August 30, 2018

SIU Carbondale accepting honorary degree/service award nominations

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale is now accepting nominations for honorary degree and distinguished service awards that will be presented at May 2019 commencement ceremonies. 

The nomination deadline is Oct. 24. Nominations are also open to the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. The nominating committee, comprised of faculty and university constituency members, will submit the 2019 award recommendations to Chancellor Montemagno, who will forward his recommendation to the President for approval at the SIU Board of Trustees Dec. 13, 2018 meeting. 

Honorary degrees are presented to individuals who have made outstanding scholarly contributions or are of considerable renown in any field of activity. The degree can also be awarded to people who have uniquely contributed to human well-being or whose accomplishments resulted in a marked benefit to society. Distinguished Service Awards honor individuals who have contributed to Southern Illinois, the state, nation, world or the university.

Nomination letters must include a two- or three-page resume, curriculum vita or biographic sketch that includes a description of the nominee's unique contributions. All nominations, including with the nominee, are confidential. Further information about these awards is available at  

Previous honorary degree recipients

The list of prior honorary degree recipients include:

  • Former Illinois governors Jim Edgar, William G. Stratton and Otto Kerner.
  • Noted former SIU Carbondale officials Professor R. Buckminster Fuller; SIU Chancellor Donald L. Beggs and former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon.
  • Alumni Joan E. Higginbotham, the first Saluki to fly aboard a space shuttle; actor Richard Roundtree; Janice Jacobs, U.S. diplomat and foreign affairs officer; Richard Peck, award-winning children’s novelist; Dick Gregory, former SIU cross-country and track standout, and Minnijean Brown Trickey, member of the “Little Rock Nine,” who with eight other African-American students attempted to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in the late 1950s.

Previous distinguished service award recipients

The list of previous distinguished service award recipients include:

  • 2018 honorees and alumni Bob Gower, an international leader in the chemical industry, and retired U.S. Air Force and SIU Carbondale educator Harvey Welch.
  • 2017 honorees Greg Cook, businessman and SIU supporter; Gene Callahan, former SIU Board of Trustees member, journalist and political adviser, and former educator and longtime SIU supporter Dorothy A. “Dede” Lingle Ittner.

Other recipients include

  • Michael J. “Mike” Lawrence, former journalist, political adviser and Paul Simon Public Policy Institute director.
  • Marsha G. Ryan, surgeon and university philanthropist.
  • SIU School of Law founder Hiram H. Lesar.
  • Virginia Marmaduke, trailblazing journalist.
  • Marianne Webb, Distinguished University Organist and professor emeritus of music.
  • Barbara Lesar, longtime university supporter.

For more information, or to submit a completed nomination, contact Leslie Mills, Office of the Chancellor, at 453-2341 (phone), 453-5362 (fax) or by email at Please indicate in the submission whether the nomination is for honorary degree or distinguished service award consideration.