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Honoring Alumni

November 07, 2016, Chelsea Kujawa

${image-alt} Honorees pictured from left to right: Brandon Zanotti, Deanna Price, Mark Ford, and Ashley Church. Along with Terry Clark, dean of the College of Business.

It’s the time of year when proud alumni return back home to remember their college days. Homecoming at SIU means that alumni from around the world return to campus to celebrate their success with their peers, retired faculty members and have a chance to meet new faculty. The College of Business had many special guests this year for Homecoming Weekend.

The college honored alumni Oct. 21 at the second College of Business Homecoming Reception. The Emerging Saluki Leader Award (ESLA) recognizes recent graduates of the college for their outstanding accomplishments and service. Alumni of the SIU College of Business who have graduated within the previous 15 years and are deserving of recognition for their outstanding achievements in business, academia, government, nonprofit organizations or service to their community are eligible for the award.

The seven members of the 2016 class of ESLA awardees were announced and honored at the annual College of Business Homecoming Reception. The awardees were chosen by the college’s external advisory boards for their outstanding achievements at the early stages in their careers.

The newest ESLA honorees are:

  • Ashlee Church, general manager at Volkswagen of Marion, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management in 2009 and an MBA in 2010.
  • Mark Ford, vice president of First Tennessee Bank, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2002.
  • Adrianne Henderson, risk consulting director in KPMG’s Advisory Services, who graduated with a master’s degree in accounting in 2002.
  • Jason Noack, senior program manager at Russell Investments, who graduated with bachelor’s degree in finance in 2002.
  • Deanna Price, client developer at First Southern Wealth Management, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management in 2016.
  • Matthew Toenjes, supervisor of external reporting for Emerson Electric Company, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2010 and a master’s degree in accounting in 2011.
  • Brandon Zanotti, Williamson County state’s attorney, who graduated summa cum laude from SIU Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2003.

“The College of Business enriched me with a solid education and equipped me with the tools to be successful in the world of finance,” said awardee Mark Ford. “The curriculum of the College of Business was challenging and really opened my eyes to what it takes to work hard and be successful. Programs such as the Saluki Student Investment Fund provided a real-life experience at what it’s like to be a money and investment manager. I have found memories of a lot of my professors. Dr. Mark Peterson was very influential to me, as I had him as a professor for four classes or more, along with participating in the Saluki Student Investment Fund, which he oversaw while I was there. Dr. Peterson was always there to help and talk when a student needed him. I’m proud that he remains a valuable member of the SIU faculty today. My wife and I are both very proud of our Southern Illinois heritage and proud to be Salukis. SIU is a beautiful campus and the school left many fond memories for both of us. My friends and co-workers are very envious of our Saluki mascot, and I am always asked to provide Saluki gear when I return from campus visits.”

“The College of Business was the reason I came to SIU because I realized that I could have the best of both worlds,” said awardee Deanna Price. “The college has impacted my life in various ways. It has taught me the strength needed to achieve greatness, provided knowledge to keep ignorance at bay and gave me the support I needed when I felt I was at a loss. Being a Saluki helped me live my dream of being an Olympian. In my free time, I visit high schools and special programs to discuss what it takes to be an elite athlete and how to accept who you are. I specialize in woman’s rights and demolishing societies mold on body image. I am seriously not able to choose one professor or advisor who has impacted my college experience because every single person I came in contact with impacted my life in a way that has made me who I am today. I really just want to say thank you to the College of Business for making me who I am and helping me become successful.”

To nominate someone for next year’s award, please visit the Emerging Saluki Leader Awards page at business.siu.edu/about/saluki-leader.