Pollitz: Donors drive Morris Library forward

SIU Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz

There is no more central hub for SIU students than Morris Library, and John Pollitz plans to keep it that way.

“The library is a place to explore. It’s a place for curiosity,” said Pollitz, dean of library affairs. “Every student engages with the library. It has always been the place for students to gather and collaborate.”

Since taking over as dean in 2017, Pollitz has shared a forward-thinking vision for the library. With a focus on technology and innovation, he sees big things on the horizon.

“Students from every college and school utilize the library’s services,” he said. “It must be a one-stop shop where every student can access the information and technology they need to have a well-rounded educational experience.”

Through fundraising success, including money raised during recent Days of Giving, the library has added many technological improvements, including 3D printers, a podcasting booth, and a digital scanner.

More recently, Pollitz opened space in the library for the Digital Narratives Lab run by professor Pinckney Benedict. The 600 square-foot classroom in the library’s sixth floor offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with virtual reality, podcasting, Twitch streaming, and much more.

“The next step is providing an even larger, more advanced space where students can expand their horizons even further,” Pollitz said.

Library staff has already worked with architecture students to redesign a large chunk of the library’s first floor. The area where stacks of print reference guides currently sit would be transformed into the Digital Scholarship Commons.

“Our goal is to provide an area and equipment for students to collaborate as they design and create,” Pollitz said. “The are so many exciting, innovative projects to give to.”

The possibilities are many, from expanding VR and 3D printing to streaming services to podcasting to video game production and beyond.

“I have always wanted to move in this direction,” Pollitz said. “The library is named for SIU’s greatest visionary, Delyte Morris, and we must strive to further that vision.”

To support Morris Library, visit siuf.org/library.

Saluki Women’s Weekend 2022

The SIU Foundation Women’s Leadership Council is hosting the inaugural Saluki Women’s Weekend in partnership with Saluki Women’s Athletics. The weekend will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX and celebrate the accomplishments of all generations of Saluki women. In addition, the weekend will honor the first Saluki Woman of the Year, Saluki Woman Trailblazer, and the Saluki Woman Emerging Leader Awards.

The weekend will serve as a catalyst to celebrate, empower, engage, and stimulate thoughts on ways Saluki women can continue to stand on the shoulders of giants of excellence such as Dr. Charlotte West, a Title IX pioneer and women’s sports advocate.

Weekend Activities:

  • Women in Philanthropy Luncheon
  • Women Empowerment Mini-Conference
  • Keynote Address by Dr. Linda Baker, SIU Professor of the Paul Simon Public Policy. Dr. Baker is the former secretary for the State of Illinois Department of Human Services and is the first African American legislative liaison for an Illinois governor.
  • Saluki Women’s Reception
  • Yoga on the Lawn
  • Mentorship Brunch
  • Women In Athletics Luncheon
  • Fireside Chat
  • Ultimate Women Saluki Tailgating Experience

“The importance of celebrating and continuing to build equitable access to education for our female students is a high priority,” said Sherrica Hunt, director of development for diversity, equity, and inclusion, said. “The role of philanthropy in this space is beyond raising funds to support students and programs. It is also about creating paths to advocate for equitable representation to close the gender gaps and provide opportunities that allow all Saluki Women to thrive beyond any social or economic conditions. We look forward to our female alumni flooding the SIU campus. Go Dawgs!”

The weekend will support the Women’s Leadership Council mentorship program and campus micro-grants to support women’s initiative and the women in athletics initiative fund. To register for the weekend or sponsor the event, please visit siuf.org/saluki-women or contact Sherrica Hunt at sherricah@foundation.siu.edu if you have any questions.

“We are excited to host the inaugural Saluki Women’s Weekend this September to bring back SIU alumnae to campus,” said Steph Taylor, director of development. “This weekend will celebrate the impact of the generations before us had on equitable access to education and sports, but also continue to help close those gender gaps and barriers women continue to face. You can help us make an impact on the future of women’s initiatives on campus through philanthropic support, mentoring our students, and inviting your fellow Saluki women to attend the event with you. We will see you in September!”

