Linda Timm credits her 27 years at Illinois State with helping prepare her for her new position as president of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wis. Timm will start her presidency on July 1, after an 11-year term as vice president of Student Affairs at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.
Timm came to Illinois State to pursue a teaching degree. “My father attended Illinois State, and when my family went on vacation, we often traveled through Normal,” she said. “We lunched at the Steak ’n Shake, and Dad would point out the University. When it came time to apply to schools, it seemed natural to pick Illinois State.”
Timm fondly remembers her days on the 8th floor of Colby Hall, which housed all first-year women students. “We had a great time getting to know each other and building a real sense of community on the floor,” she said. “I also remember my Preview guide, Tom Bowling. He works in Student Affairs, and we see each other at conferences. It’s true that Preview guides make a lasting impression.”
While earning her bachelor’s degree in Communication, Timm worked as a resident assistant in the halls, spurring her decision to change career paths to the student affairs field. She served in multiple administrative roles in Student Housing Services before joining the Student Judicial office first as a counselor and finally as the director, with professional development guidance and assistance along the way from Neal Gamsky, Jude Boyer, Christ Schwelle and Doug Lamb.
Timm earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. at Illinois State in Educational Administration and Foundations, citing dynamic professors like Paul Baker, Ron Halinski and Edward Hines as challenging and encouraging. “Dr Hines served as my dissertation chair, and he wouldn’t let me drag my feet. Whenever he felt I was slowing down, he would send messages–first a memo saying ‘I want pages,’ then a memo saying, ‘with words on them.’ I still have those notes. He was definitely a great motivator.”
Timm continues to be impressed by Hines, both for his work at the University and on the state and national levels in the finance and legal issues areas. “He always treated his students with respect and encouraged us to dip deep into the issues and to think broadly about the implications of current issues in higher education.” So when asked to help establish an endowed scholarship in Dr. Hines’ honor, it was “a way to say thank you for all he gave me and continues to give me.” Timm said Hines was one of the first persons she talked with about her Mount Mary candidacy—about the challenges, how to best prepare and to hear him say ‘Go for it, Linda,’ knowing he would be honest and candid about her readiness.
“I spent so much of my life at Illinois State that it will always be important to me,” Timm said. “I love coming back to campus and seeing the changes and growth that have taken place. Usually, my visits are celebrations of retirements. I guess that says something about how long my relationship has been with the University.”
“My late husband, Dale, was also an alum, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA. Our daughter, Julie (26) attended Metcalf and U High prior to the Indiana move and son Ryan (24) attended Metcalf and was actively involved in the Junior Gammi Phi Circus,” said Timm. Julie graduated from the University of Notre Dame and works as an assistant merchant for Abercrombie and Fitch at the Ohio corporate headquarters, and Ryan graduated from Indiana University and is an assistant product developer for Kohl’s at their Wisconsin corporate headquarters.
Timm talked about her years at Illinois State when she took classes from presidents and worked judicial office cases with provosts and presidents as “helping to develop my philosophy, beliefs and skills in higher education administration.” She said her years of education and experience at the University along with her experiences at Saint Mary’s College “gives me a solid foundation and, frankly, the courage to take the next step as a president.”
“What I have learned at Saint Mary’s is that my skills and my educational and administration foundation that were formed at Illinois State have led me to understand I am best suited to work in Catholic higher education,” Timm said. “The core values, mission and faith that is central to work in a Catholic institution fits my personal and professional vocation.”
“I am very excited about my new campus and can’t wait to get there and really get involved,” Timm said. “There is an absolute sense of fit for me at Mount Mary College. I know in my heart and soul that this is where I can do good work.”