Gallatin County scholarship recipient: SIU is special, it’s home

Chloe Dennison, Gallatin County
Chloe Dennison, Gallatin County

By Jeff Wilson

Saluki spirit has been part of Chloe Dennison’s life from an early age.

“I’m a third-generation Saluki,” she said. “My grandma and both parents went to SIU. For my second Halloween, I was an SIU football player. It was ingrained from early on that SIU was the place for me.”

Although she’s originally from Raleigh, Illinois, she attended Gallatin County High School, where her mother was a teacher. When SIU introduced its nursing program a few years ago, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

“I wanted to be one of the early classes in the nursing program,” Dennison said. “I received lots of scholarships, including the SIU Nursing Start-up Scholarship, which made it a no-brainer.”

The financial support she received allowed her to avoid student loans and gave her extra appreciation for her time as an SIU student.

“I am extremely grateful. Alumni and donors have changed my life,” she said. “I have always been afraid of student loans, and these scholarships have allowed me to dedicate myself to being the best student and the best nurse I can be.”

She will graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and work as a registered nurse. She hopes to work locally in a neonatal intensive care unit or pediatric intensive care unit. She also plans to pursue her master’s and become an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner.

“I’m not ready to leave Southern Illinois quite yet,” Dennison said. “The SIU community is so tightly knit. Everyone on campus wants to build you up. When I go places and see people with SIU shirts on, I make a point to go up and talk to them. It’s extremely rewarding to see how far SIU can send you.

“For the past three years, I’ve lived in Abbot Hall and met three of the most incredible people who have become my best friends. I know there are people out there that give SIU a bad rep, and I want them to know they are completely wrong. It’s a family. It’s really special. It’s home.”

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