Monday, August 5, 2019

Susan Koch: UIS employees’ lives in the community

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 3, 2019.

Each of the more than a thousand faculty and staff at the University of Illinois Springfield contributes in myriad ways to providing pathways of opportunity for students that prepare them for success. But as musical artist Dolly Parton once said: “You should never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.“

As Chancellor of UIS, I’ve found it fascinating to discover the many ways valued employees “make a life” outside their work.

This UIS Perspectives column provides a glimpse into some of their stories.

The performing arts is a passion for many UIS employees including Linda Schneider and Steve Marvel. Schneider, whose day job is office administrator in Academic Affairs, has been involved in community theater for many years — combining her acting talent with her love of history. Schneider has portrayed many historical figures including Nellie Grant Jones (daughter of Ulysses S. Grant) for the annual Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society. “My most memorable experience thus far,” says Schneider, “was portraying Mary Lincoln for an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show.”

In his off hours, Marvel is rocking out as keyboardist and vocalist with “Off the Wall,” one of the most popular pop/rock bands in Central Illinois.

Not many can claim to have a national champion in the family — but Doug Brackney, administrative aide in the UIS Career Development Center, has several! Brackney has been showing champion Persian cats for more than 20 years. His silver Persian named Romeo is not only a national champion but has also been “spokes-cat” for Royal Canine Persian cat food — landing him and his human companions an all-expense paid trip to New York City that included a limousine, a stay in a posh Madison Avenue hotel and a photo shoot with international fashion photographer Platan.

It is a privilege to work with so many talented and dedicated faculty and staff every day at UIS. With their many contributions both on campus and off, they’re not just making a living. They’re making a difference ... and making a life.

Read the entire column online.