January 28, 2005

SIUC Chancellor reaches out to TRICO school community

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Walter V. Wendler starts a new round of community conversations at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, when he visits TRICO School near Ava.

It’s the first stop in an ongoing series of “Your University, Your Community” discussions that SIUC hopes to gain insight and feedback on various needs and expectations connected to higher education. “We want to help individuals achieve their dreams of earning a degree, and we find new and better ways to connect through academic, economic and social outreach,” Wendler said. “We think this series of school house talks is important and we’ve invited students, parents, teachers, school board members, local government officials and state legislators.”

TRICO covers one of the largest rural geographic areas of any district in the state, drawing students from Jackson, Perry and Randolph counties. The district faces considerable financial difficulties, and its school board has recently eliminated programming to help balance the budget.

“We don’t presume to have the answers to any district’s financial challenges, but we think there is room for conversations that could make it easier for students from any school to attend college. We also want to hear about new ideas and concerns directly,” Wendler said.

SIUC hopes to conduct similar meetings in other communities throughout the semester. Outreach is part of SIUC’s focus as outlined in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the long range plan for the University as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.