February 27, 2007

SIUC to honor Trickey, Shear

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale will honor a member of the "Little Rock Nine" during spring commencement exercises.

Minnijean Brown Trickey, who attended SIUC after the Little Rock desegregation crisis and went on to become a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Clinton years, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Education and Human Services May 12.

Herb Shear, chairman and chief executive officer of the logistics solutions company GENCO Inc., will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the College of Business and Administration at a future commencement ceremony.

Trickey was just 16 when she and eight other African-Americans attempted to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in the late '50s. After she dropped a bowl of chili on several white students barring her path in the cafeteria, school officials suspended her; when she called a student who hit her "white trash," they expelled her.

Trickey finished her high school education at New York City's New Lincoln School while living with noted African-American psychologists Kenneth B. and Mamie Clark, whose research on the effects of segregation helped decide the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education in the Supreme Court.

She came to SIUC in 1961 intending to major in journalism but wound up in social work when she and her husband, Roy Trickey, moved to Canada after he was denied conscientious objector status for the war in Vietnam.

A lifelong social activist, Trickey's causes include nonviolence, peacemaking, social justice, the environment, diversity, gender equity, cross cultural communication and organizational change.

These days, she is active in the programming of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, where her daughter, Spirit, works as an interpretive park ranger. Trickey also participates in "Sojourn to the Past," an educational project that takes students, teachers and parents on a 10-day tour of the civil rights movement's most dramatic sites to meet the people who made history.

Her many previous awards include the Congressional Gold Medal, the NAACP Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Tribute.

Shear, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., earned his bachelor's degree in finance and marketing from SIUC in 1969. After graduation, he returned to help his father run the family company, a business his grandfather started in 1898 with a wagon and one blind horse.

Over the years, the company expanded, first into public warehousing and distribution services, then into computer-aided returns processing. The acquisitions of a software development company specializing in warehouse management systems and other related businesses allowed GENCO to morph into a chain-of-supply management business that could offer some 20 services tailored to individual client needs in this country and abroad.

These days, the company has 80 locations and 4,500 employees in North America and Europe. Its clients include Sears, Target, Whirlpool, Revlon, 3M and Wal-Mart. The company has won numerous awards for service and innovation, as has Shear himself.

In 2005, he received the (Syracuse University) Martin J. Whitman School of Management's Salzberg Medallion as an outstanding practitioner of transportation, distribution and logistics management. Last year, he received a distinguished service award from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

Shear also plays an active role in professional organizations and is the founding member of the Reverse Logistics Executive Council.

As for his alma mater, Shear's contributions are legion. Earlier this month, SIUC announced that Shear and his wife, Barbara, are providing a $1 million leadership gift to raise the profile of the College of Business and Administration. The Herb and Barbara Shear Leadership Gift will assist the college in attaining its long-term strategic goals.

Shear chairs the business college's comprehensive fundraising campaign and he previously contributed nearly a quarter of million dollars, money that has supported two endowed professorships and an MBA classroom among other things. He is a founding member of the Henry J. Rehn Society, created to inspire alumni to give to the college. He also has served on the college's external advisory board for more than a decade and regularly participates in the college's executive-in-residence program.