McPheeters continues support of SIU, Saluki Ball

Lynn McPheetersBy Jeff Wilson

Few SIU alumni have created a legacy as impactful as Lynn McPheeters.

His first major philanthropic act at SIU came in 2006 when he and his late wife, Susan, donated $585,000 to create the Susan F. and F. Lynn McPheeters College of Business Leadership Endowed Chair. In 2017, he donated $1 million to endow the McPheeters Family Scholarship, and in 2022, he announced a $1 million estate gift to supplement that fund and establish the F. Lynn McPheeters Chair of Finance Endowment Fund in the College of Business and Analytics.

For the second straight year, he is one of the major sponsors of the inaugural Saluki Ball. With a $25,000 donation, McPheeters is a Saluki Platinum sponsor.

“Last year’s inaugural Saluki Ball was such an exciting event. You could feel the electricity in the room as alumni came together to celebrate and raise much needed scholarship funds for existing and future students,” he said. “So, it was an easy decision to be a sponsor again this year. Thanks to Chancellor and Mrs. Lane for bringing an elevated level of commitment to the vision for SIUC’s long-term success.”


The Saluki Ball, to be held Saturday, April 20, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk hotel, will help students bridge the financial gap as they strive to reach their ultimate goals.

“This event celebrates SIU’s reputation for providing a first-class education and will raise money for scholarships,” said McPheeters, 1964 graduate of the College of Business. “It pains me that so many people are coming out of school with mounds of debt. In recognition of this situation, the SIU Foundation has significantly increased its efforts to provide scholarship assistance, as so many other universities have done.”

The ball is black-tie optional and will feature a performance by R&B legends En Vogue. It will be emceed by ESPN radio host and SIU alumnus Marc Silverman.

McPheeters transferred to SIU from Canton College, now Spoon River College, a community college in his hometown of Canton, Illinois, and finished his accounting degree at SIU.

Soon after, he started at Caterpillar, Inc., and began a steady rise through the company. In 1973, he moved to Switzerland to serve in a financial management position with Caterpillar overseas. He also worked in Tokyo for Caterpillar Mitsubishi and in Hong Kong at Caterpillar Far East Limited. He retired in 2005 as vice president and chief financial officer for Caterpillar.

“SIU led me to an incredible career with Caterpillar that took our family around the world and gave us tremendous opportunities,” McPheeters said. “I was very fortunate to have a supportive family throughout my 40 years with the company.”

In the decades since his graduation, McPheeters has served SIU in multiple ways. He joined the SIU Foundation Board in 2002 and served as chair of the audit committee and board president. He was one of the first members of the College of Business and Analytics external advisory board and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 1988. Among other honors, he earned the College of Business Alumni Achievement Award in 2004. In 2016, he received one of the university’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award.

He never anticipated the success that his SIU education would help provide.

“When I graduated, I was just happy to have an education and a job,” McPheeters said. “I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. I was very fortunate that SIU was there.”

For more information about the Saluki Ball, visit

Crothers honors counselor with major gift

Dr. Marti Crothers & Dr. Janet Coffman
Dr. Marti Crothers & Dr. Janet Coffman

Coffman-Crothers endowment will focus on complex trauma training

By Jeff Wilson

When Dr. Marti Crothers decided to see a therapist in the 1980s, she had no idea the impact it would have on her life.

Living in Southern Illinois and working as a counselor, it was difficult to find someone she didn’t already know. That’s why she chose someone new to the area, Dr. Janet Coffman.

Now, decades later, Dr. Crothers has made a gift of more than $1 million to honor Dr. Coffman and the treatment she provided. Her planned gift will establish the Coffman-Crothers Training Institute for Trauma and Psychological Health Endowment Fund.

“This training institute is in honor of Dr. Coffman. It is in recognition of her commitment and dedication to the treatment of victims, including myself, of complex trauma,” Dr. Crothers said. “Her skill, care, and compassion gave me the courage to become a survivor and to live a worthwhile life. This institute reflects my gratitude to her. It is dedicated to Dr. Coffman for all the lives she touched and saved.”

The institute will be in the SIU Clinical Center and will train students, faculty, and staff in psychology and counseling and community professionals in intensive treatment methods to assist clients suffering from complex trauma and dissociation. Complex trauma describes children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events and the long-term effects of these events, usually tied to abuse or profound neglect.

Dr. Coffman is the retired director of the Counseling and Psychological Services at SIU. Dr. Crothers is the former assistant coordinator of Literacy Connection at John A. Logan College. She was also a senior lecturer in counselor education and supervision.

