Today was a red letter day for me on the Campus of SIUC. I saw two of my old friends. I felt someone patting me on the back and when I looked around it was Dave from Grounds. I often see Dave out and about checking on the condition of the Campus Grounds. He is not only a very nice person but he is dedicated to producing an excellent work product. SIUCs Grounds always look immaculate. The Grounds Department is a hard-working group of professionals. I traverse our Campus on a daily basis and I witness the Grounds Staff hard at work everywhere that I go.
As I was preparing to get into the Touring…there was my buddy Tony…who will soon be the President of the Civil Service Council for seven years. That has to be a record. I have seen firsthand Tony’s dedication and hard work on the Council. The Council is close to my heart as I was a member for twenty years of my career. While Tony and I visited I reflected on my time as President of the group. Tony told me that he was surprised that I had not been called out of retirement to assist in some way on Campus. I laughed and said that when I left I think that administration said for me to not let the door hit me on my backside on my way out. Or as MJ said at the time of my retirement, ‘Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone.’ Now please do not misunderstand me…I worked hard and Building Services, with the help of my professional staff, produced clean buildings and a happy department…but I was not afraid to be an advocate for others…and especially those who have no voice. I was not afraid to ‘Speak Truth to Power.’ My friend and mentor, Jerry Raney, never filed a grievance against me during my over 25 years as a manager in Building Services. He knew how hard I worked for our precious colleagues.
My friend Elizabeth, who is the Vice President of the Council, is as passionate a professional for the betterment of her Civil Service colleagues as I have ever witnessed. I knew that she would succeed in that role as well as President…if she desired it.
As I walk the paths of Campus I am at home. The good things that have happened throughout my life can often be attributed to SIUC. As I think back on my many candid discussions with University Administration…I am grateful for how many times I was able to change their mind on plans that would have been difficult for Civil Service Staff. I appreciate how kind they were to me…