Category Archives: SIU

Salukis Unleashed sets bold vision for SIU Athletics

Goal of $100M over 10 years to support championship-level programs

CARBONDALE – Saluki Athletics has announced a bold vision for the future of its programs, launching Imagine: Salukis Unleashed, a $100 million revenue enhancement plan.

In conjunction with the Imagine SIU 2030 strategic plan, Salukis Unleashed will enhance the athletics experience for student-athletes, coaches, and fans across the region. It will be included in the university-wide Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

“Saluki Athletics showcases some of the best of SIU. It’s the way many of our alumni and friends connect with our university. When the Salukis win, we all win,” said Chancellor Austin Lane during a launch event Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Saluki Stadium.

Salukis Unleashed is a 10-year initiative that includes plans for fundraising and other revenue source increases. The plan centers around facility upgrades and enhancement of the Saluki Athletics’ footprint on campus.

“The athletic department is already invested in this mission,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Leonard. “We have replaced scoreboards in many venues, including the Jumbotron in the Banterra Center, and Saluki Baseball is getting new turf and fencing. We are moving forward with these and many other plans.”

Priorities during the Salukis Unleashed initiative include the following construction:

  • Basketball practice facility, which not only benefits men’s and women’s basketball, but will allow volleyball to regularly play in the Banterra Center

  • Indoor football practice facility and new locker room space for both the home and away teams

  • Enhanced baseball clubhouse and training facility, including an indoor hitting facility

  • New stadium for Saluki Women’s Soccer

  • Golf practice facility
  • Upgrades to Lingle Hall, Banterra Center, Charlotte West Stadium, and Shea Natatorium

“These state-of-the-art facilities will allow us to reach our maximum potential while recruiting players, hiring coaches, and maintaining championship-caliber programs,” Leonard said.

Beyond facilities, there will be an enhanced push to increase scholarship opportunities and wraparound services, including nutrition and mental health services. Together, these initiatives will push Saluki Athletics to new heights.

“We will show the Southern Illinois region and the rest of the world that we are focused on winning championships and making sure we succeed in every way possible,” Leonard said. “The future belongs to those who dream big, and no one is dreaming bigger than Saluki Athletics and SIU right now.”

To make a gift in support of the Imagine: Salukis Unleashed campaign, visit siuf.org/unleashed.

Professor Sharp’s $1M Donation, Five-Day Celebration

Professor James Franklin Sharp headshot
Professor James Franklin Sharp

Editor’s note: recap provided by Professor Sharp and his team.

Introduction:

James Franklin Sharp grew up in Chester Illinois, and now lives and works in New York City.

He was a 1954 graduate of Chester High School and then completed in 1956 the two-year Pre-Engineering Program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (before SIU had a four-year Engineering Program). He had a great time at SIU. He lived in Doyle Dorm, which was in the back of the Baptist Foundation Building. Doyle Dorm was conveniently located near the compact SIU campus at that time when SIU only had about 4,000 students. He liked the small class sizes and had mainly senior professors, including the Head of Mathematics, Head of Physics, and Head of Economics. He participated in 7 intramural sports: football, corkball, volleyball, basketball, softball, badminton, and horseshoes for Doyle Dorm. He enjoyed being a member of Theta Xi Fraternity, which hosted the very popular annual Theta Xi Variety Show.

Professor Sharp is pleased to be able to give back to SIU with a $1,000,000 donation and is grateful to have the SHARP MUSEUM named after him. He returned to SIU 2023 Homecoming Week from Wednesday, October 18 to Sunday, October 22 for five days of special events celebrating the dedication of the SHARP MUSEUM.

Day 1. Wednesday

Melissa, Professor, Linda on AA Flight NY to St. Louis
Melissa Marks, Professor Sharp, Linda Li on American Airlines Flight from New York to St. Louis.

Wednesday Professor Sharp took an American Airlines flight from New York to St. Louis Air­port. He was accompanied by his Business Manager, Melissa Marks, and Assistant, Linda Li. At the St. Louis Airport, they were picked up by SIU Dean of Library Affairs (including SHARP MUSEUM) John Pollitz, and his Direc­tor of Development, Kevin Clark.

