The Sleeping Giant

‘When Delyte Morris came to Southern Illinois Normal University in 1948, he had a vision that the institution could be much more than a teacher’s college.  He succeeded.’   The Southern Illinoisan

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‘He basically worked night and day for 23 years to promote SIU’s development,’ Katsinas said.  ‘It was his life – and manifestation of good social works embedded in his Methodist faith.  He had much help, including his right hand Charles Tenney, a good board leadership, too, that included John Page Wham.  He specifically looked for good curricular department heads and deans who could build strong academic programs, and who were intrigued by the opportunity to build something from scratch.’   The Southern Illinoisan

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‘Katsinas said while Morris’ resolve was strong he did not have unanimous support.  He said Governor Adlai Stevenson II did to support the ambitious undertaking and appointed board members to deter Morris.  He said other universities were not the biggest fans of Morris either and eventually changes in the student population, particularly surrounding the Vietnam War protests, took its toll on him.’   Southern Illinoisan

‘But his resolve paid off for the region and students who were looking to get a fair shake in higher education.  Under Morris’s leadership the university became one of the first institutions to be accessible to students with disabilities.’   The Southern Illinoisan

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I was talking with my friend, Elizabeth, yesterday, and reflecting on the untapped potential of the ‘Sleeping Giant’ that is Southern Illinois University.

The potential for greatness is unlimited for SIU and it is only the limitations of our own bias and narrow thoughts that will stop us.

Chancellor Montemagno propose to have a School, among the University divisions,  that is focused on Homeland Security.  This is thinking for our present time and is an outstanding idea!

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The Chancellor wants to maximize our strengths and minimize our weakness.

He wants to demonstrate that we are still, ‘A city that is set upon a hill for all the world to see.’

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Carlo wants to unleash the ‘Sleeping Giant’ of academic potential that is straining at the bits to be revealed and reveled as the renaissance of the Miracle of Little Egypt…Southern Illinois University.

If we want to attract students in 2018…we must tailor our course offerings to the needs of 2018.

The Chancellor wants to demonstrate to the world that Southern Illinois University is  as much on the cutting edge of Academic Thought as when President Delyte Morris transformed our Teacher’s College into a world renowned Carnegie II University.

You know, we can make the new chancellor an offender for a word.  We can nitpick his revolutionary ideas to death…and wait of a savior and a miracle worker and someone who is anointed to save our School…or we can accept what the SIU Normal staff and faculty accepted when a Professor of Speech named Delyte Morris came to their small and regional Teacher’s College and with the support of the School’s Community and the Southern Illinois Community…transformed a ‘Sleeping Giant’ into a national and international phenomenon!

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The decision is ours to make.  Do we want to second guess another chancellor and wait for the right one?

Do we believe that somewhere, out there, there is a miracle worker that will have a halo above their head and wings on their back?

Or, shall we accept and subsequently support a person who has risked all the he has to join with us and be a part of us and revitalize and engage and awaken… ‘The Sleeping Giant?’

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