Impact Report 2023

Dr. Kruse in courtyard Oct. 2023
Dr. Shipra Somani with her daughters
donor of the year

Shipra Somani

“If someone has good health and a good mind, they have a moral obligation to give back to people who are less fortunate.” - Shipra Somani

Mrs. Somani has embodied these words by dedicating her work to being an agent of change, striving for advancements in health care while aiding and advocating for those in vulnerable situations. She accomplished this not only through her exceptional gifts as a social worker, but also through her generosity as a donor.

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Day of Giving 2023

SIU Day of Giving is an annual 24-hour day of generosity aimed at bringing our communities together to raise awareness and support of SIU School of Medicine’s vision of better health for all. Day of Giving harnesses the power of digital communication and word-of-mouth advocacy from our champions to encourage donors to power a cause close to their hearts.
2023 Day of Giving logo

For the 5th consecutive year, SIU School of Medicine had the greatest number of individual gifts during Day of Giving.

Day of Giving team with trophy
Day of Giving Ambassador

Jenny Bonds

Jenny Bonds


Jenny Bonds joined Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU Medicine in December 2021 and believes in the power of giving back, however she can.

“We often think of giving as money and giving monetarily . But ‘giving’ means so much more. It means time, attention, compassion, as well as many other things. It is available to each and every one of us."

Day of Giving Champion

Lisa Wichterman

Lisa Wichterman


Class of 1981

Lisa Wichterman is not only a proud SIU School of Medicine alumna, but also a member of the esteemed Harbinger Society. She believes that giving back goes beyond monetary contributions, having served on the Alumni Board of Governors, hosting student dinners and mentoring learners. She and her husband helped establish the Wichterman Family Scholarship and regularly sponsors events like the Junaia P. Carter, MD 5K, Denim & Diamonds and the Women's Power Lunch. 

2023 Butterfly release
1977 | 1982 | 1987 | 1992 | 1997 | 2002 | 2007 | 2012

Alumni Reunion

An Alumni Reunion was celebrated on June 24-25, 2023. A casual and fun Friday night family-friendly reception on Saturday hat include a campus tour and class picnics. Saturday night concluded in style with a semi-formal dinner. 

Alumni Highlights

Life on Mars

On June 25, Springfield emergency medicine physician and SIU School of Medicine alumnus Dr. Nathan Jones began a NASA mission that simulates living on Mars.  

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Class of 2009
Photo of Jones
Harbinger bust

Harbinger Society honors generous friends and donors

Harbinger dinner

This year’s Harbinger Society members and fourth-year medical students enjoyed a lovely evening together on May 18 for the annual Harbinger Society dinner at Panther Creek Country Club.

Attendees enjoyed dinner and great conversation, heard from class of 1980 alumnus Dr. Greg Poland, and were treated to music from the medical student a cappella group.

In total, these loyal and generous friends have given nearly $100 million in its 39-year existence, which has helped to make SIU School of Medicine the innovative and internationally renowned medical school it is.

The Harbinger Society counts in its ranks

Corp photo
“Dreamer,’ you may say. But I remind you that what seems impossible today can move to improbable, then to possible, and finally to inevitable. We must see that the surest way to make dreams come true is to live them and to insist upon them.”
 Dr. Greg Poland
An Rx for the U.S.

Alumnus shares perspective from a career of pursuing cures

Dr. Greg Poland returned to Springfield in Spring 2023 to deliver the commencement address at his alma mater and speak at the school’s annual Harbinger Dinner. During his extended visit, Poland met with as many SIU faculty, staff and student groups as time allowed. He also made it his mission to confer with leaders in the medical community from outside of the SIU organization, and discuss what they considered vital to improving the region’s health care.

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Class of 1980

Harbiger dinner
September 26, 1947 - September 18, 2023

Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese: Trailblazing physician and leader

Class of 1986

Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese joined the faculty of his alma mater in 2001 and served in a multitude of roles throughout his tenure at SIU. He was an associate professor of internal medicine and the Department of Humanities, and founded the Office of Diversity, Multicultural and Minority Affairs. Over a 15-year span he created and organized numerous initiatives to promote and expand the culture of diversity and inclusion within the medical school. He was a former SIU Alumni Society Board of Governors member, and chaired or participated in numerous committees.

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Alumni in action


Total Alumni


Practicing Alumni


Alumni in Illinois


Alumni in Primary Care


Alumni in Specialties

Alumni Society Board of Governors

The Alumni Society Board of Governors is composed of 20 alumni members and represents the interests of all alumni in matters relating to the School of Medicine. The board serves as the official vehicle for alumni to maintain personal and professional relationships with the school. The board’s specific responsibilities are to serve as ambassadors, support wellness and advocacy activities, direct the Distinguished Alumni program and the Student Resource Fund, provide guidance to the development office in matters relating to SIU School of Medicine alumni fundraising, and to partner with the school in promoting the welfare of the school on a state and national level.

