M. Daniel Becque wins SIU’s 2023 Lindell Sturgis Award for community service
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Serving others and giving of himself to make the world a better place comes naturally to M. Daniel “Dan” Becque, an associate professor in the School of Human Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
“We live here. We’re a part of this community, and since we are, I believe we have a duty to become involved and try to do what we can do to make a difference,” said Becque.
In recognition of his volunteer work with numerous community organizations and on campus, Becque has earned the 2023 Lindell W. Sturgis Award, which was presented during today’s (April 27) SIU Board of Trustees meeting.
“He gives his time without thinking twice,” said Will Becque in the award nomination for his father. “He routinely jumps to his feet and hits the ground running whenever anyone is in need of extra assistance. He is this way in all aspects of his life, whether it be a student in need of extra assistance or in one of his numerous volunteer roles within the community. He embodies the qualities of the Lindell Sturgis Award.”
Committed to serving
Contributing to the community and world in which he resides has been a lifelong goal for Becque as he was an Eagle Scout as a teenager. Since arriving in Southern Illinois in the 1990s with his family of five to join the faculty at SIU, Becque has immersed himself in giving back to his new region. When he moved to Carbondale, he took advantage of invitations from friends to get involved.
“The university and Carbondale were different in those days, and it was a good way to meet a lot of great people,” Becque said. “It was eye-opening. As you meet people, you find opportunities to serve.”
Becque’s volunteerism runs the gamut, encompassing a wide variety of organizations.
Active in Rotary for decades, he recently earned recognition as the Sidney Matthews Rotarian of the Year. He has held numerous club offices, including the presidency, and currently serves as the secretary and webmaster and creates the organization’s weekly newsletter.
He readily immerses himself in the club’s various community activities, from highway cleanups to chili suppers to yard sales. He assists with setup and operation of the Rotary annual community yard sale, beginning his work long before the event and starting at 4 a.m. on sale day.
His efforts also include serving as an organizer for the annual Beautiful Southern Bike Ride fundraiser by marking the course and helping direct participants. Becque has also served on the board of the Church Women United Thrift Shop in Carbondale for more than a decade, and he helps bring in donations dropped off when the facility is closed, assisted with cleanup when gray water flooded the basement, and does whatever he can to keep things running smoothly there.
He is on the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Parish Council, where he was previously grand knight for the Knights of Columbus. Through the years, he has also served on the boards of Carbondale Soccer Inc., Carbondale Science Center and the Boy Scouts.
“It takes some time and requires careful scheduling to fit it all in, but I like being involved and giving back to the community,” he said.
Enriches his life and others
Becque said he profits in intangible ways from helping others.
“It's a two-way street,” Becque said. “Not only do you give back to people and the community by donating your time and energy to community service, but you get back by learning to do new things. You also build leadership skills that you can use throughout your life and can bring that into your professional life as well.”
There are other benefits, he said.
Soon after a friend invited him to join the Rotary Club of Carbondale, he helped edit a 75th anniversary club history, putting his academic and writing skills to work. Collaborating with two longtime Rotary members “really enriches you.”
He later transferred to the Rotary Club of Carbondale Breakfast and found more ways to share his gifts.
“I have an undergraduate degree in business, so I try to connect my expertise and experience with opportunities to help.”
Sharing on campus
While the Sturgis award honors the recipient for off-campus activities, Becque has also shared his energies on campus. He’s currently the faculty adviser for the Fitness Club, a registered student organization that promotes exercise and fitness, and previously was the longtime adviser for the Weight Lifting Club.
Becque, who resides in Carbondale, has taught at SIU since 1990. He has served on numerous committees and is happy to help students, too.
His previous experience includes faculty and research positions at universities in Michigan and Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in physical education/kinesiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as well as a master’s degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut State University and a bachelor’s in business administration from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Becque has twin sons, William and Bradley, and a daughter, Simone.
The family of the late Lindell W. Sturgis of Metropolis, Illinois, established an endowment to fund the annual award in 1979 to recognize an SIU Carbondale employee’s contributions to the community, area, state or country.
Sturgis served on the SIU Board of Trustees 1949-1951 and from 1953 until retiring in 1971. He was chairman of the board for the last two years.
Becque received a plaque and cash award.