Bob Odenkirk’s SIUC visit moved to Banterra Center

One of Southern Illinois University’s most well-known alumni, Bob Odenkirk, is returning to...
One of Southern Illinois University’s most well-known alumni, Bob Odenkirk, is returning to campus. He's known for playing lawyer Saul Goodman in "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul."(Photo courtesy Sharon Alagna)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 3:32 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 3:34 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - One of Southern Illinois University’s most well-known alumni, Bob Odenkirk, is returning to campus.

According to SIU, because of the overwhelming response, they’re moving the honorary degree presentation and the Q&A session to the Banterra Center.

The event on Monday, April 3 is free and open to the public. Seating will be first-come, first-served.

They say registration is no longer required to attend the event. Doors open at 6 p.m.

According to SIUC, the 1984 graduate will receive two degrees during a ceremony at 7 p.m.

The first will be the bachelor’s degree he earned as a student. The second will be an honorary doctorate bestowed upon him in 2020.

Following the presentation, there will be a discussion and audience Q&A session.

“Bob Odenkirk is one of the bright stars in our vast Saluki universe,” Chancellor Austin Lane said. “We are so excited for him to be back on campus and share his experiences.”

Odenkirk will spend most of the day on campus.

According to SIU, he’ll speak at two CAM classes and meet with students, faculty, staff and two university leaders.

“Being able to have someone like Bob Odenkirk speak to our classes is a truly unique experience for our students,” said Hong Cheng, dean of the College of Arts and Media. “When our most successful alumni engage with us in this way, it makes our college stronger and more robust.”

Odenkirk was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at spring commencement in May 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to give a virtual address.

It was during that address he coined the phrase, “I am a Saluki, you fools, and I will destroy you,” which has become a popular T-shirt worn by Salukis everywhere.

In the past, they say Odenkirk has spoken fondly of his time at SIU, including during appearances on talk shows, red carpet interviews and in magazine articles.

Before the 2019 Emmy Awards, he was interviewed by Jenny McCarthy, who also attended SIU.

McCarthy asked him if he knew they attended the same college.

“That’s where I graduated from,” Odenkirk said. “Salukis! I love that college. Look at us, SIU made us.”

Odenkirk grew up in northern Illinois. After coming to SIU, he spent time as a radio DJ and comedian, working at student radio station WIDB. He earned a bachelor’s degree from SIU in radio-television.

After graduating, he moved to Chicago, where he performed comedy and took classes at the Players Workshop.

He was later hired to write for “Saturday Night Live,” where he helped create beloved sketches such as “Da Bears” and “Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker.”

In 2009, he joined the cast of AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” His character, lawyer Saul Goodman, became a fan favorite.

The character was also the focus of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul.”

Both shows were critically acclaimed, earning Odenkirk numerous awards and honors, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.