Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council highlights an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Donald Reed, associate director of residence life for University Housing Services.
As associate director of residence life, what do you do?
Coordinates Cultural Dinner series. Provides leadership and guidance for the administrative operations for three residential complexes (Watterson Towers, Tri-Towers and Hewett/Manchester), administrative operations of the summer conference program, and student leadership. Directly supervise four full-time employees; indirectly supervises 11 residence hall coordinators, three service area coordinators, three area coordinators, and 107 residence assistants.
How long have you been an employee at Illinois State?
I have been associated with Illinois State University since 1989 when I started as a speech communication major. I received my bachelor’s in 1994 and my master’s in counselor education in 1997. In July of 1997, I began working with University Housing Services as a full-time residence hall coordinator. I have also served as an area coordinator, assistant director, and associate director. Although I recently celebrated 20 years as a full-time professional with Illinois State, my association with the university spans almost 30 years.
What do you love the most about working at Illinois State?
Illinois State is more than work. Illinois State is like family. I grew up in Harvey, Illinois; however, I became an adult during my time at Illinois State. There have been so many who invested in me as a professional. Because I am the product of excellent mentors like Marylyn Tyus, Chika Nnamani, Maureen Blair, Rick Lewis, Eddie Glen, and A.C. Beale, just to name a few, I count it a privilege to be able to give back in a similar manner to the current generation of students. They make it all worthwhile.
What is one fact about yourself that might surprise people?
I was academically dismissed from Illinois State University during the 1991–1992 school year. Although it was not the best experience, it was the proverbial “kick in the pants” I needed to get serious about my educational pursuits. That year I attended South Suburban College and obtain my associate’s degree. I was able to return to Illinois State under the New Start Program. Two years later I graduated. I learned a great lesson: delay does not mean denial. No matter the obstacle, with the correct focus and support, you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.
When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
I love a good movie. I am a huge Marvel fan. If I’m not traveling to the Chicagoland area to visit with family (the reason I am proud of my last name), I am with my sons, Joshua and Aaron, at Marcus Wehrenberg Galaxy Theaters. I might need to see Black Panther for the third time. Wakanda forever!
What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus has always been the Quad in the summer. A rising second would be the new Redbird Plaza.
If you could have a meal with one famous person (living or deceased), who would it be and why?
I would love to have a meal with Martin Luther King, Jr. I have always been awe of the impact he had on this country. He is a constant reminder of the importance of our voice. King was only 39 when he was assassinated. He was a young man that accomplished so much. While “I Have a Dream,” which was an unscripted part of a speech originally entitled “Normalcy No More”; “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” were amazing speeches, I have found lesser-known speeches by King such as “What is Your Life’s Blueprint” and a sermon entitled “Serving” to be life-changing. I would enjoy listening to him expound on today’s events within society. What would he say? It might surprise many of us.