Category Archives: Donor Stories

Blaudows’ gift supports additional scholarships

by Greg Scott

Blaudows’ gift supports additional SIU scholarships

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A common trait that successful executives share is the ability to recognize a solid investment. SIU Distinguished Alumnus Dick Blaudow, founder, chairman and CEO of Advanced Technology Services (ATS) Inc., in Peoria, is no different.

In 2006, Blaudow and his wife, Brigitte, donated $250,000 to SIU Carbondale’s College of Engineering to create an engineering leadership development program. Their gift funded 14 scholarships for community college graduates in the state of Illinois who planned on attending Southern. Just more than three years later, the Blaudows are contributing an additional $76,000 to fund five more scholarships. Recipients receive a two-year scholarship covering the cost of tuition, in addition to a paid summer internship at ATS offering hands-on manufacturing and leadership experience.

“I have great interest in the College of Engineering and SIU Carbondale. William Osborne (former engineering dean) motivated me to establish this program,” says Blaudow, a former member of the SIU Foundation Board of Directors. “It goes beyond ATS — I would like to see other corporations willing to support students through a leadership program like this one. Our University would be unique in this respect and stand for something.

“As our students continue to become leaders in supervision and management, it could urge parents to send their child to SIU. Leadership development is something our University could become known for.”

The 1970 electrical engineering graduate says ATS hired five SIU students who were recruited into the program. ATS provides managed services for production equipment maintenance, industrial parts repair and IT infrastructure support for manufacturers. The Peoria-based company employs more than 1,700 people, has five branch offices, and has more than 150 customer-site locations in the United States and Mexico.

“We were fortunate to have jobs for them when they graduated in May. These young people are doing well and we are very impressed,” he says. “I’ve had the privilege of spending time with them, meeting their families, and introducing them to other business and industry leaders. Brigitte and I call them ‘our kids.’

“We look forward to continuing the program.”

Bruce DeRuntz, an associate professor at Southern who directs the program, says Blaudow’s gift is a result of his strong desire to continue and expand the program. Recently, DeRuntz has also been awarded a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand the program. The grant will allot the same basic funding for 29 students over the next four years.

“There is really no greater testament or validation of this program’s merit than to have the National Science Foundation exhibit this level of support,” DeRuntz says. “Our plan is for this program to mature into a leadership development institute with major corporate sponsors who have their own cohort of students participating. They will see the value of this early leadership development through high potential students.”

DeRuntz says the program is beneficial to all parties involved.

“Dick’s company is continuing to grow but a limiting factor is identifying and developing future technical leaders. This program provides ATS with an opportunity to develop their own leaders early on,” he says. “It presents Dick with an opportunity to give back to his alma mater which he has always maintained a strong relationship with. In addition, the leadership program provides financial support for students who are willing to work hard. This is what Dick and Brigitte set out to accomplish when they made the initial donation.”

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, says the program supports multiple University objectives.

“This gift further exemplifies Dick and Brigitte Blaudow’s deep devotion to SIU Carbondale, the College of Engineering and its students. Their commitment accentuates the SIU Foundation’s motto of ‘Investing in Saluki Futures,’” he says. “The leadership program not only provides a significant recruitment vehicle for the College of Engineering, but it prepares our students to hit the ground running upon entering the workforce. The Blaudows have been extraordinarily supportive for several years and their vision continues to move this University forward.”

Blaudow’s vision is to develop leaders for the manufacturing industry, which he says has become a rare quality.

“There are fewer young people interested in manufacturing … which is disturbing and a challenge for those of us engaged in the industry,” he says. “In addition, the manufacturing environment is becoming more complex. As a result, we need a more educated, technology-savvy workforce and leadership skills are required.”

SIU’s engineering leadership program is designed to assist in developing and preparing students for leadership roles in manufacturing. DeRuntz says students are required to develop leadership skills via extra-curricular activities in the University and Carbondale communities.