About the Women’s Leadership Council

Established in 2020, the SIU Women’s Leadership Council is a network of alumnae, parents, and friends who are committed to creating a culture of women-driven philanthropy at SIU and mentoring future generations of Salukis. Council members contribute their time, energy, resources, and expertise by serving on university boards and championing SIU in their home regions. Embodying a legacy of leadership, the council collectively funds women’s initiatives and scholarships on campus.

SIU Foundation smashes fundraising records

flowering trees on SIU campus

The SIU Foundation had the best fiscal year in its history, raising more than $32 million and awarding more scholarships than ever before.

“What we witnessed in FY22 was support for the university, its students and faculty at an unprecedented level,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “To everyone who has supported the university through the SIU Foundation, we are sincerely grateful. This kind of historic support is humbling.”

The numbers speak for themselves, each representing a new record:

  • $32,137,715 total dollars raised, a 25.5 percent increase over last year;
  • $3,464,499.85 in scholarship money awarded, a 22.8 percent increase over last year;
  • 1,445 unique scholarships awarded, which means 12.8 percent of SIU students received a Foundation scholarship.

This unparalleled success is taking place amid the Forever SIU fundraising campaign. Near the end of the 2022 SIU Day of Giving in March, Chancellor Austin Lane announced the expansion of the campaign, raising the goal from $200 million to $500 million by 2028.

“This will reshape the way we imagine the future of SIU,” Chancellor Lane said during his announcement in March. “This is about supporting our students and faculty and strengthening the university. Our alumni and donors understand the importance of this mission, and their generosity is what has set us on this path to half a billion dollars.”

The Forever SIU campaign aligns with the Imagine 2030 strategic plan, which sets forth a bold vision for the future of the university.

“We are seeing the incomparable Saluki spirit on display,” Kupec said. “That pride, that passion is what is going to continue to elevate us to new heights as we look toward a bright future.”

The money raised through the campaign has funded scholarships, campus improvements, faculty support, and enhanced alumni engagement.

“This has been an exhilarating ride, and we are excited to keep going,” Kupec said. “With every dollar, we are able to help students and faculty, enhance experiences, and further strengthen this great university.”

For more information about the campaign or make a gift, visit foreversiu.org.

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To schedule an interview with Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, contact darlape@foundation.siu.edu.

SIBA donates $25K to enhance learning experience

COECTM will use funds to purchase 3D laser scanner

Pictured right to left: Sara Bond, Dr. Jale Tezcan, Donna Richter, Dr. Xiaoqing “Frank” Liu, Jason Fairfield

By Jeff Wilson

With a single donation, the Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program of the Southern Illinois Builders Association improved the educational opportunities for SIU students and strengthened its partnership with the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics.

The $25,000 gift will be used to add a 3D laser scanner, which will help train the next generation of Salukis in the School of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering.

“This gift from the Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP) of the Southern Illinois Builders Association (SIBA) was made to improve the talent pool for the construction industry in the region,” said Donna Richter, CEO of SIBA/SICAP. “SIBA/SICAP believes it is imperative that SIUC has the resources to teach and train future generations. We want these students to have state-of-the-art equipment to train with and hopefully remain in the Southern Illinois area working for SIBA member companies.”

On its website, SIBA/SICAP states that its purpose is to advance the construction industry through strengthening its members and offering a full range of services and programs to its members. There are around 150 SIBA/SICAP member companies in Southern Illinois.

“Our college appreciates the generosity of SIBA/SICAP and looks forward to building and strengthening a long-term partnership with it,” said Dr. Xiaoqing “Frank” Liu, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics. “SIU has produced many outstanding engineering talents for builders in Southern Illinois and beyond for a long time and will continue to do so in the future.”

The 3D laser scanner allows for high-definition surveying technology for mapping an area or large object with a high level of accuracy.

“This donation provides students in our college an opportunity of learning this modern technology and its applications in constructions and other related domains in a hands-on education and training environment,” Dean Liu said.

With a focus on increasing enrollment, ensuring that the college has the most up-to-date technology is imperative.

“As digital technology continues to evolve, many traditional processes in the engineering sector are being replaced by their quicker, safer, and more accurate counterparts,” said Dr. Jale Tezcan, interim director of the School of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering. “3D laser scanning technology has already revolutionized the surveying industry and is becoming increasingly prevalent in the construction industry.”

