This weekend’s commencement ceremonies serve as our semiannual reminder to take a breath and reflect on the great things SIU is doing for its students and the community.
To all of our graduating seniors, congratulations and good luck. I hope that you leave us with a sense of purpose and fond memories. We look forward to seeing what you do with your potential.
Now, let’s take a moment to reflect on the spring semester. I talked about many of our achievements last week. But this was such a remarkable semester, I wanted to highlight a few other accomplishments.
New leadership helps SIU plan for the future
While we look toward SIU’s future, we’ve been working to appoint strong leaders to help us fulfill our mission. This semester, we filled four key roles:
- In January, Todd Bryson stepped up as interim associate chancellor for diversity, and is already taking the lead on a new Diversity Plan.
- Meera Komarraju stepped into a new role as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in March. She is now overseeing the academic colleges, library affairs, the graduate school, off-campus programs, the honors program, information technology and the centers for international education and teaching excellence.
- Legendary coach Jerry Kill renewed his relationship with SIU in January when he agreed to become an ambassador and fundraiser, and expanded his commitment in April, when he assumed responsibility for the SIU athletics program.
- On Monday, we will welcome Jennifer DeHaemers as associate chancellor for enrollment management. Jennifer will be crucial to not only recruitment and retention, but ensuring that our students receive the support they need to succeed at SIU and beyond.
SIU Research gets noticed
In February, SIU received what is believed to be the largest specimen of black carp ever analyzed from the Mississippi River. Our researchers are studying the invasive species to learn about issues like its range, health and reproductive potential.
Another SIU researcher analyzing the Mississippi River found that efforts to control flooding along the river have actually resulted in bigger floods. His findings were published in the prestigious journal Nature in April.
This important research could lead to new ways to preserve the river habitat for future generations, and SIU is leading the way.
Turning to the social sciences, a professor and his student in anthropology earned funding from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston residents. They hope to show how socioeconomic status can affect the way people view disasters.
These are just a couple of the vital questions SIU faculty, graduates and undergraduates are looking to answer. Our research is helping to solve some of society’s most pressing problems, from sustainability to health and safety.
Day of Giving exceeds expectations
The community really went above and beyond in March to “Give the Gift of Experience,” during SIU’s annual Day of Giving. More than 1,800 donors gave more than $480,000 to students and programs during a 24-hour campaign.
Looking back at the amazing things we accomplished this semester, I am excited about what we can do in the upcoming school year. I hope you are, too.