Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE
Institutional Header

July 2014

Pennekamp to Oversee The Gardens at SIUE

30 July 2014, 5:51 pm

Pennekamp_Jim_mugSIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe announced that Jim Pennekamp will be adding director of The Gardens at SIUE to his duties effective Monday, Sept. 1. Pennekamp currently serves as special assistant to the chancellor for Regional Economic Development and executive director of University Park at SIUE.

An experienced economic development professional with more than 34 years of experience, Pennekamp will continue to carry out his duties in University Park while working with the SIUE Foundation to support the development of The Gardens. He will be working with donors, advisors and friends of The Gardens to support fundraising activities and will assist in the coordination and implementation of The Gardens’ master plan.

The position of director of The Gardens has been vacant since March 7, 2014. The modification in duties is intended to increase administrative efficiency while continuing to provide support for important projects and activities.

Pennekamp oversees University Park at SIUE, a 330-acre technology park located on the SIUE campus. The Park offers business and industry an ideal suburban location on a thriving university campus. Tenants are close to valuable human resources, including a capable base of student interns, a highly skilled pool of potential employees and faculty researchers.

Jesse Dixon is SIUE East St. Louis Center New Director

30 July 2014, 11:14 am

Jesse Dixon Director East St. Louis Grant Funded Programs 07-28-14

Jesse Dixon, formerly the special assistant to the superintendent of the St. Louis Public Schools, is the new director of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center. Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School, made the announcement earlier in July.

“I feel both honored and thrilled to be taking on this director role for the SIUE East St. Louis Center,” Dixon said. “The Center has demonstrated a decades-long commitment to providing quality educational services to students and families in and around East St. Louis. With the wide range of effective programs for students, from birth through college, I see tremendous opportunities to accelerate our impact and serve more families in the region.”

Dixon replaces Dr. Andrew Theising, former Institute Urban Research (IUR) director. Theising was named director of the Center in September 2012.

Dixon said his first order of business is to get to know the hardworking staff at the Center while also reaching out to the key stakeholders at the University and throughout the Metro East community.

“I was drawn to work at the Center for several reasons. First, I am impressed with the quality of services being offered here. I applaud the partnership and backing of a premiere University to ensure that a wide range of opportunities exist for the community. The Center is a place where infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults can get dental care, receive nursing services and have their future shaped by effective and committed educators,” Dixon said. “There are very few places in the country that offer this range of services.”

Dixon has served in a number of capacities during his professional career. He managed a range of special projects related to district-wide strategic planning efforts, intervention strategies for the lowest performing schools and teacher retention initiatives. Dixon oversaw a range of federal grant programs, including Title I, II and III and federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) programs.

From 2009-2013, Dixon supported the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the development of the state’s accountability and assistance system. He directed the launch and ongoing management of the state’s Office of District and School Turnaround – an office managing the Race to the Top turnaround initiatives, School Improvement Grant program and overall efforts to intervene in the state’s most struggling schools and districts.

Through his private consulting practice, Dixon provided strategic planning and implementation support to the U.S. Department of Education, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, University of Missouri St. Louis Charter School Office, Saint Louis University’s Charter School Office, Harvard Programs in Professional Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Dixon earned a master’s in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The new director said he looks forward to applying his expertise and helping make the Center grow in the size of its scope, influence and services.

“The Center is an inspiring and innovative place that is doing great things for thousands of people,” Dixon said. “But I believe there is significant opportunity to put in place a wider range of programming and serve even more.”

SIUE East St. Louis Center:                                                                                                                   

With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the SIUE East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals—from pre-school through adult—in the Metro East region.  The Center offers programs that gives the community renewed hope and an opportunity to reach educational, career and life goals. It does so by providing comprehensive programs, services and training in the areas of education, health, social services and the arts.


Jesse Dixon

NCERC at SIUE Researcher Takes Stage at Department of Energy Conference

29 July 2014, 4:39 pm

Dr. Arun Athmanathan NCERC 01-16-14NCERC at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville researcher Dr. Arun Athmanathan will present his findings on corn stover pretreatment methods at a U.S. Department of Energy conference this week in Washington, D.C.

“Arun’s selection for presentation at high-profile Department of Energy conference is a testament to the success of our postdoctoral fellowship program,” NCERC Director John Caupert said. “Thanks to the foresight and vision of SIUE and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, our research team continues to deliver impactful research, compete for new grant-funded research opportunities, and share NCERC’s research findings with diverse audiences of industry, policy-makers and academia. We congratulate Arun on this professional achievement and look forward to his future successes.”

Athmanathan will present a poster titled “Assessing the Scale-Up Potential of Aqueous Ammonia Pretreatment of Maize Stover” at the DOE’s Biomass 2014: Growing the Future Bioeconomy conference July 29-30. The annual conference brings together government officials, federal lawmakers, industry leaders and experts from all areas of the bioenergy supply chain to discuss industry challenges and opportunities, including technology, pathway and public policy needs.

NCERC Research Director Dr. Sabrina Trupia and Athmanathan collaborated on the ongoing project to scale previously published pretreatment processes up from bench scale. The project is funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

“The use of ammonia for cellulose pretreatment is highly promising due to its efficacy at lower temperatures, which could mean massive energy savings on a large scale,” Athamanathan said. “The work has unveiled interesting results and posed unexpected challenges. I very much look forward to discussing the same with fellow biomass researchers to see how we can extend upon it.”

Athmanathan joined the NCERC in January as a result of a joint initiative between the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and SIUE to launch a postdoctoral fellowship research program. Athmanathan’s broad range of experiences in the characterization and fermentation of many cellulosic and advanced feedstocks, including corn stover and sweet sorghum bagasse, as well as his studies under biofuels pioneers like Nathan Mosier, Mike Ladisch and Nancy Ho, have proven an excellent complement to the Center’s research division.

In October, Athmanathan will be a featured speaker during the National Advanced Biofuels Conference and Expo in Minneapolis. He will present “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Biomass Particle Size Reduction in Cellulosic Ethanol Manufacturing.”

Photo: NCERC at SIUE researcher Dr. Arun Athmanathan.

Students’ Successes, Staff Leadership Celebrated at TRIO 50th Anniversary

29 July 2014, 2:49 pm

Students, staff and leaders were honored last week at the academic enrichment recognition and 50th anniversary celebration of the TRIO Upward Bound Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center.

The TRIO Upward Bound programs at the ESLC are “federally funded outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds,” according to Darryl Cherry, program director. TRIO Programs, according to their website, target low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to advance them from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

SIUE was awarded its first Upward Bound (UB) program in 1967 and has one of the oldest and recognizable programs in the country. SIUE currently has three Upward Bound programs that include: Upward Bound Brooklyn, East St. Louis Charter and Madison (BEM), Upward Bound East St. Louis and Cahokia (EC) and Upward Bound Math & Science.

The student recognition portion of the program awarded current Upward Bound BEM and EC students for achievements they made throughout the year. The TRIO anniversary celebration honored former and current students, staff and administrators who excelled and helped others do the same.

