December 11, 2014

Board OKs honorary degrees, service awards

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees this week voted to recognize a number of individuals with honorary degrees and distinguished service awards, approved renovation and improvement projects, and discussed the search for a permanent chancellor at SIU Carbondale. 

The board met in regular session on the Carbondale campus. On Wednesday, Dec. 10, board members toured SIU Carbondale’s Greek Row and discussed various renovation and demolition options. They also toured University Museum. 

The board continued its discussions about system planning, and agreed with SIU System President Randy Dunn’s recommendation to proceed with the search for a new chancellor at SIU Carbondale without an outside firm. Dunn said he plans to appoint a broad-based campus advisory committee to provide input during the search. 

During its meeting today (Dec. 11), the board approved: 

  • An Open Access Policy for Faculty Scholarship: Research Articles. The new policy, developed by a task force, complies with Illinois’ Open Access to Research Articles Act that states that “the published research articles produced by faculty at public universities should be made as widely available as possible.”
  • Renovations to the University Bookstore in the SIU Carbondale Student Center. The $675,000 project, scheduled for the spring semester, will include finish upgrades, ceiling replacement, lighting and display fixtures and egress issues. Follett Higher Education Group, Inc., which operates the bookstore, will be responsible for $575,000 of the cost; the university’s portion will be $100,000.
  • The issuance of Southern Illinois University Medical Facilities System Revenue Bonds, Series 2015A, to refund all or a portion of the outstanding $14.5 million Series 2005 bonds originally issued for the Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield. Based on market conditions, issuing the new bonds will generate savings of $1.5 million of the anticipated refunded bond principal.
  • The appointment of Nina M. Antoniotti as executive director of Telehealth and Outreach Services at the School of Medicine in Springfield.

Also Thursday, the board approved honorary degrees and distinguished service awards to be presented during the May 2015 commencement or subsequent commencement ceremonies. 

At SIU Carbondale: 

  • Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, Honorary Doctor of Humane Arts. Appointed Illinois secretary of state in 1981 by former Gov. Jim Thompson, Edgar subsequently was elected to the position twice. In 1990, Edgar was elected to the first of his two consecutive terms as governor.
  • The late Dixie B. Fortis, Honorary Doctor of Commerce. An SIU Carbondale graduate, Fortis enjoyed a distinguished career in advertising. Her positions included creative director of the New Products Group at McCann Erickson, which at the time was the world’s largest advertising agency. In 1980, she and her husband, Jerry Fortis, established their own firm, Fortis Advertising, Inc., in Chicago. She earned numerous awards for her work, including election into the Chicago Women’s Hall of Fame, and was a founding member of the Chicago Women’s Network.
  • Captain William R. “Bill” Norwood, Honorary Doctor of Aviation Science. A 1959 SIU Carbondale graduate, Norwood was the university’s first black quarterback, a three-year starter and an inductee into the SIU Carbondale Hall of Fame. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1959 to 1965, piloting a B-52.  He then had a 31-year career with United Airlines, becoming the company’s first African-American pilot and the first to achieve the rank of captain.  He is a founding member of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots and served on the SIU Board of Trustees from 1974 to 2001. 
  • Michael J. “Mike” Lawrence, Distinguished Service Award. Lawrence covered the Illinois statehouse, politics and government for nearly two decades, including serving as state capital bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. He also worked for Jim Edgar for 10 years, as press secretary and senior policy adviser first in the secretary of state’s office and then in the governor’s office. Lawrence joined SIU Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute as associate director in 1998, becoming director following Simon’s death in 2003. He retired from the university in 2009.
  • Dr. Marsha G. Ryan, Distinguished Service Award. Ryan served on the SIU Foundation board of directors from 1992 to 2013, which included serving as board chair and as chair of the university’s first-ever comprehensive capital campaign. A 1987 graduate of the SIU School of Law, Ryan has served on the SIU Alumni Association Board, the School of Law Board of Visitors, and the School of Art and Design Board. Together with her husband, John, Dr. Ryan established the Bioethicist-in-Residence at the law school’s Center for Health Law Policy.

At SIU Edwardsville: 

  • Lauren Elizabeth Metcalf, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A Carbondale native, Metcalf is a graduate of Edwardsville High School and Illinois State University. She is a co-founder of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, and has appeared in a variety of on- and off-Broadway productions. Among her film credits are “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Internal Affairs,” “JFK” and “Toy Story.” She starred in 221 episodes on the TV series “Roseanne,” earning three Emmy Awards, had a recurring role in “Desperate Housewives,” and she currently appears in “The Big Bang Theory”.
  • David Werner, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Werner held several positions at the university during his 36-year career, including associate professor of management science, dean of the School of Business, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and chancellor. He was appointed SIUE’s sixth chancellor in 1997, retiring in 2004.
  • Kay Werner, Distinguished Service Award. Retired as manager of information technology at the SIUE East St. Louis Center, she is the wife of Chancellor Emeritus David Werner. She served as a teacher and community leader for more than 30 years, and her contributions included teaching in SIUE’s School of Business and managing the Faculty Technology Center at SIUE.