April 29, 2005

SIUC will hold commencement ceremonies May 13, 14

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- More than 3,700 professional, graduate and undergraduate students are candidates for degrees during Southern Illinois University Carbondale's spring commencement exercises set for Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14.

Commencement speakers include the chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a world-renowned economist, and a newspaper reporter who has covered the war in Iraq.

Eight alumni will receive Alumni Achievement Awards as part of individual college and school ceremonies. These awards represent the highest honor the SIU Alumni Association bestows. In addition, four individuals will be honored with special awards for their contributions to economics, human rights and the arts.

Achieving excellence in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs 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.

Agricultural Sciences: 11 a.m., Saturday, May 14, Shryock Auditorium.

Stephen J. Scates, of Shawneetown, president of Scates Valley Inc., will give the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award.

Scates, who earned his bachelor's degree in animal science from SIUC in 1959, is senior manager with Pat Scates and Sons Farms, and also oversees the family's Scates Gardens Inc., a vegetable production and sales operation. He served for eight years as the Illinois State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, and he played a major role in administering major revisions of the 1996 Farm Bill.

Scates grew up in Gallatin County on the family farm. In 1962, Scates became farm owner and operator with his father and brother and started to diversify from traditional row crops and livestock to fruits and vegetables.

In addition to the family farm and business operations, Scates has served in many other leadership capacities. He is chairman of the Illinois Soybean Check-Off Board, and recently on the Integra Bank Corp. Board, the SIUC College of Agricultural Sciences Advisory Board, University of Illinois Agronomy Department Advisory Board, and the Diocese of Belleville Justice and Peace Commission Board. Scates and his family have taken many trips to South America, Cuba, Ireland and Mexico to strengthen their understanding and long-time commitment to international trade.

Applied Sciences and Arts: 11 a.m., Saturday, May 14, SIU Arena.

Neil R. Swartz, a corporate manager with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., will give the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award.

A native of Highland, Swartz received an associate of applied science degree in automotive technology from SIUC in 1976, and a bachelor's degree in 1978 in what is now the school's advanced technical studies program.

Swartz began his automotive career as a technician and service adviser in the retail sector of the automotive industry for two years. Swartz' corporate career started as a district service manager with American Motors Sales Corporation (AMC) – and resulted in five promotions in seven years. In 1985, Swartz accepted a position as planning administrator for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., where he developed service programs for Toyota dealers to improve their level of service, customer convenience and new service processes.

He is currently corporate manager of the company's North American Parts Distribution and Operations, and directly oversees the operations of 10 parts distribution centers throughout the nation, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

Among his many activities with SIUC, Swartz has been instrumental in developing a long-standing relationship between the University and Toyota, and has served on the SIUC Automotive Technology department's advisory committee for more than 20 years, including committee co-chairman since 1994.

Business and Administration: 4 p.m., Saturday, May 14, SIU Arena.

Robert J. Siracusano, a senior financial advisor and branch manager with Wachovia Securities Financial Network in Naperville will give the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Attorney William A. Fenwick, a first-generation college student who earned a bachelor's degree in business management with honors from SIUC in 1964, will receive a Distinguished Service Award.

Siracusano, who lives in Aurora, received his bachelor's degree in business from SIUC in 1995. He currently owns his own branch of Wachovia Securities, and as a full service financial advisory firm, specializes in conservative investing for individual and business retail clients throughout the country. He became a limited partner at Edward Jones investments in 1999, and was a member of the UBS Financial Services president's council from 2000-2003.

While at SIUC, Siracusano was one of the world's top divers on the 1- and 3-meter boards, and holds school points records in both events. He was a member of the U.S. National team for springboard and platform diving through 1996, and is a member of the SIUC Hall of Fame.

Fenwick is a partner in the law firm Fenwick & West, LLP, which has offices in Mountain View and San Francisco, Calif., and a staff of more than 245 attorneys. The firm, established in 1972, provides legal services to national and international high technology and life sciences clients, but also make unique contributions to human rights. In the last two years alone, attorneys at the firm provided more than 14,000 hours of legal services to individuals who cannot afford to hire legal counsel and to charitable organizations serving the public interest.

Education and Human Services: 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 14, SIU Arena.

Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Center for Minority Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh will give the address; Gerald B. "Jerry" Richards, a former special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation will receive the Alumni Association Award.

Thomas earned his doctorate in community health education from SIUC in 1986. In addition to serving as director of the Center for Minority Health since 2000, Thomas is also the Philip Hallen professor of Community Health and Social Justice at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1986 to 1992, Thomas was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Health Education at the University of Maryland in College Park. In his first year as an assistant professor, Thomas established a report on minority health that made clear excess death among black and minority populations is preventable, and that community-based interventions can make meaningful contributions toward improving health status.

Thomas was also a tenured associate professor in the Department of Health Education and Behavior at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta from 1992 to 2000, and established the Institute of Minority Health Research.

Richards earned a bachelor's degree in photography from SIUC in 1966, and a master's degree in education from SIUC in 1967. For 23 years until his retirement in 1993 Richards was a special agent with the FBI. He specialized in document and photographic examination, and espionage tradecraft. In 1991, Richards received the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement from the National Foreign Intelligence Community for meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service by a member of the intelligence community.

High profile cases that Richards worked or testified in include espionage cases involving John Walker, Jerry Whitworth, Jonathan Pollard, Ronald Pelton, and Rick Ames, in addition to the O.J. Simpson civil case, and the John F. Kennedy/Marilyn Monroe forgery case. Richards currently owns Richards' Forensic Services in Laurel, Md., which examines questioned documents and photographs.

Engineering: 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14, SIU Arena.

Kevin Jelley of La Grange will give the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award.