Some of the program guests included East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks, a former Upward Bound student; along with Larry Hogg and Elvin Davis, former Upward Bound counselors.

Special recognitions included a congratulatory letter from U.S. Congressman William Enyart, a state TRIO proclamation from State Sen. James Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville) and an East St. Louis City proclamation read by Parks.

Spotlighted for his tremendous achievement was Dr. Kendall T. Harris, P.E., former Upward Bound student and East St. Louis native. Harris, dean of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering at Prairie View A & M University, congratulated the TRIO programs via video and shared how Upward Bound contributed to his successes.

SIUE East St. Louis Center: With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the SIUE East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals—from pre-school through adult—in the Metro East region. The Center offers Alicia Johnson instructor with studentprograms that gives the community renewed hope and an opportunity to reach educational, career and life goals. It does so by providing comprehensive programs, services and training in the areas of education, health, social services and the arts.


Darryl Cherry, Upward Bound BEM and EC program director, gives the national history of TRIO Upward Bound programs.

Marq Quinn, Upward Bound BEM and SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School student, offers some reflections.

DeAmbra Loveless, Upward Bound BEM and SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School student, performs for the crowd.

Alicia Johnson (right) Upward Bound BEM teaching consultant, awards one of her students, Seth Luster.  In background are Shrylene Clark-Langston, SIUE East St. Louis Center assistant director, and Dr. Andrew Theising, outgoing SIUE East St. Louis Center director.


The Gardens at SIUE Featured on KSDK-TV’s Show Me St. Louis

28 July 2014, 10:26 am

KSDK-TV’s (Ch. 5, NBC) daytime program ‘Show Me St. Louis’ visited Edwardsville for an episode that aired Friday, July 25. The Gardens at SIUE and Cougar athletics’ home, the Lukas Annex, were prominently featured.

Video of the segment is available online.

Three SIUE Athletic Programs Earn National Academic Honors

26 July 2014, 3:33 pm


The Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) has announced that SIUE is among the 25 top programs in the country in terms of collective grade point average. The rankings cover Divisions I, II and III. SIUE tied for 13th in the NCAA with Upper Iowa. Both schools had a collective GPA of 3.69 for the 2013-14 school year.

The women’s golf team has had the highest GPA among SIUE athletic programs for four-consecutive semesters. Texas-El Paso was the 2013-14 winner of the WGCA All-Scholar Team GPA Award for having the country’s highest collective GPA at 3.84.

Two SIUE men’s golfers have been recognized for achievement on the course and in the classroom. Taylor Cox (Columbia, Mo.) and Taylor White (Dakota Dunes, S.D.) have been named Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars as awarded by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

To be eligible for All-America Scholar status individuals must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I, and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2.

Cox finished his eligibility with the Cougars last season and will graduate in December with a degree in marketing. He has a GPA of 3.30. White, a senior, currently holds a 3.38 GPA and also is majoring in marketing.

The SIUE women’s track and field team, along with student-athletes LaDonna Caston of Riverdale and Julian Harvey of Edwardsville, have each been honored by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for academic excellence.

The women’s program was named as an All-Academic team after combining to earn a 3.19 team grade point average. The Cougars have been honored in each year they have been eligible for the Division I award.

Individually, hurdler Caston and men’s jumper Harvey are the first individuals to be honored as All-Academic selections. Caston, who will be a junior, has a 3.5 GPA and is majoring in exercise science. Harvey, who will be a sophomore, has a 3.38 GPA and is undeclared.

In order to be selected, individuals must achieve a 3.25 cumulative GPA and must participate in at least one round of NCAA postseason competition during the outdoor season or be among the top 96 during the indoor season.

SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame to Enshrine Seven

25 July 2014, 4:13 pm

PrintSeven individuals and one team will be inducted into the Class of 2014 SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Morris University Center on campus.

This year’s honorees include wrestling’s Maurice Brown, women’s basketball Head Coach Wendy Hedberg, baseball’s Chad Opel and P.J. Riley, multi-sport standout Kathy (Going) Rogers (field hockey, women’s basketball, softball), volleyball’s Lindsay Rust and Kimberly (Lowe) Thompson from women’s basketball, as well as the members of the 1974-75 wrestling team.

For a complete listing of this year’s inductees and their achievements, visit

This is the 10th class to be inducted since the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame started in 2005. The Hall of Fame seeks to recognize the achievements of former student-athletes, coaches, administrators and teams that have participated in the intercollegiate athletics programs at SIUE as well as to celebrate the history of the institution. A complete listing of Hall of Fame members is available at

Reservations for the event can be made by contacting SIUE Athletics at 618-650-2871. Tickets are $30 and include a social for the inductees to be held at 5:30 p.m. followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. This year’s event is sponsored by Zeiser Kia and Robust Edwardsville.

SIUE Professor Emeritus Millett to Receive 2014 Perry Award

24 July 2014, 1:20 pm

millettrichardThe Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University annually selects individuals and/or institutions to receive the William J. Perry Award for Excellence in Security and Defense Education. The 2014 individual recipient is Dr. Richard Millett, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville professor emeritus of history.

The award recognizes significant contributions in the fields of security and defense education that reflect the Center’s mission: conducting educational activities for civilians and the military in the Western Hemisphere to build capacity and to foster trust, mutual understanding and regional cooperation.

Candidates may include any individual or institution that has made or sustained a significant contribution related to the security and defense sectors. They may be educators, practitioners, or institutions of defense and security from throughout the Hemisphere or from outside the region.

In a letter from the Perry Center’s Michael Mann, a strategic programs manager/StratComm/PAO at the National Defense University, Millett was advised that he was recognized for his “significant contributions in the fields of security and defense education that reflect the Center’s mission: the promotion of education, research, outreach, and knowledge sharing in defense and security issues in the Western Hemisphere that lead to enhancing professional security and defense capacity, advancing a cooperative international security environment, fostering effective  civil-military relations and adhering to the Perry Center’s core value.”

Millett is vice president of both the American Committees on Foreign Relations and the St. Louis Committee on Foreign Relations. He was a Senior Fellow at the North-South Center and former Oppenheimer Chair of Modern Warfighting Strategy at the U.S. Marine Corps University.

Millett graduated from Harvard and earned both master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of New Mexico. He did postdoctoral work at The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Air War College.

Millett taught at SIUE from 1966 through 1999. He also taught at the University of Miami, Saint Louis University, the Air War College, the Marine Corps University, Copenhagen Business School and four universities in Colombia.

He has published more than one hundred items, including Searching for Stability (2010), co-editor of Latin American Democracy (2012), Columbia’s Conflicts: The Spillover Effects of a Wider War (2002), Beyond Praetorianism: The Latin American Military in Transition (1996) and Searching for Panama (1993).

The Perry Center plans to host a special mid-day event in Washington, D.C. during the week of Sept. 14 to make the presentation.

SIU Trustees Approve Administrative Reorganizations at SIUE

24 July 2014, 11:54 am

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees at its regularly scheduled meeting today on the Springfield campus approved two administrative reorganization proposals on the Edwardsville campus.

