October 22, 2008

Jackson County chapter to host awards banquet

by Kathy Dillard

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Alumni and friends of Southern Illinois University Carbondale are invited to attend the 37th Annual Jackson County Awards Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 2. Activities begin with a 6 p.m. social in Old Main Restaurant of the SIUC Student Center. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program.

The Jackson County Chapter of the SIU Alumni Association is hosting the event. Robert Mees, recipient of the 2008 Service to Southern Illinois Award, will be the guest speaker. Mees is a three-degree graduate of SIUC with 41 years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator. He served as president of the SIU Alumni Association from 1991-1992 and was a member of the association’s board of directors from 1981-1984. Mees served as president of the Jackson County SIU Alumni Chapter from 1977-1979.

He is president of John A. Logan College and has demonstrated a commitment not only to the institution, but also to the region. Mees was instrumental in developing the first strategic plan for the college. He provided leadership in the planning and construction of four major building projects at the college. Mees promoted a partnership with Man-Tra-Con to respond to the educational and work-place training needs of several hundred displaced Maytag and TUMS employees through the implementation of additional online courses, Friday’s Only classes, and block scheduled courses. He initiated the conversation of dedicated on-campus space to create the Man-Tra-Con Center, housing a college-services coordinator, a career specialist, and a study lounge area with computer access for these students.

Mees has served Southern Illinois through membership in numerous organizations, including American Red Cross, Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Spirit of Attucks “I Can Read” program, Southern Illinois Regional Economic Development Corp., Carterville Planning Commission, various regional chambers of commerce, and the Southern Illinois Workforce Investment Board.

Two menus will be available. The first consists of apricot glazed pork loin slow roasted with cranberries and golden raisins, buttered new potatoes, and sautéed green beans. The vegetarian option consists of stuffed portabella jumbo mushroom capped with artichokes and spinach, buttered new potatoes, and sautéed green beans. All meals will be served with dinner rolls, tea, and dessert.

The chapter will honor its 2008-09 scholarship recipients. This year’s high school scholarship recipients are Trisha Crawshaw, Lane Dillard, and Mason Smith of Carbondale Community High School and Emily Pierson, Emily Romanowski, and Timothy Wessel of Murphysboro High School. Each scholarship is worth $3,000.

The Jackson County Alumni Chapter wishes to thank all alumni and friends who contributed to the scholarship fund via a telefund campaign this spring. More than $18,000 was pledged. For information regarding scholarship applications, please visit www.siualumni.com/scholarships. A special thank you is extended to Old National Bank for its generous support of this program.

Membership in the SIU Alumni Association is available to alumni, students, and friends of SIU for $40 annually or $500 for a lifetime membership. Joint memberships are also available.

Tickets are $20 per person. To make reservations or become a member, call the SIU Alumni Association at (618) 453-2408 or visit www.siualumni.com. Please RSVP by October 27.

Nominations for the 2009 Service to Southern Illinois Award are currently being accepted. If you know of someone who has provided outstanding service to the Southern Illinois community, please send your nomination. Nomination forms are available at www.siualumni.com/programs or by calling the main office at the number listed above.