The Southern Illinois University Alumni Association awarded more than $20,000 in textbooks and supplies to 40 deserving SIU students on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Ashley Peterson, a senior in accounting from Morris, Ill., was the recipient of one of the awards.
“I consider coming to SIU as one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Peterson said. “The atmosphere and people down here are truly amazing.
“The people I have met here have not only become my friends, but they have become my family as well. I couldn’t imagine life any differently than going to school here at Southern.”
She continued, “I am excited to graduate in the spring to move on to the next chapter in my life, but it will be very hard leaving SIU. I have truly made memories that will last a lifetime at school here and I have no one better to thank than everyone here.
“One of my favorite memories that first made me know I would love SIU was on move-in day my freshman year. I couldn’t have felt more wanted and helped here. The second I pulled up, there were numerous people at my car starting to make conversation, and help me carry my bags up to my new room.
“I knew right then and there that I would have no problem adjusting to life down here, and I would love it.”
In April 2008, the Association’s National Board of Directors allocated funds to be invested, with the earnings earmarked to support the financial needs of current and future SIU students.
The Board’s scholarship committee, with the assistance of SIU’s Financial Aid office, identified the need for textbooks and supplies as an area of extreme importance for student success.
They concluded that the money could best be used to fill this type of gap that often occurs in student funding.
“We take great pride in supporting our students with these awards and the Association’s national board of directors is excited to offer other such initiatives for our SIU students,” SIU Alumni Association President Barry Smith said. “Opportunities such as this would not be possible without the continued support of our members.”
According to Association Executive Director Michelle Suarez, the allocation of funds helps demonstrate the organization’s continued commitment to students, and would not be possible without the continued support of the Association’s members.