“We meet weekly, invite military and industrial leaders in to speak and offer as much hands-on-experience as possible,” he says. “Our students are required to assume leadership roles in registered student organizations on campus, participate in the Beautify Southern Illinois clean-up project, and lead trail maintenance at Shawnee National Forest. Their leadership and ability to work as an effective team is beginning to gain national attention through their success the last two years in a national robotic competition.

“They nearly swept all of the awards at last year’s ATMAE competition. Other universities have begun to realize that SIU is always a contender for the championship.”

The expectations continue once they join ATS.

“We work these kids hard and have high expectations. They are introduced to industry and business leaders, and exposed to various large industry events,” Blaudow says. “They have to demonstrate leadership, be engaged in teamwork and resourcefulness. As a result, they spend a lot of time working on weekends as opposed to being out having fun.

“This is a good thing for our students who are ready to get a job when they graduate. It’s also good for companies who are making this investment in young people attending SIU. We’ve been very pleased and as a result, decided to step up again and bring in more students. It’s a really good thing for SIU.”

Brown’s $100,000 gift supports minority students

by Greg Scott

Ken Brown’s $100,000 gift supports minority students

CARBONDALE, Ill. — SIU Carbondale alumnus Ken Brown, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and success coach, proudly subscribes to Winston Churchill’s motto: “We make a living by what we got, but we make a life by what we give.” The 1988 food and nutrition graduate’s actions support his beliefs in a big way.

Brown, a Chicago native, is donating $100,000 to fund scholarships for minority students in various majors at Southern. His gift was made in cooperation with the University’s Hope and Opportunity initiative, which seeks to raise $1 million to provide equal opportunities and financial assistance to minority students and other traditionally underrepresented populations.

“My parents taught me that education was the way out of poverty. I took a leap of faith by attending SIU,” he says. “I’ve been afforded tremendous opportunities. According to the word of God, of whom much is given… much is required.

“I want to leave a legacy for students who have a desire to attend college, but may not necessarily have the means to do so. It is important for me to be a messenger of hope.”

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, says: “Ken Brown is a gentleman who has conquered challenges to acquire a great deal of success. He is clearly thankful for the skills and knowledge he acquired as a student at SIU Carbondale and aspires to return the favor by supporting the educational goals of ambitious students who follow him. This represents an outstanding display of philanthropy and generosity on his part.”

The University and Carbondale communities can hear Brown’s story firsthand during his visit to campus on Monday, Jan. 25, and Tuesday, Jan. 26. Brown will be speaking and visiting with various student organizations and leaders, the University’s student affairs division and campus administrators.

Presentations are open to the public at 7 p.m. both days. On Monday, attendees are invited to gather at the Student Center Auditorium, while Tuesday’s presentation will be held in the lower level of Grinnell Hall on campus. Book signing sessions are scheduled to take place after each event. In addition, Brown will also speak at a Brown Bag Luncheon at noon on Tuesday, in the Kaskaskia/Missouri Rooms of the Student Center.

The Division of Student Affairs is sponsoring Brown’s campus visit in conjunction with the SIU Foundation.

The owner and operator of two McDonald’s restaurants in the Detroit area by the age of 35, Brown says he relishes the opportunity to share his message with students at his alma mater.

“Life and success are about choices, challenges and change. Life is 10 percent of what happens to you, and 90 percent of how you respond to it,” he says. “Any student can be successful. Once you make your mind up to be successful, all that can stop this from happening is yourself. There is no other competition.”

Larry H. Dietz, vice chancellor for student affairs, says Brown’s message should resonate with the University community.

“I think he’s got a great message to share with people. It’s always good to have an alumnus come back and have a strong message to deliver to our students,” Dietz says. “This is a great opportunity for people to see a real success story and hear how he got from point A to point B. He came from very modest means and worked as a busboy and waiter when he came to SIUC as a student. He readily admits he could not have made it to where he is now if not for the support and assistance he received along the way.”

