Scenic Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale

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.  

IMG_7038October 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.

IMG_1178I 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.

IMG_9208 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!

IMG_1679The 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…

IMG_1566I 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.  

IMG_0497Building 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.  

IMG_1691Once 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!  

IMG_7785The 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!


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