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Bradley Hilltopics

Spring 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 2

When I'll stay a few years becomes a lifetime career

By Nancy Ridgeway

Photography by Duane Zehr

For some, Bradley University was their first workplace after finishing school. For others, it was intended to be another stepping stone in their careers. Some came for the tuition remission benefit for their children or themselves. Others came to Bradley simply to have a job. As the years of service turned into decades, however, they realized Bradley is more than a workplace: it is home. Seven faculty and staff members who have worked at the University for 25 years or more share their experiences.

Taking care of business

Ken Goldin ’64 MBA ’72

Ken Goldin ’64 MBA ’72Sit down for a chat with Ken Goldin ’64 MBA ’72, and you will hear story after story about his experiences at Bradley. Take the one about how he first started working at Bradley. “In December 1961, I was in a real estate course in Baker Hall. A secretary came to the door and asked the professor if I was there. President Ted Van Arsdale wanted to see me. He offered me the director of student activities position. I was involved in student activities, and the president wanted someone who could walk into the position. He asked around and found out I could fill the gap [when the person in that position was called up for active military duty].”

Goldin was destined to become a campus icon. He has worked as director of housing, director of auxiliary services, and has been business manager for about 30 years. His first project as business manager was the renovation of the Hartmann Center. “President Abegg told me to keep the project on track. I knew nothing about construction, but he told me I have a way with people.” Abegg later put him in charge of auxiliary services such as the bookstore, food service, and real estate. His favorite memory was hosting three planeloads of Bradley fans bound for the National Invitation Tournament in New York in 1982.

He comments, “We probably have the most exciting customers in the world – young people who are intelligent and want to be here. These young people keep us on our toes.”


A nurturing niche

Dr. Alan Galsky

Dr. Alan GalskyWhen Dr. Alan Galsky came to Bradley in 1969 as an assistant professor of biology, “the old Olin Hall was the new Olin Hall.” He taught until 1982 when he accepted a position as associate dean of the graduate school. “I enjoyed doing that but realized I came to Bradley to work with undergrads. That was pivotal because I thought if I wanted to be an administrator, I would have to leave Bradley. It was a real tug-of-war.”

While he struggled with a decision, he was offered the interim associate provost of student affairs position. There, Galsky found his niche, and he has continued in that role ever since. Galsky comments, “The main reason I came and stayed here for 38 years is because of our [faculty-staff] involvement with undergraduate students. We can really work with them and make a difference in their lives. In my position now, I’m responsible, in one form or another, for anything with students outside the classroom. It is our goal and philosophy to offer students a complete set of programs, services, and activities that will ensure they have a rich, successful experience at Bradley. Students who become involved learn as much outside the classroom that will help later in life as they learn in the classroom. It’s critical to their growth and development and adds so much to what they do later in their lives.”


Where everybody knows your name

Johnnie Leemon

Johnnie LeemonFrom washing dishes to managing a cafeteria and food court, Johnnie Leemon has found Bradley to be an ideal place to work. Leemon was a 19-year-old wife and mother when she was hired in 1976.

Leemon worked in Geisert and University halls before coming to Williams Hall more than 15 years ago. She also has helped with weddings, receptions, and University events on campus. As a cafeteria supervisor, Leemon’s job involves checking menus, overseeing preparations, keeping the kitchen stocked, helping with the lunch line, filling out paperwork, and related duties.

She enjoys receiving cards from former students who once worked for her. Now, many international students seek her out, saying, “I was told by someone in my homeland, ‘Come work for Johnnie in Williams.’”

She concludes, “The people here are like family. They’re like my sisters and my kids. There’s such a feeling of camaraderie here, not only in the cafeteria, but all over campus. I know the maintenance workers, the housekeepers, the garbage guy. This is a place where you’re known, and where you get to know everybody.”


It’s all about balance

Dr. Claire Etaugh

Dr. Claire EtaughDr. Claire Etaugh may not wear go-go boots to class, as she did when she first came to Bradley in 1965, but those boots have kept her walking up the ladder of success at Bradley. Etaugh arrived on campus, a young psychology professor who had not yet finished her doctoral dissertation. Today, she is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Many faculty who came when I did planned to move on, but Bradley is such a great place, that many stayed. It’s big enough to offer opportunities to students and faculty, but small enough that you don’t feel isolated. There’s a sense of congeniality. You feel part of an overall enterprise working for a primary goal of educating students.”

