Tomorrow, October 10, 2018, marks my 40th year of caring about all things at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
I remember, clearly, looking and listening and hoping for a call from the Superintendent of Building Services, George O’Hara, with an offer for a position as a Building Service Worker I.
When I received the telephone call with the offer of my carer opportunity…I was thrilled!
I was speaking with an extremely interesting student, this morning, who happened to be disabled and in a wheelchair…and joyful to be a member of the SIUC community.
I am transported back to the first evening that I worked at Southern. It was a chilly October night and I could not believe my good fortune to have become a part of the university family.
My conversation with my friend, today, reminded me of why I love SIU and Southern Illinois. He mentioned that he had come from Chicago, 20 years ago, to attend university and that he liked the surroundings and the people, so much, that he never left. He went on to say that he considers himself, more a Southern Illinoisan than a Chicagoan.
SIUC has brought financial stability and a secure life path to me and my family.
The university has brought the world to my doorstep! On my first night of work I was placed on a crew that had student workers from several countries. Being exposed to the gift of diversity…my world view was expanded exponentially.
Southern Illinois University taught me that there is something, rare and glistening and worthy of caring about and fighting for and attaching yourself to…for life…in Southern Illinois…SIUC!
‘The Saluki or Persian Greyhound is a dog originally bred in the Fertile Crescent and ancient Iran. The Saluki classed as a sighthound and is typically deep-chested and long-legged. Salukis are sighthounds–hunting by sight-and run their quarry down to kill or retrieve it.’ Wikipedia
A Saluki can run 42 miles per hour.
The Saluki is the mascot of SIUC.
And, so, the young man from Eldorado, Illinois came to university. My childhood friend, Jackie Brooks, had enrolled at SIU…but never attended.
My mother encouraged me to go to Barber School…because it did not seem to her that I enjoyed studying.
Yet, as I came in the door of the housekeeping department…I immersed myself in the total university experience and ultimately became friends of chancellors and presidents and even gave them advice…from time to time.
The Building Services staff are among the most dedicated people that Southern Illinois University has…and the university should be honored to have them.
The sacrifice that I have, personally witnessed up to and and including this day, is unparalleled in commitment to the success of our university!
Building Services staff’s dedication to excellence…knows no bounds. They struggle to keep the university, immaculate, with a skeleton staff.
The mentorship that SIU’s housekeeping staff exhibits for their, custodial student colleagues…is an example for the entire campus.
Over the past 40 years…many have asked me what I did at SIU…and have often guessed that I was a professor. When I respond that I worked my entire carer in the custodial department…they proceed to tell me how needed the housekeeping services are.
What they do not realize…is that being a member of the Building Services family….was the greatest honor of my life!