There was a 2-hour drive in an SIU van to the Hilton Suites Hotel in Carbondale, Illinois. They ordered takeout food and had a small wel­come dinner in the lobby of the hotel. They were soon joined by Professor Sharp’s sister, Rosanna Sharp Myers, and her daughter, Stephanie Myers Smith, who drove down from the St. Louis Airport, after a flight from Atlanta.

Day 2. Thursday Morning

In Front of SHARP MUSEUM, Melissa,Professor, Rosanna, Stephanie, Linda
In Front of SHARP MUSEUM, Melissa,
Professor, Rosanna, Stephanie, Linda

Thursday morning Professor Sharp, Melissa, Linda, Rosanna, and Stephanie toured the SHARP MUSEUM.

Plaques for Professor James Franklin Sharp, and Rosanna Sharp Myers, are being installed inside the SHARP MUSEUM.

SHARP MUSEUM has a Fine and Decorative Arts Collection, with more than 4,000 items. That includes regional historical and contempo­rary ethnic and folk art.

Professor James Franklin Sharp Plaque

SHARP MUSEUM has a Science Collection that includes more than 26,000 geological specimens and a collection of early 20th-century medical and dental items.

SHARP MUSEUM has a Humanities Collection with more than 22,000 items, including a historic collection of Southern Illinois and general American history. The Rosanna Sharp Myers Southern Illinois Gallery is named after Professor Sharp’s sister. One large painting shows Lincoln & Douglas at their debate in Jonesboro, Illinois.

Rosanna Sharp Myers Plaque

After touring the SHARP MUSEUM, the Sharp Group looked at some of the nearby SIU Campus. Professor Sharp liked to see the old Doyle Dorm, where he lived at SIU, which is next to the SHARP MUSEUM. They all admired the Three Salukis Statue, across the street from the old Doyle Dorm, with the popular SIU symbol, Pulliam Hall, in the background.

Rosanna and Stephanie went inside nearby Woody Hall, where Rosanna first lived at SIU. Then Kevin Clark drove the group to see the Buckminster Fuller Dome House.

The group had Quarto’s famous deep-pan pizza for lunch.

Three Salukis Statue with Melissa & Linda

Day 2. Thursday Evening

Thursday evening there was a SIU Foundation Board Dinner, that honored Professor Sharp. SIU Marching Band, SIU Cheerleaders, and SIU Saluki Dog Mascot participated. Matt Kupec, CEO of the SIU Foundation, was the moderator. Matt, SIU President Daniel Mahony, and SIU Chancellor Austin Lane made remarks praising Professor Sharp.

Matt Kupec, SIU Foundation CEO
SIU Saluki Dog Mascot, Foundation Dinner

Day 3. Friday

Sharp Group had Brunch at the famous Mary Lou’s Grill, including having their very popular Biscuits & Gravy.

Standing Room Only At Dedication

The dedication Ceremony for the SHARP MUSEUM was Friday afternoon. There was a larger-than-expected attendance at the Dedication Ceremony, with a large standing-room-only number of people.

SIU Dean John Pollitz At Dedication

Dean John Pollitz was the moderator and made remarks praising Professor Sharp. SIU President Daniel Mahony and SIU Chancellor Austin Lane also made remarks praising Professor Sharp.

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane At Dedication
SIU System President Daniel Mahony At Dedication

Professor Sharp thanked Dean Pollitz, President Mahony, and Chancellor Lane. He then recognized the SHARP MUSEUM Curators: Wes Stoerger and Susannah Munson. Also, Chester High School Superintendent Mrs. Kimberly Briggs, Chester High School Principal Jeremy Blechle, former Doyle Dorm Roommate Roger Chitty, and Theta Xi Alumni who were present, were recognized.

Professor Sharp At Dedication

Friday evening there was a Dedication Dinner at the well-known Giant City Lodge Restaurant. Dean Pollitz again was the moderator. At the Dedication Dinner, Alumni of Beta Delta Chapter of Theta Xi Fraternity at SIU, represented by Scott Shelton, Julian Pei, and Scott Nordentoff honored Professor Sharp with a Plaque stating “In Recognition of Outstanding Service and Dedication.”

