FW: In praise of UIS staff

From: Chesky, Jeffrey
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:24 PM
To: Koch, Susan J Cc: Pardie, Lynn
Subject: In praise of UIS staff
All too often, I fear that my faculty colleagues do not totally appreciate the wonderful support they receive from the hard-working and (in my opinion) underpaid staff. As I put the finishing touches on a presentation I am giving next week, I have thought back on how blessed I have been in my decades here to have had such competent individuals assisting me. I know that neither my research, teaching, nor public speaking endeavors could have been nearly as successful without them. In this e-mail, I cannot mention them all, but the late Jackie Nixon, manager of the science stockroom was invaluable in my research grants, as well as the graduate students I hired (and whom I properly acknowledged with authorship on some papers), the people who made my illustrations and graphs for publication (before this was all done on computers), to the people who put together my poster displays (on more than one occasion at meetings of the Gerontological Society of America and American Physiological Society, people said that my posters were the most visually compelling of any on the program–hope it did not distract, but added to the scientific points), and now I want to mention an individual who has been the most helpful to me of any. Her name is Ms. Kara McElrath in Information Technology Services. Harry Berman recommended her to me when I told him that I needed to change from bringing slides in carousel projectors to Powerpoint presentations. I suppose I should become more competent in all the new technologies, but even when I trust my own work, I would rather the “experts” get involved. She has designed most of my powerpoint slideshows and we have discussed the most effective ways of presenting the material. I do try to keep the slides to a minimum as I would prefer people just listen to me; thus it is imperative that what I show on the screen is really memorable. I have just e-mailed my latest powerpoint to the people who invited me to speak next week and if this presentation is as successful and educationally rewarding as I trust it will be, a good portion of the credit goes to her. I believe it was George Burns who once said that the secret to a great lecture is to have a strong opening, a powerful ending, and make sure that they are very close together. As this workshop on biology of aging (not the complete title) is scheduled for almost four hours, I cannot make the beginning and ending close together, but I am very happy with the opening, ending, and everything in between. I hope that I continue to represent UIS well in my emeritus years, but this e-mail is not about me, but simply to express to you my deepest appreciation for all the technical assistance I have received here. My admiration is not limited to the technical assistance people have given me, but extends to physical plant, custodial services, landscaping, food services, security etc. — all the other divisions that people never notice and appreciate until something goes wrong. We are lucky to have these people employed by UIS. Jeffrey Chesky Emeritus Professor Gerntology/Biology

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