Saluki Ball bridges the gap for students

There’s a new premier fundraiser on the SIU calendar – the Saluki Ball.

Hosted by Chancellor Austin Lane and Mrs. Loren Lane, the inaugural Saluki Ball brought 615 SIU alumni and friends together in an effort to raise funds that bridge the financial gap for students.

“Our focus tonight is on our students, especially those who need your help the most,” said Chancellor Lane during the ball, which was held Saturday, April 22, at the Marriott Marquis Chicago. “Increasing our enrollment to 15,000 students by 2030 – as established by our strategic plan – requires not only efforts in recruitment but also retention. We must ensure the students that we bring to Carbondale or who enroll in online courses are able to stay enrolled and finish with their degree.”

The Saluki Ball was sponsored by the Honorable Glenn and Mrs. Jo Poshard and ULLICO, Inc., and Laborers’ Local 773. Each donated $100,000 in support of the fundraiser. The event was emceed by SIU alumnus and ESPN radio host Marc Silverman.

Many of SIU’s most resolute supporters bought tickets and sponsored tables in support of SIU students. The money raised will help enhance funding for students who require assistance with their bursar bills to stay enrolled.

Drs. Philip and Pamela Pfeffer were honored with the Saluki Lifetime Achievement Award. Pam Pfeffer began serving on the SIU Foundation Board in 1995 and has served two terms as board president. A Metropolis native, she earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from SIU Carbondale in 1967. She is also a mentor with the Women’s Leadership Council.

Phil Pfeffer is a two-degree SIU Carbondale graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry in 1965 and a master’s degree in economics in 1966. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1997, the SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998, and Alumni Achievement Award in 1992.

The Pfeffers are life members of the SIU Alumni Association, the Paul and Virginia Society, and both have served on boards for the Alumni Association, SIU Foundation, and College of Liberal Arts. They have also been awarded the university’s Distinguished Service Award.

Two students, Luis Barrera and BriYanna Robinson, were recognized with Saluki Success Awards.

“Pam and Phil Pfeffer, BriYanna Robinson, and Luis Barrera are great examples of what a Saluki can and should be,” Silverman said.

The night was capped by a performance by R&B legend Brian McKnight and dancing.

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