Dr. Crothers originally came to Southern Illinois after growing up in Wisconsin and Kentucky. As a lover of the outdoors and an avid fox hunter, the natural beauty and horse-riding opportunities appealed to her. Coming to SIU in 1969, she studied recreation and worked under Dr. Bill Freeberg, one of the co-founders of the Special Olympics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1973 and a master’s in educational psychology in 1978. Later, she returned to SIU to earn her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision in 1998.

“Dr. Coffman showed me that I had something to offer,” she said. “Many of the things I learned from her, especially as it pertains to self-care, I was able to pass on to my students.”

By establishing the Coffman Crothers Endowment, Dr. Crothers will train professionals to provide comprehensive treatment of people who are dealing with complex trauma as adults. She will be actively involved with the training institute for as long as possible, especially in the initial stages.

“There are adults out there everywhere in need of assistance,” she said. “I wish I had $10 million to give. I want this to be something the whole region can access.”

To support this or similar causes at SIU, visit

Smith endows chair, champions support for the university

Ron Smith

By Jeff Wilson

Growing up in the small Randolph County town of Walsh, SIU was the only reasonable college option for Ron Smith.

“It was where you could get the most bang for your buck,” he said. “SIU was so good to me and changed my life and made it better than it would have been.”

Since graduating in 1964 with a degree in marketing and a master’s in business administration in 1966, Smith has stayed engaged with his alma mater, including donating close to $170,000 over the last 20 years. Now, he’s taken his support a step further, making a gift of stock worth $500,000 to endow the Ronald L. Smith Endowed Chair in Marketing at the College of Business and Analytics.

Endowed chairs help attract and retain high-level faculty members by making the position more attractive and keeping salaries competitive with other institutions.

“I’m doing this to help the students of SIU,” Smith said. “I want to make the program stronger and provide better opportunities and better training for the students. We want to attract big names and incentivize them to stay.”

Before making his major gift to endow the chair in COBA, much of Smith’s philanthropy has been directed toward Saluki Athletics. Despite living in California, he has maintained season tickets to Saluki Football games and supported the Blackout Cancer fundraiser.

Smith has fond memories of his time at SIU, noting that he attended the university during the Delyte Morris era and the time of College of Business Dean Henry J. Rhen, for which the COBA building is named. Smith was also classmates with another of SIU’s most prolific benefactors, F. Lynn McPheeters.

“Dr. Morris was wonderful to listen to, and I was lucky to be there during his era,” Smith said. “The university had lots of programs that were geared toward students with limited financial resources. I was fortunate enough to make good enough grades that my professors thought I was a good candidate for graduate school.”

After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and spent 30 months in Colombia. He worked with farmers and fishermen, teaching them how to make the most of their assets. He credits his education from SIU with giving him the expertise to share with those people and give them a vested interest in the business side of their industry.

Smith, a first-generation student whose niece now attends SIU as a fourth-generation student, said his continued support of the university shows the impact alumni can have even when they’re not able to get to campus as often as they may like.

“Is there a way you can help build up the university?” Smith said. “Even if you’re in California, like me, you can help folks in Southern Illinois.”

For more information about supporting the university, visit

Salukis engage with alumni, partners in St. Louis


Chancellor Austin Lane addresses the crowd at the Chancellor’s Reception during the Saluki Takeover Tour in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS – The Saluki Takeover Tour returned to St. Louis along with the SIU Men’s Basketball team for the week of the Arch Madness MVC Tournament.

The keystone event was the Chancellor’s Reception, hosted Wednesday, March 6, in the Lindbergh Room of the Hilton at the Ballpark. 150 alumni and friends gathered to celebrate their Saluki spirit.

“It’s great to see all the Salukis here,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “We do the Saluki Takeover Tours in several cities throughout the year, and we always look forward to coming back to St. Louis.”

Earlier in the day, Chancellor Lane and a group of university leaders visited Eureka High School and Collinsville High School on recruiting trips. On Thursday and Friday, the members of the group planned to make their way to STEAM Academy, Duchesne College Prep, and Lutheran St. Charles.

Many other events dotted the schedule between Tuesday and Friday:

  • The College of Liberal Arts hosted an alumni social event at The Armory STL on Tuesday.
  • The SIU Foundation hosted a Corporate Partners Brunch at the Hilton at the Ballpark on Thursday.
  • There was also a Planned Giving Social Hour at the hotel on Thursday, hosted by the foundation.
  • Members of the Paul & Virginia Society gathered on Friday morning at The London Tea Room.
  • The SIU School of Medicine hosted an alumni dinner at Kreis’ Steakhouse.
  • The SIU Alumni Association hosted a pre-game event Thursday evening at PBR St. Louis in Ballpark Village.

