August 29, 2006

Book, exhibit portray 60 years of student life

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A book compiled by a dozen student authors portrays 60 years of student life at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Arcadia Publishing recently released "Southern Illinois University Carbondale," a book of photographs reflecting student experiences at SIUC from the1940s to the present. The photographs and related student items comprise a major exhibit this semester at University Museum. The photos depict fashions, fads, homecomings, parades, politics, housing and hangouts. The book is available in the University Museum store and online at and The cover price is $19.99.

"In doing the book with photos, we not only have the current and former students' stories, but we also have photos that show where students went for fun, their clothes, their dorms, their friends and on and on," said James E. Whistle of Elgin (9N940 S. Water Road), a graduate student in history and one of the book's 12 student authors. "Attending a university always has one constant: classes and all the things associated it. We specifically looked for photos of student life outside the classroom and I think we accomplished that goal."

The students started work on the book while they were enrolled in an American history seminar class taught by Michael C. Batinski, chair of SIUC's history department. The authors used photographs stored on campus and collected snapshots taken by students and alumni.

Along with Whistle, the following students participated in the project: Matthew A. Borowicz of Orland Park (11214 Cameron Parkway); William A. Griffiths of Liverpool, England; Mark J. Harper of Carbondale (6758 Oriole Road); Leatha M. Johnson of Highland (703 Washington St.); Jeffrey D. Julson of Beloit, Wis. (1762 Grant); David T. Markwell of Maryland Heights, Mo.; Karen S. Mylan of Carbondale (2511 S. Illinois Ave.); Daniel J. Stockdale of Simpson (Route 1 Box 268); Michael C. Tow of Vergennes (3315 Tow Road); Christopher A.

Walls of Round Lake Beach (1110 N. Hickory Terrace); Emily M. Williams of Chicago (1650 N. Luna); and Neal L. Young of Petersburg (15 Hill Top Estates).

"This project is by students and it is for students, both current and past," Batinski said. "When I look back on the work that was done by this group, I am impressed. The project demonstrates student initiative and imagination. I also learned as I worked with the group that the students learned more than they realize."

Batinski's students echoed that sentiment. "Prior to this project, I had thought of history as studying numerous aspects of people that have long been dead. But after the book, I have come to realize that oral histories and personal experiences are more important than I had previously imagined," Whistle said.

Walls, graduate student in public administration, said: "This project is so close to my heart because I spent most of my academic career at SIU studying the history of the University, but mostly this feeling is greatest when I am interviewing and hearing first-hand stories from alumni of SIU. I came to SIU knowing nothing about its history, but now I feel like I have lived here my whole life. Essentially, I fell in love with my new community and wanted to learn as mush as possible about it."

Walls found the work so fascinating that he went on to create an exhibit for the University Museum entitled "Southern Illinois University in Photographs: From G.I. Joes to Generation X." The exhibit, on display from now until Dec. 8, includes the photographs compiled by Batinski's students and artifacts of student life.

"This is one of our major fall exhibits," said Dona R. Bachman, director of the University Museum.

The title of the piece pays tribute to SIUC's unique history. "Two factors transpired at the same time that assisted SIU to become what it is today," Walls said. "SIU developed into a dynamic university because of the initiation of the G.I. Bill and the vision of former SIU President Delyte W. Morris. Morris' vision transformed a university that catered to local products to a university that recruited worldwide." Today, SIUC attracts students from every state in the union and 119 countries.

Engaging students in the broad learning opportunities available at SIUC 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.


Book, exhibit portray 60 years of student life

Girls just want to have
fun - Sorority sisters
hamming it up at the Tri
Sig House on the SIUC
campus in 1955.
Download Photo Here