August 03, 2007

Pfeffer is new SIU Foundation board president

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. — In her own words, Pamela Pfeffer was born into the Southern Illinois University Carbondale family. Her grandfather, Lindell Sturgis, served on the SIU Board of Trustees for 30 years, and chaired the BOT from 1969 to 1971.

As a youngster, she often accompanied her grandfather to Springfield when he lobbied support for Southern. She refers to this as her first experience with fundraising.

“That was quite an adventure for a 10-year old,” she recalls. “And when it came time to select a college, I had exactly one choice. My grandfather wouldn’t have it any other way.

“And I met my husband, Phil, at SIU. It turned out pretty good for me.”

And ironically, the Metropolis native is following in the footsteps of her late grandfather, who was revered for his public service. She began her term as president of the SIU Foundation Board of Directors on July. 1.

The Nashville resident began her service on the SIU Foundation board in 1995. The volunteer board governs the activities of the Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides alumni and friends a means to invest in the future of the University. Established in 1942, the Foundation solicits and administers gifts from private sources in support of SIU Carbondale’s academic mission. Private funding is generated through annual giving, planned giving, major giving, corporate and foundation relations and campaigns.

She is also a member of the executive, annual nominating and nominating committees.

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, says the organization is fortunate to have a leader like Pfeffer.

“The Pfeffers have exhibited extraordinary support of this university. Pam has a longstanding association with Southern and takes great pride in being one of our graduates,” McCurry says. “She has already assumed a leadership role on many fronts, and we are excited to have her guiding our organization for the next year.”

Pfeffer also serves on the steering committee for the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign for Southern. The campaign seeks to raise $100 million in support of the people, programs and places of SIU Carbondale by June, 2008. Pfeffer says this is a priority during her first year as president.

“I really look forward to the Foundation completing its first-ever capital fund drive. We are closing in on our goal and the campaign will have a wonderful impact on our university,” she says.

As the Foundation progresses toward its $100-million campaign goal, Pfeffer credits her predecessors for making such a dream possible.

“This organization has grown tremendously thanks to our previous leadership. I’m thankful to those individuals continuing their involvement,” she says. “The primary objective is educating people to give back to Southern. A number of universities start this process before you walk in the door.

“Public funds are getting more limited and the cost of education is escalating. The only way to make it more affordable is to supplement this via private donations. Alumni and friends of SIU are stepping up as this continues to be a major need.”

Additionally, Pfeffer says strategic planning initiatives, establishing support of the Saluki Way campaign and coordinating effort with the Alumni Association and University constituencies to foster progress of various initiatives are primary objectives during her presidency.

Pfeffer says the Foundation must work cohesively with the Association board in advancing the University.

“I’ve known Doris Rottschalk (SIU Alumni Association president) a long time and look forward to building on the relationship between these two organizations. It is important that we work together to communicate one message as we strive to advance the University,” she says.

Pfeffer and her husband, Phil, a former Foundation and Alumni Association board member, are life members of the SIU Alumni Association. Pfeffer received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Southern in 1967, and attained a master’s degree in teaching mathematics at Vanderbilt University in 1968.

She was hired as mathematics instructor at the former University of Tennessee-Nashville in September 1969 before commencing a career in the banking industry as a lending officer and branch manager at Nashville National Bank in September 1972.

Pfeffer left the banking industry in December 1978. Shortly thereafter, her husband’s career began to flourish, as he became president of Ingram Book Co., a book distribution company where he added prerecorded video and computer distribution. Phil built Ingram Distribution Group Inc., into a $12 billion corporation and guided the micro computer portion of the company to the New York Stock Exchange before retiring from there. He subsequently became president of Random House.

Pamela Pfeffer is currently active with the Nashville Symphony Association, the national board of Reading Is Fundamental in Washington, D.C. and Christ Presbyterian Church.

The Pfeffers have three grown children, John-Lindell, James and David, and three grandchildren.