I have taken note that often when I am writing regarding a subject that, throughly interests me, I write three blog posts regarding the subject.
The current concern at my beloved University…is one of those subjects.
When I came to SIU, in 1978, I was a young man that had not had much exposure to life. Being reared in a virtual all white town and attending all white schools…I had little cultural diversity to form my understanding of the real world.
Southern Illinois University gave me an immediate exposure to coworkers from around the globe…and I liked them.
Soon, I understood that life was more than the narrow parameters that I had been raised with…both culturally and ethnically and from a religious point of view.
I grasped that SIU was something special and something to be proud of and a treasure to be guarded for future generations.
One of my many friends and fellow congregants at First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale told me today that she is very worried about her alma mattar and that she is a fourth generation graduate of SIU.
First Presbyterian Church at Carbondale is full of former professors and Deans and former administrators for who the subject of the success of SIU at Carbondale is a passionate and personal subject.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is our ‘Beating Heart’…and our soul and the nexus of our success and existence.
To believe that we are not as important as we were in times gone by…or to believe that the the vision of the flagship…almost 150 year old…flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University System has somehow, arbitrarily moved, is an insult to the majestic history of SIU.
The teacher’s college that President Delyte Morris took and developed into a world renowned University of almost 25,000 students on the Carbondale Campus…was not an accident…but rather a concerted effort by the governor and the legislature and the Board of Trustees and the President and the Chancellors of the University…and the lifelong and dedicated and selfless hard work of the countless members of the SIUC Community…over many years.
My Presbyterian friend and fellow Presbyterian congregant is a recognized historian of the beginnings of Carbondale and the University and the Presbyterian Church.
She can not be fooled and neither can I…the Carbondale Campus of SIU is vital to the success of the entire region and it was planted…and developed and watered…and grown…by that controlling building construct….and the only reason that it is not flourishing is the lack of attention by the vintner…or the farmer…or the husbandman to ensure that the crop is growing properly and is hearty…
We must not allow the vision of what Southern Illinois University is…to be lost to the compelling interest of political expediency.
We, ‘are the University that shouldn’t have happened, but did.’
SIUC can be likened to the Taj Mahal in the desert of Little Egypt.
If SIU flourishes…the entire Southern Illinois region benefits.
If SIUC is ignored and cut back and has funding removed from it…former President Delete Morris’s vision…dies.
Money…and a lot of it…political power…and the desire to ascend to greater heights of leadership…often controls university leaders and politicians.
Let us focus on the person who first wants to lead…from vision that he or she has for the institution and then, and far second…as to how much money and power can they achieve by the leadership post.
There really are leaders who are so dedicated to a vision of excellence that money is not their first consideration…but rather the challenge of the goal of a return to excellence.