Saluki superfan Tilden Parks to donate $1.3 million for student scholarships


Long time Saluki basketball and football fan Tilden Parks, of Marion, reacts in exasperation to a point lost to Missouri State on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, during the Salukis’ 85-84 win against the Bears at SIU Arena. The game marked Parks’ 533rd consecutive SIU men’s home basketball game. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

By Kitt Fresa, Staff Writer

Longtime university supporter, alumnus and SIU athletic “superfan”, Tilden “Tim” Parks donated 1.3 million dollars to the university in December.

“I like to help students achieve their dreams — that’s part of my passion,” Parks said. “I’ve had people help me over the years. Now I’m in a position where I can give back.”

The donation will be split into three parts. $515,000 for athletics,  $515,000 for journalism and $270,000 for Morris Library.


All of the funds will be designated to undergraduate student scholarships.

Parks, who is 65 this year, has had a special affinity for the university’s athletics since his father, also Tilden Parks, took him to the arena as a child.

“Oh man, I fell in love with the arena and the Salukis and that was the beginning of it,” Parks said.

Parks’ dad passed away in July 2017. As a result, Parks’ inherited money from his father which became the source of funds for the donation.

The donation is also classified as a beneficiary designation, so SIU won’t receive Parks’ donation until he dies.Parks entered SIU as a political science major but later switched to journalism and graduated in 1976.

Parks said he enjoys helping the university where he has many fond memories.

During Park’s time at the university he was a student worker for Morris Library.


He set up the library’s scholarship for future student workers there because of his own positive experience.

“That is so wonderful to us,” said John Pollitz, Dean of Library Affairs. “A lot of times students are struggling financially.”

“One of the things I can’t stress enough is how important student workers are to the operation of the library,” Pollitz said. “They help us keep this place an excellent academic library.”

This is not the first scholarship opportunity Parks funded. The Tilden and Rosalie Parks Memorial Scholarship was set up by Parks in 2017 in honor of his two parents.

This scholarship is for students pursuing a degree in Animal Science.

To advance the university’s goal of providing the best education possible to students of all kinds, The Tilden Parks Family Scholarship was made with the Forever SIU fundraising campaign to achieve this goal.

More information about the campaign is available at

Staff writer Kitt Fresa can be reached at [email protected]

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