Commencement photo

May 04, 2018

Nearly 2,800 SIU students will be celebrated at commencement exercises May 11-12

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale commencement ceremonies are set for May 11-12. 

The sixth annual “Forever SIU: A Commencement Celebration” on May 11 will celebrate the members of the Class of 2018 and their families. Festivities are from 5 to 10 p.m. in the Student Center. The festivities will include food and drinks, dueling pianos, karaoke, bowling, billiards, photo booths and graduation craft projects to document memories. 

Four commencement ceremonies will celebrate 2018 graduates 

Three separate commencement ceremonies will be in the SIU Arena on May 12 for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. 

The SIU School of Law will hold its commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. May 11, in Shryock Auditorium. Men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson is the keynote speaker. 

As of May 1, there are 2,778 candidates for degrees, including: 2,079 candidates for bachelor’s degrees, 476 candidates for master’s degrees, 70 candidates for doctoral degrees, 98 law degree candidates and 55 candidates for associate degrees. 

Commencement ceremonies are open to the public, and there is no ticket requirement. Each ceremony will be available via livestream. Previous commencement ceremonies are also available on the university’s YouTube channel

Commencement ceremony schedule for May 12 

Here is the ceremony schedule and the honorary degree recipient and distinguished service award recipient where applicable. 

9 a.m. – SIU Arena

  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Science
  • School of Medicine 

Janice L. Jacobs, an SIU Carbondale alumna with a 33-year career as a U.S. diplomat and foreign affairs officer, will receive a Doctorate of Public Service. Her diplomatic career included posts in Nigeria, Ethiopia, France, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Washington, D.C. She is a former U.S. ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, along with working as assistant secretary for consular affairs. 

Award-winning children’s novelist Richard W. Peck, who will receive a Doctorate of Literary Arts, has published more than 40 novels for children and young adults in his 45-year career. In 2002 he was the first children’s author to receive a National Humanities Medal. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English at SIU Carbondale and also taught and wrote for major newspapers. 

Bob G. Gower, who will receive a Distinguished Service Award, is an international business leader in the chemical industry. Gower earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SIU Carbondale and is the former CEO of Lyondell Petrochemical Company. Over his 40-year career, Gower built, transformed and co-founded numerous corporations. In 2008, he started Ensyce Biosciences Inc. to develop carbon nanotube delivery systems for cancer drugs and explore ways to avoid opioid pain drug abuse. 

1:30 p.m. – SIU Arena

  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Services 

Harvey Welch, Jr. will receive a Distinguished Service Award. Welch first gained prominence at SIU Carbondale in the mid-50s as a standout basketball player and Air Force ROTC member. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 and spent 24 years on campus serving in a variety of roles, including vice chancellor for student affairs. 

5:30 p.m. – SIU Arena 

  • College of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Mass Communication and Media Arts 

Richard Roundtree, who will receive a Doctorate of Performing Arts, attended the university in the early 1960s and went on to a five-decade television and film career that includes his role as John Shaft in the iconic “Shaft” movie franchise. Much of Roundtree’s work through the years has challenged stereotypes of the time. He will reprise his Shaft character again in New Line “Shaft” reboot shooting this year. While on campus, Roundtree will participate in a “Conversation with Richard Roundtree” at 1:30 p.m., May 11, in the Christian H. Moe Theater in the Communications Building. 

Medallions, honor cords and veteran’s cords reflect academic achievement 

A total of 613 students will wear special medallions and honor cords during the ceremonies that reflect significant academic achievement. 

Among the 613 students earning recognition: 

  • 292 will receive Cum Laude distinction, signifying a cumulative GPA of 3.5 to 3.749
  • 182 will receive Magna Cum Laude distinction, signifying a cumulative GPA of 3.75 to 3.899
  • 133 students will receive Summa Cum Laude distinction, carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.9 to 4.0.
  • 22 University Honors Program students will receive an honors diploma for completing seven honors courses and a three-credit thesis while maintaining a minimum 3.3 GPA.
  • 140 students will receive honors certificates for completing five honors courses and maintaining a minimum 3.3 GPA.
  • 27 Saluki student-athletes will earn Latin honors, and 6 student athletes will receive an honors program certificate. 

In addition, graduating student military veterans will wear red, white and blue cords provided by the university in recognition of their sacrifice, commitment and service to our country.