The reporting structure for the East St. Louis campus will change from SIUE’s Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration. The East St. Louis Center has traditionally provided educational and community service programs for children, youth and adults.

“After an internal review, we determined that the grant-funded programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start should be shifted to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration,” said Julie Furst-Bowe, SIUE chancellor. “Vice Chancellor for Administration Kenn Neher can be more directly engaged in the financial oversight of the East St. Louis Center.”

With responsibility for the SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start program, Neher will oversee a number of Head Start/Early Head Start Centers that include four locations in East St. Louis along with centers in Belleville, Brooklyn, Cahokia and Caseyville. There are three Head Start or Early Head Start collaboration sites in Belleville and two in East St. Louis, plus single sites in Cahokia and Freeburg.

The SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School will continue to report to the dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior. Curt Lox is currently serving as the interim dean.

In another administrative move, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion will move from the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs to the Office of the Chancellor.

“Because of the significance of an inclusive and diverse environment to the welfare of our campus community, I want a close and communicative relationship with our Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion led by Venessa Brown,” Furst-Bowe said. “This structure fits the standard found among many institutions of higher education and will clearly communicate SIUE’s commitment to institutional diversity.”

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion is responsible for the development, implementation and management of a University-wide Diversity Program, including elements of cultural and social diversity, civility, ethics and collective responsibility. The office will maintain its current location at 3116 Rendleman Hall.

SIU BOT Approves Contracts for Information Technology Services, Water Pumping Station

24 July 2014, 11:35 am

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees at its regularly scheduled meeting today on the Springfield campus approved contracts worth more than $1.3 million to provide services and equipment to the Edwardsville campus.

Separate contracts were awarded for the Information Technology Services Computer Room renovation. Wissehr Electric, Inc., of Belleville, will manage the electric work at a cost of $739,500. Amsco Mechanical, Inc., of Granite City, will serve as the heating contractor at a cost of $169,000. The project will modify mechanical and electrical systems by replacing heat exchangers, reconfiguring or replacing server racks and replacing the electrical distribution and uninterruptible power supply to the room located in Dunham Hall.

Separate contracts were also awarded to upgrade SIUE’s high service water pumping station. Guarantee Electrical Co., of Granite City, will serve as the electric contractor at a cost of $245,510. Keller Construction, Inc., of Glen Carbon, will manage the asphalt work at a cost of $232,501. The project will upgrade the electrical service, communications system, access to and security of the primary potable water pumping station serving the SIUE campus.

SIUE School of Nursing’s Achievement Program Fully Funded by HRSA

23 July 2014, 12:15 pm

SON School of Nursing Dean's report 7-24-12The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) Program grant worth $997,076 to support the School’s Student Nurse Achievement Program (SNAP).

SNAP is a successful, ongoing initiative that addresses the critical need to increase the numbers of diverse professional nurses in the workforce by recruiting and retaining students from racially, ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

“This HRSA grant provides comprehensive services to students from underrepresented, diverse populations within the region,” said Dr. Laura Bernaix, interim dean of the School of Nursing. “The SNAP program has been highly instrumental in enriching students’ educational experiences and promoting success during their academic program. We are excited that this work can now continue by virtue of this new grant.”

The targeted population groups for SNAP are high school graduates in the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair, as well as collegiate pre-nursing students enrolled at SIUE. The structured interventions of SNAP include evidence-based academic strategies designed to address the educational and cultural disadvantages which impede the academic and career success of students.

The program builds on the students’ self-esteem and self-perception, while building a social support system that continues beyond graduation. To that end, SNAP provides early social and academic interventions to address social determinants through tutoring, mentoring, study tables and networking. These evidence-based interventions and individual-level strategies are implemented to help students successfully complete the nursing program, graduate, pass NCLEX-RN and enter the workforce as professional registered nurses in their community.

Jerrica V. Ampadu, instructor in SIUE’s Department of Primary Care and Health Systems Nursing and SNAP lead, believes that this funding will allow the School of Nursing to build upon the University’s mission of diversity and commitment to retention.

“The funding from this grant will assist with the recruitment of students, as well as provide resources to students to ensure success throughout their academic careers,” said Ampadu. “A diverse student body enhances the educational experiences of all students.”

Photo: SIUE School of Nursing students (L to R) Azia Taylor, Glenda Jeffries and Carolita Holmes.

IERC Study Shows Significant Portion of Illinois Outmigrants Fail to Return

21 July 2014, 10:00 am

Illinois has a long and highly documented history of exporting significantly more of its high school graduates to out-of-state colleges than Illinois higher education institutions are able to attract from outside the state.

“Many of the students who outmigrate tend to be among Illinois’ best students and are more likely to stay out of state upon graduation,” said Eric Lichtenberger, assistant research professor at the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. “That represents a significant loss of tax revenue and human capital for Illinois.”

In the recently released study titled, Outmigration and Human Capital, Homeward Bound or Gone for Good, Lichtenberger and co-author Cecile Dietrich substantiate some of the negative economic impact that outmigration has on the state of Illinois.

“To examine the impact of outmigration, we longitudinally tracked Illinois-specific earnings outcomes among bachelor’s degree earners from 2006-2010 emanating from the Illinois high school graduating class of 2003 (graduates from both Illinois public and private high schools were included),” Lichtenberger said.

Some of the major findings include:

Who are Outmigrants?

  • Outmigrants tended to demonstrate stronger academic qualifications than their peers who attended Illinois-based colleges
  • They were much more likely to emanate from high schools with better aggregate test scores and relatively fewer low income students

Who Returns to Illinois for Work?

  • Among the outmigrants with bachelor’s degrees, those with stronger academic profiles were less likely to obtain Illinois employment upon graduation
  • Further, the outmigrants with the degrees deemed most important for the Illinois economy (namely STEM degrees), were even less likely to return to Illinois for employment

Outmigration Consequences to Illinois

  • Outmigrants experienced significantly lower rates of Illinois-specific employment, resulting in substantially lower aggregate Illinois wages among the outmigrant group
    • Relatedly, substantially fewer of the outmigrants reached the various Illinois-specific earnings thresholds
    • This in turn, represents some of the negative economic impact that outmigration has on Illinois

In terms of policy implications, Lichtenberger suggested that Illinois should consider entering into data sharing agreements with neighboring states to provide a more complete picture of the workforce outcomes of all of its high school graduates.

He also mentioned that more should be done to recruit high school graduates from out-of-state to try to eliminate some of the net loss, such as offering in-state tuition to students from neighboring states as some in-state institutions are doing. Another tactic is actively recruiting outmigrants so that they return, especially those with degrees in key areas such as STEM or Health Science.

“This IERC report makes significant contributions to the discourse regarding education and employment pathways of Illinois students,” noted Janet Holt, IERC executive director. “It is the latest in our series of longitudinal studies of Illinois students.”

The complete report and others in the longitudinal series are available

For more information, call the IERC at (618) 650-2840 or (866) 799-4372.

