Southern Illinois University and Saluki Athletics dedicated the new $11.3 million Boydston Center during a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 1, 2010.
The spectacular 50,000-square foot facility, which houses the Saluki football and basketball teams, was named in honor of former Director of Athletics Donald N. "Doc" Boydston.
Boydston's 15 years as athletics director from 1957 to 1972 produced one of the nation's most well-rounded athletics programs. Between 1960 and 1972, Saluki teams won 12 national championships in gymnastics, cross-country, swimming, golf and tennis.
Among the speakers during the dedication were SIU President Glenn Poshard, SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng, Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, Cal State University Los Angeles President Jim Rosser, faculty representative Harold Bardo, family representative Seymour Bryson and women's basketball player Eboni Crayton.
"It is only fitting that this wonderful facility is being named for Don Boydston," said Moccia. "He was one of, if not the most, influential director of athletics in the history of SIU. He presided over many national championships, the transition from the college division to the university division, but most importantly, he was the driving force behind the tracking and retaining of minority student-athletes for the first time in this institution's history. This building will forever honor and continue his legacy."
Also in attendance at the ceremony was Jo Ann Boydston, widow of Donald Boydston. Her husband died in 2005 at the age of 84.
"Dr. Boydston was the model leader that faculty and students alike aspired to become," said Poshard. "Hardworking, a great sense of humility, a competitive spirit, excellence in all that he did, and fairness were some of his most notable characteristics. Dr. Bodyston and Mrs. Boydston were a real team, working together to make SIU the great university that it is today."
Boydston was recruited to Carbondale in 1955 by then-SIU President Delyte W. Morris. Boydston left his job as a professor in health education at the University of Mississippi to establish SIUC's department of health education. Boydston guided the University's nationally recognized health education department - now the Department of Health Education and Recreation - for 33 years, along with the department's graduate program.
"There is little doubt that the chapter written by Dr. Donald Boydston is and will always be one of the great lessons for all who set foot on this campus to learn from and embrace," said Cheng. "Dr. Boydston's endearing and enduring legacy is his commitment to students, and in particular students of color. He was, and is, in so many ways, a visionary."
As the AD, Boydston helped transform Saluki Athletics from small-college status into a Division I program, focusing not just on revenue-generating sports but also striving for success in non-revenue athletic offerings. Among his many accomplishments, Boydston was on the planning committee for SIU Arena, which opened in 1964.
"This magnificent facility will impact each and every student-athlete at SIU, and forever allow Southern Illinois University to attract the best student-athletes, coaches and administrators long after the current people in those roles have moved on," Moccia said. "It will truly give us an advantage for more years than anyone will ever know."