December 04, 2013

Endowment pays tribute to respected professor

by Greg Scott

Marybelle KeimCARBONDALE, Ill. – A woman beloved for her dedication to mentoring students is being honored through an endowment established with the Southern Illinois University Foundation.

The Dr. Marybelle Keim Student Travel Award Endowment pays tribute to a former higher education professor at SIU.  Keim, who joined the SIU faculty in 1985, was also respected nationally as an accomplished author.  She died in 2011.

Keim’s five sons -- Don, Dale, Doug, Dave, and Daryl -- are funding the award.  Endowment funds will provide financial support for graduate students in SIU’s Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education who attend conferences linked to the Association for the Study of Higher Education and Council for the Study of Community Colleges.  Keim attended these conferences and encouraged her students to attend and present their work at them on a regular basis. 

"This is a wonderful tribute to someone who was known to be a positive and strong fixture in her profession,” says Keith Wilson, dean of the College of Education and Human Services.  “I would like to thank the family's generosity in establishing this award for some of our outstanding students within the College of Education and Human Services."

Don Rockey, Keim’s son, says his mother was passionate about mentoring students and seeing them share and exchange ideas at conferences. 

“I hardly ever saw my mother without a stack of dissertations.  It was a never-ending activity for her,” Don says.  “She had a passion for fostering the careers and development of young people.”

Dave concurs with his brother’s assessment.  He points out that their mother was an advisor for some 450 master’s and doctoral candidates during her career, and helped see many of these student’s theses, research papers and doctoral dissertations through to completion.

“Our mother had a strong work ethic and had high expectations for herself, her children and others.  She was a good influence on everyone around her,” he says.

Keim authored over 100 books, peer-reviewed manuscripts, monographs and reports.  She was in demand as a lecturer, earning her wide recognition as an expert in higher education.

“Mom really perfected the research craft.  That resulted in her having so many articles published,” Dave says.  “She was quite an inspiration.  Mom was just an amazing lady.”

Additional gifts are being accepted in support of the Marybelle Keim Student Travel Award.  For more information, contact Eden Thorne, Director of Development for the College of Education and Human Services, at 618/453-4268, or