Expanding its partnership with SIBA/SICAP, has effects that stretch well beyond the classroom as well.

“Coupled with the internship and networking opportunities through our partnership with SIBA/SICAP, this gift will make our students better equipped to secure employment upon graduation,” Dr. Tezcan said. “We are very fortunate to have such a committed partner as SIBA/SICAP on our side, sharing our vision and goals.”

To learn more about how to make a similar gift, visit siuf.org.

Family honors alumnus’ wishes, memory

Youchoff fund will help students finish

By Jeff Wilson

Seventy years after Johnny Youchoff’s graduation from SIU, his family is honoring his memory by establishing the Johnny Youchoff and Mary Agnes Youchoff Finish Line Endowed Scholarship.

His cousin, John Savio, and John’s wife, Anita, donated $250,000 to create this endowed scholarship honoring Youchoff and his wife, Mary Agnes. The term “finish line” refers to the goal of the fund, which aims to help students complete their degrees.

The scholarship is designed for SIU juniors and seniors who are graduates of his former high school in West Frankfort or his mother’s high school in Christopher and have experienced a major life event that may prevent them from graduating.

“Johnny had every sticker the SIU Alumni Association had sent him on his garage wall,” said John Savio. “He hoped to be a member of the Alumni Association for at least 50 years, and was proud to exceed that goal.”

Youchoff, a West Frankfort native worked at his family business, Heights Bakery, as a youth and graduated from Frankfort Community High School. At SIU, he majored in geography and graduated in 1952. In May of 2021 he passed away at age 91 and was buried with his SIU 150th anniversary pin.

“Education was very important to Johnny, and he was particularly eager to help students from his and his mother’s hometowns,” Anita Savio said. “He would love that his legacy will be supporting these students on the brink of completing their degrees.”

Family memories

John Savio never lived in Southern Illinois, but as a youth he and his parents often visited his grandmother, and aunt and uncle there.

“That was a vacation our family took every summer for at least a week, sometimes 10 days. I had so much fun with Johnny and his brother Louis,” said John Savio, a longtime Michigan resident. “We would go fishing, boating and hiking, and travel all around the area … to Crab Orchard, Cave-in-Rock, Shawnee National Forest.”

After earning his degree, Youchoff joined the Army and served proudly during the Korean War. Upon his return he went to work at General Motors in Atlanta, and, before meeting his wife-to-be, spent his evenings studying law at John Marshall Law School.

“That was the kind of guy Johnny was,” John Savio said. “He had no interest in practicing law and never mentioned his degree. I didn’t even know he went to law school until I saw the diploma on his wall about 10 years ago. Even at SIU, he studied Russian for the fun of it. He just loved learning.”

Always a Saluki

Through the years, Youchoff never lost his Saluki spirit. Although he lived in Georgia and Tennessee, he followed Saluki Athletics closely, particularly Saluki Men’s Basketball. For years, until Mary Agnes became ill, they would travel to Carbondale for the SIU Homecoming games. Later, it was a 2014 trip to campus that reignited his plan to help students.

“After so many years, Johnny wanted to visit his alma mater,” Anita Savio said. “So, he and John went on a road trip to SIU, where they ran into the associate athletic director of marketing. Their conversation brought back many great memories, reminding him of how much he loved the school.”

Youchoff then began working with the SIU Foundation on making a large-scale gift, but, due to life-changing events, it was never finalized. The Savios knew it was important to make this dream a reality.

“He had talked often about doing this,” John Savio said. “I reached out to the SIU Foundation and had lengthy discussions about what this fund would be. Of course, Johnny passed away before it came to fruition.”

Now, with the establishment of his fund, John and Anita Savio are confident that Youchoff would be pleased with the outcome.

“He really wanted to make sure that other young people could benefit from an education like he received at SIU,” Anita Savio said. “We are thrilled that we are able to fulfill this wish in his honor.”

To learn more about making a gift, visit siuf.org.

Smith focusing on the future of education

Dean M Cecil Smith HeadshotM Cecil Smith had big plans as the first dean for the new School of Education, despite arriving in July 2020 amid a pandemic.