Etaugh is the co-founder and remains the co-director of Bradley’s Child Study Center, a model preschool facility that opened 34 years ago. She also has developed several psychology courses and helped develop a women’s studies minor. She has served as co-op coordinator for LAS, chair of the psychology department, acting associate dean, associate dean, and interim provost.

She comments, “For me, it’s all about balance. At Bradley, as a new faculty member, I had a chance to carve out what I wanted to be, and over the last 20 years, I have gotten to be the administrator I want to be. It’s immensely satisfying working with the faculty to nourish a vibrant teaching-learning environment. I make it a priority to teach each year and do research with students. My passion for those activities drew me to higher education in the first place, and students enrich my soul.”

Looking at the new and upcoming improvements on campus, she says, “I think of the quote, ‘A rising tide raises all boats.’ As we increase the quality in one area, it spills over into other areas.”


Bringing Bradley to the world

Marian Phelps

Marian PhelpsAlumni who enrolled in the Study Abroad program may remember Marian Phelps, who serves as administrative support in that office.

Phelps handles the paperwork and coordinates the January and May interim Study Abroad programs. “I handle sign-up, keeping the database current, collecting application materials, reserving hotels, and all other arrangements, such as bus service, ordering theater tickets, working with the faculty, and ordering books.”

Phelps was drawn to Bradley in 1979 because of the tuition remission benefit for her children, but she has stayed long since they graduated. “I like working with students. It keeps me young.”

Phelps also has gone abroad with students so she knows what it’s like for students and staff. “I went in 1994 to London, Munich, Paris, Vienna, and Brugge, Belgium. Last May, I went to Dublin, and I’ve been to Copenhagen and to Hull, England, where we have Study Abroad semester programs.”

Working at Bradley has truly been a learning experience for Phelps, who began her career working for the history and sociology departments. “In school, I hated history, but I have grown to really like it. When I first worked in the history department, I did typing for professors and learned a lot. I could probably pass the Russian history class without studying.”


All in the family

Eleonore Hansen

Eleonore HansenOne reason the Bradley community seems like a family is that several Bradley couples work at the University. In that same tradition, Eleonore Hansen moved from Texas with her husband in 1968 when he was hired as a music professor. She was soon hired part-time to teach English.

Hansen began working full-time at Bradley when her husband decided to pursue his doctorate. “There was nothing full-time available in English, but the music department needed a librarian,” she remembers, noting the music library held scores and recordings. Hansen’s husband died a few years later, when their sons were 11 and 14, and having the Bradley family surrounding her became even more important. “Work was therapy for me.”

Working with music is a natural fit for Hansen, who played the oboe in the Peoria Symphony Orchestra until five years ago and now plays the recorder in ensembles. In the early 1970s, Hansen accepted a position in the Cullom-Davis Library. “I became an employee of the Library, but I stayed in Constance. I had duties both places, and I joked that my desk was in my briefcase.” The music library was moved to the main library in 1990.


Passionate about a noble profession

Dr. K. Paul Kasambira

Dr. K. Paul KasambiraDr. K. Paul Kasambira has been teaching Bradley students to teach for 28 years. The professor of education, born a twin in Zimbabwe, considers himself lucky to be here: African custom is to sacrifice the healthier twin at birth. That would have been him, but thanks to a missionary from Moline who converted his father to Christianity, his parents decided to keep both babies. “Now, years later, I am teaching Americans, that missionary’s people,” says Kasambira, one of 11 children, nine of whom are educators.

Kasambira came to Indiana for college, and after completing his doctorate, he was ready to return to his homeland. “I couldn’t go back home, though, because of the political situation in what was then Rhodesia,” Kasambira says, noting political struggles had shut down all transportation in and out of the country.

He accepted a position at Bradley, intending to move back in a year. But, after the first year, Bradley administrators applied on his behalf to secure a work permit. “Then, they helped me get a green card, which came in 1980. Now, here I am, enjoying every minute of it,” he says.

Kasambira also serves on the Board of Examiners for the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and has been to more than 30 states evaluating teacher education programs.

One of Kasambira’s favorite classes is “ETE 115: Schools and Schooling in American Society.” The class is open to all majors. “It’s amazing how many, at the end of the semester, decide they want to be teachers. I also teach a class in diversity, which is very important, and for the past 20 years, I have taught in the Study Abroad program in England.”

Kasambira estimates he has taught more than 5,000 Bradley students. “The students keep me here. Education sets me on fire, and the students come to watch me burn. I love to see young people enroll at Bradley as teacher candidates and observe them grow into full-fledged professionals who are ready to go out and make a difference in people’s lives.”