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.”

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