Theta Xi Plaques At Dedication Dinner

Also, Shawn Monsen, Theta Xi Fraternity Na­tional Director of Alumni Engagement traveled from Theta Xi Headquarters in Atlanta to honor Professor Sharp. He presented him with a Theta Xi Founders Circle Award Plaque and Rosette Lapel Pin.

Day 4. Saturday

Professor Sharp In SIU Homecoming Parade

SIU Homecoming Parade was on Saturday morning. Professor Sharp was an Honoree, riding in a classic BMD red convertible. Rosanna Sharp Myers also was in a red convertible, accompa­nied by her daughter Stephanie Myers Smith.

Rosanna In SIU Homecoming Parade

SIU Homecoming Football Game was Saturday afternoon in Saluki Stadium. There was a fly­over by a U.S. Air Force Plane just before the kickoff. Sharp Group was invited to watch the game from a luxury suite in Saluki Stadium. They had a great buffet lunch before and during the game. There was an excellent view of the football game and the halftime show by the SIU Marching Band.

In the Foundation’s Suite For SIU Homecoming Football Game
View of SIU Marching Band at Homecoming Football Game

Saturday evening there was a Farewell Dinner at the 20’s Hideout Steakhouse in Marion.

Day 5. Sunday

Sharp House in Chester

Sunday morning Rosanna and Stephanie drove their rental car back to the St. Louis airport to catch their flight back to Atlanta.

Dean John Pollitz and Kevin Clark drove Professor Sharp, Melissa, and Linda back to the St. Louis airport to catch their flight back to New York. They took Route 3 through Chester. They drove by the Sharp Home in Chester, where Professor Sharp and Rosanna grew up. They also stopped at Chester High School, where they sat on the Professor Sharp Bench, in front of the entrances to the Sharp Cafeteria, which also led to the Sharp Library & Media Center.

CHS Professor Sharp Bench

Salukis recognized for takeover of Springfield

SIU honored at the State Capitol

SPRINGFIELD – Southern Illinois University Carbondale leaders are raising the university’s visibility and nurturing relationships with alumni, state officials, local schools, and others during this week’s Saluki Takeover Tour in Springfield.

This was the inaugural stop in Illinois’ capital for the Saluki Takeover Tour, which has made previous stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee. The takeover tour will revisit these areas over the next few months and add new locations, including a takeover of Southern Illinois.

The capstone event of each takeover tour is the Chancellor’s Reception. With nearly 200 Salukis in attendance, the excitement was palpable. Guests also had the opportunity to view the Jerome M. Mileur Presidential Campaign Memorabilia Collection.

“There’s something special about Springfield. When get here and run into all our alums, state reps, and senators, that’s what’s unique,” said Chancellor Austin Lane. “We need your support. We need to you be engaged. We need you to be proud of the work that is occurring.”

Capitol recognition

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Illinois State Rep. Will Davis, ’89, announced the Salukis in Springfield on the House Floor in the Illinois State Capitol and read excerpts of the House resolution to honor SIU Carbondale. Rep. Patrick Windhorst, ’00, School of Law, also welcomed SIU leaders.

“Bright days are ahead, and it’s a bright future based on your leadership,” Windhorst said.

A House resolution on Wednesday honored the SIU School of Law in celebration of its 50th anniversary this year.

“We welcome them here to Springfield for their takeover event here, and you’ll start to see these takeover events in more communities around the state,” Davis said.

Exciting interactions

Also on Tuesday, Chancellor Lane was interviewed by WTAX News Radio and NPR Illinois in Springfield.

Chancellor Lane and university leaders explored Stellar Aviation. During the visit, the SIU Foundation received a $50,000 gift from Dr. Susan Shea ’86, who is the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics. The funds will endow a scholarship for SIU Aviation students.

“I’m very grateful to Southern Illinois University for giving me the opportunity, and I want to say thank you back for the wonderful education I got there,” she said during the Chancellor’s Reception.

Sheryl Tucker, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; Robert Morgan, dean of the College for Health and Human Sciences, and Linda Baker, a professor with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, engaged with the Illinois Department of Human Services – Funeral and Burial Benefits.

Additionally, SIU System First Lady Laura Mahony hosted the leadership from the Conference of Women in Legislators at the SIU System president’s home, discussing strategies to increase membership and fund scholarships for women resuming their education. The day concluded with a dinner alongside SIU School of Medicine members at Panther Creek Country Club.

