Officials with the SIU Alumni Association and other school officials broke ground Thursday on the Saluki Alumni Plaza on the Carbondale campus.
SIU-C Interim Chancellor John Dunn says it's significant this is occurring during the University's 150th anniversary celebration.
"This will be an inspiring place. It'll be a place that all of us can come back to see from time to time to help our current students understand more about the history of the University and the pride that others - as well as them - have shared and should share in our University."
Murphysboro-based sculptor and metalsmith John Medwedeff designed the plaza sculpture, which will feature three Saluki dog statues. He says this was an extra special project.
"My wife, Cynthia, and I are both from Tennessee. We're both alumni of SIU and now we have a son that's a student here."
Alumni Association Board of Directors President Rick Wysocki says the location between Woody and Pulliam Halls was intentional so it could be enjoyed in the shadow of the iconic Pulliam Hall Clock Tower.
"We're actually envisioning that might become part of a new logo for the next generation to go forward."
He says it also connects a new addition to Woody Hall.
"Now we have our new Alumni Center over there. It's in earshot and eyeshot of it. So, it's going to be great."
Wysocki says it started last year when then Chancellor Carlo Montemagno asked where alumni gather when they return to campus.
"Some of the people said we go to the Student Center, some said they walk around campus, some said they go the Arena, depending on what you were doing when you were a student here, there's not a really good place. It also came about because we noticed at graduation, people are looking for iconic things to take pictures of and they were climbing on signs on (Route) 51 by the entrance because it said Southern Illinois University. We wanted that here as well. We're shooting for March (2020) with the Day of Giving for the unveiling."