Metro East SBDC Salutes Signature Virtual Assistance As Success Story

20 July 2014, 3:23 pm

Nelson_Lorie-at workLorie Nelson, founder and owner of Signature Virtual Assistance, knows that the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center’s path crossed with hers at just the right time.

The entrepreneur credits the local SBDC and its director, Patrick McKeehan, with providing the right expertise on her marketing brochure. Thanks to the Illinois Metro East SBDC, says Nelson, her company learned precisely how to reach the ideal clientele.

After 32 years of working for others in multiple administrative assistant and bookkeeping capacities, Nelson launched her admin firm, Signature Virtual Assistance, in August 2012.

“My previous employer is now one of my top clients,” Nelson said, who is a motorcycling enthusiast. “I was on the plane coming home from a 3,000-mile biking adventure in Alaska a couple of summers ago when I knew it was time to follow my dreams and start my own company doing what I love.”

By the time Nelson’s path intersected with the SBDC, she’d had a number of key elements already in place including a board of directors, a clear knowledge of the virtual administrative services she planned to offer and a website. But where the SBDC was able to step in quickly and support her was in identifying her market – small businesses – with instructions on how to specifically target to them.

“Patrick and the Small Business Development Center helped me categorize my services, introduce testimonials into my marketing, describe my professional background and skills, and then identify my primary target market,” said Nelson. “The SBDC provided constructive criticism of my existing marketing pieces and worked with me one-on-one to improve them.”

A calculated risk taker with a strong faith, Nelson had prayed for months about launching her start-up business. She says it was not luck at all that brought McKeehan and the SBDC to her.

“I had joined the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce in the summer of 2013, one year after my official new business launch,” Nelson said. “One of the chamber’s ambassadors, Robert Pickerell, referred me to Patrick and the SBDC.

“I know Patrick was put in my path at exactly the right time. I believe God sends us the people and the guidance we need if we’re faithful to ask Him for it.”

SBDC staff met with Nelson every four to six weeks, coaching her on her marketing efforts. “The organization definitely benefitted me,” she said.

Because Nelson’s services are conducted virtually, her business and the number of potential clients know no bounds. Reaching well beyond Southwestern Illinois, she is currently working with new clients based in California, Florida and Texas. Many of these clients have already provided Nelson with new business opportunities through their own referrals.

Signature Virtual Assistance’s services include email newsletters, email management, calendar management and a host of bookkeeping expertise in areas such as accounts receivable/payable, expense reports and payroll.

Her company also offers document creation services including policies and procedures manuals. In summary, Nelson’s firm supplies “virtually” any administrative service that a small business needs.

“Particularly since the economic downturn in 2008, small business owners and managers have been intently focused on reducing expenses and overhead,” said Nelson. “Studies have proven that the average business owner saves between $80,000 and $100,000 annually by using a virtual assistant.

“Our goal is to take care of any and all administrative functions a small business requires and free them up to do what they do best.”

The Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center assists start-up ventures like Nelson’s as well as existing businesses located in the nine-county region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. The Center provides no-cost business counseling service funded, in part, by the Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC positively impacts the Metro East by stabilizing and strengthening the region’s economy. These impacts are achieved by providing direct, one-on-one assistance through counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

To learn how the Metro East SBDC at SIUE can help your entrepreneurial efforts or small business, contact the Center at (618) 650-2929 or


SIUE’s Hennessey Named Director of Graduate Education

20 July 2014, 1:54 pm

Shannon HennesseyShannon Hennessey is the new director of Graduate Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Jerry Weinberg, SIUE’s associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School made the announcement earlier in July. She assumed her new duties on Monday, July 14.

“As director of Graduate Education, Hennessey’s responsibilities include administering programs and services for graduate students, assisting with graduate program assessment and review, and supporting the development and administration of new interdisciplinary graduate programs,” Weinberg said.

Hennessey joined SIUE in 2001 serving as a hall director, academic advisor and instructor, and most recently as assistant director for First Year Services. In her 13 years with SIUE, she introduced drop-in advising in the Academic Advising Office and piloted group advising within the residence halls to students with intended majors in business and the health professions.

Hennessey has served on the campus-wide General Education Assessment Committee and chaired the office-wide Advising Assessment Committee. She worked extensively with first-year, continuing, transfer and international students. She also provided intensive support to under-prepared and academically recovering students.

“SIUE has a strong reputation for their outstanding graduate programs, and I look forward to this opportunity to continue to serve the University in this new role,” Hennessey said.

A native of Henderson, Mich., Hennessy earned a bachelor’s in public administration and a master’s in college student affairs and leadership from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration at Saint Louis University.

Hennessey can be contacted at 618-650-3164 or


Sen. Manar Tells Education Scholars They are the Hope for Classrooms

17 July 2014, 2:58 pm

Senator Andy Manor Golden Apple reception 07-15-14

Senator Andy Manor Golden Apple reception 07-15-14

Bringing financial equity to Illinois classrooms will not totally fix the problems in schools, State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) told a group of Golden Apple scholars Tuesday night at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“What is going to fix the problem is you folks,” Manar said. “You all have the tremendous ability to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Manar, SIUE alum, spoke to a room of 31 Golden Apple scholars from across Illinois. Also in attendance were Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, SIUE chancellor; Dr. Parviz Ansari, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Curt Lox, interim dean of School of Education, Health and Human Behavior; and Jim Sorensen, director of Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois.

The state senator, who graduated from SIUE in 1997 with a degree in history/political science, commended the group on their passion for teaching and shared with them his lessons as a Golden Apple scholar.

Golden Apple is a non-profit organization that works to inspire, develop and support teacher excellence in Illinois, especially in schools of need, according to Sorensen. The Scholars program recognizes talented high school seniors and college sophomores who have the promise and drive to be excellent teachers in high-need schools. A “high-need school,” said Sorensen, is one whose student population is:

• 30 percent or more low income

• 60 percent or more not meeting state test standards

In 2012, 135 out of 2,000 students were selected to be Golden Apple scholars, said Sorensen. Out of the 135 students selected, 32 are planning to become secondary school teachers, and six of the 32 are current and former SIUE students.

Scholars receive college tuition assistance and agree to teach for five years in a “high-need” school in Illinois. The Scholars also participate in a Summer Institute for four consecutive years, Sorensen added.

“My experiences in the classroom helped me every step of the way,” Manar said. “It prepared me for what I am now trying to accomplish in the state senate.”

When Manar graduated from high school he had an interest in teaching and needed some assistance to attend college.

“I saw Golden Apple as a financial solution, and I hand wrote my application,” Manar said. “That application changed my life.”

In his application, the young Manar showed his interest in fighting for the inequities in school funding: “My favorite quote is ‘Imagine that the public schools had all the money they needed, and the Pentagon had to hold a bake sale to buy a jet airplane.’” Manar wrote. “The public schools do not have enough money to operate to their fullest potential. Without funding, many programs are not available for students to help them learn more and expand their thinking.”

After college, Manar couldn’t find a teaching job and the late Sen. Vince Demuzio offered an unpaid internship in the Illinois senate. That job helped propel Manar into a life of public service.