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, leaders from the Office of Innovation and Economic Development and the SIU Foundation exchanged creative ideas for the future of the Southern Illinois region with the Director of the Department of Agriculture Jerry Costello II. Costello ’97 is a proud Saluki and graduate of the School of Education.

During the takeover tour, university leadership visited administrators and counselors at Springfield Lamphier High School, Springfield East High School, Springfield High School, Lincoln Land Community College, and Sacred Heart Griffin (Cavalry).

On Thursday morning, dozens gathered for the WSIU Friends Breakfast at Harvest Market. Attendees connected with WSIU Friends and staff for a complimentary buffet.

For more information about upcoming Saluki Takeover Tours, follow the SIU Foundation on social media or visit siuf.org.

Chancellor’s Golf Scramble raises scholarship funds

SIU Chancellor Austin Lane (right) with First Southern Bank President & Chief Executive Officer John Dosier.

Nearly 100 golfers dedicated their Friday to supporting scholarships for SIU students during the 3rd annual Chancellor’s Golf Scramble at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.

“This is the largest group this tournament has ever had,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “The funds we raise here are going to our students and helping us move enrollment forward.”

SIU Board of Trustees Chair J. Phil Gilbert and Chancellor Austin Lane.

Twenty-four teams teed off, including SIU Board of Trustees Chair J. Phil Gilbert, members of the SIU Foundation and SIU Alumni Association boards, the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and many other members of the SIU and regional community.

The event was presented by First Southern Bank. Other sponsors were Follett Higher Education, Fager-McGee Commercial Construction, Ike Honda, Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners, State Farm, SIU Credit Union, New York Life, the SIU Alumni Association, and the SIU Foundation.

The golf scramble was won by a team of Saluki Athletics Hall of Famers, including Derrick Taylor, Terry Taylor, Robert Jones, and John Wilson. Jones is Saluki Baseball’s all-time career home run leader. Derrick Taylor, Terry Talyor, and John Wilson were part of the 1983 Saluki Football national championship team, which was inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame this year.

Mike Blumhorst won the closest to the pin and longest putt competitions. Robin Lester and Ted Oxeudine took home the title for longest drives.

Sharp Museum dedicated in honor of $1M donation

Professor James Franklin Sharp attended SIU from 1954 to 1956

By Jeff Wilson

With a $1 million gift, Professor James Franklin Sharp has chiseled his name into SIU’s legacy. Now, the university has honored his generosity by renaming the University Museum as Sharp Museum.

On Friday, Oct. 20, the university unveiled the Sharp Museum naming and renamed the Southern Illinois Gallery as the Mrs. Rosanna Sharp Myers Southern Illinois Gallery, after Sharp’s sister.

“(Professor Sharp) is forever tied to the history of this institution,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “How fitting to have something like this during Homecoming week.”

Professor Sharp attended SIU from 1954 to 1956, but the university didn’t offer a four-year degree in engineering at that time. Still, he said he always felt a strong connection to the university.

While an SIU student, he played seven intramural sports, including football, corkball, basketball, volleyball, softball, badminton, and horseshoes. He was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity.

“Professor Sharp was all in during his time at SIU,” said SIU System President Dan Mahony. “He took advantage of that experience, and when you do that, it becomes a life habit.”

He transferred to the University of Illinois from SIU and completed his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering. He later earned a master’s and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

“I guess I would say I enjoyed my time at SIU more than the other colleges I attended,” Professor Sharp said.

Professor Sharp taught at three universities: Rutgers University, New York University Stern Graduate School of Business, and Pace University Lubin Graduate School of Business. He also held management positions at AT&T and founded Sharp Seminars in New York, which became a leading provider of training for Wall Street investment analysts and investment portfolio managers.

He has also written 36 books and had many articles published. He has achieved the following professional designations: CFA, CIPM, CMA, CFM, and Mensa.

A Chester High School graduate, Professor Sharp has made supporting education a lifelong endeavor. He has made multiple donations to Chester schools, totaling more than $600,000.

