Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On the box and off the record

Things have changed greatly for former Chancellor Walter V. Wendler since our last meeting a few months ago in his Anthony Hall office. His new standard-issue desk is located in an obscure corner of Quigley Hall, in a small office, where SIU's newest professor of architecture sports a new look. Wearing a maroon turtleneck shirt and a clean-shaven face(!), the former most powerful man on campus offered me an unpacked box to sit on, as he shared some thoughts about the sudden changes in his life.

He is philosophical about his fate, seeing recent events as a spiritual challenge -- and opportunity. He's thrown his hat into the ring for a few jobs, but he's looking forward to teaching architecture again, his first love, although his new appointment does not require teaching until next Fall.

So what's he doing in the meantime? Will he have lunch with his nemesis, Peter the Great? I didn't have time to ask before my ride arrived.

My old friend Vic DeGraff, the sand painter was meeting me on campus, at the University Museum, where our friend Larry Bernstein's work is on display as part of the 'Cranbrook 5' exhibit.

I love the SIU campus. I should visit it more often. It feels good to be around all those young people -- not the students, the faculty! ;-)

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