To the Editor:

This is an open letter to the SIU and Carbondale communities ... my husband and I visited SIU at Carbondale this past weekend to view the solar eclipse. While seeing the 2 minutes and 39 seconds of totality was a dream come true for us, you made the experience even better.

We stayed in the university residence hall, ate at two of the food service cafeterias and shopped in the city’s downtown. Everyone we met, from the students, to the staff, faculty administrators and locals, had smiles on their faces and were friendly, enthusiastic and went out of their way to welcome us and offer help. We made a point of thanking everyone we met, but we know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others we did not encounter who also deserve our appreciation.

The entire weekend was amazing. The educational presentations and exhibits were so interesting and the fairs as well as the entertainment on campus and in town were a lot of fun. We were also impressed with and appreciated the professors and administrators out and about interacting with guests on campus. And the city vendors were all sincerely welcoming.

I think the SIU campus is the most beautiful of all the state schools in Illinois and the improvements made to the Carbondale downtown added to the ambience.

Congratulations to everyone on the exceptionally well-run events and thank you for your hospitality. We hope to see you for the next eclipse. We already have the SIU countdown clock set on our phone home pages. Again, thank you to everyone. See you in 2024.

Lynn and Jim Neils



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