Sharp Museum first opened as a natural history museum in 1874, and it has evolved into a teaching museum that represents the humanities, the sciences, and the arts. With roughly 70,000 objects in its care, the Sharp Museum captures and illuminates the human story, opening a window to who we are and where we came from.

“This museum is deep in my heart,” said Dean of Library Affairs John Pollitz. “It’s such an incredible resource for this whole area.”

Tedricks make historic $6M donation, naming SIU welcome center

New building planned to engage prospective students, community

The image depicts a spacious green landscape in front of a grand two-story building labeled "TEDRICK WELCOME CENTER." The architectural design of the center showcases large white pillars, arched windows, and red brick accents.
This concept art shows what the Tedrick Welcome Center could look like once constructed. (Provided by Hafer Architects)

By Jeff Wilson

CARBONDALE – With a $6 million donation, Roger and Sally Tedrick are leaving yet another indelible mark on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus.

In honor of their donation, a planned new building on campus will be named the Tedrick Welcome Center. The proposed building was presented to the SIU Board of Trustees’ architecture and design committee in April, and approval of its construction will be on the board’s Feb. 8 agenda.

Image of Roger and Sally Tedrick dressed formally at an SIU event smiling while standing next to Salukis.

Roger and Sally Tedrick are both alumni of Southern Illinois University and have long been supporters of the university. (Provided by Roger and Sally Tedrick)

“This university is moving forward in an exciting way, imagining a future with more students and prolific success,” Roger Tedrick said. “Sally and I knew we wanted to be part of something that would make a tremendous impact, and this welcome center is just that. It will be the launching point for thousands of Saluki journeys.”

SIU Admissions will begin open houses, orientations and host groups of students at the welcome center, which will be located just off U.S. Highway 51, near the previous location of McAndrew Stadium.

“Roger and Sally Tedrick are visionaries. They believe in our mission, and this gift exemplifies their remarkable dedication to this university and all Southern Illinois,” said Chancellor Austin Lane. “The Tedrick Welcome Center will be the first place that students walk into and experience what it’s like to be a Saluki. It is the capstone to our strategic plan.”

Roger Tedrick, a 1970 graduate of SIU’s College of Liberal Arts, is a member of the SIU Board of Trustees and the SIU Foundation Board of Directors. He is the owner and CEO of Tedrick Group Risk Management Solutions, based in Mount Vernon. Raised in Carbondale, he attended University High School on SIU’s campus. Sally Tedrick is a 1973 graduate of the SIU School of Education.

The Tedricks have a rich tradition of supporting the university. Their many contributions have included creating an endowed fund to enhance university excellence, making a lead donation toward the construction of the Saluki Alumni Plaza, sponsoring the inaugural Saluki Ball, and supporting numerous causes across campus.

“It’s a great pleasure to thank Sally and Rogers for how they have served SIU Carbondale,” said SIU System President Dan Mahony.

The state-of-the-art building will also house the philanthropy center, which will include SIU Foundation offices.

“It is more important than ever to support an institution as historic and impactful as SIU,” Roger Tedrick said. “This is the perfect thing for us to do. This building is going to help bring in and recruit the next generation of Saluki students.”

Watch the animated walkthrough video:

SIU & SNP: Planting the seeds of success

John Deere dealership partners with CALPS to provide equipment

By Jeff Wilson

In the past few years, SIU’s University Farms have gotten even greener, John Deere green.

The farms are a living laboratory that connect man and machine to cultivate land and immerse students in a unique experiential learning environment. Most of the machines used on the farms are provided through a lease agreement with Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners (SNP) John Deere dealership.

Photos of the Chancellor and Faculty visiting the SIU Farms on October 10th, 2023.

Students in SIU’s College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences (CALPS) spend hours working the hundreds of acres, and many of those hours are spent working with tractors, combines, sprayers, etc. provided by SNP.

“This partnership has been huge for us, both when recruiting and retaining students, and it fuels our push toward becoming an R1 research institution,” said CALPS Dean Eric Brevik.

Photos of the Chancellor and Faculty visiting the SIU Farms on October 10th, 2023.

Each year, SNP provides state-of-the-art equipment that enhances the learning experiences of CALPS students and puts the college at the forefront of agricultural education. Recently, Chancellor Austin Lane was able to get behind the wheel of a combine provided through the partnership. After a quick tutorial from a CALPS student, Chancellor Lane harvested a row of corn.