“I feel as if the past 30-plus years of my career have prepared me well for this position. Now, we can accelerate and implement the exciting initiatives,” he said.

Smith said he wants to revitalize and enhance the school’s existing community partnerships and establish new relationships.

“This is my vision, my mantra for SIU’s School of Education: ‘Always learning, always leading,’” he said. “My goal is to work with the faculty and staff to assure we have a high-quality, rigorous program.”

While the School of Education has a dedicated legion of supporters, Smith said it’s more important than ever to ensure students are fully supported.

“We are fortunate to have many scholarships for our students, and we are grateful. But we need other kinds of funding support,” he said. “The pandemic took a toll on our students’ well-being and their ability to manage the various aspects of their lives.”

“We also need to recruit teacher candidates from underrepresented groups. We need teachers to reflect the diversity that is growing in the Southern Illinois region. Research shows that students of color who have teachers who are persons of color are much more likely to stay in school.”

Implementing initiatives

Smith is especially excited about an initiative known as the Saluki Teacher Residency Partnership, funded by a recent award from the Illinois State Board of Education.

It awarded $50,000 to plan the partnership and $200,000 to implement the residency partnership. Currently, the school is working with five local districts: Cairo, Meridian, Vienna, Murphysboro, and Carbondale’s two school districts.

“The plan is to create a teacher residency, much like a medical residency, geared toward recruiting students from under-represented racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups,” Smith said.

Christie McIntyre, director of teaching and education and an associate professor, wrote the grant. In it, a student resident teacher collaborates with a community mentor and works in the school for an entire school year.

“We are proud to be implementing the fruits of Christie’s efforts this fall with three teacher residents placed in each of those five communities. The community mentors will provide the residents with advice on professionalism, inform them about the larger community, and will give the teacher residents overall support,” Smith said.

During the pandemic, students suffered a significant amount of learning loss. To get these students up to speed, the School of Education will employ retired teachers, community mentors, and university students to provide afterschool tutoring as part of the Illinois Tutoring Initiative, a statewide project funded through the governor’s office. Thus far, the school has partnered with four local districts with plans to expand the program this fall.

Smith is especially excited about the Illinois Grow Your Own (GYO) initiative, which provides funding to prepare local community members for teaching careers in early childhood education and special education. GYO supports racially and economically diverse individuals who have a desire to become teachers within their home communities. The goal is to prepare teachers who will become leaders inside and outside their hometown classrooms.

The funding pays up to $25,000 for tuition, books, childcare, and transportation for each qualified student. The school graduated 17 special education teachers who were supported by the program. Eight students will graduate in December 2022 and seven will graduate in 2023. The school also has a cohort of 12 early childhood educator candidates who will graduate in 2023.

To support scholarships and initiatives such as these, visit ehs.siu.edu/giving.

Enjoying a new home

Smith and his wife, Ellin, are finding Southern Illinois a great fit for their lifestyle.

“We enjoy cycling, kayaking and visiting local wineries, and this region provides a wide array of opportunities for us to enjoy those activities,” Smith said.

Smith is also enjoying the close camaraderie he is experiencing with the other SIU deans.

“We had everyone over for dinner recently, and it is great that we all get along and support one another. The future looks bright for our colleges and schools at SIU. I’m proud to play a part,” he said.

Remembering the past and building a better future

Gene and Laura Basanta have always been interested in society and what is going on around them, particularly societal injustices. When they came across information while researching their ancestors, they knew they needed to act.

In late 2021, the Basantas established a $25,000 scholarship fund for Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) students studying agriculture at SIUC. In 2022, they donated another $25,000 to the scholarship.

“Recently, we began researching our ancestries. I come from a deep farming background and our farmland is still actively being farmed,” Laura said. “Doing some research, I discovered that in the will of my fourth great-grandfather, a Revolutionary War veteran, there is a listing of his property, which included slaves. Just reading the names, ages, and gender of those individuals listed next to curtains, a ladle, and a mule was deeply disturbing to me.”

Both Laura and Gene’s ancestors came from an agrarian background. Laura’s ancestors have been farming in Kentucky for 150 years and Gene’s ancestors owned a sugar plantation in West Indies in the 1800s.

Gene, who is the SIU School of Law’s Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law Emeritus, made a similar discovery when he began searching his family roots. Like Laura, his ancestors owned several slaves.