Brown, 43, was born to unmarried, teenage parents. He experienced a humble beginning to his life, including 10 home evictions. Despite financial challenges his family encountered, Brown’s parents stressed perseverance and insisted that each of their children attain a college education. He subsequently applied for Pell Grants, guaranteed loans and financial assistance. Brown entered SIUC in the fall of 1984. However, Brown had a modest C average in high school. Southern accepted him through its Center for Basic Skills (now Center for Academic Success), a special admissions program for students who display promise. He received probationary acceptance to SIUC, and had to earn at least a B average during his freshman year to be processed through general admissions. Brown wasn’t going to be denied; he accumulated a 3.15 grade point average and was accepted into full admission.

“I had a burning desire to be successful. I wasn’t the best student academically on campus, but there wasn’t anyone on campus with more desire. Desire is crucial to being successful as a student or employee,” he says. “My mother and father taught us that all things are possible if you believe. SIU presented me with an opportunity to be the author, director and star of my own destiny. “

Brown joined the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity his sophomore year. Additionally, he learned various facets of the restaurant business as a student worker at Saluki Grill, a small café on campus, which spurred his interest and passion for food service and management. After graduating from Southern, he was hired as an assistant director for ARA Services, a food management company. He spent the next 12 years progressing to various roles within the industry, including general manager for Wendy’s, sales manager for Kraft Foods, and sales consultant for The Assmussen Waxler Group and McDonald’s Corp., prior to becoming a McDonald’s owner.

The SIUC graduate’s book entitled, “From Welfare to Faring Well,” depicts his journey from welfare to millionaire. Brown has subsequently retired from McDonald’s, and currently serves as a life and success coach, and speaks to Fortune 400 companies, schools, churches and various organizations worldwide. In addition, he has authored and sold 20,000 copies of two life-changing books, “A Leap of Faith” and “L.I.F.E. – Living In Freedom Everyday.”

“As a life and success coach, my primary focus is to help people enhance their vision, find their passion and understand their actions,” Brown says. “The word of God is that to be truly great, you must first serve others. Once you find a need and fill it, you never want for money again. That is what SIU did for me. It provided solutions for me. I want our current students to have that sense of empowerment.”

Brown and his wife of 18 years, Deidre, live in West Bloomfield, Mich., with their three children – Austin, 14, Bradley, 11, and Drake, 8.

Nelson Family Honors Great Aunt with Scholarship

By Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Sandra Nelson Brown wanted to memorialize her great aunt for serving as an advocate for children in the school system, church, and community. The former Tamms resident and her family figured the most appropriate way to accomplish this was to provide financial aid for a young student who has aspirations of attending college.

The Nelson family established the Helen Nelson Davis Scholarship Fund through the Southern Illinois University Foundation. Eligible applicants must be graduates of a high school in the southern Illinois counties of Alexander or Pulaski, with a grade point average of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants must also major in education at SIUC with plans of pursuing a teaching career, much like Helen Davis.

The College of Education and Human Services Scholarship Committee will determine the recipient and amount of the award on an annual basis.

Brown, an employee of the Illinois State Police in Springfield, says: “My great aunt was a firm believer in education. She spent her entire life supporting young people in the school system, the church and community. I just thought this was an appropriate way to honor her memory.”

Helen M. Davis was a lifelong elementary school educator who earned two degrees from Southern. She completed a two-year teaching certificate program at the University in 1930. Davis subsequently received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education in 1944 and 1954, respectively.

“Aunt Helen was helpful in getting kids interested in reading and learning our history,” Brown says. “One of my favorite memories was Aunt Helen organizing programs during Black History Month. She wanted us as young adults to be educated about Black History and those who made contributions to our society before us. We were also asked to conduct presentations as part of her programs.”

While Davis didn’t have children of her own, she instilled the importance of education to Brown and her siblings. Five of the nine children in the Nelson family graduated from Southern. Cindy Nelson is a 1987 SIUC radio-television graduate and works for CNN in Atlanta; Marva Nelson received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English in 1996 and 1999, respectively, and is an instructor at Parkland Community College in Champaign; Gloria Wilkins is a 2001 administration of justice graduate and serves as a juvenile detention counselor in St. Louis; and Karen Warren, a 1991 political science graduate, subsequently attended law school at Saint Louis University and stayed in the metropolitan area to practice law. Brown’s brother, Harold “Skip” Nelson, a retired Illinois State Police officer, received an associate degree in law enforcement in 1978 from Southern. He subsequently received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University.

