Saluki statue in the Alumni Plaza

May 13, 2024

Three join SIU Alumni Association board of directors

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The SIU Alumni Association has selected three Salukis to join the organization’s board of directors and serve two-year terms, beginning July 1.

Meredith S. Hudgens ’03, Vance Sawyer ’10, MAcc ’11, and Terita M. Walker ’01 were selected by the board for appointment from a national candidate pool of more than 40 nominations at its spring meeting in April. The new appointees will undergo board orientation and begin serving their terms.

Michael Blumhorst ’84, ’85, board president, said he is pleased to have Hudgens, Sawyer and Walker as new members. “These three individuals represent our outstanding, diverse alumni, and I’m confident the association will continue to move forward with their talents and enthusiasm,” he said.

Blumhorst will end his term as president on July 1, with Scott Moller ’85, ’19, of Chicago, beginning his two-year term. Laura Soucy ’87, of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, will become president-elect on the board’s executive committee.

New members to the SIU Alumni Association National Board of Directors are:

Meredith S. Hudgens

aa-meredith-hudgens.jpgHudgens earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from SIU Carbondale in 2003 and later a law degree from the University of Illinois Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. Licensed to practice law in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, Hudgens co-leads the Chicago office of The Cook Group, where she is a litigation attorney and partner, focused on civil litigation, insurance defense, mass tort and toxic tort cases.

Hudgens contributes to community groups such as the Elgin Community Crisis Center, Greater Chicago Food Depository and Lydia Home. She co-founded the Just City Legal Clinic based in Rogers Park, a free resource for individuals in need. While at SIU, Hudgens was a member and president of Sigma Kappa sorority and the 2001 homecoming queen. Her brother and sister, Andrew Hudgens ’05 and Lisa Hudgens Hood ’99, are also alumni.

Vance Sawyer

aa-vance-sawyer-sm.jpgSawyer, a native of Metropolis, Illinois, is a double alumnus in the SIU School of Accountancy, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He is a senior manager at a Fortune 500 insurance company and a certified public accountant with CPCU and CLU designations. Sawyer describes himself as an avid Saluki basketball fan and always finds ways to bring fellow Salukis in central Illinois together for pregame events. During the basketball season, Sawyer co-hosts the “March to the Arch Podcast,” which covers all things related to Missouri Valley Conference hoops.

Terita M. Walker

aa-terita-walker-sm.jpgWalker is the principal of Denver East High School in Colorado, the largest and most decorated comprehensive high school in Denver Public Schools. Walker and her team lead a school of 2,400 students and 200 staff. Before becoming principal, she worked as an English teacher, coach, school counselor, assistant principal and athletic director. She serves on the Colorado Association of Secondary School Principals board of directors, as well as the ice hockey committee chairperson for the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications (public relations) at SIU Carbondale, where she was also a four-year track and field athlete and Black Fire Dancer. She continued her studies with two master’s degrees in secondary education, school counseling and education leadership at the University of Denver. In addition, Walker was a professional dancer/cheerleader in the NBA, NFL and Arena Football League for teams, including the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos and Chicago Rush.