“This is truly a gamechanger,” Chancellor Lane said. “This is where these students need to be. These fields are their classroom.”

The equipment provided by SNP is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that records valuable data about farming in Southern Illinois.

Photos of the SIU Farms on October 10th, 2023.

“Having this localized data showcases this partnership, and that’s important for us,” said Jared Nobbe, vice president of centralized services at SNP.

SIU also displays the equipment when it brings thousands of prospective students to campus for numerous ag-related events on campus.

“I was in FFA throughout high school, and I can tell you this is huge for those students,” said USG President Phillip Hartke.

To support students in CALPs, visit calps.siu.edu/give.

Saluki Women’s Weekend: Empowering Today, Inspiring Tomorrow

By Jeff Wilson

The second annual Saluki Women’s Weekend provided a forum for women to celebrate sisterhood and find empowerment through philanthropy. More than 100 women took part of the events hosted between Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 7.

“Your resources, time, and talent – all of those things really come together to make an impact at SIU,” said Sherrica Hunt, assistant vice chancellor for anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, to dozens of women on Friday, Oct. 6, at Student Center Ballrooms.

Chancellor Austin Lane started the event by touting SIU’s enrollment numbers, pointing out a rare twist.

“Fifty-two percent of our students are female. I have never worked at an institution with more female students than male students,” he said. “When people tell you that women are running things, they’re right.”

The Saluki Women’s Weekend was presented by Compardo, Wienstroer, Conrad & Janes at Moneta Group and the SIU Credit Union. It featured breakouts sessions, sponsored by SIH; a networking breakfast, sponsored by Legence Bank; and a mentorship brunch, sponsored by Dawn Korte, Ph.D. There was also a Saluki Women Vendors Fair, featuring 20 local artisans and female entrepreneurs.

Three women were honored during Friday’s event:

  • Woman of the Year – Shari Rhode, who was a member of the SIU School of Law’s inaugural class and has more than 50 years of experience as an attorney.
  • Trailblazer Award – Lynn Lindberg, who was honored for her efforts as executive director of the SIU Research Park, forging pathways for women at the university and in the community.
  • Emerging Leader – Lauren Lurkins, who operates Lurkins Strategies, LLC, which affects environmental policy and supports academic research projects.

“I’m sure there was someone more deserving, but I appreciate the fact that you found that I was,” Rhode said. “Pay it forward.”

Friday was filled with educational and inspirational presentations from women who have led the way, as leaders in higher education, philanthropy, and service.

“Today is about shaping our future,” said Diane Compardo, president of the SIU Foundation Board of Directors. “Women in leadership isn’t a trend, but a transformative force.”

Compardo shared many of the initiatives the SIU Foundation has been involved with recently, including raising funds for Saluki Cares during the COVID-19 pandemic; a $1 million grant to accelerate the fermentation science program at McLafferty Annex; support for the Dr. Seymour Bryson Future Scholars program; faculty grants for podcasting, robotics, and more; the new entrance sign at Touch of Nature Environmental Center; and the planned Welcome Center to be built on campus.

“Southern embraced me and allowed me to grow at a pivotal moment in my life,” she said. “I invite everyone to make a lasting impact on the university.”

Dr. Sheryl Tucker, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, gave the keynote address. Tucker, who has three sisters, expressed how the bond of sisterhood stretches beyond family.

“Anyone who has ever been a mentor knows you get more out of it than the mentee,” she said. “It’s women empowering women. You should want your inspiration to lead to impact.”

Tucker established the mantra, “Link, learn, lead to leave a legacy,” as a way to empower female students.

“I wanted my legacy to be about the people. I want other young girls to understand what a college education can look like,” she said.

She also pointed out that events such as the Saluki Women’s Weekend are the model for engaging with young women to ensure they can clearly see their potential.

“The only way to effect change is to have a seat at the table. You have a seat at the table here today,” she said. “Be part of the conversation. Have input. You have to be willing to participate.”

It was a sentiment that was echoed throughout the weekend, including during a video message from Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.

“Learn, inspire, and encourage one another,” she said. “Our potential is limitless as long as we keep working together.”

