Simon Faculty Award recipient – Anthony T. Fleege is the 2013 recipient of the E.J. and Mary C. Simon Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Fleege, of rural Carterville, is an associate professor and program director of the University’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service Program. Fleege has been on the faculty since 1999; SIU Carbondale is the only university in Illinois to offer a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. (Photo by Steve Buhman) Download Photo Here
April 10, 2013
Fleege earns Simon Distinguished Faculty Award
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Anthony T. Fleege often jokes that his is the personality that might sometimes lead someone to forget they just met him hours earlier.
But to Fleege’s former students, along with faculty in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, the impact of his quiet, behind-the-scenes dedication in directing Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service program speaks loudly.
J. Curtis Goodwine, a former student who now operates a funeral home in Robinson, said Fleege’s passion for education, the funeral service, and his students -- both in and out of the classroom -- resulted in “an incredibly productive learning environment.” Goodwine wrote he has never had an educator “in my life who has been more caring and invested in the student body” than Fleege.
Fleege is the 2013 recipient of the E.J. and Mary C. Simon Distinguished Faculty Award in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA). E.J. Simon was dean of the college from its inception in 1951 until his retirement in 1970, and both he and his wife, Mary C. Simon, remained strong supporters of the University and CASA.
He will receive the award on April 14 during Honors Day ceremonies in the college.
Fleege, an associate professor and program director, is “extremely overwhelmed with appreciation” to be chosen.
“There are so many other good teachers in this College,” said Fleege, who has been on the faculty since 1999. “I’m humbled and honored to receive the Simon Award. I hope I reflect the spirit of what the Simons expected out of a teacher.”
In addition to serving as program director, Fleege teaches 10 credit hours in the fall and eight in the spring. He also teaches online distance education courses in medical terminology and health care management.
The work “illustrates how he applies his diverse knowledge in interdisciplinary teaching within the School (of Allied Health) and how sincere he takes his teaching responsibilities and program director commitments,” said Charla J. Lautar, a professor in the dental hygiene program who nominated Fleege for the award.
SIU Carbondale is the only university in Illinois to offer a bachelor’s degree in mortuary science. Fleege is one of three full-time faculty members in the program.
“He has proven to be an excellent teacher and a wonderful asset to our College,” said Ju An (Andy) Wang, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. “He has set an example for his students in his professionalism and work ethics. For instance, while other faculty members were on sabbatical or on leave, Anthony assumed an additional teaching load without compensation. What better way to document his effectiveness as a professor than to listen to his students themselves.”
Fleege believes it’s vital to challenge and motivate students in the classroom, but also interact with them in less formal settings. Each year, he sponsors a Halloween and Christmas party in his rural Carterville home to give students a chance to socially interact with each other away from campus.
An important part of being a teacher is getting to know students individually, he said.
“Everybody wants to go into this profession to help people and it is a very serious profession. But when they are in school, I try to make sure there is also a fun side of learning and teaching it to them,” Fleege said. “Once they get out of school they are going to be in a profession that every day is serious for them and the families they serve.”
Fleege earned an associate degree in mortuary science, bachelor’s degree in health care management, and a master’s degree in business, all from SIU Carbondale.
In addition to his teaching, Fleege is a funeral director with Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville, and deputy coroner for Williamson County.