Jelley, who earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from SIUC in 1981, is a Motorola Fellow of the Technical Staff, and director of research, within Motorola Labs in Schaumburg. In his 15 years with Motorola, Jelley is responsible for development in such areas as machine vision, visual communications, liquid crystal displays, and optical communications. His team developed Motorola's first camera phone prototype and later contributed to the first camera phone products. Jelley worked as a senior research scientist in photonics at Siemens Corporation, and as a senior design engineer in the Custom I.C. Division of Harris Corporation before joining Motorola in 1990.

Graduate School: 7 p.m., Saturday, May 14, SIU Arena.

Traditionally there is no guest speaker for this program. The Alumni Association will present its Outstanding Thesis Award to Hilla Medalia.

School of Law: 4 p.m., Saturday, May 14, Shryock Auditorium.

Julian Bond, noted civil rights, economic justice advocate, and chairman of the NAACP will deliver the address; attorney Paul Matalonis of Carbondale will receive the Alumni Achievement Award. U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley will receive the doctor of human letters honorary degree.

A distinguished writer, poet, teacher and lecturer, Bond, has on the cutting edge of social change for more than 40 years, dating back to his days as a student at Morehouse College. He led student sit-in demonstrations in Atlanta, and founded the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, a student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent, anti-segregation protests. It resulted in integration of the city's movie theaters, lunch counters and parks. Bond was first elected in 1965 to a one-year term in the Georgia House of Representatives, but members voted to not seat him due to his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War. After winning a second election to fill his vacant seat in 1966 and barred from membership, Bond won a third election for a two-year term in November 1966. The next month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Georgia House violated Bond's rights by refusing him his seat.

During his more than 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, Bond sponsored or co-sponsored more than 60 bills that became law. Bond co-chaired a challenge delegation from George to the 1968 Democratic National Convention and was nominated for vice-president – the first African American be nominated for the position. Bond withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.

Bond has served on the NAACP National Board and since1998 has been board chairman, and is president emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He is a commentator on America's Black Forum, the oldest African American owned show in television syndication.

Matalonis has been a staff attorney with the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation for the last 21 years, and is coordinator of the agency's Homeless Legal Assistance Project and Housing Law Task Force. From 1998 to 2004, Matalonis was board president of the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless. Matalonis received bachelor's degrees in economics and political science from SIUC in 1981, and earned his law degree from SIUC in 1984.

Motley, a native of New Haven, Conn., is a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1943, and worked as a law clerk at the New York branch of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she wrote briefs in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case. Over a 20-year period with the NAACP, Motley served as a staff member and associate, and won nine of the 10 civil rights cases she argued. She became one of the first women to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Liberal Arts: 5 p.m., Friday, May 13, SIUC Arena.

Jagdish N. Bhagwati, a University Professor in the economics department at Columbia University will deliver the address, and also receive an honorary doctor of arts degree. Distinguished University Organist and retired SIUC professor Marianne Webb will receive a distinguished service award.

Bhagwati, a native of India, is a world-renowned economist. In addition to serving on the Columbia University faculty, he is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Bhagwati is an external adviser to the World Trade Organization and a member of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's High-level Advisory Group on the New Partnership for African Development.

He is the author of more than 300 articles and 50 volumes. Bhagwati also is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times and is a frequent guest on CNN, the BBC and MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour.

Webb joined the SIUC faculty in 1965 and retired in May 2001. She holds a master of music degree with highest distinction from the University of Michigan. A Fulbright grant enabled her to continue her studies in Paris, France, and she also did further graduate study at Syracuse University and the Eastman School of Music. As a concert artist, Webb toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, performing for the American Guild of Organist chapters, churches, colleges and universities.

Morris Library's University Archives houses a special collection that bears Webb's name. Eventually, the collection will include all her professional books, music, recordings and paper. Webb designed and supervised the installation of the pipe organ in Shryock Auditorium. Built to her specifications by the Reuter Organ Co., the instrument attracts prominent soloists. In 2001, the organ was named in Webb's honor.

Mass Communication and Media Arts: 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14, Shryock Auditorium.

Jacqueline Spinner, an award winning staff writer and travel writer for the Washington Post will deliver the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Spinner covered the war in Iraq, surviving mortar attacks, car bombs, the battle for Fallujah, and a kidnapping attempt outside of Abu Ghraib prison. She has contributed to MSNBC, PBS, CNN, BBC, ABC, National Public Radio, and was featured in a PBS Frontline documentary on reporting the war. Spinner earned her bachelor's degree with honors in journalism from SIUC in 1992. A staff writer at the Post since 1995, Spinner started at the newspaper as a summer intern on the financial staff. While an SIUC student, Spinner worked at the Daily Egyptian newspaper for four years; serving as editor as a senior.

Before joining the Post, Spinner contributed to the Oakland Tribune, San Diego Union Tribune, the Decatur Herald and Review, and Los Angeles Times TV magazine.

Science: 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 14, Shryock Auditorium.

William R. Norwood, of Carbondale, a retired United Airlines captain and former member of the SIU Board of Trustees will give the address and receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Norwood earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from SIUC in 1959. After serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1959 to 1965, Norwood began a 31-year career with United Airlines, becoming the first African-American pilot the company hired, and the first to achieve the rank of captain.

He is a founding member of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots, and served on the SIU Board of Trustees from 1974 to 2001. SIUC's first black quarterback, Norwood, a Centralia native, became a three-year starter and later an inductee into the SIUC Hall of Fame. Norwood spends free time mentoring young people and his family has established scholarships for SIUC students.


Jagdish Bhagwati


Jackie Spinner


Julian Bond


Kevin Jelly


Neil Swartz


Robert Sirasucano


Steve Skates


Stephen Thomas


William Norwood


Paul Matalonis