September 24, 2007

Five elected to association's board of directors

by Kathy Dillard


CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Alumni Association announces the election of five members to its national board of directors.

The newly elected members are Mike Kasser, Roy Heidinger, Charles Neal, Timasha Udugama and Steven Middleton.

"The addition of these members to the national board of directors ensures the association continues to benefit from a diversity of knowledge and opinions. As successful alumni and current students, each member brings a unique and important perspective to the association," Ed Buerger, executive director, said.

Biographical sketches of the new board members follow:

Kasser, a Certified Public Accountant and comptroller of Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale, serves as treasurer for the SIU Alumni Association's Board of Directors. He is a 1978 graduate of SIUC in accounting. Kasser is an active volunteer in both his personal and professional life. He served as a school board member and treasurer in Carbondale and as president of the Southern Illinois Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). He is certified as a Fellow of HFMA. Jill, Mike's wife, is also a graduate of SIUC. They live in Carbondale and are life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They have two daughters, and the eldest currently attends SIUC.

Heidinger represents the College of Science on the SIU Alumni Association board of directors. He received his bachelor's degree in 1966, master's degree in 1967, and a doctorate in zoology in 1970 – all from SIUC. He is the former chair of the Department of Zoology and director of the Illinois Fisheries and Aquaculture Center at SIUC. In 1995, he received the American Fisheries Society (AFS) Award of Excellence, and in 2005 was inducted into the AFS Fish Management Hall of Excellence. In 1992, he received the College of Science Researcher of the Year Award and the Alumni of the Year Award in 2006. He retired from SIUC in 1999. His wife, Bonnie, earned her master's degree in history from SIUC in 1970. Both are life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They live in Carbondale and have one daughter.

Neal represents the School of Medicine on the SIU Alumni Association board of directors. He graduated from the SIU School of Medicine in 1987 and is certified by the American Board of Urgent Care Medicine. Neal owns UltiMed Plus, a family practice and occupational medicine clinic with facilities in Mt. Vernon and West Frankfort. He is a member of the Jefferson-Hamilton County and Illinois State Medical societies and charter member of the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. Neal is a past diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice. He created the Ewing-Northern Fire Protection District. He was chairman of the board and held other positions within the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts. He is president of the Wayne County Speedway. Neal resides in Ewing with his wife, Barbara, and two children. Barbara earned her degree in child and family services from SIUC in 1983. Both are life members of the SIU Alumni Association.

Udugama is the current president of the Student Alumni Council and represents SAC on the SIU Alumni Association Board of Directors. A senior from Sri Lanka, Udugama is majoring in physiology with a dual minor in chemistry and in child and family services. He joined the council in 2004 and held the office of vice president for two years. During this time, he won several SAC awards, including Most Outstanding Student Leader, Most Outstanding Officer, Most Valuable SACer and Most Social SACer. Last year, he won a class ring from the alumni association for his dedicated service to the association and to the University. He represented SIU at district conferences for the Association of Student Advancement Programs and the National Orientation Directors Association. He is a member of the Student Orientation Advisement Registration staff (SOAR), the Student Orientation Committee and served as a Student Life Advisor team captain for three years. He is a member of several academic honor societies, including Alpha Lambda Delta and Sigma Alpha Lambda. Recently, Udugama completed an externship with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where he researched cancer cells, immunology, and the molecular genetics of regeneration. He is also a member of the International Student Council and the Sri Lankan Student Association. Udugama volunteers for International Student Services.

Middleton is the current president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council and represents GPSC on the SIU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is a graduate student in the applied psychology program and an associate of Applied Research Consultants (ARC), an organization composed of graduate students and faculty within the psychology department. His wife, Wendi, is also a graduate student at SIUC in the molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry program. They live in Herrin.

The 39-member national board of directors governs the programs, activities and services of the SIU Alumni Association. Founded in 1896, the SIU Alumni Association represents 220,000 graduates living in more than 130 countries worldwide.