Defining Excellence – The Campaign for SIUE isn't just a campaign for an institution; it's a campaign for the SIUE community — the students, faculty, alumni and donors who make this University such a special place. The stories below show how SIUE students grow as intellectuals and citizens, how faculty improve our region through instruction and research, how alumni are taking advantage of their degrees to make the world a better place, and how donors have made it all possible.
Your support strengthens SIUE's commitment to meeting the needs of our region, ensuring the future viability of the programmatic, cultural, recreational and athletic resources on our campus. Our donors are motivated for many reasons, but all agree that SIUE is an excellent investment in the future of young people and our region.
For William “Hal” Gentry ’82, BS, computer science, supporting the SIUE School of Engineering means supporting the future of engineering as a whole. Hal believes this support enhances not only the School itself, but also the success of the next generation of innovators.
With more than 25 years' experience in software engineering, Hal Gentry knows a thing or two about success in the industry. He was the founder and CEO of Gentry Systems and GridLogix, two start-up software companies that were eventually sold to larger companies. Hal also was a founding member of the GridWise Alliance Council and has presented at numerous industry conferences and published several articles in industry trade publications. He is an angel investor, board member and mentor for several early-stage businesses.
While Hal gives credit to the SIUE School of Engineering for his success, he deserves credit himself for encouraging the success of the many engineering students and alumni who have followed in his footsteps.
“Through my education at SIUE, I was able to be a founder and CEO of a few companies, which helped create jobs in the software industry,” Hal said. “Many of those jobs went to SIUE students and alumni.”
This full-circle effect is something Hal is proud of, and would like to see continue. He places particular emphasis on improving programs such as the annual robotics competition and providing scholarship funds for students.
“Being able to provide programs and scholarships is important from a recruiting standpoint,” Hal said. “The robotics competitions reach potential students years before they start thinking about college, and scholarships give opportunities to students who may not otherwise be able to attend college.”
Hal says that recruiting the best and brightest students is important for enhancing the stature of the School, which in turn provides more opportunities for SIUE alumni.
“I want SIUE students to have the same opportunities as students from other top universities as they enter the field professionally,” Hal said. “The School of Engineering gave me the foundation to be successful and I want to give back.”
Hal and his wife, Jean, have contributed to an endowed scholarship for an outstanding computer science student and sponsor a team in Botball, the educational robotics program.
When the Edwardsville Rotary Club invests in the community, it looks for projects that members can nurture and grow into a lasting resource. In 2010, the group found the perfect home to sow its mission of serving the Edwardsville area: The Gardens at SIUE.
Thanks to a financial gift from the 85-year-old service organization, gifts-in-kind from members, and more than 100 hours of Rotarian volunteer service, The Gardens at SIUE is now home to the Prairie Portal Garden.
The one-acre garden is the first large-scale display installed as part of The Gardens at SIUE master plan. At the intersection of the main path and what is known as the Prairie Loop, it's the latest enhancement to the campus's 35-acre living laboratory, which has been recognized as one of three Signature Gardens of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Gifts to The Gardens at SIUE improve the beautiful community venue that also enhances students' education and scientific discovery. With a mission of "educate, engage and enjoy," The Gardens are more than just a fertile ground for plant life; they also grow innovation through cross-disciplinary research and the implementation of green technologies.
"We believe strongly in supporting education, conservation and the beautification of the community," said Ann Tosovsky, the Edwardsville Rotary Club's vice president, who helped spearhead the project. She also serves as vice president of Home Nursery in Edwardsville, which made an in-kind donation of plants to the Prairie Portal. "From Rotary's standpoint, we enjoy contributing something to the community that's going to be to here for people to enjoy for the next 100 years." Rotary members are business and community leaders, and they recognize the important role the University plays in the city.
"SIUE makes a big impact on Edwardsville," she said. "It brings students to the area who make a significant difference in the region. We know that supporting SIUE helps our community grow."
Lovejoy Library, SIUE, and the larger community it serves have benefited greatly from the dedication and generosity of members of the Friends of Lovejoy Library, such as Carol Nativi and Dianne Winney. The two women have built a true friendship and much more over the last several years.
“We got involved as acquaintances, but we’ve built a very deep friendship during our time working together with the Library,” said Winney.
Nativi has been a member of the Friends of Lovejoy Library Advisory Board for the past 9 years. She is the treasurer and co-chair of the Antiques Show Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education counseling from SIUE in 1971, and a master’s degree in education counseling in 1972.
Winney has been a member of the Friends of Lovejoy Library Advisory Board for the past 13 years and is serving as president. She earned a master’s degree in instructional technology from SIUE in 1993.
Together, Nativi and Winney were instrumental in the opening of the Library’s north entrance spring 2010. They also work closely on the annual antiques show, which raises funds for the Library. And while they are both focused on the single goal of supporting Lovejoy Library and its efforts, each has a slightly different reason for giving back.
“Giving my time to Lovejoy Library is my way of giving back for what I am so grateful to have received as a student at SIUE,” Nativi said. “I especially appreciate the opportunities I had, because going to college wasn’t something everyone was able to do at that time.”
Winney said she was compelled to support Lovejoy Library not only in return for what she received as a student at SIUE, but also because of the many benefits the library offers to the community. “I’ve lived in the area for a very long time, and Lovejoy Library has been an enduring resource for all community members,” she said.
From special exhibits such as last year’s Maya Angelou photographic collection, to outreach programs such as the high school writing contest, Lovejoy Library is constantly engaging and entertaining the greater community.
“I feel strongly that through the Library, you have the ability to impact all students and the community, and I like that,” said Nativi.
As Dean Regina McBride said, “the library is the heart of any great university.” The Friends of Lovejoy Library and volunteers such as Carol Nativi and Dianne Winney are working to keep that heart beating strong.
Gerry and Pat Schuetzenhofer work in the Edwardsville real estate industry and realize the impact SIUE and its graduates have on the region. For that reason, the couple made the decision to support the University’s efforts to create an ideal environment for teaching science.
"We know that SIUE has a strong commitment to science education – it has a great dental program and a great pharmacy program," said Gerry, president of Coldwell Banker Brown Realtors. "There's a significant need in our area for more pharmacists, doctors and other professionals in the science fields. We're proud to help SIUE meet this important need in our community."
As the country's economy rapidly evolves, SIUE, with gifts from supporters like Gerry and Pat, is preparing students for the emerging careers and challenges of the 21st century.
Part of that commitment comes from SIUE's construction of a new Science Building, which broke ground on Dec. 2, 2009. Expected to open in fall 2012, the new Science Building, located southwest of the existing facility, will have more state-of-the-art classrooms to meet demand for chemistry and biology courses, allowing SIUE science students to receive better training and make a greater impact in the region after they graduate. The building will also incorporate a number of high-tech environmentally friendly features including a white roof to reduce heat load, low-flow water fixtures, high efficiency windows and occupancy sensors that will adjust lighting and air conditioning to energy-saving levels when the building is not in use.
As part of the $78.9 million project, SIUE also will renovate the current Science Building, the third structure completed on SIUE's core campus, which opened in September 1966. The project will create 20 state-of-the-art teaching labs, 49 research labs and 65 faculty offices. Most importantly, it will increase capacity for students on waiting lists eager to learn but unable to enroll in the courses they need because of a lack of classroom and laboratory space.
Donor support for the Science Building project helps sustain SIUE as an engine for scientific discovery and education in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. The Science Building will help attract and retain some of the top professors in the country in fields such as nursing, dental medicine, pharmacy and engineering, as well as the biological and physical sciences.