“I learned my family operated a sugar plantation in Trinidad. Slaves fueled the operations of such plantations. While Laura and I honor and revere our ancestors, we also must acknowledge that our current privilege came in part from the work of enslaved individuals,” Gene said.

Supporting the future of ag

The Basantas have an interest in agriculture and are aware that SIU’s College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences is making great strides, especially through its sustainability programs.

“As we reflected on what we learned, we knew we had to do something and a scholarship for Black students at SIU seemed appropriate,” Laura said. “And because we both love agriculture, we turned to Dean (Eric) Brevik from the college and talked how we could set up an agriculture scholarship.”

Gene said the scholarship gives he and Laura personal satisfaction, and they hope it makes a difference in the lives of students.

“We want to give students opportunities to do great things. We know that our faculty accomplishes important work,” he said. “But when students go and accomplish greatness, that is the greatest satisfaction of all.”

Dean Brevik is thankful for the support of the Basantas.

“We are very grateful to the Basantas for supporting minority students who want to major in agriculture,” he said. “It is very important that we have a diverse agricultural workforce.”

SIU legacy

The Basantas have a long history with SIU and the Carbondale community.

Beyond his emeritus title, Gene was a professor in the Department of Medical Humanities at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He also founded SIU’s Center for Health Law & Policy. In 1989, he helped create the law school’s M.D./J.D. program. He served as interim dean for the law school in 2002.

Laura and Gene moved to Carbondale in 1980 and began establishing their family. Prior to their move, Laura received a BFA from Louisville School of Art and has produced art while working and raising their children.

Both have served the community with many groups, including The Varsity Center, Women’s Center, Carbondale Community Arts, and the General John A. Logan Museum.

Learn more about making a similar impact at siuf.org.

Compardo: Going Forward Together

Diane Compardo HeadshotDiane Compardo is not afraid of hard work. In fact, the drive to succeed was instilled in her at an early age.

“Both of my parents grew up on farms in Illinois and they eventually owned two farms where I was raised. I was one of six children who helped tend to the livestock and various crops,” she said. “I still remember waking up at 5 a.m. with my siblings to go pull weeds out of the bean fields. Growing up on a farm taught me what I wanted out of life and what I did not.”

Compardo knew early on that she wanted to go to SIU.

“My dad was a first-generation Saluki who received his degree in agriculture. He loved SIU so it just felt natural that I would follow in his footsteps,” she said.

When her parents dropped her off at Thompson Point, it was a defining moment in her life.

“I came from a rural area with a small town and high school nearby, and suddenly here I was in what felt like a big city. It was both scary and exhilarating as I watched my parents drive away,” she said. “SIU made a big imprint in my life from that moment on.”

Compardo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1991 and went on to receive her master’s degree in accounting in 1992.

The St. Louis resident’s career encompasses more than two and a half decades of high-level client service and management experience. Compardo began her career with the international accounting & consulting firm Price Waterhouse (now PwC). After rising to the level of manager at PwC, she left to join Moneta which today is consistently ranked as one of the largest Registered Investment Advisory firms in the country. At Moneta, she became the first professional in Moneta’s 150-year history to be promoted to the role of partner from within the firm’s advisor ranks. Today, Compardo leads her own team at Moneta comprised of 30 professionals specializing in providing financial planning & wealth management services to successful families throughout the world. A nationally recognized leader, Compardo has been consistently honored as one of America’s Top 100 Women Advisors by Forbes, Barron’s, and The Financial Times, and is the only advisor in Missouri named to all three lists. In 2018, The Wall Street Journal featured her for successfully developing a sustainable business and developing team talent to ensure a successful outcome to succession planning. Also in 2018, Ingram’s magazine named Compardo as one of “50 Missourians You Should Know.”

As president-elect of the SIU Foundation, Compardo’s goal is to be a passionate leader and a have big voice in reaching alumni who may have lost their connection with SIU.

“I would like to see more of our great alumni reconnect with SIU – see first-hand all the great things going on, find ways to give back, and perhaps help pay it forward to current Saluki students. It would be great to make it the university we remember when we were there,” she said. “It’s my hope that we continue to refocus and build on the momentum currently underway. After all, SIU gave us a great start on life and our careers, and it just makes sense for us to now lend a helping hand to students who need it.”

