A $1 million gift to Southern Illinois University Carbondale will pay for renovation and expansion of a boathouse and pavilion on the campus lake.

The university says the donation from alumnus Ralph E. Becker will enable the school to upgrade a facility that was built more than 50 years ago.

The Ralph E. Becker Pavilion will include a classroom, new and additional site lighting, and creation of patio space for outdoor performances, lectures, dinners and community events.

The boat house and boat dock buildings were built in 1958-59, and many of the existing materials, including structure and plumbing systems, are 54 to 55 years old.

The renovation and addition will bring the facilities up to date with building codes and standards. The work is expected to be completed by spring 2018.

Becker, a 1955 graduate in speech communications, is considered by many to be among the pioneers of the university’s radio-television program. His broadcasting career that spanned more than six decades.

He started as an intern with KMOX radio in St. Louis in 1949 while he was still in high school. He had numerous broadcasting jobs while at SIU from 1951 to 1955, and returned to SIU in 1959 to continue his graduate studies and manage then WSRV-FM, now WSIU-FM radio.