Brown herself is a 1984 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, where she studied interdisciplinary studies with a primary focus on chemistry and biology. She later received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

When asked why she didn’t attend Southern, Brown laughs: “I visited SIU, but received a full scholarship to Shawnee Community College, and later, to SEMO. But obviously, I have connections to the University through my great aunt and siblings. It has meant a great deal to my family.”

Brown’s parents, Harold and Claudia Nelson, live in Tamms, and it was important for the scholarship to support students in her family’s home counties. “Alexander and Pulaski Counties are two of the most economically-challenged counties in the state. We figured a deserving kid from one of those counties could at least receive some financial aid.”

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, says Brown’s family is providing a fitting tribute to Davis.

“Countless young people clearly benefitted from Helen Davis’ positive influence. Mentors and teachers in our respective communities are invaluable,” McCurry says. “I can’t think of a better honor for a lifelong educator than to establish a scholarship in her name to benefit someone seeking an opportunity. The University is certainly appreciative of Sandra Brown and her family for helping a young student pursue their educational endeavors.”

Walter Wills’ gift benefits agriculture students

by Greg Scott

Chair of Agricultural Industries Walter Wills

Dr. Walter Wills joined SIU Carbondale’s College of Agricultural Sciences in 1956. Download Photo Here

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A man remembered for his deep commitment to SIU Carbondale students will continue to have an influence on the lives of young people in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Walter J. Wills, professor emeritus of agricultural economics, bequeathed more than $1 million to the University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. This gift will support various areas within the College of Agricultural Sciences and endow scholarships according to the specifications and wishes of the estate. Students who major in Animal Science, Plant & Soil Science, Ag Mechanization, and Agribusiness Economics will benefit from these scholarships.

Wills was hired in 1956, just a year after the University established its College of Agriculture. He chaired the agricultural industries department for 15 years and served the University for 27 years until his retirement in 1983.

Wills was also a veteran, having served as an Army lieutenant during World War II. He served in the 3rd Army under General Patton.

The Beecher City, Ill., native was a member of the First Christian Church and Carbondale Rotary. He died in 2000 at the age of 84.

“Dr. Wills was highly respected by his students,” says Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation. “This gift further exemplifies his devotion to students and his philanthropic spirit which will impact the lives of Agriculture students in perpetuity.”

Gary Minish, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, says Wills’ gift is significant and will provide educational opportunities for students who might not have been able to attend or afford college.

“Dr. Wills certainly had a major impact during the early years of our College. He was revered by his students and fellow faculty,” Minish says. “His gift allows us to provide major scholarship support for our students — who are always a priority. The College of Agricultural Sciences will benefit from Dr. Wills’ passion for students and production agriculture for years to come. We are truly grateful for his commitment and generosity to our students and for his strong loyalty and support for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.”

Stephen Scates, who serves on the College of Agricultural Science Leadership Board, says Wills was one of his favorite instructors. “I thought a great deal of Dr. Wills — he was an inspiration to his students,” says the 1959 animal science graduate. “Dr. Wills was an individual who took great pride in the institution.”

Scates, who was a student during the early years of the agricultural college, says he also admired Wills for his continued interest in students once they graduated. Dr. William Herr, who Wills hired onto Southern’s College of Agriculture faculty in 1957, concurs with Scates’ assessment.

“Dr. Wills was respected as a great instructor and kept up with agriculture alums after they graduated,” Herr says. “He enjoyed sharing stories about alumni he encountered during his travels. Dr. Wills kept in touch with students more than anyone I can remember.”

Herr also complimented Wills for serving as an ambassador during the early years of the College.

