November 09, 2007

Couple supports SIUC College of Science

by Greg Scott


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Carl Jennings, who in 2003 retired from BASF Corp., the world's largest chemical company, said Southern Illinois University Carbondale is special to him and his family. And the two-degree alumnus continues to exhibit generosity toward his alma mater.

Jennings and his wife, Janet, established the Jennings Endowed Scholarship Fund in 1994, through the SIU Foundation. The College of Science has presented scholarships to students through the endowment for well more than a decade. And recently, the Jennings donated an additional $100,000 to their endowment fund.

Also, in observance of the University's Southern at 150 plan, which seeks to make Southern a top 75 research institution by 2019, the couple has made a $150,000 commitment to the University. In addition to the $100,000 they have contributed this year, Jennings said they will donate another $50,000 during the next five years.

"Jan and I wanted to add to the endowment right now as a part of the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign," said Jennings, a native of Equality. "We have to remember why this University exists – students are our priority. Hopefully, our efforts will help provide young people with the same great opportunity presented to me at Southern 40 years ago."

Jennings received his bachelor's and doctorate degrees from Southern in 1967 and 1971, respectively. After a year of post doctorate work at the University of Illinois in Champaign, he began his professional career in 1972 with GAF Corp. in Binghamton, N.Y., primarily holding research and manufacturing positions.

In 1977, BASF, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, hired Jennings as assistant to the vice president, chemicals, in Wyandotte, Mich. He later ascended to various executive positions in the corporation, eventually retiring as president of the North American Chemicals Division. BASF has 95,000 employees worldwide and generates $65 billion in sales annually.

A member of the SIU Foundation board of directors since 1997, Jennings was inducted into the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Hall of Fame in 1998. Jennings, a life member of the SIU Alumni Association, is thankful for the education he received at SIUC.

"I chose SIUC because of its great reputation and its student work program. I was blessed with great parents who stressed the value of education and encouraged their five children a great deal; but they didn't have the resources to send us to college," he said. "When I graduated, President Delyte Morris presented me with a certificate for working over 4,000 hours as an undergraduate. That, in addition to a lot of encouragement from my family, is what got me through college."

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the couple is making a positive impact at the University.

"I appreciate Carl's service on the foundation board and the leadership he is demonstrating as a board member with a commitment of this magnitude. Carl and Jan Jennings realize the importance of a quality education and are making a difference in the lives of our students," McCurry said. "They have exhibited a tremendous amount of loyalty and support to the College of Science and SIU Carbondale. We are grateful for their commitment."

Carl and Janet Jennings have been married for 42 years and live in Marco Island, Fla. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.