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Southern Illinois gets Pritzker focus

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020

* Setting the stage

The Illinois Senate on Sunday confirmed Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s appointees to the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

In March, Prizker appointed Edgar Curtis, Ed Hightower, Subhash Sharma, John Simmons and Roger Tedrick. They have been serving as board members since then, pending Senate confirmation.

The appointees were confirmed with no dissenting votes on a legislative day dominated by the selection of a new Senate president.

* And then the governor traveled to the region for a National Guard ceremony

Pam Maxey, of Texico, had tears streaming down her face as she embraced her son, Spec. Drake Hess, on Tuesday afternoon in Banterra Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale during a mobilization ceremony for Illinois National Guard soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Marion. […]

The soldiers are being mobilized in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and will deploy to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility in spring 2020 after they complete additional training at Fort Bliss in Texas. […]

During the ceremony, state and military officials spoke, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, adjutant general; Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, assistant adjutant general; and Lt. Col. Greg Settle, battalion commander. […]

“You have all the strength of the people of Illinois standing with you,” Pritzker said. “Godspeed, soldiers.”

More on that operation here.

* And he wrapped it up with a media-friendly project announcement

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the release of $8.3 million in funding to SIUC for renovations to the communications building at a press conference while visiting campus Tuesday.

The communications building is currently home to multiple programs at the university, including journalism, radio/television/digital media, cinema and photography, communications studies and theatre.

There were plans in place to renovate the communications building in 2015, but the process was stalled due to the lack of a state budget for the [next] two years.

During the press conference, Pritzker mentioned all the upgrades the new facility will have, including updated equipment, better auditorium space, media labs, digital post-production suites and a combined broadcast-print newsroom.

“Students who learn in this facility won’t just be prepared to meet the needs of the media industry of the future,” Pritzker said. “They’ll be prepared to lead it in its next phase.”

* More

Mackenzie Rosario is a junior at SIU. She won’t get to benefit from that major upgrade on the Carbondale campus, but she’s excited about what it could mean to future students.

“SIU is a very special school that a lot of people just don’t know about. So maybe if we have an up to date facility and a lot of students can come and actually check out what we have. They’ll decide to come, and hopefully, it will help them in their careers,” Rosario said.

The communications building was built in 1964. […]

Local representatives from both sides of the political aisle say the governor’s visit shows the needs of the region are not going unnoticed.

“Exciting day for SIU and the people of southern Illinois. To see the state of Illinois sees the needs of the university of SIU and the people of southern Illinois. So it is an exciting day for us,” said Representative Dave Severin (R-117th District).

* Heh

Republican State Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg said at a recent lunch with members of the SIU Foundation, the group produced a new phrase to highlight the great things happening at SIU-Carbondale.

“Somebody said, ‘absolutely!’ But, we came up with a new name, AbSaluki! So, we’re going to start using that every now and then if that’s alright.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - efudd - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    8.3 mill for SIU. After one year in office.
    How much did SIU receive from the Rauner admin for upgrades and renovations?
    Fowler? Severen?

    Keep voting Republican southern Illinois.
    You know, family values and all that.


  2. - Pick a Name - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    Keep throwing money out there, money the state doesn’t have.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    It’s fun seeing *all* the GOPers seem to be all about higher ed when in reality the Raunerites of the 99th GA made clear that starving and possibly passively closing a state university or two was fine.

    It’s fun to watch.

    I’m excited for SIU as a whole, bit I’d like to see a real deep dive into enhancing and revamping how Illinois dies higher education, and restructure the financial and institutional to ensure stability, credibility, and marketability of all of Illinois’ universities.

    So far, that’s a bit far off.


  4. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    == Keep throwing money out there, money the state doesn’t have.==
    Students need to learn with updated equipment, the stuff they will see at their future employers’ buildings. If they don’t get that they will take their tuition money elsewhere.


  5. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    Cash for Comms Bldg good….now look at the nutty reorg plan that buries most programs in the Shadows.
    Give that idea the heave ho too.


  6. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    ==Keep throwing money out there, money the state doesn’t have.==

    Yes, because we certainly wouldn’t want to spend money on capital improvements in this state. You see how well that plan has gotten us.

    Now go back to yelling at those kids to get off of your lawn.


  7. - Charlie Brown - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    Not bad, but it needs to be sustained weekly.


  8. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    What should be a bit of good pr for SIUC is overshadowed by yet another shooting minutes from campus. Kids dont necessarily want new facilities, but they sure as heck want to be able to walk to their favorite hangout without fear of being gunned down


  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    ===minutes from campus===

    Three miles away. C’mon.


  10. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    Carbondale is only 17.5 square miles. Everything is minutes away. The Jackson Co. court docket is scary. Not in my 74 yrs have I seen this many shootings. For years I have been preaching, ‘just ask the kids’. This is the answer I most often get.


  11. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jan 22, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    Pritzker is acting like a governor of all the people.

    I grew up in Decatur and the decline of downstate has been long term and saddening.


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