“He always enjoyed any opportunity to promote the University,” Herr says. “SIU was trying to make its presence known around the state during those early years. Dr. Wills did everything he could to help.

“No group was too small for him to visit and talk to. Community service was important to him. He was an ambitious man.”

American Suzuki Motor Corp. donates cars to SIU

by Pete Rosenbery

American Suzuki Motor Corp. donates cars to SIU

Generous automotive gift — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s nationally recognized automotive technology program received its single largest vehicle donation at one time Thursday, April 2, when American Suzuki Motor Corp. announced it is donating 10 Suzuki Veronas to the program. On hand at the announcement and ceremonial key exchange were (from left): Jim Sweitzer, dealer principal; Jack S. Greer, automotive technology department chair; Lee Raines, regional services and parts manager, Southern Region, American Suzuki Motor Corp.; and Terry A. Owens, associate dean, SIUC College of Applied Sciences and Arts. More than 25 current automotive technology students also attended the announcement. (Photo by Andrea Hahn)

CARBONDALE, Ill. — To prepare students for a career with the major automotive manufacturers, American Suzuki Motor Corp. will donate 10 vehicles to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s nationally recognized Department of Automotive Technology. Lee Raines, regional services and parts manager, Southern Region, American Suzuki Motor Corp., announced the gift of 10 Suzuki Veronas to SIU Carbondale on April 2 at a ceremony at Foley-Sweitzer Suzuki in Marion.

Manufacturer support is a vital component in keeping the automotive technology program among the nation’s elite, said Raines, who earned his bachelor’s degree in advanced technical studies-automotive technology management from SIUC in 1986.

“The students win. The University wins and the manufacturer wins by creating future professionals who know and want to work on and with the products donated,” he said. “It creates an environment of cooperation, development and future business relations and awareness that may never have occurred otherwise.

“It’s important for all of our futures to work together to advance our education system as well as our industry,” he said. Raines and department chair Jack S. Greer participated in a ceremonial key exchange for the mid-sized sedans at today’s announcement.

Suzuki’s gift is the single largest donation of vehicles at one time the program has ever received, Greer said. Raines is the catalyst for the donation from Suzuki, Greer said, noting that the automaker has hired several program graduates. Raines is a member of the department’s automotive technology advisory board.

“They support the program very strongly,” Greer said. “Because of the current economic conditions, this donation is even more important for keeping our program up-to-date.”

Students will use the vehicles to hone their diagnostic skills, Greer said. In addition, students benefit by studying the vehicle’s operating systems and latest technological advances.

“Our automotive technology program is nationally respected in large part due to the hands-on experience it offers our students,” says Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation. “American Suzuki’s generous gift further enhances the opportunities available to students through this outstanding program. SIU Carbondale is grateful for this wonderful display of support.”

Donations of vehicles, tools, equipment and financial gifts enabled the program “to become the No. 1 automotive program in the country,” Raines said.

“My own commitment to SIUC and the automotive program stems from the fantastic education as well as life lessons learned while attending the University myself,” he said. “I must say that the manufacturers who donated not only their vehicles, tools, and equipment, but also their time have had a great impact on me personally. That fact that I was able to learn on live vehicles while using modern equipment enabled me to earn and pay for my education in my chosen field while attending SIUC.

“The manufacturers took time to speak with students, answer questions, and provide insight as well as give the students a shot of reality every so often through internships and externships,” Raines said. “This real-life exposure in many cases led to employment with manufacturers, vendors and ancillary businesses. The university’s automotive program allowed me and other students to leave the academic system with real life and work skills that in many other cases would take several years to learn after graduation.”

Jim Sweitzer, dealer principal, and Tim Deaton, Suzuki sales manager at Foley-Sweitzer Suzuki, both said the “substantial donation” greatly benefits the local community.

“It will assist today’s SIUC automotive students to work with current vehicles and to be prepared for the automotive technology of tomorrow,” Sweitzer said. “In a tough global economic time when other automobile manufacturers struggle, we are proud to be part of a forward-thinking manufacturer like Suzuki working with the forward-thinking group at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to promote vehicle technology and the education of our SIUC students.”

