September 01, 2004

Four named 'Inspiring Women of Achievement'

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Four women whose tireless work in business, education and volunteer efforts are well known throughout the region will share the spotlight at Southern Illinois University Carbondale next month as the inaugural "Inspiring Women of Achievement."

The program, launched in July, recognizes women from around the region whose accomplishments and conduct are inspirations to others while also funding undergraduate student scholarships.

The 2004 Inspiring Women of Achievement are: Dorothy Budell of AnnaJackie L. Cox, Murphysboro; Ethel Holladay, Du Quoin, and Jean Ellen Reynolds of Carterville.

"They have all inspired others in some way throughout their lifetime in what they did and what they are still doing," said Doris Rottschalk of Du Quoin, who co-chairs the venture with Marlene Dietz. Rottschalk also serves on the SIU Foundation Board and is a past president of the SIU Alumni Association.

There were 21 nominations for the award.

"These are women who have genuinely touched other peoples' lives in a variety of ways and they have contributed both professionally, civically and socially," said Dietz, who is president of Dynamic Leadership Development and the wife of SIUC's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Larry H. Dietz.

"They are compassionate women who strived to give something back to the world around them. It was a very difficult decision because all of the women who were nominated have made significant contributions," she said.

The four women will receive their awards on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the "Inspiring Women Gala: An Evening With the Stars." The dinner begins at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Ballrooms.

The gala will also introduce the first scholarship recipient of the Margaret H. Steele Memorial Scholarship, and honor members of Steele's family.

Steele taught in Royalton and other grade schools, and her husband, John "Jack" Steele, is the former principal at 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.

A brief profile of the four inductees:

  • Dorothy Budell was the first woman within Prudential Life Insurance Co. to achieve a senior level position; rising from window clerk to Midwest director of personnel in a 41-year career. Now 90, Budell works as a volunteer at Bethany Village, providing food, safe housing and services for homeless persons who are displaced through economic family crisis or domestic violence. Working five days a week loading, unloading and arranging food on Bethany Village shelves for distribution, Budell worked 815 hours in 2003.
  • Jackie L. Cox is a supervisor and clinical instructor in the College of Education and Human Services at SIUC. She taught special, regular and gifted children in the Carbondale Elementary School District for 20 years before coming to SIUC in 1995. She is a very active supporter of the Southern Illinois Easter Seals Society and the Therapy Center, and with her husband, sponsors The Winter Fantasy Gala, which raised more than $180,000 to fund therapy and equipment at the center. She holds five degrees from SIUC in elementary education, special education, mathematics education, teacher education and supervision.
  • Ethel Holladay is a recognized leader in the field of business and career and technical education in Illinois and the nation. Her career at Du Quoin High School dates to 1978, and includes serving as a business teacher, vocational coordinator and interrelated cooperative education coordinator. She is the recipient of many awards, including Southern Illinois Business Teacher of the Year in 1984 and Illinois Business Teacher of the Year in 1989. She is a member of the Southern Illinois Workforce Investment Board Youth Council, is chair of the Perry County chapter of the American Lung Association, and a trustee with the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
  • Jean Ellen Reynolds taught elementary education and then served as principal of Crainville Grade School and Carterville Elementary School. She returned to college at 37 to earn a bachelor's degree in education while continuing as a wife and mother; she earned her masters and doctoral degrees while working as a third-grade teacher. She is a role model for women who wish to return to college but may be hesitant because of age or self-doubt.

Proceeds from the gala will help increase the endowment for additional scholarships. The first scholarship is for $2,000 for the 2004-2005 school year, and is renewable for a second year so long as all eligibility requirements are met. Plans are to award two scholarships in 2005.

The evening's festivities will include a dinner, dance, and live and silent auctions of items that include art, books and jewelry. In addition, those interested may purchase a silver star for $20 for display at the gala to honor other inspiring women.

Major sponsors of the gala are Henry Printing Inc., Joe and Kassy Gareis, and Short Enterprises. Sponsorships are still available.

Reservation forms for the gala are available from the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and on the Inspiring Women Web site:

Reservations are due by Oct. 1.

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.