A grimy summer job of detasseling corn gave me enough money in 1951 to buy an old jalopy and plunk down $55 for tuition, activity fees, and book rental for my first semester at Illinois State Normal University.

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Tuition proved to be the better investment by far. It put me on a path to meet my wife Elaine (Hakey) ’58. I graduated in 1962, launched a career in journalism, and eventually returned to Illinois State as sports information director from 1966 to 1979. I was also director of ISU’s news service from 1980 to 1995.

I was with Redbird Athletics at a time of surging enrollment and expectations. ISU left the NCAA College Division, which is now Division II, after winning a national baseball title in 1969 and moved up to Division I.

The change brought more pressure, but who’s complaining? I traveled coast to coast to watch the No. 1 NBA draft pick, Doug Collins ’73, play every game of his historic Redbird basketball career. And I was paid to do it!

I moved from sports to direct the news service in January 1980. Thanks to a staff of wonderful colleagues, I believe we kept the public well informed about campus policies and achievements. It was an honor to work with them.

I retired in 1995, grateful for 29 years on the ISU staff. I am a proud member of the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the Stretch Miller Award. I co-authored with Bryan Bloodworth ’79 a centennial history of Redbird basketball in 1999.

Elaine and I were thrilled to be chosen alumni king and queen for the 2012 Homecoming. We will celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary in August. We now live in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and enjoy time with our family. We are blessed with a son, daughter, and three grandchildren. My new hobby is learning to play the ukulele, but we still watch ISU football and basketball on Internet telecasts. Go Redbirds!

I can be reached at rrcushm@IllinoisState.edu.