Tami Kupec, who has more than 15 years of fundraising experience, spoke during the Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon, focusing on the value and impact of women in philanthropy. Most recently, Kupec was executive director of development with Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. During her trips to the African nation, Watoto worked to build an educational building and mentor the women and children in the village.

“I wanted to experience a deeper level of contribution,” she said. “I fell in love with the women and children of the village and the holistic work that Watoto was doing to raise the future leaders of Uganda.”

Kupec was introduced by Stellah Nakiranda, a young lady whom she met and mentored through her work in Uganda and who recently enrolled at SIU.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be in the U.S. on this stage speaking in front of you wonderful women,” Nakiranda said. “I have known Tami for 10 years. She’s challenged me to have my own dreams.”

Kupec defined the six Ts of philanthropy – time, talent, treasures, ties, testimony, and trust – explaining that giving in any way makes a major impact on the lives of others.

“Right here at SIU, there’s an incredible opportunity with the Women’s Leadership Council,” she said. “We are encouraging women to reach their full potential and walking alongside young women, giving them a hand up. It is a circle of women passionately focused on the needs of young women.”

An inspiring event

The Saluki Women’s Weekend began Wednesday, Oct. 4, with Jill Wine-Banks presenting the Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Lecture at the SIU School of Law. During her presentation, “Breaking Barriers for Equality, But Still Dancing Backwards in High Heels: How Women’s Success Benefits All,” she discussed her pioneering career, which included working as the only female prosecutor during the Watergate trial, and the issues still facing women today.

On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 5, the Women’s Leadership Council Board of Directors hosted a wine and cheese reception at the McLafferty Annex, which included a presentation by Susan Lighty and Marta Albiol Tapia detailing diversity initiatives in the Fermentation Science Institute.

Mentors and mentees gathered on Saturday, Oct. 7, for a Mentorship Brunch, and the Women’s Leadership Council Board held an official meeting later that day.

“The future is in our hands,” said Dr. Dawn Korte, co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council and member of SIU Foundation Board of Directors. “It’s that empowerment that we can all share that resides deep within us.”

Supporting sponsors of the event were Walmart Carbondale Supercenter #196, Walmart Anna Supercenter #233, Holiday Inn Carbondale, First-Mid Bank, and Dr. Kelly Higgins.

For more information about the Women’s Leadership Council, visit siuf.org/wlc.

University breaks ground on SIU Credit Union Event Center

Photo Caption: Brian Croft, director of Touch of Nature (from left); William Lo, executive director, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce; Darin Fager, president, Fager-McGee Construction; Chancellor Austin Lane; Sara Bond, director of development, SIU Foundation; state Sen. Dale Fowler; Kim Babington, vice president of community outreach, SIU Credit Union; Nicole Gray, program assistant for hospitality service, Touch of Nature; Mike Lantrip, president, SIU Credit Union; Chris Sievers, chairman, SIU Credit Union Board of Directors; and Tom Brummer, associated director of facilities and operations, Touch of Nature break ground on the SIU Credit Union Event Center on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center.
Photo Caption: Brian Croft, director of Touch of Nature (from left); William Lo, executive director, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce; Darin Fager, president, Fager-McGee Construction; Chancellor Austin Lane; Sara Bond, director of development, SIU Foundation; state Sen. Dale Fowler; Kim Babington, vice president of community outreach, SIU Credit Union; Nicole Gray, program assistant for hospitality service, Touch of Nature; Mike Lantrip, president, SIU Credit Union; Chris Sievers, chairman, SIU Credit Union Board of Directors; and Tom Brummer, associated director of facilities and operations, Touch of Nature break ground on the SIU Credit Union Event Center on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center.
Facility funded by $500K donation

MAKANDA – With shovels in the ground, progress is officially under way on the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. The project is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the credit union.

Chancellor Austin Lane was joined by state Sen. Dale Fowler and representatives from SIU Credit Union, Touch of Nature, Fager-McGee Construction, the SIU Foundation, and the university for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 27, near the entrance of Touch of Nature.

“SIU students get their start right here at Touch of Nature,” Chancellor Lane said. “We are fully behind this project, and we want to thank the SIU Credit Union for all they do.”

