The Civil Service Council will feature a civil service employee at Illinois State University each month to highlight an exceptional colleague and the outstanding work being done on campus! This month get a chance to learn about and applaud Sgt. Michael Gardner of Campus Police.

What is your position on campus and how long have you been with the University?

In 1994, I began my employment with ISU in the Campus Dining department as a student employee and then switched to full-time civil service in 1996.  With the exception of the years 2000-2004, I have spent the past 27 years of my life as a proud Redbird!  I am currently a Sergeant with the campus police department, assigned as the supervisor of the Community Engagement Unit (CEU).  If you’re not familiar with it, the CEU focusses on building relationships and trust within our communities, on campus and beyond.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Long before I was assigned to the CEU, I had developed a passion for community outreach and relationship building.  However, for most of my years at ISUPD, I had patrol officer and supervisor duties which kept me from doing everything I wanted to do regarding my passion.  Now I do this full time!  I truly enjoy making connections with students and community members and being able to observe the tangible and intangible benefits of those interactions.  I feel that what I and the other members of the unit are doing, although very different from patrol officer duties, is important for not just our department, but for the entire community and the law enforcement agencies within them.

What are your hobbies or favorite past-time?
Some people may know this already, but my favorite hobby is playing piano and other keyboard instruments.  I studied music here at ISU and my love for it has not faded.  I play in six different bands, although not with all of them on the same day!  Three of them have played for various ISU events over the past 5 years.  And believe it or not, one of them I joined in 1996 and we’re still going… wow, right?!  Whenever I retire from ISU, my plan is to continue this hobby as long as my mind and fingers can do it.

What else would you like others to know about you or your time at ISU?
On a more personal note, my bride-to-be is a musician, singer, and songwriter, and we enjoy performing and writing music together.  We would love to see some of you come out and support live music when we and others perform around town!

And last, but certainly not the least, I am a very proud father of three boys who constantly make my life interesting, usually in positive ways.  I am so grateful to have such amazing children, all of whom I hope will be future Redbirds!