SIU Board of Trustees plan for an uncertain 2021 and grants six honorary degrees

By George Wiebe, Staff Reporter

Edited Dec. 6 2020 at 4:40 p.m.

The Southern Illinois Board of Trustees met this Thursday to address the school’s financial matters in 2021 and award  special degrees to outstanding members of the southern Illinois community.

The board agreed to sign a one year contract with RCA Laboratory Services for nearly $1.5 million.


RCA Labs provides the SIU Edwardsville campus with PCR saliva tests, which report COVID-19 test results within 10-15 hours.

The SIU campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville have a combined number of 416 positive COVID-19 test results since the start of the fall semester.

Also on the docket were faculty payroll changes, an amendment to the student insurance fee and purchasing of materials for the coal plant on SIUC’s campus.

Any students who opt into the university’s health insurance are expected to see a 7% increase in cost.

Students currently enrolled in the school’s insurance pay up to $975: this amount will now be raised to $1,043.

The cost of “coal, coal hauling, ash disposal and ash hauling” is estimated at $13,000,000.

The power plant, which sits on the edge of SIUC’s campus, began downsizing its staff this fall, but will continue to operate. 


Part of the annual board meeting included the approval of six honorary SIU graduates, a group of individuals chosen to receive a degree for their work throughout 2020.

The honored individuals included: 

  • Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.


  • Harold Bardo, an educator in the southern Illinois region for over 50 years.


  • Terrence J. Roberts, an SIU alumni and member of the Little Rock Nine.


  • Edward Sing Wong, an accounting aluminum who started several successful businesses in Hong Kong.


  • Harry L. Crisp II, CEO of Pepsi MidAmerica.


  •  Pam Pfeffer, cofounder of Treemont Capital.


Ezike has been a constant presence at Governor Pritzker’s pandemic press briefings.

 “I am grateful for this and I receive it in the name of the incredible people at IDPH who work so hard to make IDPH and put our state in such good stead under the leadership of Governor Pritzker,” Ezike said.


Staff reporter George Wiebe can be reached at [email protected]

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