Compardo is also a well-known role model for professional women. In 2017 she was named by InvestmentNews as one of its “Women to Watch” based on her leadership. Working Mother magazine named her to its 2017 inaugural and subsequent lists of “Top Wealth Advisor Moms.”

“As my career grew, I became passionate about helping women obtain leadership roles in the financial services industry. As there are still comparatively few women role models and mentors in finance, I make it a point to mentor and coach as many women as possible in the industry to help them succeed,” she said.

Compardo is a longtime SIU supporter. She and her husband, Ron Wienstroer whom she met while at SIU, established the Compardo/Wienstroer School of Accounting Endowment Fund at SIU. They are both members of the SIU College of Business & Analytics Hall of Fame, the Rehn Society, and lifelong members of the SIU Alumni Association. Compardo currently serves on the Boards for the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Guardian Angel Settlement Association.

Compardo spends as much free time as possible with family. She enjoys reading, golfing, running, and spending time with friends. She and her husband have three children, Alex, 21, Sam, 19, and Jack, 15.

Remembering John Jones: Scholarship endowed, degree awarded

Professor-student bond inspires fundraising effort

Black and white photo of John Jones.

Image of John Jones.

By Jeff Wilson

When John Jones entered his first class with professor Brad Hagy he made an immediate impression.

“He sat in the front row,” said Hagy, a senior lecturer of information sciences and technology at SIU. “He was a model student and was going to do anything to further his future.”

Jones, who worked in IT for the SIU Foundation, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.  In Jones’ memory, Hagy donated $10,000 to establish the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit non-traditional students who are majoring in Information Technology (ITEC).

With the large donation from Hagy and support from numerous donors through the SIU Foundation’s crowdfunding platform, SalukiFunder, the scholarship was recently endowed with $25,000. The scholarship will produce a $1,000 scholarship each year.

During the 2022 Spring Commencement, Jones was honored with a posthumous Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics. Members of Jones’ family attended the ceremony to receive his degree.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and share your pride in his accomplishments,” Chancellor Austin Lane said.

To make a gift to the John E. Jones Memorial Scholarship, visit salukifunder.siu.edu/johnjones.

‘He wasn’t just a student’

The 37-year-old Jones was one semester away from earning his bachelor’s degree in information technology. He made straight A’s and was on the Dean’s List every semester.

“I want to promote what John loved,” Hagy said. “He was working to better his life. I want to help students like John.”

Jones had started his college career in 2002, but he left school after his father passed away. He returned to SIU more than 14 years later determined to get his degree. In an email to Hagy after the Spring 2020 semester, Jones shared his appreciation.

“The one thing that we all lose is time, and there is not a way to get that back,” Jones said in the email. “So, in my journey, I was fortunate enough to meet people at SIU that reminded me of myself as a young man fresh out of high school living carefree and people that are willing to help anyone who gives their time to learn. Mr. Hagy you have made this transition from working full-time to full-time student one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Reading that message, in which Jones goes on to express his hopes for the future, Hagy can’t help but become a bit choked up.

“John understood time,” he said. “He knew he had lost time, but he was still willing to go back and get his degree. In that email, he was speaking from his heart and for his future.”

Hagy spoke at Jones’ memorial service and has remained close to Jones family, to the point that Jones’ mother gifted a pair of blue and white Air Jordan from his shoe collection that matched the color of Jones’ motorcycle. They were both members of the Carbondale Eagles 2569 Eagle Riders motorcycle club that has an annual charity ride for the Southern Illinois Special Olympics.

“Those shoes are now on the shelf in my office,” Hagy said. “He wasn’t just a student. He was a great person, a friend.”

John Jones, 1983-2021

Born and raised in Carbondale, Jones exceled in math and information technology. More than anything, Jones is remembered as a family man.

He is survived by his son, Jerald Cameron Jones; and fiancé, Tamara Buchannan-Boens; and her sons, Christopher Buchannan, Warren Eanes, and Dominique Boens. He is also survived by his mother, Debra Johnson-Jones; sister, Raven-Iman Jones; grandmother, Barbara Sanders; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jones enjoyed participating in American Poolplayers Association competitions, riding his motorcycle with his fellow Eagle Riders, shooting targets at the gun range, and working on and building computer/robotics systems.

