Move in is this week at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. The Campus is splendid under the August Sun. During my 32 year and 2 months and 3 week career…this was the most exciting time for me as a member of the University Community. For my life and my families’s lives…SIUC has been nothing but a blessing. I came to the University as a 20 year old who had a new wife and needed secure employment to make a life. When I reminisce on the carer opportunities and the educational benefits of my school…l am still awestruck and grateful. I discovered a place that accepted me for who I was and where I could grow both as a person and professionally.
Southern’s diverse community captured my imagination. On my first evening as a Building Service Worker I I worked alongside students from several countries. They were friendly and welcoming and I felt at home. During my first shift…I heard a resonate baritone bellowing…Brooks…Brooks…. When I found the source of the intonation of my last name…I first smelled the fragrant odor of cigar smoke…and then an African American gentleman. He told me to sit down and visit for a minute and I was reluctant to do so. Then, Jim, informed me that he was my boss and that when the boss invited me to sit down…I could feel safe in doing so.
Ducks and geese do not like the hot weather any better than I do. Today as i walked around Campus Lake I saw several endeavoring to locate a cool spot.
Campus seemed so large to me…43 years ago…now it seems like my home. I watch with great joy the many campus tours of prospective students and their parents. I smile at their wide eyed wonder and the excited looks on their faces. I recall the first class that I enrolled in 1980. I was full of excitement and fear. Excited to be enrolled at the University and fearful that I would not measure up.
When I think of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…I think of the transformation of Bradley Jay Brooks. I went in still seeking my life’s path…and I came out walking steadily on it…
SIUC is a microcosm of our world…and my affiliation with our Campus…made me a world traveller.