Bequests support student scholarships, research

Bequests totaling more than $1 million will enhance student scholarship, teaching and research opportunities in two Southern Illinois University Carbondale departments.

Lowell and Janet Anderson, of Morristown, N.J., left $700,000 to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The couple died just weeks apart in late 2012. Lowell Anderson, a native of Burnt Prairie, Ill., in White County, earned a bachelor’s degree from SIU Carbondale in 1956.

Cornelia “Connie” Wilber, of Westfield, N.J., also passed away in 2012, leaving $366,300 to the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education. She earned a doctorate with a major in education in 1977 from the university.

The chemistry and biochemistry department is developing a five-year plan for use of the funds. Gary Kinsel, professor and chair, said he expects some funds will support a small number of large scholarships for academically high-performing students majoring in chemistry. The gift also will support a number of smaller annual undergraduate scholarships, and a “modest amount” will support a number of summer research scholarship awards to graduate students in the program.

“This type of alumni support is absolutely critical to the success of our program,” Kinsel said.

Todd Headrick, professor and chair of educational psychology and special education, said the Wilber gift will benefit the three programs in the department: special education, counselor education, and educational measurement and statistics. Special education is the only program area that offers an undergraduate degree program in the department.

He said funds will go toward technology updates needed for teaching and scholarly work; accreditation expenses; licenses for software updates; and helping with the costs of faculty and graduate students participating in professional development.

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