March 11, 2015

Exhibits focus on elements of university’s history

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Special exhibits and receptions at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in March and April pay homage to important elements of SIU’s history. 

A new exhibit in Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors focuses on the University Objectives, etched on the marble tablet permanently affixed there since 1958. Originally founded as a teacher’s college in 1869, SIU began to transform itself from a mid-sized teacher’s college to a full-fledged research university in the 1950s and devised a mission statement of core values, the University Objectives, to guide future growth, according to Aaron Lisec, library research specialist. 

The mission statement is a poetic avowal to “exalt beauty,” “forward ideas and ideals” and make the campus “a center of order and light.” The exhibit surrounding the words in stone features articles, correspondence and reports as well as recently discovered University Archives photographs from the University Objectives pamphlet. All of the items are from the Charles Tenney Collection, available to researchers in the Special Collections reading room. Tenney’s career at SIU spanned 42 years, beginning as tennis coach, and he served as SIU’s provost and vice president from 1952 to 1971. 

The exhibit looks at the general concept of institutional objectives and the process by which SIU’s were written. In addition, there’s a tribute to and biographical study of Tenney, who wrote the objectives as chairman of the All-University Objectives Committee. 

Elizabeth Hartman, research assistant, is curator for the exhibit stationed along the west side of the hall. The exhibit runs through the end of March. 

Also, in conjunction with the upcoming Fuller Future Festival, there are special exhibits on- and off-campus focusing on R. Buckminster Fuller, the late SIU educator, visionary designer and inventor. Fuller was a futuristic sustainability proponent and designed the geodesic dome. SIU, the city of Carbondale and members of the community, including some of Fuller’s former students, are working together to create the Fuller Future Fest.  

There will be three art exhibits in conjunction with the festival. The complete show, spread among three locations, features more than 80 works from more than 50 local artists. 

The opening reception is set for Wednesday, March 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the SIU Student Center’s Art Alley on the second floor. The SIU Student Programming Council show, including about 25 pieces, will run through April 6. The public is welcome to view the show when the Student Center is open. 

There will also be a show including about 40 pieces at the Carbondale Civic Center’s Corridor Art Gallery, 200 S. Illinois Ave., throughout the month of March. The reception for jurying art is set for 5-6:30 p.m. on March 27. The show, sponsored by Carbondale Community Arts, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Additional works can be seen at Morris Library as well.  

Also, throughout the month of March, there will be a special display in Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors featuring “geodesic models” that Fuller used for teaching purposes. 

In April, the Morris Library display will change as one comprehensive display comes together merging some of the artwork from the other shows with new works and an added dimension -- videos. The show is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The closing reception is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on April 24 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Matt Schultz, SIU master of fine arts alumnus, will speak and discuss his work with cymatics, the science of visualizing sound waves. Door prizes will be awarded. 

For more information about the happenings at Morris Library, contact Beth Martell at 618/453-4097 or Additional details about the Future Fuller Festival are online at