(I have a cupboard full of mugs, each of which represent…something. In this space, until I run out of mugs, I’ll try to explain what that “something” is)
Today’s cup represents a significant chunk of my 20s. Two years after attending the last of three high schools, I talked my way into Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Someone with my unimpressive high school record getting into a four-year university was not really possible. How did that happen?
As they say, “Don’t worry about it.” The important thing is, it happened.
By 1973, my Chicago neighborhood had become frightening. People I knew had died violently or from overdoses. Some of my friends were experimenting with serious drugs.
I was scared. I realized I needed to leave Chicago.
When I escaped to Carbondale, a place I had never visited, I traded a tough urban environment for a laid-back college town. It was quite a contrast. Once I adjusted to the slower pace, I loved it.
I started at SIU in January, 1974. Over the next eight years, there were many highlights including:
- Passing a remedial math class (a first)
- Discovering my calling as a broadcaster when I stumbled into WIDB, a student-run college radio station
- Getting a (paying!) job playing album-rock on WTAO-FM
- Becoming serious about radio news at WSIU-FM, where I benefited from adult supervision.
It was sometimes a bumpy ride.
In high school, I had never developed study habits. That took some time.
I had to drop out after contracting mononucleosis.
With no college fund, education was interrupted for financial reasons.
Through it all, I remained in Carbondale, working, until I was financially able to finish school. I graduated in 1982.
Everything good in my life, including my career and my family, would have never happened if not for SIU’s (questionable) decision to admit me.
SIU saved my life, so I’m happy to be a “Life Member” of the Alumni Association.
The cup represents a simple truth: I am a proud Saluki!
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