Six corporate partners took part in the brunch on Thursday morning, including the St. Louis Cardinals, Boeing, First Mid Bank & Trust, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Horner & Shifrin, and StraightUp Solar. The discussion, led by Sherrica Hunt, assistant vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Shane Bennett, senior director of development for corporate and foundation relations, focused on how companies can benefit from engaging with SIU and its students.

The Salukis fell Thursday night in the first round of the MVC Tournament, 84-82, in a double-overtime thriller against the University ofIllinois Chicago. The Dawgs finish the season 19-13.

The Saluki Takeover Tours, which began in 2021, include student recruitment visits to local high schools and colleges, as well as alumni events, and meetings with valuable partners around the country. To see highlight videos from previous Saluki Takeover Tours, click here.

Day of Giving: More than 2,600 Salukis donate over $3.1M

Matt Kupec and Chancellor Austin Lane at WSIU
Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations Matt Kupec (left) and Chancellor Austin Lane discuss the SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in the WSIU-TV studio.

The 8th annual SIU Day of Giving was Wednesday, Feb. 28, and once again, Saluki spirit was on display for 24 straight hours.

The SIU Foundation raised more than $3.15 million, and more than 2,600 donors participated. In total, there has been about $17 million donated during the Days of Giving. Every gift pushes the Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign one step closer to its goal of raising $500 million by 2028.

“We put those dollars to work,” said Chancellor Austin Lane during the Day of Giving livestream from WSIU-TV studio. “Once we receive the support that’s coming from those who give during the Day of Giving that were able to put that in hands of our students.”

Leading the way with 670 donors was the Balancing Education, Experience, and Reality (B.E.E.R.) Scholarships, driven by the Carbondale in the ’80s and ’90s Facebook group. Nearly $45,000 was raised for the endowed scholarship fund.

Other areas that topped the donor total list included:

  • WSIU Public Broadcasting: 502
  • School of Medicine: 279
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics: 240
  • College of Health and Human Sciences: 142
  • Saluki Athletics: 127
  • College of Arts and Media: 120

The College of Business and Analytics raised $764,835, the most of any college, school, or unit.

Other areas that received the highest dollar amounts included:

  • School of Medicine: $555,765
  • School of Law: $526,456
  • College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences: $195,917
  • College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics: $188,893
  • College of Liberal Arts: $157,143
  • Touch of Nature: $93,510

Some donations were still being counted, including donations made through fundraisers at St. Nicholas Brewing Co. MDH at Southern Illinois Airport and Freddy’s in Carbondale. Both restaurants donated percentages of some of Wednesday’s sales to the College of Health and Human Sciences.

SIU Credit Union kicked off the Day of Giving by donating $35,000 in total, designating $20,000 to New Student Programs and $15,000 to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center.

The Day of Giving livestream aired from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and can be viewed in its entirety on the SIU Foundation YouTube channel. It featured segments from every college and school and many other units. Hosted by Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations Matt Kupec, there were interviews with campus leaders, including Chancellor Lane.

To see the full totals, visit

SIU Credit Union donates $35K to Touch of Nature, New Student Programs

Gift kicks off 8th annual SIU Day of Giving

SIU Credit Union has long been a resolute supporter of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and once again it was on display to jumpstart the SIU Day of Giving.

The credit union donated $35,000 in total, designating $20,000 to New Student Programs and $15,000 to Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. This gift, and all Day of Giving donations, benefit the Imagine SIU 2030 fundraising campaign.

“I look forward to this every year,” said Chancellor Austin Lane. “We can’t thank SIU Credit Union enough for this partnership.”

These gifts will help the university welcome new students by funding programming and offer experiences that build Saluki spirit and help them form lifelong bonds with each other and the university. One such event is Dawg Days, hosted each fall at Touch of Nature.

“Touch of Nature wouldn’t be what it is today without the SIU Credit Union,” said Brian Croft, director of Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. “Thank you for everything you do for SIU students.”

In the fall, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the SIU Credit Union Event Center at Touch of Nature. That project stems from a $500,000 donation the credit union previously made.

“Being an alumnus, it’s important for me to give back to the university that got me where I am,” said Mike Lantrip, SIU Credit Union president and CEO and a 1991 graduate of SIU’s College of Business and Analytics. “Touch of Nature has a special place in my heart.”

