As Pat and I prepare for a major transition in our lives, we find ourselves filled
with a combination of nostalgia and gratitude (and maybe a little anxiety about the
packing and moving that is underway). We have boxes in our basement labeled “Graduate
School” and “Park District Softball Shirts” that have endured three moves with the
original packing tape undisturbed. Somehow, I don’t think they need or deserve another
trip in a moving van — at least the boxes that belong to Pat!
Our nostalgia and gratitude are tied to the many wonderful people we have met since
our arrival in 2004 and the ways they have enriched the quality of the University.
We look back with great fondness on the opportunities we have had to watch 12 new
groups of students arrive in the fall and see them transformed over the subsequent
four years; to see firsthand the results of faculty members who take teaching seriously
but also extend themselves outside the classroom to help students achieve their goals
in life; to hear the stories on a regular basis from alumni about how their experiences
at IWU changed the trajectory of their lives, and to personally have the opportunity
to help the University meet its challenges and achieve its highest aspirations. We
have had a marvelous experience at Illinois Wesleyan, one that has enriched our lives
in ways we could never have imagined.
My background is in mathematics, and I am trained to examine both sides of an equation.
I get to talk everyday with students who are able to attend the University because
someone made a scholarship gift. Often, I know the donor’s motivation for making
the gift. When faculty members receive an endowed professorship, I know what their
contributions have been and why they were selected. I also know why the alum chose
to establish an endowment for this purpose. And when I walk around our quadrangles
and see the facilities we have and how much they mean to all of us, I am reminded
of the alumni and friends who made this possible, each one with his or her own story.
We came to Illinois Wesleyan because of the aspiration for excellence that we perceived
was embraced by the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. We have found that
perception to be true and leave with great respect and admiration for those who work
each day to ensure that students receive the highest-quality educational experience
possible and for loyal alumni and friends who share the vision and support the University
in extraordinary ways. Illinois Wesleyan is a remarkable university. Pat and I feel
enormously blessed to have been part of the Titan community for the last 11 years.