20 million to cancer research nationwide.

Simmons Hanly Conroy has long been involved with SIU’s law school, providing internships and employing its graduates.

“We have been working collaboratively with Simmons Hanly Conroy for years,” Davidson said. “Its broad reach as a national law firm will help to elevate the law school’s recognition and reputation.”

The Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine is a community-based patient care, research, education and outreach program created to improve cancer care for the citizens of central and southern Illinois. John Simmons also started an initiative to provide free dental care for veterans at the SIUE Dental School in Alton.

John and Jayne are civic leaders, community advocates, real estate developers and act as a catalyst for transformational change in southern Illinois. Beyond Simmons Hanly Conroy, John and Jayne founded AltonWorks, a social impact redevelopment company focused on the revitalization of historic downtown Alton as a healthy, thriving, walkable city. Community contributions are an important part of their story. They have invested significant resources, including time, money and advocacy to people, programs, issues, initiatives and causes designed to create opportunities to help people better their lives.

AltonWorks was founded on the principles of livability, environmental stewardship, social justice and inclusivity and believes in rebuilding communities for optimum social impact. AltonWorks offers thought leadership, planning, convening and connecting, adding capacity to the region’s ability to attract funding, expand social impact, catalyze economic growth and anchor downstate recovery.