After his planned graduation, the SIU Foundation was set to make Jones a full-time member of the IT staff.

“We thought the world of John,” said Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation. “He was liked by all. His words and his actions were always consistent. Everyone at the Foundation was deeply saddened by his untimely passing. Professor Hagy’s inspiring gift is a testament to their connection and the impact they had on one another.”

Pictured left to right: Brad Hagy and Matt Kupec

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Day of Giving trophies awarded: B.E.E.R. Scholarship donors, COLA, Law, Medicine, and Athletics honored

By Jeff Wilson

The SIU Day of Giving trophy presentation has become a tradition that puts an exclamation point on the annual fundraiser.

Each year, the SIU Foundation hands out five trophies honoring areas of campus that performed the best during the Day of Giving, but this year a sixth trophy was added. The winners are:

  • College of Liberal Arts: Largest Dollar Amount Raised, Academic Unit
  • School of Medicine: Most Individual Gifts, Academic Unit
  • College of Liberal Arts: Largest Average Gift
  • Saluki Athletics: Largest Dollar Amount Raised, Non-Academic Unit
  • Balancing Education, Experience & Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarship: Most Individual Gifts, Non-Academic Unit
  • School of Law: Highest Alumni Participation Rate

SIU Foundation CEO Matt Kupec kicked things off by expressing his appreciation for everyone involved in the Day of Giving and his excitement for the future of the Forever SIU fundraising campaign.

The most recent goal for the Forever SIU campaign was $200 million, but the Foundation recently surpassed that goal early, and the campaign was extended to 2028.

“This year, we set a Day of Giving goal of $3 million, and in typical Saluki fashion, we surpassed expectations by raising more than $3.5 million,” he said. “At the end of the Day of Giving, we kicked off the Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis, and Chancellor (Austin) Lane announced to the world that we would raise that goal to $500 million.”

The success of the Day of Giving and the extension of the Forever SIU campaign fit perfectly into the Imagine 2030 strategic plan set forth by Chancellor Lane.

“We don’t get to 2030 without your support, your energy, and your stories,” he said to the crowd gathered at the front steps of Shryock Auditorium. “I can feel the passion, the excitement, and the energy. We can get there, and that’s because of you, our alumni.”

President Dan Mahony and Chancellor Lane both came to SIU when the Day of Giving goal was a bit more modest.

“When I first came to SIU, the Day of Giving goal was $1 million, and we shot past that. At the time, Matt (Kupec) told me we could do even better, but I never envisioned we would be at $3.5 million,” he said.

Andrew Balkansky, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, received two trophies during the ceremony. The college raised $723,265 on the Day of Giving and had the largest average gift.

“We made this a priority from Day One,” he said. “It takes a great team, and we have that here.”

Dr. Jerry Kruse, dean of the School of Medicine, accepted his school’s trophy and promised to take it to locations across the state. The school had 372 individual donors.

“The best thing is the spirit of working together,” he said. “This will be a true traveling trophy.”

Saluki Athletics finished with a Day of Giving total of $109,645. Kupec, who is also the interim athletic director, was handed his department’s trophy by Chancellor Lane.

“The future of Saluki Athletics is incredibly bright,” he said. “You know what SIUC stands for – Southern Illinois University of Champions.”

The School of Law earned the new Saluki Spirit Award, which honors the academic unit that saw the highest rate of alumni participation during the Day of Giving.

“Res ipsa loquitur. That’s Latin for ‘It speaks for itself,’” said Camille Davidson, dean of the School of Law. “We may be small, but we are mighty.”

Represented by about 15 alumni, the group known for the B.E.E.R. Scholarship was honored with a trophy for the fourth consecutive year. This year, 698 individuals made a gift to the scholarship fund.

“The amazing thing about this one is how many people donate to it,” said Jim Raffensperger, who represented the group. “Small donations make a large difference. This year, there were six B.E.E.R. Scholarships awarded from this fund. Amazing.”

For more about the Forever SIU campaign, visit foreversiu.org.