February 21, 2007

Couple donates $1 million to business college

by Greg Scott

herb and barbara

Herb & Barbara Shear

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A Pittsburgh couple is providing a $1 million leadership gift to raise the profile of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Business and Administration (CoBA).

The Herb and Barbara Shear Leadership Gift will assist the college in attaining its long-term strategic goals. Herbert Shear, a 1969 SIU marketing graduate who is chief executive officer of GENCO Distribution System, a third party logistics company in Pittsburgh, wants his alma mater's business school to flourish.

"I would like to see the College of Business distinguish itself by taking on a leadership role and garnering recognition in the business community," Shear says. "We want our graduates to have value to the industry when companies visit SIU to recruit employees. I am hoping this gift will assist the University in achieving this goal."

Half of the donation will be used for projects the business school dean deems appropriate and critical. The remaining $500,000 will either continue to be used by the dean for pertinent areas or be endowed for a specific long-term need of the college, according to Shear. The Shears will consult with the dean regarding this portion of the gift.

Dennis Cradit, dean of the College of Business and Administration, says the gift provides the college with support necessary to attain its future goals.

"The College of Business at Southern seeks a future in which we can aggressively pursue a program of innovation in all aspects of student services, business education and college operations," Cradit says. "We need the ability to rapidly and effectively pursue new opportunities in the fulfillment of our mission and strategic plan.

"The Shears' gift allows us to create a 'Critical Impact' fund that gives us just that ability. We are profoundly grateful for the leadership they have shown."

Shear, who will receive the University's Distinguished Service Award in May, has exhibited a history of supporting his alma mater. He is chair of the CoBA Steering Committee for the University's Opportunity Through Excellence comprehensive campaign, which seeks to raise $100 million for the people, programs and places of SIU. He has served on the CoBA External Advisory Board for 10 years. The Shears' gifts to the University have provided new computers for professors and support for endowed professorships and an MBA classroom.

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, says the Shears have assumed a leadership role in the University's fundraising efforts.

"Herb and Barbara Shear have demonstrated longstanding loyalty to the College of Business and Administration and SIU. We are truly grateful for their generosity," says McCurry. "The Shears are outstanding individuals who are committed to our goal of moving Southern forward. We hope more alumni and friends follow suit."

SIUC Interim Chancellor John Dunn says the Shears are setting a fine example for fellow alumni and friends of the University to follow.

"The University takes great pleasure and pride in alumni and friends who exhibit support in this fashion," Dunn says. "A gift of this magnitude has a significant impact on our University and enhances what our business college has to offer."

A 1997 CoBA Hall of Fame inductee, Shear says the University set a foundation for his success.

"Southern gave me an opportunity and I've always wanted to reciprocate. That is the reason behind our involvement," he says. "I didn't have good high school grades; SIU was one of few schools that would accept me.

"There were professors at SIU who made an impact on me. The education I received there gave me the start I needed in the business world."