SIUE wants national honor society for military, veteran students

To recognize the academic success of its more than 600 military and veteran students, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has launched SALUTE, a national honor society that honors military and veteran students for their service and academic performance.

Kevin Wathen, SIUE director of veteran services, said a student veteran brought SALUTE, which stands for service, academics, leadership, unity, tribute and excellence, to his attention.

After doing some research, he discovered other Illinois schools including the University of Illinois had a SALUTE program.

“It’s an excellent thing — a way to give our veterans a chance to stand out,” said Wathen, who will serve as the coordinator of SALUTE at SIUE.

Wathen said SIUE has 636 military and veteran students. In his position in veteran services, he helps these students navigate college life including the admission and registration process, academic advising and tutoring services.

“I’m really the person who can point out all the different resources on campus,” Wathen said.

Undergraduate or graduate military and veteran students will be eligible to participate in SALUTE if they have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Wathen said military and veteran students will be honored during a SALUTE induction ceremony to be held every spring and fall semester, where students will receive a certificate and military-style challenge coin.

SALUTE has a four-tiered honor system based on a student’s GPA: Delta (3.00-3.24), Charlie (3.25-3.49), Bravo (3.50-3.74) and Alpha (3.75-4.00). Graduate students who have a 3.5 or higher GPA are called SALUTE gold members.

It’s an excellent thing — a way to give our veterans a chance to standout.

Kevin Wathen, who will serve as the coordinator of SALUTE at SIUE

The cost for a lifetime SALUTE membership is $20, according to Wathen.

SALUTE members will also have the option of wearing a special cord and stole during graduation ceremonies. The spring graduations will be held May 5 and 6.

For more information, contact Kevin Wathen at 618-650-3169 or

McKendree, SIUE rank among Illinois’ best colleges

McKendree University in Lebanon and SIUE ranked among the 25 “Best Colleges in Illinois” and among the 23 “Best Online Colleges in Illinois” by College Choice, an independent online publication. College Choice ranks and reviews colleges across the United States based on data from U.S. News and World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics and

SIUE ranked 13th out of the state’s top 25 colleges and ninth of Illinois’ best online colleges, according to the results released Feb. 1. SIUC ranked 16th out of Illinois’ top 25 colleges.

McKendree ranked 19th out of the state’s top 25 colleges and sixth of Illinois’ best online colleges.

“With the number of high quality colleges and universities in the state, we are delighted to be included on both the Best Colleges and Best Online Colleges lists for 2017,” Dr. Christine Bahr, McKendree provost and dean, said in a news release.

According to its website,, its rankings and reviews are intended to help make choosing a college easier.

Regions Bank honors adjunct professor emeritus

Educator/writer Dr. Katie Harper Wright was honored by Regions Bank at its Midwest area bank offices and directors meeting Feb. 15 in Clayton, Mo.

Wright was recognized for her contributions to academic excellence. She is a past school administrator and adjunct professor emeritus at Harris-Stowe State University.

The Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis District 189 is named for Wright.

School of Pharmacy graduates pass boards in record numbers

Members of the class of 2016 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Pharmacy have exceeded both state and national averages. They had a first-attempt board pass rate of 91.9 percent on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination.

The graduates’ combined score was the highest board pass rate of any program in Illinois or Missouri, according to SIUE, and exceeded the 2016 state and national averages of 82.6 percent and 85.9 percent, respectively.

“Our graduates’ (pharmacist exam) pass percentage is largely due to the rigorous preparation provided by our curriculum and is a testament to the excellent educational experience provided by our faculty and staff,” Gireesh Gupchup, dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy, said in a news release.

The exam is one component of the licensure process, which measures the knowledge of prospective pharmacists.

O’Fallon native wins award

O’Fallon native Megan Swett was a staff member of The Journal, the student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield, which won five awards in an annual Illinois College Press Association competition.

Awards were presented at the association’s annual convention, held Feb. 17 and 18 in Chicago. Entries, which were judged by professional journalists throughout the state, from spring and fall semesters last year were recognized.

Swett, Journal editor-in-chief, received honorable mention for the fall 2016 article, “Celebrating Queertober: AroAce student discusses her identity, her relationships, and the LGBT+ community.”

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe