December 06, 2017

SIU 2017 fall commencement ceremony is Dec. 16

by Pete Rosenbery

Richard MarkCARBONDALE, Ill. – The academic achievements of more than 860 Southern Illinois University Carbondale students will be celebrated at fall 2017 commencement exercises on Dec. 16. 

The commencement ceremony for all colleges including the SIU School of Law begins at 2 p.m. at the SIU Arena. As of Dec. 5, there are 864 candidates for degrees: 662 for bachelor’s degrees, 152 for master’s degrees, 27 for doctoral degrees, 12 for law degrees and 11 for associate degrees.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the commencement ceremony.

The graduation ceremony is open to the public and tickets are not required. More information is available at The ceremony will be available via livestream by clicking on the “Watch Live” button on the website. 

Ameren Illinois president to speak to graduates

Richard J. Mark, president of Ameren Illinois Companies (AIC) is the keynote speaker. Mark was appointed president in June 2012 and is responsible for electric and gas distribution to more than 1.2 million electric and 816,000 gas customers across three quarters of Illinois. 

Prior to becoming AIC president, Mark was senior vice president of Ameren Missouri Customer Operations and responsible for electric and gas distribution across central and eastern Missouri, including the greater St. Louis area. He also oversaw customer services operations, community relations, communications, customer satisfaction and corporate giving for Missouri’s largest utility. 

Mark joined Ameren in 2002 as vice president of customer service and in 2003 became vice president of governmental policy and consumer affairs. He then became senior vice president of Ameren Missouri Energy Delivery – becoming the first African American to hold the position. Mark was promoted in 2009 to senior vice president of customer operations. 

A long and varied career

Prior to joining Ameren, Mark was president and CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis. He also served 10 years in a voluntary capacity as chair of the East St. Louis District 189 State Financial Oversight Panel, an Illinois governor-appointed post. 

He serves on a variety of boards and organizations including Tenet Healthcare, American Gas Association Board, Madison Mutual Insurance Board, the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois, St. Louis Zoo Association, Fontbonne University, the St. Louis Police Foundation and the St. Louis Regional Business Council. 

His numerous awards and honors include the 2017 Heritage Award from the Illinois Legislative Sportsman Caucus and by the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce with the Outstanding Corporate Leadership Award for 2015. In February 2015, African-American Career World magazine recognized Mark as one of its Top 10 national business leaders.