A Look Back and to the Future...

Mr. Richard Lorenc's picture

OMG, I’m starting my THIRTY SEVENTH year of teaching.   I was only twenty six years old when I began working at the University of St. Francis.  Reflecting back on my time teaching communication courses, I thought of two quotes from one of my favorite movies, Meet Joe Black.  In the movie, William Parrish said, “Don't they go by in a blink?” And, boy was he right; the thirty seven years have passed quickly!  He also made a wish for those attending his send off.  That, “you would have a life as lucky as mine, where you can wake up one morning and say, "I don't want anything more."   This is how I feel about working at St. Francis.  I have truly enjoyed the many opportunities and challenges working with faculty, staff and students.  It is my hope for all of my graduates, that they find work in this exciting field of Communication and Media Arts.  After all, knowing your passion and getting paid for it is fantastic.

A lot has changed over the years.  When I grew up in Joliet, there were only a five VHF channels and three UHF television channels.  There were no cable television stations, satellite dishes for TV or internet services.  The College of St. Francis closed circuit radio station had only two turntables, two audio cart machines, a microphone and a mono audio console.  To hear WCSF’s 640 am signal, listeners had to locate their radio near a power outlet on campus and rotate it to find the best angle to minimize the HUM.

The Journalism/Communications department had two worn-out black and white Sony video cameras, a small Sony video switcher and one video monitor.  We used to record USF-TV club packages on reel-to-reel half inch videotape.  All programs had to be shot on location.   So, we had to haul all of the equipment to various locations including the Joliet Armory to shoot basketball games.  The Pat Sullivan Recreation Center did not exist.

Our bi-weekly newspaper, The Encounter was manually designed and laid out in our old journalism lab.  All photos were developed in-house and were black and white.

Oh how things have changed for the better.  The department’s equipment and facilities have really been updated.  Now, the Communication and Media Arts department has state-of-the art radio and television production facilities, a wonderful Macintosh lab that includes all of the latest audio, video, graphics and web software programs to help students produce digital content.  WCSF radio 88.7 FM has been broadcasting since 1988 and has a strong following on the internet, especially for its Spirit of Christmas programming.  USF-TV produces news, public affairs, sports and entertainment programs that appear on local cable television stations and the worldwide web.  Producing our weekly Exploring Joliet program continues to provide up-to-date information to the local community and beyond.  And, The Encounter newspaper is both a paper-based and an on-line news magazine. 

Although equipment and facilities have changed over the years, as Led Zeppelin once said, “The Song Remains the Same” in many ways.

Here are a few examples:

  • Students keep getting younger each year (Ha!)
  • I have been blessed to have worked with and continue to work with dedicated students and faculty who give me much more than I’ve ever given to them.
  • Classroom activities and production work are my greatest joys, except for all of those wonderful committee meetings (Ha!).
  • The journalism, radio, television and multimedia students continue to serve the University and community at large by provided quality informative stories.  After all, the public has the “right to know”.
  • Life-long learning never ends.  New software, equipment upgrades, journal articles and textbooks require more reading and study.
  • And, it still takes me longer to learn new things compared to my students.

All in all, I still get up in the morning excited about working with colleagues and students.  If there ever comes a time when I feel that I’m not making a difference in the lives of my students, it will be time to turn in my keys and close the door.  I hope it doesn’t happen because my plan is to continue serving the Communication and Media Arts department, my colleagues, the University and especially my students for a few more years.  God Bless!



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