Yesterday I wrote of my affection for the Civil Service Community at Southern Illinois University. As a young man of twenty years old…with a high school education…and often being admonished that I was not cut out of college; I wondered where the opportunity was for me?
When I began at SIU…I knew no one…and was sure everyone ‘was my better.’
When I encountered Professors I did so in reverence. I knew that somehow they had ascended to a lofty position that I probable could never aspire to.
The thought of even seeing the Chancellor or President of the University…was similar to encountering the President of the United States.
Slowly, I understood that the opportunity of SIU was available to me. I began taking a course or two each semester…and found the most encouraging Professors…and it seemed that perhaps…I was cut our for college.
A wonderful Professor, Dr. Carol Burns,encouraged me to study for anything that I desired as she knew that I had the ability to succeed in whatever field that I chose.
As the years progressed my Director, Duane Schroeder, told my supervisor that he believed that I had the unique qualities to be named to the Employee Assistance Program. This Program was designed to direct employees having emotional or mental struggles to the resources that could assist them. I loved serving on this Board and was sad when it was discontinued.
I then placed my name in the voting for a seat on the Civil Service Council…which I was sure that I would loose. No one was more surprised than I…when I won a seat on this important Board representing Civil Service Employees.
The Council opened the ‘Global Understanding’ of the University to me. Through the years I was asked to serve on two Chancellor Search Committees…and became good friends with one of the Chancellors that resulted from the Search that I was a member of.
Towards the latter years of my carer I was friends with the President of the University and he asked me often for my thoughts on Campus issues.
I began my time at SIU as a rather unfamiliar person with people from across the world…I left as a lover of all humanity…and with respect for all diversity.
Southern Illinois University is an Oasis in Little Egypt. It is a miracle in the midst of a very rural…poor…lack of opportunity…climate.
I was a member of the Civil Service Staff…but I ‘lived SIU’…and I still do!
SIU has enhanced every facet of my life…I cannot give back what it has given me!
My experience is instructive and indicative of the Civil Service Community at SIU.