January 13, 2011

Association to award books, supplies to students

by Kathy Dillard

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Alumni Association will award $25,000 in textbooks and supplies to 47 SIUC students on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Student Center Ballrooms.

“We take great pride in supporting our students with these awards and the Association’s national board of directors is excited to offer other such initiatives for our SIU students” says Barry Smith, SIU Alumni Association president-elect. “Opportunities such as this would not be possible without the continued support of our members.”

Award recipient Ashley Burks, from Rockford, Ill., says, "SIU has given me a direction that will take me to amazing heights. I have developed academically and professionally through SIU’s amazing services. I love that SIU awards its students. I have received many opportunities because of my academic achievements and it serves as motivation to keep persevering academically."

According to Association Executive Director Michelle Suarez, the allocation of funds helps demonstrate the organization’s continued commitment to students, and serves to also assist the University in its ongoing student retention efforts.

In April 2008, the Association’s national board of directors allocated funds to be invested with the earnings earmarked to support the financial needs of current and future SIUC students. The board’s scholarship committee, with the assistance of SIUC’s financial aid office, identified the need for textbooks and supplies as an area of extreme importance for student success. They concluded that the money could best be used to fill this type of gap that often occurs in student funding.

The SIUC financial aid office identified qualified students using two sets of criteria including a minimum 3.0 grade point average and a demonstration of financial need. SIUC’s International Program and Services assisted in identifying five international students to receive the award. These students are chosen based on their academic success and demonstrated Southern alumni family legacy.

“Supporting current and future SIU students gives the Association great satisfaction,” says Suarez. “We also hope that these textbook scholarships will emphasize the importance of supporting fellow Salukis by giving back to Southern.”