Manar said he first ran for public office as a city councilman in his hometown of Bunker Hill not as a cliché, but because he really wanted to help his community. Education remains one of his passions.

The state senator gave the audience some statistics to illustrate the picture of spending for Illinois schools. “The lowest per pupil spending district comes in at $6,000, while the highest is $26,000,” he stated. “And it’s getting worse. Illinois is dead last in the country when it comes to financial equity in public schools.

“I’m very proud of you, what you have done and what you will do for public education in this state,” Manar said. “Understand that what you have experienced here will prepare you for other experiences that you can’t even fathom.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.


State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill

Pictured with State Sen. Andy Manar and SIUE officials are the six SIUE Golden Apple Scholars. Front row from left to right: Dr. Parviz Ansari, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, SIUE chancellor; Tobi Drilling, SIUE alumna; and Emily Wilcox and Tiffani Cook, both SIUE students. Back row from left to right: Matt Silva and Brett Fulmer, both SIUE alum; Manar, Nicole Dowell, SIUE student; Tammy Hannah, SIUE alumna and co-director of Golden Apples Third Summer

Human Trafficking Summit at SIUE Heightens Awareness

15 July 2014, 4:26 pm

human Sex trafficking meeting birger Dr. Erin Heil 04-14-14Summit Video

SIUE hosted several members of Congress for a seminar on Human Trafficking in the United States, specifically in the Metro East, on Monday, July 14, at B. Barnard Birger Hall. Dr. Denise Degarmo, associate professor and chair of the SIUE Department of Political Science and Dr. Erin Heil, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies, were joined by Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis and John Shimkus and Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner.

The panel was convened to promote awareness of the issue in the St. Louis area. St. Louis is ranked in the top 20 jurisdictions for human trafficking.

Heil has been researching human trafficking since 2008 and is working on her second book, which will focus on labor and sex trafficking in the Metro East. During her presentation, she equated human trafficking to modern day slavery and urged attendees to see this issue as a concern to everyone.

“As society changes, as legislation changes, as trafficking in and of itself changes, we have to keep moving forward and consider what is the next step,” said Heil.

Shimkus, Davis and Wagner all spoke and encouraged others to get involved in the fight against what Wagner called “a horrid evil”. Wagner has also written and campaigned for the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act, which passed the House vote in May. The Act will add advertising to the types of conduct that constitute sex trafficking. The SAVE Act is part of a group of bills passed this spring that will increase penalties for human trafficking offenses in the United States.

Several advocates for survivors of human trafficking and an FBI analyst also spoke at the summit. “Things like this are so beneficial, because we finally have a voice,” said Lindsey Ellis, director of operations for The Covering House, a facility that provides services to victims rescued from sex trafficking.

For more information, contact Heil at

Photo: Dr. Erin Heil, associate professor in the SIUE Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies.

SIUE Educational Outreach Teams Up with Main St. Community Center

15 July 2014, 10:57 am

The SIUE Office of Educational Outreach is partnering with the Main Street Community Center in Edwardsville to offer a unique three-part workshop on landscaping beginning Friday, July 19. Edwardsville Intelligencer writer Julia Biggs featured the collaboration in a story posted July 14. Read it here.

Prospective Students Learn About SIUE at Summer Preview

14 July 2014, 4:48 pm

Summer Preview1

Approximately 190 students and 350 of their guests toured campus today at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s first Summer Preview.

“I learned how friendly and straightforward some of the professors are,” said Timothy Noble of Chicago. The senior at St. Patrick High School came to SIUE with his parents, James and Patricia Noble.

“I also got to tour the new Science Building,” said Noble, who plans to major in biology. “It was pretty awesome. Just knowing that I can be exposed to all the new technology makes me want to come here.”

Noble said he still has several colleges on his list, but SIUE definitely made a good impression.

“SIUE offers a quality education at an affordable price,” said Ryan Downey, assistant director of the Admissions for New Student and Campus Visits Program. “We felt it was time to offer Summer Preview SIUE.”

The decision was partly made because last year, the University had an increase in student visits during the summer, and because more students expect college campuses to offer such a program, Downey said.

Preview L to R Richard Hughes, Julie Hughes 07-14-14

“Rising seniors” or students who will be seniors next year enjoyed a daylong program that included:

• All academic units providing sessions that explained its programs, degrees and more

• A general session, “SIUE Essentials,” that featured representatives from the Offices of Admissions, Student Financial Aid and University Housing

• Two separate student panels, consisting of current students, who answered any questions pertaining to SIUE

• Information booths, representing all colleges, schools and departments at the University

After touring the campus, Lindsey Kelso of St. Joseph, said SIUE is one of her top college choices. Kelso, who plans to major in some field of chemistry, attended with her parents, John and Lori Kelso.

“It was very helpful for the schools to talk about the various kinds of majors and specializations,” Kelso said. “Because I’m not sure exactly what within the field of chemistry that I want to go into.”

Caleb Fagan of Troy wants to major in engineering and also said SIUE leads his list.

“Touring colleges in the summer is better, because the groups are smaller,” said Kennan Fagan, father of Caleb. He and his wife, Lisa, also sent an older son to SIUE for one year.

“Touring in the summer also gives students and their families a chance to make decisions earlier,” said Kennan Fagan.

Another parent with praise for the Summer Preview and the University was Patricia Noble, mother of Timothy.

“The campus is just beautiful, and I’m impressed with the safety record,” she said. “We live in the city (of Chicago), and we appreciate that students can concentrate more on their studies.

“I was also impressed with the diversity I see here on campus. I see people from all types of communities and points of view, and I think that’s great.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.


A prospective student and his family talk with Cornell C. Thomas, School of Dental Medicine assistant dean. Pictured from left to right are SIUE alum Jason Dandurand, his brother Ethan, who is the prospective student, and their parents, Stacy and Sean Dandurand.

Richard Hughes (left) and Julie Hughes of Normal are getting information at the SIUE School of Engineering’s table.


SIUE School of Pharmacy’s Gable Featured on ASHP Website

14 July 2014, 1:09 pm

Gable_KellyThe American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) featured Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Kelly Gable on its website. Gable, PharmD, is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice within SIUE’s School of Pharmacy. She  is the first psychiatric pharmacist to be granted provider and prescriber status by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Read the article.

SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program Receives Federal Funding

10 July 2014, 2:11 pm

Hispanic girls and mats2[1]The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start has awarded a cluster of grants worth $11,621,178 annually to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Start/Early Head Start Program. The five-year funding is known as “Birth to Five” programs, named for the ages of the children who will receive services through SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start.

The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program, under the leadership of Program Director G. Lynnie Bailey with the support of the SIUE Office of Research and Projects, successfully completed the grant process. The SIUE Head Start programs competed for funding through the Office of Head Start’s Designation Renewal System.

