September 10, 2019

SIU honors Harris family as the 2019 Family of the Weekend

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Harris family of Radom, Illinois, is Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Family of the Weekend for the 150th anniversary Family Weekend.

The family includes parents Joel and Sheila and children Brent, Amy and Brooke. They will all be honored during festivities this weekend.

Two generations of Salukis

Brent and Amy are both currently SIU students, following in the footsteps of their father Joel, a 1993 automotive technology graduate.

“We feel very fortunate to have both of our children attending SIU Carbondale, where we know they love attending college,” Sheila Harris wrote in the Family of the Weekend contest application. “The campus of SIU just feels like the perfect place to be. When we come to visit, we like to take walks near Campus Lake or visit in the Student Center. It’s such a pretty sound to hear the clock tower chime.”

Brent is a junior computer and electrical engineering major while Amy is a freshman music education major. Both got acquainted with SIU by attending a variety of events on campus as Nashville High School students. Amy participated in a variety of music events at the university and is excited to now be attending classes at SIU.

Brent is a resident assistant this year, once again living at Bailey Hall. The Harrises especially enjoy the beautiful lake view from his residence hall, as well as from nearby Lentz Hall when they would join him there for a meal.

A short walk away, this fall Amy is living in Smith Hall’s University Honors Program Living Learning Community, a specialized area where students within the honors program live in the same area, which creates more opportunities for engagement and sharing.

Family finds much to celebrate at SIU

The Harris family’s connection to SIU is strong, they say, forged by two generations of good experiences. They only live about an hour away, so they’ve spent a good amount of time on campus through the years and find it easy to visit now. One of the allures is SIU’s attractiveness.

“The campus is absolutely beautiful no matter what the season is,” Sheila Harris wrote.

The Harrises have also been pleased with the people they have encountered at the university.

“We were very impressed with the friendliness of the teachers and staff on campus when we visited,” Sheila Harris said. “Our son tells us how he is glad he chose to attend SIU. He has outstanding professors whom we have met through Honors Day and different events.”

She added that “the professors in the music department are outstanding,”

Win includes numerous prizes

The Family of the Weekend is selected on the basis of their answers to SIU trivia questions and a questionnaire. This year SIU received 101 entries for the contest.

As the 2019 winners, the Harris family receives:

  • SIU Saluki T-shirts.
  • A three-night stay, courtesy of the Hampton Inn of Carbondale.
  • Family Weekend Brunch tickets, courtesy of University Housing.
  • Tickets to the Saluki football game and special recognition by Saluki Athletics at that game.
  • A gift basket featuring assorted SIU and Carbondale items, courtesy of University Housing, the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and Carbondale Main Street.

The family is looking forward to participating in Family Weekend, set for Friday through Sunday.

“We feel very fortunate to have both of our children attending SIU,” Sheila said. “Go Salukis!”

Find the complete schedule of events and other details about Family Weekend at