Outgoing Board of Governors Officers of 2023

Board highlights

New members who began their term in Spring 2023

  • Renee Mueller, MD ’01
  • Amanda Mulch, MD ’03
  • Elizabeth Valencia, MD ’09
  • Thomas Selby, MD ’13

New officers who will serve their term from 2024 - 2027

  • Richard Austin, MD ’14 – President
  • Elizabeth Montgomery Collins, MD ’96 – Vice-President
  • Jason Gillihan, MD ’06 – Treasurer
  • Breck Jones, MD ’15 – Secretary

New members who will begin their term in Spring 2024

  • Ron Romanelli, MD ’83
  • Sofya Asfaw, MD ’09
  • Safiya McNeese-Ruffin, MD ’13

The Alumni Society Board of Governors would like to extend appreciation to this year’s departing officers and long-time board members: Dr. Lisa Wichterman, Dr. Susan Reeder and Dr. Matt Winkleman. We will be forever grateful for their loyal friendship and commitment to the school of medicine and our alums after a combined 30 years of service and wise counsel to the board.

Total impact of DAR
Impact report numbers


Alonzo Homer Kenniebrew Presentation & Forum

February 8-10, 2024
We honor a groundbreaking central Illinois physician with  a special evening lecture, presentations and a community forum to raise health equity awareness.

SIU Day of Giving

February 28, 2024
Be a champion for SIU School of Medicine! Join us by giving a gift on this day at – your support will help in innumerable ways at SIUSOM.

Match Day

March 15, 2024
It’s the big reveal for our 4th-years’ residency destinations. Watch online or in person at the Memorial Learning Center.

Women’s Power Lunch Against Cancer

April 4, 2024
You’re invited to an engaging lunch hour, which includes an empowering speaker, lunch, and networking opportunities. Funds raised support cancer research at Simmons Cancer Institute.

Harbinger Society 40th Anniversary Dinner

May 16, 2024
We’re turning 40! Help us honor this accomplishment by attending the annual dinner event. We look forward to an evening of retrospection, rejoicing, and revolutionary thought for the future. 


May 18, 2024
Join us at the UIS Performing Arts Center as we celebrate our newest physicians, scientists and masters graduates with hoodings and hoopla.

On Par for Pediatrics Golf Outing

June 3, 2024
Come tee off to your best round of golf, bid on auction items, and enjoy drinks and dinner – all while supporting children in the battle against life-altering diseases such as cancer, congenital heart disease and diabetes.

Annual Butterfly Release at Simmons Cancer Institute

June 8, 2024     
Join us for our Butterfly Release ceremony. Butterflies can be sponsored in honor or remembrance of a loved one.

Alumni Reunion Re-imagined

June 22, 2024 
Join us for the inaugural Alumni Reunion Re-imagined! ALL classes are invited back to Springfield for a revamped weekend of reconnecting through various unique events.

White Coat Ceremony in Carbondale

August 9, 2024 
SIU alumni, staff, family and friends welcome the first-years to Carbondale with a white coat presentation as they begin their journey to become doctors.

Junaia P. Carter, MD 5K

September 21, 2024 
Join us for an active, fun-filled morning: including a timed 5K and kid’s fun run. Get some exercise all while supporting local breast cancer research at SIU School of Medicine.

Denim & Diamonds

October 12, 2024 
You’re invited to dress to impress in your finest denim or diamonds! Money raised at the dinner via live and silent auctions supports cancer care and research at Simmons Cancer Institute.

Giving Tuesday

December 3, 2024 
Choose SIU School of Medicine for your annual Giving Tuesday gift! Think local during this national giving day by visiting and donating to a fund close to your heart.

End of Year Giving

December 31, 2024 
Planning an end of year gift? Please consider donating to SIU School of Medicine – there are over 500 funds to choose from.

New atrium gathering space for students, faculty and staff

The atrium gathering space will provide a meeting and interaction space for students, faculty and staff of SIU School of Medicine to rest, study, relax, eat and intermingle. This will foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge and reinforce community. Architectural elements will expand the existing space, while highlighting the existing distinct architecture, thus making the commons area attractive, modern and welcoming to current, new and potential students, faculty and staff. The space will contain the first on-campus food service, which will be a nearby and nutritional benefit for our students, faculty and staff.

Naming opportunities are available. Contact Patsy Wappel for more information at or 217-545-2955.

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