At the beginning of each fall semester, Touch of Nature hosts Dawg Days for incoming students, providing them with an opportunity to have fun, make friends, and learn more about SIU.

In August 2021, the SIU Credit Union presented a $500,000 check to fund the construction project. The hope is to have the event center completed in the spring of 2024.

“Touch of Nature is a pride and joy of SIU,” Chancellor Lane said at the time. “This partnership with SIU Credit Union is magnificent. This gift will provide the credit union with great visibility among our students and the community.”

SIU Credit Union has a long history of supporting the university, including major donations during the annual SIU Day of Giving. In recent years, the credit union has supported SIU’s New Student Programs, Saluki Food Pantry, and Morris Library, along with Touch of Nature.

“We knew that we needed to do something for SIU and the region,” said Mike Lantrip, CEO of SIU Credit Union. “We think it’s going to be something that helps put Southern Illinois on the map even more.”

Touch of Nature is a full-service outdoor education center that serves SIU, the region, and the nation. It provides opportunities for team building, environmental education, zip lining, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, overnight camps, and more. Nationally recognized for its therapeutic recreation camp, Camp Little Giant, Touch of Nature has provided camps and programs for people with disabilities since 1952. Touch of Nature is an ACA-accredited facility, a National Environmental Education Landmark, and soon to be home to an IMBA-designed Mountain Bike Park.

“This is an incredible partnership with SIU Credit Union,” said Brian Croft, director of Touch Nature. “We expect this to be a spot for community members to come and enjoy the outdoors. It’s amazing to see what facilities like this can do for SIU.”

Croft also introduced state Sen. Fowler and praised his continued support for Touch of Nature and the university. Fowler said he appreciates the impact the event center will have on tourism in the region.

“This facility will be an amazing complement to Touch of Nature,” Fowler said.

For more information about Touch of Nature, visit ton.siu.edu.

Professor James Franklin Sharp donates $1 million, honored with museum naming

Professor James Franklin Sharp headshotWith a $1 million gift, Professor James Franklin Sharp has chiseled his name into SIU’s legacy. Now, the university will honor his generosity by renaming the University Museum as Sharp Museum.

At 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, the university will host a ceremony in front of the museum to unveil the name and honor Professor Sharp, who will be in attendance along with friends and family. Chancellor Austin Lane will give remarks at 4 p.m.

“Professor Sharp’s incredible giving spirit inspires us all,” said John Pollitz, dean of Library Affairs, which oversees the museum. “This gift will make a profound impact on both educational and cultural opportunities for our students, faculty, and the region.”

Professor Sharp attended SIU from 1954 to 1956, but the university didn’t offer a four-year degree in engineering at that time. Still, he said he always felt a strong connection to the university.

While an SIU student, he played seven intramural sports, including football, corkball, basketball, volleyball, softball, badminton, and horseshoes. He was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity.

“I lived in Doyle Dorm with three roommates, whom I have stayed in touch with over all these years,” Professor Sharp said. “Corkball was my favorite sport, and the Theta Xi Variety Show was a big deal in those days. At the time, I could have never imagined I’d even have $1 million, period.”

He transferred to the University of Illinois from SIU and completed his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering. He later earned a master’s and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

“I guess I would say I enjoyed my time at SIU more than the other colleges I attended,” Professor Sharp said. “At SIU, the classes were small and taught by senior professors. I enjoyed watching SIU football and basketball games. They were always very crowded.”

Professor Sharp taught at three universities: Rutgers University, New York University Stern Graduate School of Business, and Pace University Lubin Graduate School of Business. He also held management positions at AT&T and founded Sharp Seminars in New York, which became a leading provider of training for Wall Street investment analysts and investment portfolio managers.

He has also written 36 books and had many articles published. He has achieved the following professional designations: CFA, CIPM, CMA, CFM, and Mensa.

A Chester High School graduate, Professor Sharp has made supporting education a lifelong endeavor. He has made multiple donations to Chester schools, adding up to more than $600,000.

“After making gifts to other institutions, I realized the kind of impact I was able to make. During one of my trips back to SIU, I visited the museum and thought it could use some funding,” Professor Sharp said. “So, I thought why not go big and make it $1 million.”