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SIC Foundation Helping the College Fulfill Its Mission

September 11, 2012

The Southeastern Illinois College Foundation recently unveiled plans to help the college launch a number of new initiatives designed to keep pace with academic achievement, capital development, and faculty excellence.

Chief among the initiatives is the new SIC Presidential and SIC Foundation High Achiever Scholarship.  The annual scholarship will be awarded to the top academic students graduating from 10 area high schools: Carmi-White County High School, Carrier Mills High School, Eldorado High School, Galatia High School, Gallatin County High School, Hardin County High School, Harrisburg High School, NCOE High School, Pope County High School, and Vienna High School.

Coupled with the college’s traditional Presidential Scholarship, the new scholarship will provide the additional financial means needed to make the 10 awards essentially full-ride tuition and fees scholarships for two years.  Currently, the top three graduating seniors from each of the ten schools are offered presidential tuition waivers to attend SIC.

Jonah Rice, president of SIC, is appreciative of the Foundation’s willingness to help provide additional monetary support to the area’s top students, totaling a $15,000 annual commitment.

“The Foundation’s support of the academic presidential scholarship program is invaluable in achieving our goal to attract the region’s top students and provide them with support for their hard work and achievement in the classroom,” said Rice. 

Rice mentioned that Southeastern is a state leader in academics and a good choice for high school graduates planning to continue their education.  SIC is ranked sixth out of 48 colleges in Illinois in terms of retention and completion.  Moreover, the college recently was ranked as a top 10 percent college in the country. 

“Valedictorians, salutatorians, and honor students regularly choose SIC as a quality, economical way to begin their educational journey.  The support from the Foundation and its directors is a dream come true for this program and the students it will assist,” added Rice.

In addition, the Foundation has earmarked $25,000 to help with various upgrades in B-Building, which include the student center and adjoining patio.  Improvements may include adding a revolving door, landscaping the patio area, and adding outdoor benches.  The funds also may go towards painting and upgrades to ceiling, lighting, flooring, and blinds.

The project is a cooperative effort among SIC, student government, and the Foundation, with each sharing a third of the cost for the renovations.

Rice is pleased by the partnership.  “The college is fortunate to receive such great support from its Foundation in this collaborative effort among Foundation, SIC student government, and the college to renovate and upgrade student space that is long overdue.  We all exist for the students we serve, and improvements in their common space on campus will surely benefit the many.  The college appreciates the much needed support for campus improvements in these very challenging economic times for higher education.”  

Stipends for nursing instructors complete the list of benefits for the upcoming school year.  The Foundation has pledged support in the amount of $20,000 to provide incentives for much-needed instruction in the practical nursing (PN) and associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs at SIC.

Robin Russell, practical nursing instructor at SIC, explained the importance of the Foundation’s assistance.  “The stipend given to clinical instructors is extremely helpful in the recruitment and retention of faculty and adjunct staff during a time when, across the country, the nursing educator shortage is a serious issue that will continue at least through the next decade.”

Russell went on to say that salaries for nurse educators who teach in the clinical setting are much more competitive with those in the workforce because of this stipend.  “I do believe it would be difficult to find good clinical instructors without offering this incentive,” Russell stated.

ADN instructor Susie Lampley agrees.  “The SIC Foundation and many surrounding community institutions have contributed to the SIC Nursing Stipend Program to help attract qualified nursing instructors in our own backyard, especially while faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for nurses continues to grow.”

Vince Kasiar, co-chair of the Foundation, said, “We take great pleasure in supporting the advancement of all SIC initiatives for the betterment of education in southeastern Illinois.  Without the generous response of all in Southern Illinois who support the Foundation with their gifts, we would not be able to play such an important role in the future of SIC and their students.”

Tricia Johnson, executive director of the Foundation, added, “It is a great pleasure to work with Southeastern Illinois College and the Foundation.  The Foundation fully supports the mission of the college through the generous contributions of alumni and community members.  The contributions this year will continue to support lifelong learning and assist the college in providing quality, accessible educational programs, enhance the students’ learning environment and provide assistance with the continuance of teaching excellence at Southeastern Illinois College.”

Dr. Pat York, SIC board chairperson, thanked the Foundation for its generous support of the college during lean economic times.  “The college trustees appreciate the support the Foundation is providing the college for these projects, especially so during the tough economic time in our state and the subsequent impact on colleges and universities.  The Foundation’s assistance will benefit our students for generations to come,” said York.

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Written by Archie Blair, SIC Public Information