An Illinois state senator and a comedian were among the 10 alumni inducted into the SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame during Homecoming this year.
Terry Ganey, a mass communications alumnus, graduated from SIUE in 1970. He said that SIUE was the cornerstone of his journalism career, which led to his career as a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He said the communications program had just started and that it was exciting to see the program grow.
“I took a couple of classes in TV, radio, and journalism, and enjoyed them and enjoyed the excitement of being in a newsroom or being in a TV studio. It just seemed like a very interesting area of a career choice,” Ganey said.
Damon Harbison, who earned his masters degree in business administration in 2004, said that he was blown away that he had been nominated for the Hall of Fame. Harbison, who currently serves as the president of St. Mary's Hospital, said he was beyond honored to be inducted with the caliber of individuals who have and are inducted into the Hall of Fam. He said he is proud to be an alumnus of SIUE.
“Location, value and reputation are the three top [reasons] I chose SIUE. The value was really, really important to me, and then the reputation, [people] would always talk about how the faculty,” Harbison said.
Kathleen Madigan, a mass communication alumna who graduated in 1988, said she was honored to be indicted into the Hall of Fame. She said that as a comedian, she doesn’t always feel her work is quite as serious as other professions.
“But it's very nice that somebody gives you a shout out, [, especially among] people who have done things I would consider it to be more helpful,” Madigan said.
Illinois State Sen. Christoper Belt, who earned his master of public administration in 2002, was also honored. Belt represents Illinois 57th district, which includes communities in both Madison County and St. Clair counties. Belt served as a probation officer for 16 years before entering the world of government. He also serves on the Senate Education Committee as chair.
Diana Isaacs, a pharmacy alumna who graduated in 2009, said she was part of the first graduating class for the School of Pharmacy and the relationships she built with her classmates and faculty shaped her experience at SIUE.
“It was really special in terms of being part of a brand-new program. When I started in 2005, we were the only class ever, and with only 80 of us, all the faculty knew our names, and we had a really close relationship with everyone and just really felt like a family,” Issacs said.
Issacs said SIUE shaped her into the person and pharmacist she has become, giving her the skills to thrive in her position.
“SIUE helped me to [learn how] communicate that knowledge to be able to help people, and it's been so important, so rewarding in my career,” Issaces said.
The event also honored:
Bruce Rotter, a dental school alumnus, was the Dean of the SIU School of Dental Medicine for nearly 10 years, after working at the school as an assistant professor since 1993. He is the only alumnus to ever serve as a dean for the school.
Franklin Boster, who earned his bachelor's in psychology and masters in behavioral science from SIUE, earned his doctorate at Michigan State University. He worked at Arizona State University for nine years, before returning to Michigan State University for 33 years as a faculty member and researcher.
Scott Miller, an engineering graduate who currently serves on the School of Engineering Advisory Board. Miller currently serves as vice president of MiTek, Inc., a global structural system technology company, where he is working to improve housing affordability and sustainability around the world.
Frank Grasso and Kyle Giffin, who now co-own G&G Anesthesia on Sept. 23. Grasso earned his bachelors in nursing in 2006, and his masters in 2010, and then joined Griffin who launched G&G in 2009. Griffin graduated with his masters in nursing in 2005. G&G Anesthesia offers anesthesia services to CRNA-owned groups rather than private companies or hospitals.