Former Southern Illinois University swimmer Susie Rashid has established a new endowed scholarship for the program: some good news for a program that 2 years ago announced that it would be reducing men’s scholarships in swimming from the maximum 9.9 down to 6 scholarships.
Rashid was a 9-time relay All-American swimmer at Southern Illinois from 1983-1987, including as a member of the 4th-ranked team from 1985. She maintained a nearly-perfect 4.0 GPA in accounting during her time at SIU and was named a 3rd-team CoSIDA Academic All-American in 1986.
After graduation, she went on to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago, and rose to become the Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer for Element 79 Partners, LLC. She now works as a consultant in Chicago.
Rashid was inducted into the SIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 and the SIU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Led by coach Tim Hill, our team had unbelievable dedication, talent and support,” said Rashid. “The fabulous group of teammates, both men and women, was a family who supported each other and pushed each other.”
“Spring weekends in Giant City or the Spillway – the bagel man…,” said Rashid, recalling her favorite memories at SIU. “Compiling computer science programs at 3 a.m. before morning workouts. Staying in Trueblood over Christmas training…”
The school says that the endowed scholarship will go to a student-athlete who “understands the work that it takes inside and outside of the classroom or pool, the extra time spent away from home, and the true grit that it takes to be a Saluki.”
SIU head coach Richard Walker says that the scholarship, which is expected to accumulate to the equivalent of a full scholarship soon, can be used for a male or female athlete, swimmer or diver, and can be broken up among multiple athletes, as with any other scholarship.
“In a time when every little bit helps, generous does not accurately describe this gift,” Walker said of Rashid’s endowment. “The department, this program, and certainly this coach, are forever grateful for this gift and the future giving to come.”
“The athlete experience for me was as profound as the academic experience, and swimming is a sport that has seen cuts to the funding of scholarships and programs over the years,” said Rashid. “As a result, those who have had success in their adult lives wanted to pay it back.”
Rashid encouraged her peers to give back as well, referencing the states ongoing financial crisis for institutions of higher education – which helped drive the reduction of men’s swimming & diving scholarships 2 years ago.
“SIU is an incredible institution that provides student-athletes an incredible education and life experience that gets them ready for their adult lives,” said Rashid. “Given the state budget cuts and the priority toward bigger-named institutions (i.e. University of Illinois), SIU advocates need to ensure SIU’s future success by supporting SIU financially.”
The Southern Illinois women finished 2nd out of 7 teams at last year’s Missouri Valley Conference Championship meet, while the men finished 4th out of 7 teams in the MAC.