football players running onto the field

September 03, 2021

Entries open for 2021 Saluki Family of the Year contest

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is accepting nominations for the 2021 Saluki Family of the Year contest.

During Family Weekend, set for Sept. 24-26, the university will honor one “legacy” Saluki Family of the Year – that’s a family in which at least one parent or legal guardian is an SIU Carbondale graduate – and one non-legacy Family of the Year.

Sign up now

New Student Programs will honor the selected families with a prize package that includes a one-night stay at the Hampton Inn in Carbondale, tickets to the SIU vs. Illinois State football game on Sept. 25, Saluki swag and other goodies. The recognition comes during a weekend packed with special activities led by the Office of Student Engagement.

Interested families can sign up by completing the online form no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The Gerdes family of Rock Hill, Missouri, was the 2020 legacy Family of the Year. Alexander Gerdes is now a sophomore at SIU planning to major in music. The family includes parents John Gerdes, a double alumnus of SIU, and Lea Gerdes as well as Alexander’s sister Becca, a 2017 SIU graduate and younger sister, Josie, in high school.

The Vela family of Collison, Illinois, was last year’s non-legacy Family of the Year. Jaedyn Vela is now a sophomore majoring in languages, cultures and international studies. A first-generation student, Vela’s family includes her mother, Jennifer Chestnut-Vela and older siblings, Jamie Glazik and Jordan Vela.

Planning continues

For more information, visit the website

Additional information about Saluki Family Weekend will be available soon. SIU is committed to protecting the community, so all those attending Family Weekend must follow current campus and state pandemic safety protocols and must wear masks in shared indoor spaces.