The First Day of SIU’s Renaissance

At 10:00 am this morning, new Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, gave his first State of the University address at Shryock Auditorium.

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I was so pleased to see the main floor, full, and several people in the balcony.

I have never met the Chancellor…but I was impressed with his vision for renewal of the SIU Campus!

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Dr. Montemagno, demonstrated a clear grasp of the storied history of Southern Illinois University, and quoted from Betty Mitchell’s ‘Illustrated History of SIU’, which is one of my favorite books regarding our School.

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He traced the rise of SIU under the profound leadership of former President Delyte Morris and then the stagnation…once we reached our great height of enrollment.

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The Chancellor, went on to illustrate, that we are now clearly poised for renewal…if we make the right decisions…quickly.

Carlo, as I am told he request being called by his first name, outlined a reorganization of academic departments into the colleges that can best facilitate the synergy of their strengths.

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Chancellor Montemagno stressed that the student must be at the center of all academic decisions…the student is first!

He noted the importance of those who maintain the Campus being active ambassadors of SIU…and that we are all Salukis.

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I have always known that the custodian or the grounds worker or the food service person…that connects with one of our students…that person…to that student…is SIU.

The new Chancellor’s plan for a comprehensive reorganization is going to be rapid…or as he said, ‘for academicians…it will be at warp speed’, but the seriousness of the situation…demands that no time be wasted.

Dr. Montemagno, announced that in January the University Museum will be reopened…to joyful applause!

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The new Chancellor spoke, at some length of the inextricable link that Southern Illinois University and Southern Illinois have with each other.

There has not been a pay raise for faculty or staff for some time.

Carlo, announced that he will propose a salary increase for staff and faculty in the Spring.

The Chancellor…referred to the Carbondale Campus as the Flagship of Southern Illinois University…and has a comprehensive plan…to return us to our rightful position.

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He noted that SIU Carbondale…is already distinct among Universities in Illinois due to our academic programs and that he wants us to become a Carnegie I Institution.

Southern Illinois University…is the economic engine for the entire Southern Illinois Region.  When SIU succeeds…Southern Illinois flourishes.

Carlo spoke of SIU increasing it’s visibility throughout the region.  When McLeod Theatre sent it’s Players to my little grade school, in Eldorado, Illinois, I first learned what an exciting and wonderful place…SIU must be!

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I have been a student of leadership…most of my life.

I have heard many…installed University Leaders…speak…today…I heard a true leader…and it was inspirational!

Today, the Chancellor, stated that we were his family…and somehow…I believed him.

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