Hope Is SIUC!

As I was walking the Campus this morning I was, once again, overwhelmed with the sheer natural and architectural beauty of the ivory tower.

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Robert Harper wrote a book entitled, ‘The University That Shouldn’t Have Happened but Did’, in 1998.

‘Robert A. Harper, a Professor of Geography who spent seventeen years at Southern Illinois University from 1950 – 1967, offers a highly readable account of Delyte Morris’s twenty-two year reign (1948 – 1970) as president and architect of Southern Illinois University.’

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Southern Illinois University-Carbondale    E. Jan Jacobs

University life is of essence…divisive.  The push and pull of academic debate and the search for scientific truth is fraught with trial and error.

The success and herculean building of SIUC did not come from perfect individuals.

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In fact Dr. Harper notes that President Morris was a patrician and paternalistic in his treating of both faculty and students.  Harper states that Morris was amenable to individual faculty contacting him regarding problems but that he did not work well with constituency groups.  He goes on to point out that in the mid-1960’s, ‘Part of the student unrest during this period stemmed from Morris’s ejection of fifty-two-co-eds from their dormitory at Thompson Point because he needed the space for the Student Health Service.’   E. Jan Jacobs

Leaders are people…with the same foibles as the rest of humanity.

When my friend and SIUC chancellor, Jo Ann Argersinger was unjustly terminated, I was broken hearted…as were many on our campus.

Yet, when Walter Wendler was named chancellor I worked with him closely for nearly five years…and much was accomplished for civil service staff.

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Personalities come and go…I have been retired for nearly eight years…but the university continues.

Differences of opinion does not signify that one person is right and the other is wrong, when it comes to fixing and renewing and revitalizing our great campus, it simply means that each of us are bringing our brains and our experiences and our life’s lessons to bear on the problem.

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When it comes to our school and our hope for the future of Southern Illinois…it is time to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.

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