|Jude Boyer more than just a faculty member|
|Written by Rick Jones|
|Sunday, 13 January 2013 15:58|
The news of Jude Boyer’s death stunned me.
Not Jude. Not this force of nature who in my eyes had been larger than life at Illinois State University.
I feel ill-equipped to write about Jude. Others who will read this would be more knowledgeable about her professional life at ISU, or offer unique personal glimpses. Yet, after originally declining the Vidette’s offer, I knew I had to attempt to illuminate the woman I knew and admired.
Jude Boyer was undaunted. I earlier called her a force of nature. How else should we characterize a woman who came to ISU in the late 1960s as one of the original RAs when Watterson Towers opened for business? Before she retired 30-plus years later, Jude had served as the vice president for student affairs.
Along the way, Jude streamlined ISU’s graduation procedures, giving each college a separate ceremony to celebrate. She served as the university’s affirmative action officer. Jude was an adviser to both the Red Tassel Mortar Board honor society and the Delta Delta Delta social sorority.
A leader in the University Club, composed of faculty and staff, Jude loved the group’s various gourmet dinners. She was active in the ISU annuitants’ organization for retired ISU employees.
There was more, of course! What else would one expect from a force of nature?
I first met Jude as we served together on the Vidette Publication Board, the group that oversees the operation of the campus student newspaper. She remained on the Board when I stepped down. About 10 years later, on behalf of the Pub Board, Jude offered me the opportunity to replace the legendary Harry Thiel as GM.
I laughed when she came to my faculty office in Fell Hall and told me she could be harsh at times, and to let me know I should not take it personally when my time came. As I said, I laughed. Note to self: One should not laugh at a force of nature.
In time, my time came. It remains one of my favorite Jude moments — one she and I enjoyed reliving in recent years. Jude sent a fax to the Vidette, outlining, I am certain, in great detail exactly what she needed from me for some report. Unfortunately for me, I had questions. I phoned her for clarification.
“Rick,” she said with exasperation filling her voice, “I wrote that memo so EVEN YOU could understand it!”
Ok, then. But I still had those questions. Not a good moment to be me!
I think about that episode today and smile. Turns out, it is a good memory after all.
I could not make myself attend the ISU men’s basketball games last week after learning about Jude’s passing. She was a passionate Redbird fan. I was not ready to look and not see Jude sitting there.
Mentor. Friend. Confidant.
A force of nature.