April 03, 2007

Benton high student receives Sanders scholarship

by Kathy Dillard

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Jerry Brandon Batts of Benton is the 2007 recipient of the Keith and Carol Sanders Alumni Scholarship. Batts is a senior at Benton Consolidated High School and will attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale next fall.

He is the son of Jeff Batts and Patricia Butler. Butler earned a bachelor of science degree in communication disorders and sciences and a master of science degree in communication disorders and sciences from SIUC.

Batts is a member of the National Honor Society, has been on the High Honor Roll for four years, is an Illinois State Scholar, Student Council member, Student Chamber of Commerce member, and ranked fifth in the Benton class of 2007. He has also been involved in many civic volunteer activities including Adopt A Highway, Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots. He works at the Kimmel Chaplain Pharmacy in Benton.

Keith and Carol Sanders announced the Alumni Scholarship last October at a luncheon hosted by the SIU Alumni Association and the SIU Foundation Board of Directors. The Sanders, both graduates of SIUC and long time supporters, endowed the $2,500 scholarship to support the academic goals of high-achieving, low-income students from Benton high school or Rend Lake College in Ina.

Keith Sanders is a two-degree SIUC graduate, holding both bachelor of science and master of science degrees in speech/psychology. He earned his doctorate in communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Carol Sanders earned a bachelor of science in elementary education in 1961.

The Sanders are committed to education. A Benton native, Keith Sanders has served as professor at SIUC and George Washington University. He was appointed dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Southern in 1983. He has held the posts of chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and senior vice president and chief operating officer for the entire Wisconsin system.

Keith Sanders' commitment to education was further exemplified in 1998 when he returned to Illinois and became the executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He retired from the IBHE in 2002 and now serves on the SIU Board of Trustees.

Carol Sanders was a public school teacher for 21 years before retiring in 1989. She started her teaching career at Giant City Grade School just south of Carbondale. She also taught in school systems in Murphysboro; Alexandria, Va.; and suburban Pittsburgh, Pa. She is a native of Milwaukee.