Skip to main content

40 Years of Service, Oh My...

This week USF President Arvid Johnson recognized me for my forty years of service to the University.  For me it was a great honor.  He allowed me to speak and below is a working outline of what I said:

When I started working at College of St. Francis, I was taller than Arvid…look what you’ve done to me!

You might be wondering why have I stayed at USF for more than 40 years.

I have been blessed by my immediate family’s support, my wife Meg, daughters Jackie and Danae, my brother David, and my sisters Pat, Carolyn and Beth.

But there were other sisters, who had a large impact on my life…the FRANCISCAN SISTERS, 8 years at St. Rays and 40 yrs at CSF/USF. A few of my mentors were sisters: Clare Edward Whalen-Eileen Bannon-Carol Ann Novak-Rita Travis- and so many more.  They tried to instill in me “to do what was mine to do”.

In 1978, I told a story at an Academic Assembly about taking my daughter Jackie sledding at West Park when she was around 5 years old.  We would climb up the hill, sled down and back and forth several times…over & over & over again.

I wondered why--simply because she enjoyed the challenge and the adventure. 

Similarly, CSF/USF has offered me challenges & adventures…and opportunities to make a difference.  It’s been a wonderful and fulfilling journey. 

I still enjoy working with faculty, staff and administrators.  But most all, I enjoy working with my students!

Last week, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of WCSF-88.7 FM acquiring an educational FM license.  It was a joyous occasion. More than 60 Communication and Media Arts alums attended. They shared many stories how the St. Francis helped them grow professionally and personally.

For me, it’s been 40 years.  How do I feel about it?  It reminds me of a line from the movie MEET JOE BLACK when Bill said in his 65th birthday speech “don’t they go by in a blink”.  It’s true.

This week, we look around the halls of St. Francis, and see cardboard figures of some of the sisters that help build the foundation for this University.  They were much more than cardboard figures.  They were women who had a vision of what this University could be come.  A University that stays true:

  • to the liberal arts

  • one that offers competitive professional programs

  • one that provides our students an intellectual challenge

  • one that provides the resources and necessary support so they can be successful and graduate, especially first generation students…just like I was

  • And one that instills in our graduates… to work from a sense of values that cannot be compromised.

In the words, of a very successful alum, Bill Bellah, a Journalism/Communication graduate who last weekend was given USF’s Presidential Award, he stressed the importance of “Family, Faith & The Franciscan Way.  Bill appreciates what St. Francis had given him.  And so do I.

We are the Franciscan FAMILY.  A Family built on strong relationships, with each other and our STUDENTS.

It is up to all of us to not only remember the legacy of the Sisters of St. Francis…but to adhere to their legacy of respect, integrity, compassion and service to those in NEED.

It has been a joy working with so many special people at a very special place.  Arvid, I have a few years left in me (I think).  I will probably be about the size of a hobbit by then.  Thank You!

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.