June 26, 2014

Kasser to lead SIU Alumni Association board

Mike KasserCARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mike Kasser, a 1978 graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and chief financial officer of Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale, will become the new president of the SIU Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors.  Kasser takes over the organization’s leadership on Tuesday, July 1, replacing Barry Smith, a 1980 graduate, who will continue to serve on the board.

A certified public accountant, Kasser has also served as treasurer for the SIU Alumni Association. He has been an active volunteer in both his personal and professional life, and has served as a school board member and treasurer in Carbondale and as president of the Southern Illinois Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). He and his wife, Jill ’79, ’00, M.S. ’01, are life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They have two daughters, Kirsten, a 2011 graduate, and Tali.

“I am proud to serve as president, and look forward to working with the board members and Association staff to support Southern and help more than 250,000 alumni around the world stay connected to their alma mater,” Kasser said.  “Working closely with Barry Smith has been a great experience and should make for a smooth transition.”

SIU Alumni Association Executive Director Michelle Suarez said she appreciates the willingness of alumni such as Kasser to serve in such an important role.  “Mike has been a key member of our board,” she said. “I am excited to see him lend his leadership skills to the position of president.”

Also on July 1, four other alumni will begin service to the Association. Recently elected to four-year terms were:

Harry Fanning, a 1983 graduate, has previously represented the College of Applied Sciences and Arts on the SIU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management and is a logistics engineer for Boeing Aerospace in St. Louis. Fanning received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1997. He is a member of the SIU AvTech Industry Advisory Board and is president of the CASA Alumni Board. In addition, he has facilitated a relationship between the Boeing Company and SIU that has resulted in the company’s participation in the Association’s Extern Program. He and wife, Beverly, have three daughters, Amanda, Robin, and Samantha.

Paul Piché a 1974 graduate, is a chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant, who owns Safe Money Assets, a retirement planning practice in Garland, Texas.  He is a graduate of the SIU College of Business with a degree in economics. While attending SIU he was active in the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity and president of the SIU Chapter of the Society for Advancement of Management. Piché is the immediate past-president of the Dallas/Ft. Worth SIU Alumni Chapter.  He and his wife Babs are life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They have two sons, Sean and Benjamin.

Molly Hudgins, a 1997 graduate, is department chair of sport management and an associate professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.  She has been at the institution since 2002, and also chairs the President’s Athletic Advisory Committee. Hudgins, who earned a master’s degree at Florida State and a doctorate in jurisprudence at the University of Tennessee, is co-founder and president of the Future College Golf Association, mentoring junior golfers and their families.  She was a member of the SIU golf team from 1992 to 1997 and was honored by the Missouri Valley Conference for both athletic and academic success. She resides in St. Louis.

Re-elected to a four year term was:

Laura Soucy, a 1987 graduate, earned her bachelor of science in Food and Nutrition from the College of Agriculture Sciences. After 24 years in the food service industry, she is now a paralegal working as the manager of contracts for Symphony Clinical Research in Vernon Hills. In addition to her work on the board, she has served as a volunteer at several SIU Alumni Association events. She and her husband, Matt, a 1989 graduate, are life members of the SIU Alumni Association and reside in Grayslake.