I left my beaten path this afternoon and strolled around what used to be Small Group Housing or better known as Greek Row. I began my career at the university, 42 years ago working in Thalman Hall, which housed the General Accounting department. On October 10, 1978, I began cleaning the building. In those halcyon days the circle of housing buildings and office spaces and classrooms were humming.
October 10, 1978, was years before the epitome of student enrollment at SIUC. In those days there were students attending our school from over 70 nations. The housekeeping crew that I was assigned too was like a mini United Nations. My crew was assigned the cleaning of the Law School, which was housed in 3 1/2 of the Small Group Housing buildings, along with the General Accounting building and Army ROTC…as well as several of the Health Service offices.
I was so happy to have been hired by the university. I was literally swimming in emersion studies of the beauty of diversity! Everything regarding SIUC was exciting to me! I had been assigned a building where my predecessor had not bothered to do more than empty the rubbish and therefore I was quickly able to illustrate a noticeable improvement in my and the accounting staff’s surroundings.
My supervisors liked me and my co-workers were people that were easy to get along with. The night custodial supervisor came to see me during the first week that I was employed and encouraged me to take the crew supervisor exam as soon as I felt that I was ready. I rushed home to tell MJ and we were excited as the position of Building Custodian paid 48 cents more per hour than what I was currently making…which was $5.54 per hour…and I had already doubled my highest pay to that time!
The assistant director of General Accounting, Hugh Blaney, told me that I was doing a wonderful job and extorted me that the service that I was performing was as important as his job…
I had not enjoyed such encouragement or employment success in my short work history. I felt empowered and that I had found a home where I was not only appreciated but recognized for my accomplishments.
Building Services at SIUC convinced me that I could do anything that I put my mind and efforts towards. Ms. Fidella Doolin was a big name on campus. She also told me how she appreciated my efforts and encouraged me to seek promotional opportunities. I purchased two run cakes from her on behalf of the Baptist Women’s Club…and I would have walked over hot coals to facilitate her housekeeping requests.
Once again it is the Friday before the beginning of fall semester. I saw with great joy the students return and many of them with their parents. This sight has always been inspirational to me. I have been a part of this magical time…for over 4 decades! When I ponder all of the benefits that I and my family have received from Southern…I am thrilled to see young people starting their journey!
The Saluki Way is the answer to dreams that have been held closely in the soul of those who encounter the opportunities of a non-judgmental home that wants you to succeed!