October 31, 2006

SIU Alumni Association to honor Simon

by Laura Taylor

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Known for her endless community involvement and selfless giving, Mary Ellen Curd Simon is the 2006 Service to Southern Illinois award winner.

Simon, a Carbondale native, will be bestowed with the honor on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Jackson County Alumni Chapter’s 35th Annual Awards Banquet.

The chapter is also awarding seven area high school students with scholarships. Andrew Giritharan, Natalie Rambeau and Nicholas Steffan are all recipients from Carbondale Community High School. Jessica Grammer and Amanda Reiff are recipients from Murphysboro High School, and Eric Yearian is a recipient from Elverado High School. Jessica Camden, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale senior in elementary education, will be honored with the Jackson County Family YMCA Scholarship.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center. Tickets are $18 per person. Please RSVP by Nov. 13.

The Service to Southern Illinois award recognizes an individual who provides outstanding service to the Southern Illinois region. Mary Ellen Curd Simon, a granddaughter of a former Carbondale city mayor, devotes her life to community involvement. Simon attended Southern Illinois Normal University’s Laboratory School through high school, and SINU as an undergraduate. After moving out of the region for a number of years to complete her master’s degree and get married, Simon returned in the 1950s.

In 1959, Simon started her career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a teacher in the English Department, retiring in 1973. In 1997 she received Carbondale’s “Citizen of the Year” award for her outstanding contributions to the city. She is active with the Carbondale School District, developing inter-generational volunteer programs for students and teachers.

The SIU Alumni Association Life Member was named an “Illinois Woman of Achievement” in 2001 and continues to be active in the community. Simon is a member of the SIU Annuitants Board, SIU Foundation Board, the Woman’s Club of Carbondale and other organizations.

Simon has one son and daughter-in-law, James and Becky, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

If you would like to attend the 35th Annual Jackson County Awards Banquet, please contact the SIU Alumni Association office at 618/453-2408.

Conducting more aggressive and effective outreach to SIUC alumni is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.