March 09, 2004

Liberal Arts alumni to talk about their careers

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - One is a counter intelligence director for the FBI. Another is the assistant secretary for children and families with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A third is an executive in the music and entertainment industry.

While seemingly very different, these three professionals each have a common thread: they are alumni of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Liberal Arts.

Dean Shirley Clay Scott believes those successes are perfect examples of the varied opportunities available to students who receive a liberal arts education.

Sixteen alumni are returning to the University on Thursday, March 18, to share their experiences and insights during the 5th annual COLA Alumni Recognition Day and Liberal Arts Futures program.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are encouraged to meet and interview the returning alumni during the day. There are two specific gatherings for the returning alumni: 8:45 a.m., a breakfast reception in the Dean's office in Faner Hall, Room 2427, and 5:30 p.m., a reception and formal alumni recognition in Old Main Lounge in the Student Center. The panel discussions are open to the public, but to arrange specific interviews with alumni or to cover department visits, contact Jill T. Gobert at 618/453-4563.

The visiting alumni will return to their respective academic departments to meet and talk with students and faculty during the morning. They break into three separate panels on campus in the afternoon to share their personal experiences and offer career advice.

The panel discussions are free and open to the public.

Scott created the recognition day after meeting COLA alumni at her first SIUC homecoming game.

They were so fond of the University, they cared so much about it, that it seemed to me students should hear what they have to say," she said.

Alumni who have returned in the four previous programs tell students they viewed SIUC as an opportunity and a good place to be. As a result of the visits, many alumni and students begin regularly corresponding with each other, Scott said.

I think that the unpredictability of the workplace and society we live in is kind of intimidating, but I think that students can be encouraged by seeing the many kinds of careers that people are able to make for themselves," she said.

Alumni this year are coming not only from Southern Illinois, but also Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

Some invited alumni who were unable to attend this year due to scheduling conflicts are asking to be on next year's list, said Jill T. Gobert, the college's director of development and alumni relations.

Although the college doesn't have the financial resources to pay travel expenses, Scott said she is impressed that for five years the alumni "are willing to give of their time and their own money to come and visit their Alma Mater again and to serve students.

To me, that is very, very impressive that there is gratitude for their education that motivates them to come back using their own time and resources," she said.

Creating and supporting traditions that foster a lifelong attachment to the University and build relationships among the University and its students and graduates is among the goals of Southern@150, the long-range blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th birthday in 2019.

Here is a list of the panel discussions, alumni, their majors, and current professions.

Panel 1 - Moderator, Pam Smoot 
1-2:30 p.m., University Museum Auditorium, Faner Hall.

Wade Horn, master's (1979) and doctorate (1981) degrees in psychology. 
Assistant secretary for children and families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

Megan Moore, bachelor's in English (1998). 
Staff attorney, Legislative Reference Bureau, Springfield.

Amy Roadarmel, bachelor's in art (1998) and MPAD (2000). 
Museum director, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Ark.

Charles G. Russell, bachelor's (1959), master's (1965), and doctorate (1971) in speech communication. 
Professor, business administration, Touro University International, Ormond Beach, Fla.

Jim Zheng, doctorate in economics (1996). 
Market information manager, Sprint, Kansas City, Mo.

Panel 2 - Moderator, Rick Williams 
2-3:30 p.m., Old Baptist Foundation-Recital Hall

Harvette Grey, bachelor's in sociology (1968). 
Executive director, DePaul University Cultural Center, Chicago.

William E. Hayley, University Studies (1976).
Professor and director, School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.

John Hobgood, master's in anthropology (1964). 
Professor of anthropology, Chicago State University, Chicago.

Eva-Marie Opitz, master's in geography (1986). 
Director of research, Planning and Management Consultants, Carbondale.

Mara Rutten, master's in history (1996). 
FBI counterintelligence directorm, Washington, D.C.

Michaelann Stanley, bachelor's in French (1988), master's in linguistics (1990), master's in geology (1993).
Teacher, Herrin.

Panel 3 - Moderator, Scott McClurg 
3-4:30 p.m., Marion Kleinau Theater, Communications Building

R. Eric Dilts, bachelor's in music (1992). 
Executive vice president of sales and marketing, Delta Entertainment, Los Angeles, Calif.

Christopher Hammon, bachelor's in philosophy (1977). 
Online education developer/editor, The Wayne E. Oates Institute, Louisville, Ky.

Corlis A. Hayes, doctorate in speech communication (1993). 
Associate dean, School of Liberal Arts, Livingstone College, Salisbury, N.C.

Kimberly G. Kelly, bachelor's in paralegal studies (1985). 
Paralegal/personnel manager, Barrett, Twomey, Broom, Hughes, Hoke and Frazier, Carbondale.

Robin Ray, bachelor's in art (1976), master's in rehabilitation counseling (1982).