Bailey will manage the five-year grant worth more than $58 million through June 2019. It has a positive effect upon 198 employees at the administrative office located on the SIUE East St. Louis Center campus

“One of the SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program’s primary goals is for happy, healthy children to achieve academic success, not only in kindergarten, but also throughout their academic careers,” Bailey said. “Through the Birth to Five program, the SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program will positively impact the lives of more than 7,500 children and their families in East St. Louis and throughout St. Clair County during the course of the next five years.”

“The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start program provides critical family and educational services to the St. Clair County communities,” said Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for Research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “It also provides the opportunity for faculty and students to connect with the community and provide support and service in their areas of expertise, such as nursing, dental medicine, psychology and early childhood development.”

The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program provides instructional services to children and families, as well as health and nutritional supports. The program also offers services to expectant families. The program actively participates in Illinois Race to the Top collaborative work, spearheaded by Children’s Home and Aid.

For SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start Program enrollment information for the 2014-15 school year, contact 618-482-6955 or visit the administrative office at the SIUE East St. Louis Center campus.

About the SIUE East St. Louis Center

With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the SIUE East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals—from pre-school through adulthood—in the Metro East region. The Center offers programs that give the community renewed hope and opportunity to reach educational, career and life goals. It does so by providing comprehensive programs, services and training in the areas of education, health, social services and the arts. These programs include The SIUE Charter School, Upward Bound programs, Project Success and PALS/Latchkey.

Photo:  Head Start/Early Head Start students take advantage of their learning opportunity.

SIUE Alum Travis Cox Featured in State Journal-Register

9 July 2014, 4:50 pm

Loami native Travis Cox earned an SIUE degree in psychology on May 10. Since then, Cox has been trying something new each and every day. State Journal-Register writer Dave Bakke profiled Cox’s adventures in a story posted July 8. Read it here.

SIUE School of Engineering Alum Verheyen is ISPE Young Engineer of the Year

8 July 2014, 12:09 pm

Verheyen.BWOates Associates announced that SIUE School of Engineering alum Tim Verheyen (2007) was named the 2014 Young Engineer of the Year by the St. Clair Chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE).

The award recognizes young members, who have made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and their community. Verheyen assists with teaching engineering classes at SIUE. He has also led an SIUE Senior Design Group, an assignment that gives engineering students the opportunity to gain real experience by researching and designing a project in a professional setting. He also volunteers for the School’s annual open house. The event allows students to speak to engineering companies about their experience working in the profession.

A Beardstown native, Verheyen is a licensed professional engineer and LEED green associate with over seven years of site, athletic and roadway design experience. He currently provides site design services in association with the renovation of the historic Lincoln School, which will be the home to The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities.

The ISPE represents over 2,500 engineers and has served their needs for over 125 years.

Oates Associates is a multi-disciplined design firm with offices in Collinsville, Belleville and St. Louis.

SIUE Alum is New Superintendent for Brooklyn School District

8 July 2014, 10:38 am

Henrietta Young has been selected as the new superintendent for the Brooklyn Unit School District 188. The Chicago native earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from SIUE’s School of Education after achieving a bachelor’s in English education from SIUC. Belleville News-Democrat writer Jamie Forsythe wrote about Young’s career in an article posted July 7. Read it here.

SIUE’s Hafer has Research Featured in Post-Dispatch

8 July 2014, 10:26 am

SIUE professor Rik Hafer has compared states’ economic performance to their ranking on various measures of educational attainment. Hafer’s thoughts are featured in St. Louis Post-Dispatch business writer David Nicklaus’ column posted on July 8. Read it here. Hafer is a distinguished research professor in economics and finance within SIUE’s School of Business.

SIUE Names Hanlon Director of the Institute for Urban Research

7 July 2014, 10:26 am

new faculty orientation 8_18_09 BillSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Dr. Jim Hanlon has been appointed director of the Institute for Urban Research. Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for Research and dean of the Graduate School, made the announcement Tuesday, July 1.

An assistant professor in the Department of Geography within SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences, Hanlon has served as the IUR’s assistant director since January.

“Dr. Hanlon is an authority on public housing in the U.S., and has researched urban issues extensively,” Weinberg said.  “I fully expect that he will continue the IUR’s good work effective immediately.”

Hanlon’s research has been presented at the Urban Affairs Association conference, and he has a forthcoming publication in the journal Housing Studies.

Hanlon succeeds Andy Theising, who has directed the IUR since 2007. Theising stepped down, so that he can go on a planned sabbatical.

“Dr. Theising has done a great job of engaging faculty in urban research and raising the visibility of the IUR in the St. Louis region” Weinberg added. “He will still have ongoing research projects at the IUR.”

Hanlon earned a bachelor’s in geography in 1995 from Michigan State. He achieved both master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from the University of Kentucky in 1999 and 2008, respectively.

Hanlon served as a graduate instructor in UK’s Department of Geography and an instructor in Bowling Green State University’s Department of Geography before joining the SIUE faculty in 2009.

Temporarily, the IUR has relocated to the East St. Louis campus while renovations are ongoing in Rendleman Hall. The IUR will eventually return to Rendleman into newly renovated space on the lower level. Contact information for the IUR is unchanged.

Photo: Dr. Jim Hanlon, director of SIUE’s Institute for Urban Research.

SIUE Engineering Students and Alums Assist with Community Service Project

6 July 2014, 2:17 pm


SIUE School of Engineering students and alums played a significant role when the Associated General Contractor’s (AGC) of St. Louis’ Construction Leadership Council volunteered to work on fixing a severe drainage issue Saturday, May 31, at the Epworth Children & Family Services Center on North Elm Ave. in St. Louis.

Three construction management students from SIUE’s Constructor’s Club within the School of Engineering were among the volunteers:  Andrea Horn, Cody Keller and Mason Musick.

Three SIUE construction management alums were involved in the leadership team. S.M. Wilson’s Ryan Perryman (2004) led the effort, while Oliver Coulson (2007) of Tarlton Corp. and Nick Rothe (2005) from Budrovich, pitched in, too.

The project involved solving an erosion issue that was depositing soil on a basketball court and rendering it unusable at one end. The erosion was also a problem for a nearby swimming pool.

The volunteer team installed new drainage lines on both sides of the building, graded the slope leading toward the basketball court and filled in a hole by the swimming pool. The team weeded and seeded the slope, added mulch, and power-washed the basketball court.

According to Epworth Volunteer Coordinator Margaret Mahan, the group not only remedied the problem, but also made the area visibly pleasant.

The project totaled 68 hours of volunteer labor in addition to the equipment and materials donated.

The leadership team also included Stacey Lampe from Castle Contracting, Matt Lanahan from ICON Mechanical and Kenny Flowers from Hillsdale Fabricators. Lanahan and Flowers are graduates of SIUE’s Construction Leadership Institute.

Three SIUE Golfers are All-American Scholars

6 July 2014, 1:26 pm


The Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) has honored three SIUE women’s golfers as All-American Scholars. Alison Gorman (Rockford), Molly Marcum (LeRoy) and Ashton Stair (Milton, Wis.) were honored for their respective academic performances.

Student-athletes must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 to be recognized by the WGCA as All-American Scholars.

