Inauguration icon Greetings and Call to Leadership

Greetings from the City of Bloomington
Judy Markowitz, Mayor of Bloomington

Illinois Wesleyan University and the City of Bloomington have much in common.

On Sept. 23, 1850, 155 years ago, a group of 30 men (12 Methodist ministers and 18 laymen), gathered in a little Methodist church in Bloomington to bring a university into being.

That same year, on Feb. 19, 1850, another group of men founded the city of Bloomington.

One hundred fifty-five years of history, sharing like ideals and goals, bringing both the city and Illinois Wesleyan to this place today … coming together to celebrate Wesleyan's newly appointed President Richard Wilson and his wife, Pat.

In the many years that have passed since the tenure of Wesleyan's first president, Clinton Sears, our community, in recent memory, has been proud to be the home of outstanding men who have served this University as president: Lloyd Bertholf, Robert Eckley, Wayne Anderson, Minor Myers jr.

Through the years, and certainly in my experience the past eight years, the city and the University have teamed up to work together in a most cordial manner, on many issues and situations that might impact both of us. Whether it be to bring the community together in celebration and worship with Chaplain Dennis Groh, to address and problem solve town/gown issues with Dean Jim Matthews and Associate Darcy Greder, to discuss important social issues with Admissions Director Jerry Pope, to have the opportunity to meet and talk with Provost Janet McNew, or to plan community special events with Susan Bassi. Both Ben Rhodes, director of development, and Mario Pelusi, director of the School of Music, have volunteered their time and energies to serve on boards and commissions for the city of Bloomington.

One hundred fifty-five years of sharing issues, ideas and energy, in this, our city … with a genuine, friendly and cooperative spirit that is very much alive and healthy among Bloomington and Wesleyan leaders.

Today we celebrate Richard Wilson, an exceptionally qualified, fine, friendly and outreaching gentleman who has been chosen president of Illinois Wesleyan.

Speaking not only for myself and our community leaders, but for all 68,000 Bloomington residents, I exclaim “Welcome, President Wilson! We're so glad you have chosen to make Wesleyan, and Bloomington, home.”