Challenge to Excellence | COEHS | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Challenge to Excellence

Challenge to Excellence camp was started in 1984 as a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. Dr. D. John McIntyre and former SIU President Glenn Poshard began the program in response to the needs of academically talented middle school and high school students in our region. When the grant expired in 1986, the camp was so popular that we were able to keep it going through the support of student tuition/registration. Since then thousands of students throughout the Midwest have participated in the Challenge to Excellence program. Although many of our students come from Illinois, we regularly welcome “campers” from Kentucky, Missouri, and Indiana, and some as far away as Pennsylvania and California.

Challenge – as it is commonly known – has provided many memorable experiences and opportunities for our eligable campers. Over the years, we have offered courses in mathematic problem solving, genetics, biology, art, creative writing, architecture, journalism, photography, and many more areas. Perhaps the greatest appeal of Challenge to Excellence is the many friendships that are established that last a lifetime. Many Challenge alumni are still in touch with friends they met during camp.

Challenge to Excellence is a residential program held on the beautiful campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Campers stay in the dorms, dine at the SIUC Student Center, take courses in SIUC classrooms, and enjoy campus facilities such as the SIUC Recreation Center. In short, they experience college life at an outstanding Midwestern university. Commuters are also welcome to attend Challenge.

Dr. McIntyre directed the Challenge to Excellence for 32 years! Much of the success of Challenge is due to his dedication and leadership. It is my great pleasure and honor to carry on his legacy as we move forward to plan the 34rd year of Challenge.

If you are interested in learning more about Challenge to Excellence and its summer schedules, please visit the Conference and Scheduling Services website at  

Warm regards,
Rose M.T. Moroz, Ph.D.
Director, Challenge to Excellence