Kim Babington, SIU Credit Union’s vice president of community outreach, complimented the staff of Touch of Nature and Student Affairs, which operates New Student Programs.

“It makes such a difference to see the passion that they have for their programs,” she said.

Beyond the experiences, the funds play a major role in bringing students to campus and keeping them here.

“I want to emphasize what the credit union’s support and commitment means to us,” said Jennifer Phillips, director of New Student Programs. “It’s important to recruitment and retention, and we couldn’t do it without you.”

Each year, the SIU Day of Giving brings thousands of Salukis and SIU supporters together for a 24-hour, online event, which has raised nearly $14 million over its first seven years. Gifts can be made all day Wednesday, Feb. 28, at, and every day at

Saluki Takeover Tour heads to Florida

The Saluki Takeover Tour returned to Florida for the second straight year.

On Monday, Feb. 19, the SIU Alumni Association hosted an event at the Savannah Center in The Villages, followed by a Tampa Alumni Chapter gathering on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Coppertail Brewing Company.

Like last year, the first Chancellor’s Reception was hosted in Naples. Seventy-five Salukis came together at Windstar on Naples Bay.

“We need you to help us spread the message about how great SIU is,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “The more we come and engage with you, the more we hear about the great things you’ve done in your careers, we want to make sure we’re telling our students and campus community about that.”

Many guests stayed after the reception to watch as the Saluki Men’s Basketball team took on Murray State on ESPN+. The Dawgs won the game, 72-68.

Thursday in Miami

Chancellor Lane, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Wendell Williams, and others met with representatives from Miami Dad College on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 22.

That evening’s Chancellor Reception was hosted at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Alumni and friends gathered to share stories and camaraderie.

Friday in West Palm Beach

The takeover tour in Florida wrapped up Friday with a Chancellor’s Luncheon at Norton Art Museum. This event was sold out.

Afterward, there was a visit to Oxbridge Academy to explore potential partnerships.

More to come

There will also be a Saluki Takeover Tour of Southern Illinois in April and May. Information on those events will be available soon.

To see highlight videos from previous Saluki Takeover Tours, click here.



What a difference a day makes – SIU Day of Giving 2024

SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, Februrary 28

Everyone can make an impact on Wednesday, Feb. 28

CARBONDALE – The 8th annual SIU Day of Giving is Wednesday, Feb. 28, and expectations are higher than ever.

Raising more than $14 million in its first seven years, the SIU Foundation is asking everyone to donate online at Every gift makes a difference, no matter the size.

“Each year, the SIU Day of Giving highlights the power of philanthropy and community engagement,” said Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations and SIU Foundation CEO. “We ask our alumni and friends to show their Saluki spirit, and Saluki Nation never disappoints.”

Each year, the SIU community comes together for a 24-hour online Day of Giving. Supporters are encouraged to visit on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and make a gift of any size. Donations can be directed to any college, unit, program, or initiative.

Last year, more than $4 million was raised through more than 3,700 individual donations. Donors can choose to be honored on the Donor Wall, give in honor of another, or give anonymously. All gifts are made securely and are tax-deductible.

Gifts can also be made through Venmo by searching for “@SIU-Foundation” under the Charities tab and typing “Day of Giving” in the message. Donors should also add the area of campus they want to support.

Day of Giving broadcast

The SIU Day of Giving will feature every college and unit on campus during its live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the WSIU-TV studio. Streamed on the SIU Alumni Association’s Facebook page and hosted by Kupec, there will be live interviews with Chancellor Austin Lane and other campus leaders and live Day of Giving updates.

“The broadcast is one of the most unique parts of the SIU Day of Giving,” Kupec said. “We engage with our campus leaders, showcase every area of our great university, and watch along as the totals rise. It’s an exciting, inspiring day.”

During the broadcast, viewers will learn about the exciting things happening each day at SIU and how they can best support their favorite area of campus.

Getting involved

Other than making a gift and watching the broadcast, there are other ways for alumni and donors to support the Day of Giving.

Simply by using #SIUDay on social media and sharing posts from the SIU Foundation and other units on campus is a great way to show support. It’s not too late to become an SIU Day of Giving advocate by signing up at Advocates get special Day of Giving updates and can share their own Day of Giving messages with others.

Saluki Takeover Tour visits Nashville

More events coming soon in Florida, St. Louis, and Southern Illinois
Chancellor Austin A. Lane thanks Drs. Pam and Phil Pfeffer for hosting the Chancellor’s Reception during the second annual Saluki Takeover Tour in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Saluki Takeover Tour made its second annual stop in Nashville, Tennessee, this week.

