Hardley, a CCHS grad, finds his path at SIU

Attending SIU wasn’t originally the plan for Simeon Hardley when he graduated from Carbondale Community High School in 2017.

He went to John A. Logan Community College and earned his associate degree, but he decided to take some time off while he figured out what he wanted to do.

“Naturally, I think kids want to get away from home,” Hardley said. “When I decided to pursue my bachelor’s degree, my support system was here. I grew up a big Salukis fan, and SIU felt like home. It’s a great place to grow and develop as a person.”

Hardley had worked with video, but it was taking a class with Julia Rendleman, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Advertising, that led him to choose a path in photojournalism.

“I just fell in love with it,” he said. “That class propelled me in this direction. I’m going to specialize in sports media.”

His journey has led him to a fellowship with the Pulitzer Center in Washington, D.C. After making the trip to the nation’s capital, Hardley stayed in Illinois and focused his work for the Pulitzer Center on the city of Cairo, Ill.

Recently, he received the Linda K. Henson Photojournalism Scholarship, and he expressed his thankfulness for the financial relief scholarships provide.

“It plays a huge role,” he said. “It puts the idea in the back of your mind that someone trusts you and believes in you. It is so appreciated. It helped motivate me to finish school.”

Hardley said being from Carbondale and going to SIU has opened his eyes to the importance of alumni support.

“SIU has so many accomplished alumni, from athletes to producers, etc.,” he said. “Scholarships like mine show how connected our alumni are to students and the community.”

The SIU Foundation is hosting the Saluki Takeover Tour of Southern Illinois from Wednesday, April 24, through Saturday, May 4. Representatives from SIU will visit local high schools and community colleges, and there will be six Chancellor’s Receptions across the region.

Hardley’s alma maters, CCHS and John A. Logan, will be visited Wednesday, May 1. That night’s Chancellor’s Reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fat Edd’s Roadhouse in Metropolis.

Chancellor Austin Lane will host the keystone event from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort. The event will feature the recognition of multiple incoming and potential SIU students. There will also be SIU Day of Giving trophy presentations, a celebration of the university’s recent successes, and a chance to thank our local partners. Many representatives from SIU will be in attendance, including new men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy.

To learn more about each event and register for the receptions, visit