Dennis documents eclipse, connect with scholarship recipients

Left to right: Robert Dennis, Dorcas Brou and Ethan Grimm

By Jeff Wilson

Robert Dennis ’84 embarked on a unique journey to capture the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

His decision to travel to SIU for the eclipse was motivated by both professional and personal reasons. Invited to participate in the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast Initiative, Dennis seized the opportunity to witness the eclipse on campus, reconnect with SIU, and engage with students who have benefited from scholarships he has established.

“Several locations were considered, but Carbondale was the obvious choice … to experience the event on campus, come home so-to-speak, and visit with students in my old stomping grounds,” he said.

Equipped with an arsenal of photography gear, he immersed himself in the eclipse photography experience. Describing the thrill of the clear skies during the eclipse, Dennis was excited to photograph such a phenomenon at his alma mater.

“It was a bit overwhelming at times,” he said. “You could feel the crowd’s excitement like electricity in the air.”

Connecting with Scholarship Recipients

During the eclipse, Dennis connected with scholarship recipients Ethan Grimm and Dorcas Brou, sharing memorable moments and capturing a selfie together. Through interactions with students throughout the event, Dennis witnessed their enthusiasm and dedication to their craft.

“I shared my work on the day with many of the CAM (College of Arts and Media) students,” Dennis said. “It was a true pleasure to engage in their enthusiasm as they worked on the production.”

Dennis hopes that scholarship recipients will remember the privilege of witnessing such a rare astronomical phenomenon and be inspired to give back to their university.

“I encourage each recipient to reach back to the school during their careers … to bring others along to share in their success, and give back often,” Dennis said.

Beyond the eclipse, Dennis remains committed to supporting scholarship recipients throughout the year. From phone conversations to social media interactions, he maintains a connection with students, offering guidance and mentorship.

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