There are more than 200 students enrolled in the automotive technology program. Facilities on SIUC’s campus in Carterville have housed the program’s technical courses since its inception in 1952. In addition to its program at SUIC, since fall 2007, Chicago-area students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology through off-campus programs at Harry S. Truman College. Students complete an associate of applied science degree from Kennedy-King College or Truman College, and then transfer into SIUC’s automotive technology program, where SIUC faculty teach upper-level automotive technical and automotive management courses at Truman College.

In 2005, the automotive technology program earned the Automotive Industry Planning Council’s Award of Excellence — its third time as the nation’s top program. The program also earned top honors in 1991 and 1999; national winners cannot compete again for the award for five years. The Brea, Calif.-based Automotive Operations of American Suzuki Motor Corp. was founded in 1963 byparent company Suzuki Motor Corp. (SMC) and markets its vehicles in the United States through a network of approximately 400 automotive dealerships and numerous other motorcycle, ATV and marine distributors in 49 states, according to the company. With global headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan,SMC is a diversified worldwide automobile, motorcycle and outboard motor manufacturer. In 2008, SMC sold more than two million new cars and trucks and more than three million motorcycles and ATVs. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has operations in 193 countries and regions.

Endowment establishes Boydston fellowships

by Pete Rosenbery

Donald N.

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Throughout his storied tenure as an education and athletics administrator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Donald N. “Doc” Boydston demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and diversity, opportunity and success — in athletics and in the classroom. A fellowship in Boydston’s honor will benefit future generations of SIUC student-athletes aspiring to follow his ideals. A $500,000 endowment fund from Boydston’s widow, Jo Ann, is creating the Donald N. “Doc” Boydston Legacy Fellowships. Fellowship awards will go annually to four deserving racial minority undergraduate student-athletes. The students must be at least sophomores and be making satisfactory progress toward their degree. The Fellows may represent any varsity sport. Fellowship recipients will have shown a consistent display of personal characteristics of integrity, commitment to equality, academic excellence, and social justice.

“This certainly is a most generous gift that will assist students who have wonderful skills and talents, but limited resources,” Chancellor Samuel Goldman said. “Equally as important, however, is that this gift symbolizes the Boydstons’ generosity of spirit.”

Jo Ann Boydston is an internationally respected Dewey scholar who led the University’s Center for Dewey Studies to international prominence. The Boydstons provided a $1 million gift in 1994 to establish the Jo Ann and Don Boydston Endowed Chair of American Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts. Boydston died in March 2005. He was 84. After his death, Jo Ann Boydston searched for a similar gift to honor her husband’s “career-long dedication to Intercollegiate Athletics.”

“I am pleased to be able to pay this tribute to Don’s devotion to Intercollegiate Athletics; to the athletes who compete while maintaining respectable academic progress,” she said.

“Especially am I glad to be able to help minority students of outstanding ability and limited resources,” she said. “I believe this program will keep ‘Doc’s’ name alive through the coming years — and will serve as a constant reminder of the assistance that made it possible for a number of athletes to graduate and play important roles as alumni of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.”

“I would like to sincerely thank Jo Ann Boydston for her most generous donation,” current Athletics Director Mario Moccia said. “With tightening budgets and tuition increases, this gift comes at a most opportune time. Don Boydston was arguably the most influential Director of Athletics in the history of Southern Illinois University and presided over great athletic achievements. More importantly, he was instrumental in attracting and retaining minority student-athletes for the first time in the history of the institution. These fellowships will honor his memory and continue his legacy in the education of minority student-athletes.”

Seymour Bryson, who retired as SIUC’s associate vice chancellor for diversity in September, came to SIUC in 1955, the same year Boydston arrived on campus. A star on the Salukis basketball team, Bryson was a student worker for Boydston for four years.

The Fellowships reflect the Boydstons’ long-term commitment to SIUC, and demonstrate “that they value the University’s commitment to inclusion and diversity,” Bryson said.