Between Monday, Feb. 12, and Wednesday, Feb. 14, representatives from SIU visited high schools and hosted events with alumni and friends.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane and Nashville State Community College President Shanna L. Jackson signed the agreement that includes the Saluki Step Ahead program during an event on the college’s White Bridge campus in Nashville – the first such pact in Tennessee.

“SIU Carbondale is providing Nashville State Community College graduates a seamless path to a bachelor’s degree, saving them time and money,” Chancellor Lane said. “And if students can’t come to us in Carbondale, Illinois, we are bringing the experience and resources of a doctoral research university to them through Saluki Step Ahead.”

Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Wendell Williams and others visited Independence High School, LEAD Southeast High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School, Brentwood Academy, and Hume Fogg Academic High School. These recruitment trips build bridges between potential future Salukis and the university.

“Strategically, we knew Nashville was an area we had to take over,” Chancellor Lane said. “Salukis are here. There are some exciting things happening. We’re hitting some really high points.”

This year’s Chancellor’s Reception was hosted by SIU alumni Drs. Phil and Pam Pfeffer. The Pfeffers, two of SIU’s most distinguished alumni, welcomed dozens of SIU alumni, staff, and friends into their home the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“Pam and Phil, thank you for hosting us and for your commitment and dedication and many years of service to SIU,” said Judge Phil J. Gilbert, chair of the SIU Board of Trustees. “It’s people like you that put us on the map.”

On Thursday, Feb. 14, the SIU Alumni Association hosted an event at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. Dozens of alumni enjoy food, drinks, and Saluki spirit before the Saluki Men’s Basketball team took on Belmont. The Salukis fell to the Bruins, 82-68.

The next stop on the Saluki Takeover Tour is a three-location run through Florida, including events in Naples, Miami, and West Palm Beach. Those events are Wednesday, Feb. 21, through Friday, Feb. 23. For more information, click here.

After that, Salukis will take over St. Louis during the Arch Madness MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Chancellor’s Reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Lindbergh Room at the Ballpark Village Hilton. For more information, click here.

There will also be a Saluki Takeover Tour of Southern Illinois in April and May. Information on those events will be available soon.

To see highlight videos from previous Saluki Takeover Tours, click here.

Lounsbury makes investment in supply chain students

By Jeff Wilson

When the 2023 Saluki Takeover Tour visited Naples, Florida, Chuck Lounsbury was excited to engage with representatives from his alma mater.

“SIU has held a few functions in Naples, and it’s given me the chance to reconnect,” he said. “A school’s reputation is important to the graduate, and you should reinvest in the school’s mission.”

A graduate of the College of Business and Analytics, he was particularly interested in the expansion of the supply chain management program. So much so, that he decided to make a $500,000 donation to establish the Charles and Barbara Lounsbury Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will benefit students in the program.

“This will allow students to focus on what companies need and want out of their logistics and distribution employees,” he said. “I don’t think that’s happening at a lot of schools today. Hopefully, these funds make a difference in students’ lives and the program itself.”

Lounsbury’s connection to SIU dates to the university’s earliest day. His great-grandmother attended Southern Illinois Normal College, which trained teachers. His father and brother also attended SIU.

“I lived in Chicago, but my grandmother was from West Frankfort. I had a soft spot in my heart for SIU,” he said.

Heavily involved in campus life, Lounsbury was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and helped found the American Marketing Association at SIU. He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society in business and after graduation was elected to the COBA Hall of Fame. After graduating from SIU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island.

“I gave serious thought to working in academia and taught at Murray State for four years,” Lounsbury said. “I had no business experience, so I thought it would be good to get some real-world experience to become a better teacher.”

That decision led to an illustrious career in the business world, including leadership positions at Toro, Tenneco, Leaseway Transportation Corp., Skyway Freight Systems, and ended with his retirement in 2005 as senior vice president for supply chain solutions at Ryder Systems. He also continued to teach classes at Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Stanford, The Monterey Institute, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I always enjoyed the student contact,” Lounsbury said. “It was SIU that gave me my start, and I thought that my gift could make a significant impact there.”

His investment in the future of the university, college, and its students represents how Lounsbury feels about his time at SIU and the positive direction it’s going.

“SIU has a lot of outstanding graduates, who have had very successful careers, and that’s thanks largely to the education they got at SIU. It’s up there with any school. You get what you put into it,” he said. “I hope to influence others in my position to give back. I think it will help the next generation of students.”

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