The Division of Student Affairs held its annual Gamsky award ceremony December 7. This year’s ceremony remembered the life of the late Dr. Neal R. Gamsky, former vice president and dean of Student Affairs, who passed away in July of this year. The 2021–2022 Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life Award was presented to Bill Legett, director of Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality (EMDH).
With approximately 1,000 full-time and student employees, Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality (EMDH) is the largest department at Illinois State University, dedicated to enhancing the student experience and providing the campus community with high-quality, efficient, and innovative event services and dining options. As the director, Legett provides direct oversight of two residential dining centers, 11 on-campus retail dining venues, University Catering services, and all dining services at the lab schools and on-campus child care services. In addition, he is responsible for the daily management of all events and services at the Bone Student Center and Braden Auditorium, as well as facility management of the Student Services Building and the Multicultural Center.
Over the past five years, Legett led the Bone Student Center Revitalization and Concourse Improvement projects at Illinois State. The $32.9 million Revitalization and $11 million Concourse Improvement projects were completed in spring 2021 and featured both new additions as well as extensive renovations to existing spaces. Legett continues to work with Facilities Management and Planning to ensure department facilities are well-maintained and to plan for future projects that will provide welcoming spaces for current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors to use for many years to come.
While the scope of Legett’s position has always been extensive and far-reaching, his ability to continue meeting the needs of the campus over the last year and a half has been incredible. During the most challenging year the University has ever experienced, Legett and his staff in EMDH adapted at every turn—delivering meals to students in quarantine and isolation, determining solutions to help alleviate food insecurity for students, and stepping in to work food lines during labor shortages. He has been a strong leader, team player, and role model for his department.
Legett started at Illinois State University in 2012 as the associate director of residential, retail, and catering dining operations. In November 2016, he was named interim director of Campus Dining Services, and then in July 2017, Legett was announced as the first director for the newly formed department—Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and business, and he spent over twenty years in the hotel lodging industry prior to working at Illinois State.
Legett currently serves as a board member for the Bloomington-Normal Girls Softball Association, a coach for his daughter’s softball team, and is a registered Illinois High School Association umpire. He was previously a member of the McLean County Economic Leadership Board, the chair of the Bloomington-Normal Sports Commission, president of the Bloomington-Normal Hotel and Lodging Association, served as PTO president for Sugar Creek Elementary School for 17 years, and taught as an adjunct instructor at Lincoln College. Legett was named the McLean County Hospitality Industry Person of the Year in 2000 and the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association’s Hotelier of the Year in 2004, and has received the Marriott Presidential Award for outstanding hospitality, among other professional accomplishments.
Congratulations to Bill Legett, the 2021-2022 Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life award recipient! Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Illinois State University!