Evan Martin, a member of the SIU baseball team, was drawn to SIU because of the opportunities for financial assistance.
“Being raised by a single mother, the biggest factor when it came to deciding where I wanted to go to school was making sure it would not put her in any uncomfortable financial situations,” he said.
His mother, Barbara Graham, is an SIU alumna, which opened more scholarship opportunities for Martin. He received legacy, academic, and athletic scholarships.
“These scholarships have been the greatest thing that has happened to my family and me,” he said. “It gave my mom a chance to take a deep breath and focus on herself for the first time in 21 years.”
Martin played the 2021 season as a redshirt freshman, hitting .261 with 10 doubles, five home runs, and 31 RBIs. In the Salukis’ MVC Tournament win against Valparaiso, he was 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and three runs scored.
“My Saluki experience has been unbelievable,” he said. “Since my first day on campus, the coaches, staff, faculty, and everyone else in Carbondale has welcomed me with open arms.”
Studying mathematics with the hopes of working in the analytics department of a Major League Baseball team, Martin has found success off the field at SIU as well.
“The math department at SIU has provided me with a holistic mathematics education, but statistical analysis is my focus,” he said. “I was able to take multiple 400-plus level statistics courses that use many of the same programs being used in Major League Baseball. I feel as though this blend of playing baseball and taking courses that enhance my understanding of data and statistics will make me a well-rounded candidate when I am able to pursue my career.”
Student-athletes like Martin are the main beneficiaries of the Salukis Forever fundraising campaign.
The $25 million campaign, which launched in February, coupled with appropriate cost-cutting, and increased revenues from other sources, will provide sustainable funding to drive Saluki Athletics forward. “Receiving these scholarships has assured my mother that all of her hard work has paid off,” Martin said. “I know it makes her so happy to see how successful I have become, and that matters to me more than anything else.”
By supporting the Salukis Forever campaign, more student-athletes will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Martin and others like him. For more information, visit www.foreversiu.org/athletics.