“Coach (Lindsay) Wandrey and I are very proud of Ashton, Ali and Molly,” SIUE Director of Golf Derrick Brown said. “They are model student-athletes, who work very hard in the classroom. Every year the WGCA All-American Scholar award is a goal of our team. They are very deserving of this award.”

Gorman is a nursing major, Marcum is an English and mass communications double major, while Stair is an exercise science major.  For Marcum and Stair, this is the second-consecutive year they have been honored by the WGCA.

The three Cougar golfers are among 20 Ohio Valley Conference honorees from seven OVC schools.

The Wizard of Oz Opening at SIUE July 16

5 July 2014, 5:00 pm

We're off to see the Wizard[1]One of the most beloved shows of all time, The Wizard of Oz, comes to life at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Dunham Hall on Wednesday, July 16, as the final summer offering for Summer Showbiz 2014. Young Dorothy, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow.

One day a twister hits Dorothy’s Kansas farm and carries her away – way over the rainbow – to another world. Join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto, too, as they travel the universe within Dorothy’s imagination.

“As a director who enjoys working in the musical comedy genre, it is an added pleasure when I can be involved with one of my favorite musicals,” said long-time Summer Showbiz director Peter Cocuzza. “Like many, I grew up watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. It was even more fantastic after my family got our first color television set, and we waited with anticipation for the moment Dorothy stepped out of her black and white Kansas house into the color-filled world of Munchkinland. It was magical then, and it still is.”

There are two versions of The Wizard of Oz. Both include the songs Over the Rainbow; Munchkinland (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead);  If I Only Had A Brain, If I Only Had A Heart, If I Only Had The Nerve; We’re Off To See the Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road); The Jitterbug; and The Merry Old Land of Oz.  One is more theatrical in the way it tells author L. Frank Baum’s story. The story and the music are treated by the adapters as elements of a classic stage musical without reference to their use in the film.

The second version is a more technically complex production and uses as much of the aura of the film as possible in order to recreate the sense of the beloved movie in a theatrical setting. It is an adaption of the film for live stage performance. It strives to look and sound just like the famous film in telling the story.

“This particular production of The Wizard of Oz mirrors the movie version quite closely and our artistic team was challenged to find clever ways to bring those visual movie effects to the Dunham Hall stage such as witches that appear and disappear, a tornado, a hot air balloon and several others,” Cocuzza said. “In addition, this version also includes Toto. We debated how to handle this part of the play and ended up fortunate to find Jamie and her Scottish terrier, Sheba.”

Also in this version, the songs include Poppies (Optimistic Voices) and If I Were King of the Forest.

“After the performance, we invite our youngest Oz fans to meet their favorite characters in the lobby for pictures,” Cocuzza said. “For older Oz veterans, we hope we keep the spirit of this play intact as you remember it and let whatever nostalgia it evokes remind us that we are all young at heart and that anything is possible.”

The Wizard of Oz is directed by Cocuzza with musical direction by Dr. Marc Schapman, dance choreography by Omar Olivas, set and sound designs by James Wulfsong, costume design by Nina Reed, lighting design by Valerie Goldston, and property design by Katherine Slovinski with Kourtnee Brenner as stage manager.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is adapted by Frank Gabrielson with music and lyrics of the MGM motion pictures score by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg and background music by Herbert Stothart. License agreement is made through Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.

The Wizard of Oz is presented at the Dunham Hall Theater at 7:30 p.m. July 16-19 and at 2 p.m. July 19-20. Dunham Hall is located on the campus of SIUE. This is a handicapped accessible facility.

Tickets are $15 for adults (18 and older), $12 for seniors (65 and older), $12 for students (with a valid school I.D.) and children. SIUE students with a valid I.D. are admitted free of charge. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more. All seats are general admission.

For tickets or more information, call the SIUE Fine Arts box office at 618-650-2774 or toll free at 1-888-328-5168, extension 2774. Visit our website at You can send a message to the theater at

The SIUE campus is less than 35 minutes from downtown St. Louis or from north St. Louis County. Take I-270 East to Illinois Highway 157 north straight onto campus. Free parking is available on lot E Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday and Sunday matinees. Wednesday and Thursday night parking is designated to Lot B. Go to

Photos: Scarecrow (Ben Nickols), Cowardly Lion (Randy Trisler), Tin Man (Roger Speidel), Dorothy (Sarah Edmonds), Sheba Marie Jangles. Photos courtesy of Valerie Goldston

SIUE’s Safe Zone Participates in STL Pride Festival

5 July 2014, 4:45 pm

safe_002_smFor the second straight year, SIUE’s Safe Zone participated in the St. Louis Pride Festival and Parade during the final weekend in June. The annual event was held at Soldiers’ Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

The parade was one of dozens held around the country to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, credited with launching the modern gay rights movement.

Safe Zone’s mission at SIUE is to develop a campus community of allies and provide support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, faculty, and staff with the ultimate goal of developing SIUE as a safe and welcoming place for LGBT people.

SIUE and City of Highland Launch Program to Promote Entrepreneurship

3 July 2014, 9:59 am

Patrick McKeehan Director of Small Business Development Center 2-27-13Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the City of Highland have agreed to partner on a pilot program focused on supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs. The program is intended to leverage the University resources to build upon the City’s already successful Highland Entrepreneurship Program (HEP) and recently deployed citywide gigabit level Internet connections.

Lisa Peck, Highland’s economic development coordinator, developed the idea for the pilot program earlier in the year. “As an alum, I was well aware of SIUE’s business development assets,” said Peck.  “It seemed a natural fit for us to partner with the University to help grow our community’s entrepreneurial development efforts.”

Launched June 1 and administered by the Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SIUE, the program includes:

  • Coordinating the Highland’s highly regarded business mentor-mentee program
  • Organizing informational workshops for area small business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Conducting an Assessment of Retail & Commercial Health (ARCH) in the Broadway Street business district

The program also includes assignment of an SIUE School of Business graduate student to Highland City Hall for 20 hours per week until the end of the year. The student will split his/her time between SBDC activities and serving as an economic development intern reporting directly to Peck.

According to Dr. John C. Navin, interim dean of the SIUE School of Business, the program perfectly complements the University’s educational efforts. “Generating this type of opportunity is important for our students, because it gives them practical work experience, allows them to use their newly acquired knowledge and lets them contribute to improving a local community,” said Navin.  “I am extremely pleased that the City of Highland asked us to join them in this new program.”

The SIUE-Highland pilot program is scheduled for completion by December 15, although the agreement includes a provision to extend the program well into 2015.  “I am confident that our City of Highland partnership will be a success and continue for many years,” stated Patrick McKeehan, director of the Illinois Metro East SBDC at SIUE.  “My hope is to replicate this same success in entrepreneurial-oriented communities across our nine-county Metro East region.”

The IL Metro East SBDC assists start-up ventures as well as existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county Metro East region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. It is a no-cost service funded, in part, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE in support of the region’s business community.

