December 05, 2019

Trustees make appointments, receive enrollment update

The SIU Board of Trustees today (Dec. 5) approved Daniel F. Mahony as Southern Illinois University System president. He will begin his duties March 1. In addition, the board approved Meera Komarraju’s appointment as SIU Carbondale’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs

During a Dec. 4 executive committee meeting of the board, Komarraju updated trustees on enrollment efforts, noting the addition of regional recruiters, increases in campus visits, and initiatives to increase the number of admitted students who ultimately enroll. 

She said efforts are paying off. Applications for first-time freshmen are up 27.3% over the same time last year, actionable or completed applications are up 14% and the number of admitted first-time students is up 21.3%. Transfer student applications are up 20.5%, while actionable applications for transfers are up 8.6% and the number of admitted transfer students is up 6.3%. 

During its regular meeting, the board also approved the following honorary degrees and distinguished service awards to be given during May 2020 commencement ceremonies. 

  • Seymour L. Bryson, Distinguished Service Award to be awarded posthumously: Bryson held bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from SIU Carbondale and served the university in academic and administrative positions for 40 years, retiring in 2008 as associate chancellor for diversity. He is widely considered to have been a leader in campus diversity efforts. His work has been recognized by state and national officials, and he helped the university realize more than $50 million in external grants.
  • Carolyn F. Donow, Distinguished Service Award: Donow, who holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from SIU, spent her professional career at the university, retiring in 2004 as associate director of the Office of Research Development and Administration. Since retirement, she has been an active volunteer, supporting the Friends of McLeod Summer Playhouse, the Friends of Morris Library and the steering committee of the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • Robert John “Bob” Odenkirk, honorary Doctor of Performing Arts degree: A 1984 alumnus, Odenkirk is a comedian, actor, writer director and producer who earned his first Emmy in 1989 as a writer with Saturday Night Live. He won the Screen Actors Guild Award for an Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for his work on the television show “Breaking Bad” and was recently nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Jimmy McGill in “Better Call Saul.”
  • Jacquelyn D. Spinner, honorary Doctor of Media Arts degree: An SIU Carbondale graduate and former editor of The Daily Egyptian student newspaper, Spinner is an award-winning journalist who worked for the Washington Post from 1995 to 2009. She was the Post’s Baghdad Bureau Chief, and traveled to locales around the world during her career. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR and other national and international outlets. She is currently an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago.
  • Pamela J. Wilson, honorary Doctor of Community Health degree: Wilson received her bachelor’s degree in zoology from SIU in 1979 and has devoted her career to protecting public health through her work with the Texas Department of State Health Services. She served as a member of a four-person team that developed and implemented a ground-breaking rabies vaccination program. Widely recognized for her work, she is the lead author of “Rabies: Clinical Considerations and Exposure Evaluations” published this year.