“This scholarship will continue his legacy of providing students with opportunity and support — particularly African American male and female athletes — to have an opportunity to achieve their degree,” Bryson said.

Then-SIU President Delyte W. Morris recruited Boydston to Carbondale in 1955 from his job as a professor in health education at the University of Mississippi to establish SIUC’s department of health education. He guided the University’s nationally recognized health education department — now the Department of Health Education and Recreation — for 33 years, along with the department’s graduate program. Boydston helped transform Saluki athletics from small-college status into a big-time university program, focusing not just on revenue-generating sports but also striving for success in non-revenue athletic offerings. Boydston was a private person who preferred to work behind the scenes, Bryson said.

“He went out of his way to ensure that people like myself, and other minority students, received the kind of encouragement, nutrients and support we needed to survive in that period of time,” Bryson said. “He didn’t have an ego. He was committed to high performance, opportunity and success. He was truly committed to the type of University that Dr. Morris was creating at that time.”

Boydston’s 15 years as athletics director from 1957 to 1972 produced one of the nation’s most well-rounded athletics programs. Between 1960 and 1972, SIUC teams won 12 national championships in gymnastics, cross-country, swimming, golf and tennis. Boydston was on the planning committee starting in 1956 for the SIU Arena, which opened in 1964. “During that period of time he was a true supporter of student-athletes, not just athletes,” Bryson said. “Most of the individuals who were recruited under him graduated because he hired coaches who had the same kind of commitment that he had. It was unthinkable that someone would come and play here for three or four years and not graduate. That was rare.

“He was able to look at the total University,” Bryson said. “But more importantly he created a climate within the athletic department that recognized there was a group of people out there who needed not only an opportunity but support to be successful. So he ensured that that happened.”

Boydston was “significantly ahead of his time with regard to issues around diversity and excellence,” said James M. Rosser, president of California State University-Los Angeles.

“Obviously as it related to intercollegiate athletes he was light years ahead of his time; he was the personification of the student piece of the athlete. It was his view that at the end of the day it was far more important in the lives of the people who participated to graduate from the University.”

Rosser is a three-degree SIUC graduate from East St. Louis, and earned his doctorate in health education. He is proud he was a student-athlete under Boydston’s tutelage. He played basketball under coach Harry Gallatin. SIUC at one point had the largest black resident student body of any historically white institution in the country. Don and Jo Ann Boydston played significant roles in the success of minority student-athletes, he said.

“”We were part of their extended family because they embraced who we were and wanted the best for us,” he said. “They knew that we would be positive role models for the future.”

It is that hope Rosser carries for future Boydston Fellowship recipients.

“I would hope that they would exemplify those characteristics that made Don Boydston, who is still for many of us, a living legacy,” he said. “To the extent that is the cause, think of how many more students from diverse backgrounds will continue to help change the landscape of this nation and world.”

Harold R. Bardo, director of the Medical-Dental Education Preparatory Program in the School of Medicine, earned his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees at SIUC, and played basketball and ran track. He earned his doctorate in counselor education. Boydston made an indelible impression on his life. Boydston was a fair and consistent administrator. He did, on occasion, intervene in supporting black athletes and students when he believed they were being treated unfairly, Bardo said.

“He was a role model for how to treat people who are different,” Bardo said.

Boydston always did his homework in the hiring process. He hired people and then would allow them to do their jobs, Bardo said.

“At the same time, even though he made the decision about whom to hire, he also was not reluctant to release coaches when he thought they were mistreating student-athletes or they weren’t meeting their responsibilities,” Bardo said.

Bardo hopes future Fellowship recipients embrace and further Boydston’s legacy.

“I hope the Fellowship recipients understand that in a different day and age when it wasn’t popular to support people considered underdogs in society, that there were people like Don Boydston who did,” Bardo said, “And I hope that the recipients use these scholarships to take advantage of the opportunities provided by these scholarships and challenge themselves to keep Boydston’s legacy alive.”