By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the Illinois SBDC Network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new jobs and encouraging new investment. It enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the IL Metro East SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

To learn more on how the IL SBDC Network can help your small business, contact the IL Metro East SBDC at (618) 650-2929 or

To contact Lisa Peck, economic development coordinator at the City of Highland, call (618) 654-3592 or email

Photo:  Patrick McKeehan, director of the Illinois Metro East SBDC at SIUE.

Mullen Named Director of Student Financial Aid

2 July 2014, 1:07 pm


Sally Mullen has been appointed director of Student Financial Aid at SIUE. Scott Belobrajdic, associate vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, made the announcement in late June.

Mullen earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SIUE. She achieved a bachelor’s in social work 1982 and a master’s in Education Administration 1991.

Mullen has accumulated more than 30 years of financial aid experience. She has served student financial aid since 1988 in various roles including assistant director, associate director and most recently as the interim director.

“Sally was selected following a national search, which attracted a significant number of qualified candidates including several sitting directors of financial aid,” Belobrajdic said. “During the last 12 months, Sally’s team has modified several internal processes to improve service to students.

“During that time, student financial aid has processed aid applications for more than 15,000 students and awarded more than 150 million dollars in assistance to students from all sources.”

Dr. Tim Schoenecker, associate professor of management and marketing in the SIUE School of Business, led the search committee of administrators, faculty and students.

SIUE Gains NASAD National Accreditation

2 July 2014, 7:00 am

Art and Design Building addition  13-19-13The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) has accredited Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The four-year process came to a conclusion in early June.

Accreditation is achieved through both self-study and peer review processes. The comprehensive evaluation process began in 2011. The next comprehensive review is scheduled during the 2021-22 academic year.

Barbara Nwacha, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art and Design within SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences, credited the many institutional leaders who drove the process. “College of Arts and Sciences Dean Aldemaro Romero and Vice Chancellor for Administration Kenn Neher were key supporters,” she said. “Art and Design Professors Ivy Cooper and Thad Duhigg played important roles as Ivy began the process, and Thad worked closely with Kenn on building and safety improvements.

“With a wide variety of offices and administrators supporting the effort, Art and Design Associate Professor John DenHouter worked closely with Dean Romero to further the process.”

“This is a major accomplishment that should be beneficial to SIUE Art and Design as we continue to attract students who desire the best instruction as they seek to fulfill their creative potential,” Nwacha said. “The accreditation process is time intensive but rewarding. The acknowledgement that our programs and facilities meet this high standard is extremely gratifying.”

“The best testimonial of the high quality of instruction art and design students receive can be seen every year when those students, both graduate and undergraduate, show on campus their pieces of art on so many different media,” Romero said. “Visitors experience a highly professional gallery exhibit.”

NASAD has certified the following undergraduate degree programs in SIUE’s Department of Art and Design: art history, studio art, art education, and art and design. NASAD certified the following graduate programs in SIUE’s Department of Art and Design: art therapy counseling and studio art.

SIUE’s Art and Design Building renovation and expansion debuted with a grand opening during Spring 2013. The vibrant $16 million project provides a welcoming atmosphere for faculty, staff, students and the greater community. The structures feature a distinctive beauty and openness, and centralize the University’s art programs, including ceramics/glass, drawing, foundations, graphic design, metalsmithing, painting, photography/digital arts, printmaking, sculpture and textiles, art education, art history and art therapy.

Founded in 1944, NASAD is an association of approximately 323 schools of art and design, primarily at the collegiate level, but also including postsecondary non-degree-granting schools for the visual arts disciplines. It is the national accrediting agency for art and design, and art and design-related disciplines. The Association also provides information to the public. It produces statistical research, provides professional development for leaders of art and design schools, and engages in policy analysis.

Photo: The SIUE Art & Design Building.

SIUE Alum Sheley Among STL Bizjournal’s 30-Under-30

1 July 2014, 5:00 pm

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville alum Elizabeth Sheley is among the St. Louis Business Journal’s 30-Under-30 honorees for 2014. The awards recognize the future leaders of the region and those who someday might appear on the cover of the Business Journal. See the complete list.

With the help of 10 judges (past 30-Under-30 winners), the St. Louis Business Journal’s Vince Brennan, Editor Trish Miller and Publisher Ellen Sherberg reviewed more than 350 nominations.

In Morgan Stanley’s nomination letter, Sheley was described as having “distinguished herself as one of the top female producers with Morgan Stanley in St Louis and is now a vice president and portfolio manager of a team with more than $440 million in assets … and has personally evolved as a business leader who demonstrates excellent investment skill and consistently delivers sharp business insights. Beth’s passion, hard work and dedication have been the secrets to her success.”

The nomination concluded with “… is diligent, often relentless, in the pursuit of her dreams.  She is an exceptionally influential businesswoman and has positively influenced our Morgan Stanley office.  She is a leadership figure to all of those around her.”

The 29-year-old Edwardsville native credits her family for the foundation of her business success. “I was raised on a farm, and my parents instilled in me the need to plan ahead and save,” she said. “My dad said the best way to build wealth is to spend less than you earn, and purchase assets that increase in value. At a young age, I became excited about the concepts of managing money and building wealth.”

Sheley earned a bachelor’s in business administration from the SIUE School of Business in 2005 at age 20. She began her career in the financial services industry working for Wells Fargo. In 2007, she joined Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor. She was among just 10 percent of wealth managers in the St. Louis area to be chosen as FIVE STAR wealth managers in St. Louis Magazine in 2012 and 2013. She was also a recipient of the NABCAP Top St. Louis Wealth Managers award featured in the St. Louis Business Journal in 2011.

“SIUE gave me a strong foundation to pursue my business goals,” Sheley said. “The professors at SIUE, particularly the School of Business, were just amazing – extremely passionate about the courses they were teaching. They pushed me and encouraged me to keep my curriculum rigorous.

“They taught me not what to think, but how to think, and provided me with transferrable skills, leadership, and the foundational knowledge that has applied to so many phases of my personal and professional life.

“SIUE has an exceptional career development center that offered significant help in my transition from university life to the business world: career fairs with prospective employers, a mentor program, resume building, career counseling and help with interview techniques.”

Along with serving on the SIUE Alumni Association board of directors, Sheley is deeply involved in the community serving a variety of organizations such as the St. Louis Area Food Bank, St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association (LDA), Habitat for Humanity, Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis, Edwardsville Neighbors in Need and the Edwardsville High School Marching Band.

“I’m very proud to be a founding member of the Young Professionals Board of the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association,” Sheley said. “In just three years, our group has raised more than $25,000 through new fundraising events. Serving on this board has helped me discover how wonderfully rewarding it is to help others, and really sparked my interest in supporting children who learn differently.”

Full stories on each honoree will appear in the July 11 issue of the Business Journal. The 30 winners will be honored Thursday, July 17, at 5:30 p.m. The event will take place at Moulin Events at 2017 Chouteau Avenue. For more information about the event, click here or contact Kelly Rowland at

facebookoff twitteroff vineoff linkedinoff flickeroff instagramoff googleplusoff tumblroff foursquareoff socialoff