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Port recognized for service to SIC Foundation Board

The Southeastern Illinois College Foundation Board of Directors held its annual holiday meeting at Morello’s Restaurant in Harrisburg on Nov. 16, where they accepted numerous gifts, heard updates, elected officers, and recognized an end of service to their long-time chairperson, David Port.


SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice presents outgoing Chair of the SIC Foundation, Mr. David Port, with the Dream Maker Award during the November meeting.

Port, formerly of Carmi, has served as chair of the SIC Foundation since 2013 and has been a director for over ten years.  He is a Falcon Society Lifetime Member, a Dream Maker Society Member, and an Alumni and Friends Lifetime Member.

“David Port is the consummate gentleman scholar, a servant leaders, and a true philanthropist,” said Dr. Jonah Rice, President of SIC.  “He has helped steer the Foundation into some of the most exciting and prosperous times in our history, including the single largest gift to SIC in the history of the Foundation.”

Port was recognized for his service and philanthropy, and awarded a plaque to honor him as a Dream Maker.

“It’s going to be a loss for us that Mr. Port will no longer be serving as an active Foundation director, but rather than looking at is as a loss, we realize that we are fortunate he was willing to serve Southeastern Illinois College with his time, effort and financial support,” said Dr. Frank Barbre, Vice-Chair of the SIC Board of Trustees.  “We are very thankful for the time he spent with us and the college certainly benefitted from his presence here.”

The board not only accepted Port’s Dream Maker gift, but it also accepted an estate gift from another donor of nearly $35,000, and another private industry gift of $5,000 for the welding program.

The board also heard of minor updates to the Graves Scholarship, a $40,000 per year scholarship for Harrisburg and Carrier Mills seniors who elect to attend SIC and then transfer to a senior institution of their choice.

“Gordon and Linda Graves established this scholarship nearly three years ago and it has been a ‘life changer’ for students,” said Rice.

Rice noted that philanthropy such as presented that night exemplifies the visionary leadership of friends of the college and those who invest in southern Illinois.

“We are grateful for all our wonderful donors who know the value of what we offer our regional students,” said Rice.


Members of the SIC Foundation Board met on Nov. 16 at Morello’s in Harrisburg.  Pictured are (front row, l-r) Rhonda Oglesby of Galatia; Julia Pfeiffer-Scherrer of Marion; Brian Surprenant of Herrin, incoming Chair; Ella York of Marion, Secretary; and Rosemary Harlow of Norris City, Treasurer.  Back row is (l-r) Bruce Tolley of Harrisburg; Tim Scates of Carmi; Travis DeNeal of Harrisburg; Jeff Stunson of Elizabethtown; Clinton Wolff of Carmi; and David Port, formerly of Carmi, outgoing Chair.

The Coyle Scholarship matching gift of $8,000 was also presented, a scholarship that helps students in select majors from our region.

Updates on the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art and subsequent endowment were provided.  Architectural plans are near full completion.

Foundation directors heard of many reports and updates regarding the use of recent gifts to the College, including the use of the Sutton Funds to purchase comfortable seating for the Visual and Performing Arts Lobby for special events, updates to the Nursing/Anatomy and Physiology lab, and new equipment for the fitness center, per the estate gift guidelines.

Anyone interested in similar giving is encouraged to contact Angela Wilson or Allie Armstrong at (618) 252-5400.

Upcoming events were highlighted, including the sold-out holiday dinner and silent auction in December, Giving Tuesday, and the February “Friendly Feud” dinner and auction in Harrisburg.  The February event is a joint fundraiser with Harrisburg Medical Center.


The SIC Foundation Board elected officers for 2018 during their Nov. 16 meeting at Morello’s.  Those present were (l-r) Rosemary Harlow of Norris City, Treasurer; Brian Surprenant of Herrin, Chair; and Ella York of Marion, Secretary.

Officers for next year include:  Brian Surprenant, Chair; Ella York, Secretary; Rosemary Harlow, Treasurer; and Lance Barbre, member-at-large.