I have been an especially strong mood to write about the greatness of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. The University is under severe budgetary pressures due to the lack of a state budget, in Illinois, for the past nearly two years. This is the result of intransigence on the part of our Republican Governor and our Democratic Legislature. Higher Education, as well as many other worthy state institutions, are suffering from the dysfunction in our political family.
The blog that I wrote yesterday, ‘Where is the Opportunity,’ has received comments from other career employees of SIU…who relate their wonderful stories of the transformation and carer growth that they received at Southern.
It was my privilege to witness the metamorphosis of many great individuals…who simply needed someone to believe in them…into confident professionals.
My colleague, Jamie, who is deaf, transformed from a person who found opportunities few…and not consistent with her abilities…to becoming a respected supervisor in the Building Services department.
My friend, Brad, went from a student employee…to the Director of Plant and Service Operations. Brad is a man who cares about people along with being extremely qualified to manage this diverse and complex area of responsibility. His departed father…who I knew…would be so proud of him!
My friend, Glenn Poshard, was a three degree graduate of SIU. He was a member of the Civil Service Staff…early in his career. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives for many years. He was the President of Southern Illinois University for nine years.
SIU is an agent of positive change…for all people.
I listened to my friend, Dr. Seymour Bryson, speak of what it was like to be African American during the days of Jim Crow. He spoke of life in Carbondale during Jim Crow. At that time African Americans were forced to set in the balcony area of the local Varsity Theatre. He was a graduate of SIU. He was a Basketball Star at SIU.
Dr. Bryson..as well as many African Americans benefited from the non-biased and forward vision of Dr. Delyte Morris and SIU as regarding African American admittance and inclusivity. Dr. Bryson is a famous figure on Campus…the circle drive in front of the Student Center is named after him. Dr. Bryson was a tireless advocate of racial equality and was a Vice Chancellor for many years.
My friend and former colleague, Cyndy, is a two degree graduate of SIU. She is a Civil Service employee. I have not see anyone that cares more about helping people…than Cyndy. She works tirelessly…often without pay both to ensure that her job is performed in an excellent manner and to assist those who are less fortunate.
Southern Illinois University is a miracle worker…hidden next to the Shawnee National Forest and in the midst of the villages and hamlets of Southern Illinois. We must preserve it…as the job that it performs incapsulates the beauty and wonder of life.