June 17, 2004

Lowery to keynote academic awards ceremony

by Larry A. Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Chris Lowery, new head coach of men's basketball at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the keynote speaker for this year's Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony on Friday, June 25, at the Carbondale Civic Center.

The program and reception for students and their parents will begin at 7 p.m. Co-sponsors of the program are the Southern Illinois Regional Career Preparation Program and Concerned Citizens of Carbondale. 710 Book Store and Silkworm also provide support for the program.

The awards program, now in its third year, honors outstanding academic achievement by the top African-American students in grades four through 12 in the Carbondale schools.

Students who maintained perfect attendance during this past school year also will receive recognition.

Lowery, a former standout Saluki point guard and a 1996 SIUC graduate, became head coach on April 9, replacing Matt Painter. The 32-year-old Lowery served as an assistant coach under Bruce Weber for three seasons, including two at SIUC and one at the University of Illinois. Lowery has made four trips as a Saluki to the NCAA Tournament, two as a player in 1993 and '94 and two as a coach on Weber's staff in 2002 and 2003.

An Evansville, Ind., native, Lowery holds a bachelor's degree in physical education from SIUC. He and his wife, Erika, have a daughter and two sons.

Seymour Bryson, director of the Career Preparation Program, said the awards ceremony is a joint effort with the Concerned Citizens to motivate students in Career Prep and to encourage all students to excel.

Program coordinator Anna Jackson said that the entire community is proud of these young people. The awards remind the students that hard work and persistence pay dividends.

In addition to honoring the male and female students with the highest GPA in each grade and recognizing students with perfect attendance, the senior male and female athletes with the highest GPA also will receive recognition.

Media representatives are welcome to attend. Those with questions can call the Center for Basic Skills at 618/536-6646, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.