May 16, 2019
SIU’s Leadership Development Program wins 2019 Delyte Morris Award
CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Leadership Development Program (LDP), a unique Southern Illinois University Carbondale registered student organization, has earned the 2019 Delyte Morris Award for Community Service Excellence. The award is presented annually to the student or student organization that best demonstrates excellence and commitment to community service.
Named in honor Delyte Morris, the late SIU president who believed that service is an integral part of higher education, the winner is chosen from nominations submitted by community partners that SIU students assist in some way.
“These students are the embodiment of caring and professionalism,” Courtney Haddick, Carbondale New School office operations/board of directors member, wrote in nominating the LDP for the award.
“They are thoughtful and clear communicators who work together to identify problems, create solutions and enact change,” Haddick added. “Each student we have had the pleasure of working with has been kind, considerate and an example of what we want our students to become in the future. They have wonderful attention to detail and the ability to see the larger problem at the same time.”
Bruce DeRuntz, director of the LDP and a professor with the SIU technology degree program, said he and the organization’s members were honored to learn they were chosen for the award.
“It is wonderful to see the students in the LDP recognized for their hard work,” DeRuntz said. “They devote many, many hours throughout the year to several service projects in the community while juggling classes and schoolwork. They lead their own teams and are in charge of their own projects.”
SIU’s Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism coordinates the presentation of the Delyte Morris Award for Community Service Excellence.
Helped in many ways
The LDP’s members have given of their time and energy at Carbondale New School in numerous ways, facilitating small and large projects since 2017. These projects, typically requiring 100 hours or more to complete, have involved not only manual labor, but also extensive planning and organization.
The SIU student volunteers have undertaken landscaping projects, including weeding and trimming trees on the playground and at the certified nature classroom to enhance its appearance and visibility and improve student safety.
They also cleaned and organized the school’s furnace room, which serves as the building’s storage area, streamlined and inventoried the tools and resources and painted the cafeteria, hallways and restrooms.
“Most importantly, all of these changes are motivating to our students, staff and parents, improving morale, pride and the efforts of all of our stakeholders,” Haddick wrote.
LDP’s commitment to volunteerism extends well beyond the Carbondale New School, and the focus on service is what the group is all about, according to DeRuntz.
“Being part of the LDP requires determination, teamwork, leadership skills and a commitment to helping others,” he said. “We are able to make a big impact with only 30 members because we have hard-working students on board. We look for students who are committed to excellence, able to face diversity and have a GPA of at least 3.0.”
The LDP worked throughout the year with service sites including the Science Center, Red Cross Blood Drive, the Eurma C. Hayes Center, the Women’s Center, and the United Methodist Camp. The Salukis have done landscaping, prepared cabins, helped evaluate vehicles during a free automobile check-up event and so much more.
“We are often asked how we get students to commit to 6 a.m. meetings, weekend community service projects, team workouts and more,” DeRuntz said. “Our answer is that our students wouldn’t have it any other way, and in fact, are thriving.”
Virtually all students in the LDP program are science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. They primarily get involved as sophomores or juniors.
Madeleine Meyer, a May automotive technology graduate from St. Louis, is one of the LDP members and the co-chair of the Women in Automotive Transportation Technology (WATT) student organization.
“The skills I learned while in the LDP helped shape me into a leader and a professional,” she said. “The support I received from the staff and other students was unparalleled. We were involved in service projects with many non-profit organizations. I am grateful to the LDP; I am who I am today because of the program.”
She said that initially, the thought of 6 a.m. meetings was daunting but she quickly realized that the big commitment “helped set us up for success.”
Meyer had a job waiting for her at Subaru upon graduation.
“The Leadership Development Program is an asset to the Southern Illinois community and an exceptional opportunity for SIU Carbondale students who are motivated to gain work skills,” Haddick said. She also praised DeRuntz for his leadership and mentoring with the LDP.
The award-winning 2019 LDP members, listed by hometown along with year and major, are:
- Raymond Dale Smothers, junior, computer science.
- Tyler Sons, junior, microbiology with minors in chemistry and physics.
- Kayla Stuthers, junior, microbiology.
- Zachary Boehl, sophomore, mechanical engineering.
Elk Grove Village
- Steven Bartoszewski, junior, automotive technology.
- Dan Finnamore, junior, industrial management and applied engineering.
- AJ Ross, junior, automotive technology.
- Madison Wilderman, junior, mathematics.
- Devon Cantrell, sophomore, electrical engineering.
- Ruben Moro Roman, junior, mechanical engineering.
- Breanna Whitley, senior, plant biology.
- Alexis Lynn Chambers, freshman, radiologic sciences (radiation therapy).
- Robert Alexander Lozar-McDonald, graduate student, industrial management and applied engineering.
- Olivia Paige Hood, junior, physics.
- Tyler Harrell, junior, electrical engineering technology.
- Jeremy Love, May graduate, information systems technologies.
- Connor Eigelberger, junior, mechanical engineering.
- Madeleine Meyer, May graduate, automotive technology.
- Jessica Higginbotham, May graduate, biological sciences.
Rio Claro, São Paulo
- Abhishek Chitti, May mechanical engineering Master’s degree graduate.
- Nikhila Induru, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, expecting to graduate in December.
Success draws sponsors
DeRuntz notes that the LDP is “one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation” and that success has drawn a number of well-known companies as sponsors, including Advanced Technology Services Inc. (ATS), The Boeing Company, Conseco Group, Magna International/Nascote Industries Inc., Nucor, Spartan Light Metal Products, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Shawnee Health Services, Jabil Packaging Solutions, Hella Electronics and Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center.
The program is also supported by the National Science Foundation, which awarded SIU a $1 million grant to expand the program into the four STEM colleges from its origins in the College of Engineering, and the George A. Bates Memorial Foundation.
To learn more