August 31, 2006

Old National Bank gives $200,000 for Saluki Way

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Saluki Way plan for creating a new campus core took a major step forward today as Old National Bank became the first major corporate sponsor for the project as bank officials announced a grant of $200,000 to Southern for a new football stadium for the Salukis.

Officials representing Old National and SIUC and their respective foundations gathered a few hours before the Saluki's first home game of the season to make the announcement. The grant, given through the bank's foundation, is the first major corporate gift received for both Saluki Way and the new stadium that will be located just south of McAndrew Stadium. SIUC plans to open the new stadium in 2010.

"Old National is proud to provide a lead gift to support Saluki Way," commented Bob Jones, President and CEO of Old National Bancorp. "We believe that this vital project will not only change the landscape of the University, but will also serve as a blueprint to stimulate economic growth and vitality for the entire region."

SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said the gift is a major step forward and will help make Saluki Way a reality. "We are deeply appreciative of the investment and vision Old National has provided for Southern today," he said. "This vision for a revitalized campus core with updated and new athletics facilities, and new buildings for academics and student services is part of the University's master plan and the goals that the University established in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment."

Old National Bank Southern Illinois Region President Jeff Speith said, "Old National and Southern Illinois University share a rich history of success and partnership in our community and the region as a whole. It is through this valued relationship and unwavering community commitment that Old National has pledged a $200,000 lead gift to support Saluki Way."

The gift from Old National Bank is also part of the University's first comprehensive capital campaign said SIUC's Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Rickey N. McCurry. "We are pleased and encouraged by the leadership shown by Old National Bank with this wonderful gift. This gift establishes a level of commitment which I hope all our corporate friends and partners will consider as they look for ways to support SIUC, the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign and Saluki Way."

The gift also came as Mario Moccia, SIUC's new director of Intercollegiate Athletics, was nearing the end of his first month on the job. "This gift will help provide our student athletes with state-of-the-art facilities that they really need," he said. "Old National Bank truly understands the power of community partnerships and makes a distinct difference with this gift."

Plans at present call for building a new 15,000-seat stadium that would replace the aging McAndrew Stadium. It will be located south of the existing structure where playing fields are now located and will, have a lower profile on the horizon as the field and seating will be "sunken" into the landscape. SIUC hopes to break ground for the $42 million project in 2008.

It will have suites, club seats and a new press box.

A stand-alone facility immediately south of the stadium will house locker rooms, training and equipment rooms, team meeting rooms, and football offices.