What is your vision for Bradley University?
Penelton: I see Bradley as a regionally—and nationally—recognized institution in the future, and of course, we’re moving in that direction now. There is something special about a school this size, that offers the cross-section of disciplines that Bradley does and still maintains a very strong focus on undergraduate instruction. That is a special niche for Bradley that we can capitalize on in the future.
Hartman: I’d like to see Bradley become one of the premier medium-sized universities in America, not just in the Midwest. It’s going to take a sizable campaign to underwrite some of the needs the colleges have identified. I would hope to see a major campaign coming at us, because without it, that vision won’t be accomplished.
Who were your mentors at Bradley?
Penelton: Romeo Garrett helped me learn the landmines and about campus politics. I learned about the structure and culture of the institution. Whenever I had questions that weren’t in a faculty handbook, I could always turn to him for insight.
Cannon: In my case, it was Kal Goldberg. He came just a few years after I did, and I knew right away that he was a brilliant man. I really didn’t fully appreciate his teaching until I retired and took his Economics 101 class. I wanted to know why my students would say, “That was a good class,” and they would talk about him a lot. I found out by sitting in that class.
Wessler: When I think of mentors, I first think of my years as a student rather than as a faculty member. Arthur Gault was dean of liberal arts. I had him for calculus, and I loved every minute of it. I feared it when I started, but I earned “A’s” in it. It was a turning point of my life.
Carter: I suppose I’d have to mention Olive B. White, who was English department chair and the dean of women. In other words, she was an administrator as well as a top-notch literature teacher. She hired me, and I thought to myself, “Wow, she can do it all.” I think the seeds of my ambition were planted as I watched her. She was so dignified, so efficient, and so learned that through the years I came to realize
Hartman: I’d say Bill Clarey. I had Bill as an instructor during my undergraduate years, and he was dean when I came to work at Bradley. He helped me over some hurdles.
And in conclusion...
Wessler: If you really want to make a change, then higher education is the place you can do it. I am overwhelmed by the potential for affecting, positively, the direction people take. You can lead them in the other direction, too, so it isn’t an easy challenge. I reflect on the people I’ve had in class and didn’t realize at all where they might end up. I had John Shalikashvili ‘58 in class my first two years as a professor. Who in the world might have looked at that class and thought that this fellow, who talked with an accent and sat there quietly, would one day be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? What impact did I have? Did I contribute to that? I hope so. That opportunity to be an influence is multiplied many times, by each student we have in class. Some say we don’t get paid enough, but much of our reward comes when students say, “Thank you.” I just can’t imagine a more satisfying career.
Retirement means taking time to smell the roses, but it also means moving in new
For Dr. Allen Cannon, retirement has allowed him to volunteer at Methodist Medical Center, the tourist bureau, and in public schools. He also teaches for Bradley‘s Institute for Learning in Retirement.
“People love it, and I’ve enjoyed it because there are no tests, no grading, and you can lecture on any subject you like,” says Cannon.
“Retirement gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my grandchildren,” says Dr. Barbara Penelton. She fills her days doing genealogy work for her family, gardening, and volunteering at the Urban League. “One good thing I experience now is that I don’t have to cram time,” says Penelton. “When I traveled before, I had to find a flight that would get me where I needed to go and hurry up and get me back. Now I can take the train or drive.”
Travel and exercise come to mind when Dr. Dick Hartman ’54 and Dr. Max Wessler ’52 reflect on what retirement gives them more time to do. “I walk in the mall five days a week,” says Hartman. “I view that as almost like coming to school every morning.”
“My wife and I work out three times a week,” says Wessler. “What a difference it’s made in our vitality.”
Dr. Peggy Carter MA ’50 uses her extra free time to teach reading readiness to kindergartners at Harrison School once a week. She says, “I really enjoy working with five- and six-year olds who are just so sweet and innocent and eager to learn about books. It’s just a remarkable experience for me.”
Catching a favorite game on television is another popular retirement activity. “I am a terrific sports fan,” says Carter. “I love to watch the Bears, Cubs, or Illini sports. I had all these papers to grade, all these lessons to prepare. Now on a Sunday afternoon, I sit down and I just watch.”