Sweet Sixteen appearance brings more money to university

By Gus Bode

Sweet Sixteen payoff still trickling in

Alumni and other donors have always given money to SIU, but not like they have since the Salukis received a bid to the NCAA tournament this March.

Kevin Lister, associate director of the SIU Foundation, said alumni have made their presence felt in a big way since the Salukis’ run to the Sweet Sixteen.

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There was an immediate response to giving, and as they advanced, so did we, Lister said.

Since then, giving has continued to steadily escalate for the University. At this point, it is too early to tell exactly how much money is coming in to the Athletic Department. The numbers will not be analyzed until next year.

But a look at the immediate giving shows that the appearance in the Sweet Sixteen created a new willingness of people to be associated with the University.

We had people who were willing to write checks on the spot and weren’t asked, solicited and hadn’t even been approached by the University, Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk said. They were interested in being a part of our success and just giving back to the University.

The department has an annual fund where donated money goes to help fund scholarships for the athletes. Other money goes toward operating the department.

Kowalczyk said there are people who have an interest in the success of the team, but instead of donating to the Athletic Department, may decide to donate to the library or the English Department.

I am glad that through the department we are able to help raise interest in the University in all areas, Kowalczyk said.

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Along with money, there have been people who want to donate their time or materials to the University. Some offers have even come in that had to be turned down because they were unacceptable because of NCAA regulations.

It’s exciting to know people are interested in what’s going on and want to contribute in some way, any way, Kowalczyk said.

Doors have been opened that weren’t open before, and now the department is looking toward creating relationships with potential donors and reestablishing friendships with out-of-touch alumni.

With all the excitement from alumni and private sources who are proud of the team, the University has and will see more interest in giving. And Kowalczyk wants the entire school to share in the goodwill that has been created.

If someone wants to give to other areas of the University, I will be supportive because we are all in this together, he said.

Reporter Samantha Robinson can be reached at [email protected]

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