July 13, 2004

SIUC launches 'Inspiring Women' program

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (July 13) launched an "Inspiring Women" program to recognize women from around the region whose accomplishments and conduct are inspirations to others while also funding undergraduate student scholarships.

Women from 18 Southern Illinois counties joined the group's board of directors and its campus steering committee at an afternoon news conference to unveil details of the program.

"Our goals are many," said Du Quoin's Doris Rottschalk, who is co-chairing the venture with Marlene Dietz. Rottschalk serves on the SIU Foundation Board and is a past president of the SIU Alumni Association. Dietz serves as president of Dynamic Leadership Development and is the wife of SIUC's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Larry H. Dietz. "First and foremost, we want to assist students to fulfill their dreams of attending SIUC. In addition, we hope to inspire women to excel as citizen-scholars within the University's learning environment, to become lifelong learners and to get involved in their communities, and to contribute to the world's work," she added.

On Oct. 9, the group will hold its inaugural Inspiring Women banquet and gala.

The event will introduce and honor the first scholarship recipient and Inspiring Women of Achievement. Proceeds from the event will go back into the scholarship fund and related program activities.

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Organizers seek applicants for the Margaret H. Steele Memorial Scholarship as well as nominations for the Inspiring Women of Achievement Awards, all of which are due by Aug. 15. The new Margaret H. Steele Memorial Scholarship Endowment will fund the first scholarship in association with the Inspiring Women program.

Larry H. Dietz said Steele taught in Royalton and other area grade schools. Her husband, John "Jack" Steele, is the former principal of De Soto Elementary School. Following her death this year, an anonymous donor contributed $104,000 to establish a perpetual scholarship at SIUC to honor her memory and to help others eager to follow in her footsteps.

"I am grateful to the women serving on the Inspiring Women's board for their insight and initiative in support of undergraduate scholarships," Dietz said. "I am also grateful to the donor who has made the first scholarship a reality."

The very first scholarship recipient will receive $2,000 for the upcoming school year. The scholarship is renewable for a second year so long as all eligibility requirements are met. Inspiring Women will award two Steele scholarships in 2005.

Preference will go to a student chosen by the Inspiring Women's program who is transferring in with an associate degree from a community college, enrolled as an elementary education major with a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average and who demonstrates involvement in the University or community.

To download an application, go to: http://www.siuc.edu/inspiringwomen/apply.jsp. To request a paper application, call Terri R. Harfst in the SIUC financial aid office at 618/453-4628.

Meanwhile, organizers hope to receive nominations for the Inspiring Women of Achievement Awards as soon as possible.

Award criteria include:

  • Demonstrated achievement at work or in their community
  • Commitment to service to the community and to improving the community in which she lives and/or the quality of life for others within the community
  • Evidence of socially responsible, ethical and outstanding leadership either in specific positions of responsibility or while engaged in service activities
To download a nomination form, go to http://www.siuc.edu/inspiringwomen/nominationform.jsp.

To make reservations for the Oct. 9 gala, to become a gala sponsor, or to establish an Inspiring Women scholarship endowment, phone board member Jean Paratore at 618/453-2461.

Leaders and Organizers of the Inspiring Women Program

Board of Directors

Linda Benz
Sara Berkbigler
Edwina Carter
Marlene Dietz, co-chair
Kay Dosier
Karen Freitag
Mona Glenn
Terri Henry
Elaine Jurkowski
Elizabeth Lewin
Pat McNeil
Diane Meeks
Meta Minton
Loretta Ott Ledbetter
Doris Rottschalk, co-chair
Julia Schroeder
Gail Short
Charlotte West

Campus Planning Group

Kelli Belangee
Janet Coffman
Susan Coriasco
Sue Davis
Liz Duncan
Terri Harfst
Jean Paratore
Nancy Hunter Pei
Beverly Stitt
Carmen Suarez
Dollean York-Anderson
Kay Pick Zivkovich

Honorary Chairs

Pat Bauer, Franklin County
Andrea Brown, Johnson/Massac/Pope counties
Barb Brown, Randolph County
Brenda Cobbs, Alexander/Pulaski counties
Debbie Kendricks, Jefferson County
Molly Norwood, Jackson County
Mary Jo Oldham, Saline/Gallatin/Hardin counties
Jo Poshard, Jackson County
Gayl Pyatt, Perry County
Jane Radar, Union County
Carolyn Rendleman, Williamson County
Debbie Stricker, Washington County
TBA, Hamilton County
TBA, White County