As I walked the beautiful campus of SIU, today, I was sad when I looked at Anthony Hall, where is housed the office of the chancellor.
I walk campus, daily, and for many years I have strolled by Anthony Hall and wondered what the, current chancellor at the time, was doing?
Having worked, closely, with some of the past chancellors…I have had an affinity, for many years, for them and their struggle to return SIU to its former glory.
To work with chancellors is to know them, in part, and their humanity and vision for the campus.
I was impressed, both, with chancellor Montemagno’s roadmap for the university and his courage in the face of adversity.
Indeed, we require a leader with a vision for our future and a ‘calling’ to serve others. Being the leader of SIUC is so much more than a good paying administrative position.
The university is located in what was, at one time, coal mining and farm land. I was watching a old horror movie, the other night, about the Mummy. It was a comedy, and one of the characters announced that he was from Cairo….Cairo, Egypt asked another….whereupon he announced that he was from…Cairo, Illinois.
And, so, we are Little Egypt, and Carlo wanted us to be the, Maroon jewel, in the Academic Crown of Illinois.
The miracle of SIU is an extraordinary story!
In many ways our university can be likened to the Egyptian desert, in that it is an oasis in the midst of a land of hard working people who would have little opportunity, without it.
The burden on a chancellor is multi-faceted. Not only is the success of our students and the academic community of paramount importance…but there is the entire Southern Illinois community that relies on SIUC for both employment and as an engine to the regions economy.
For 40 years…SIUC has been a primary passion of mine. I was speaking with someone, the other day, who said that when they retired they certainly would not be returning to the job site that they had spent so many hard years at. I, on the contrary, spent over 32 years in a delightful and rewarding career and benefitted, in every way, from my association with Southern.
I think that it is healthy to discover something that you love and to consequently immerse yourself in it.
SIU would be one of those areas, for me. Both the university and my church are areas that I want, desperately, to succeed, and although I grow weary at times…I can never give up on these two, almost, life long pursuits.
Many, dedicated, staff and faculty and administrators and managers and supervisors…are working tirelessly and, often, without compensation to ensure that our great school holds its banners high…and that it is poised for a return to its former greatness!
There are civil service staff that, literally, are dedicated to SIUC…24/7.
I have known, and do know, many staff who work, on a regular basis, when they are…quite ill.
I am aquatinted with staff and administrators that, regularly lose vacation time and who do not utilize their sick time…in order to guarantee that SIUC is functioning…at its full potential.
I know, civil service staff, that regularly accomplish all of their job duties, as outlined in their classification…and seek and accomplish many, additional duties, because they love Southern Illinois University.
There is such, profound dedication, to SIUC…that I do not believe that it can possibly fail!
Chancellor Carlo Montemagno was proud of his staff…..