What was the one Bradley class that changed everything for you?

Bhagat Singh's physical chemistry course. I did not understand even half of it, but I knew it was important and Prof. Singh was a character of the first water. I've spent my career applying it to what I learned in John Depinto's biochemistry class, which showed me how chemistry related to biology. But hold on, there was also Donald Glover's class, which made me choose chemistry as a major; Kenneth Kolb's organic chemistry class, which made me see the beauty of molecules; Tom Cumming's analytical class, which made me realize there was air and other things before 8 a.m.; and Robert Gayhart's inorganic (chemistry) course, where I fell in love with d-orbitals.

— Gary Pielak ’77, Ph.D.

At the urging of my high school guidance counselor, I entered Bradley as a business major. However, in the 2nd semester of my freshman year, I took Introduction to Poetry taught by Dr. Thomas Kent. I was so inspired by him, I knew being an English major was the path I needed to take. Dr. Kent was an amazing professor, and I will always remember and appreciate him for helping me make one of the best decisions of my life.

— William Bering ’68

When I arrived at Bradley at age 17, I didn't have a clue about what I wanted to be, which probably explains why I changed majors three times during the first year. English turned out to be a perfect fit, nourishing my love of reading and writing, but flexible enough for me to explore other interests.

In addition to 12 hours of marketing courses, I took classes in music, journalism, film studies, religion, politics and astronomy. I even, grudgingly and with considerable prodding from my advisor (Dr. Paul Sawyer, great teacher), took Econ 100 with Kal Goldberg, which turned out to be one of my favorite classes of all time. But I was an English major who didn't want to teach English, so I started shopping around for other career possibilities.

Never Buy Gas Again graphic

Advertising intrigued me, but all I really knew about it was the character Darrin Stephens on “Bewitched” was an adman. Then I took Advertising Planning and Decision Making with Paul Arney. Our assignment was to invent a product and plan an ad campaign for it. Mine was a solar-powered sports car — I was a little ahead of Elon Musk — and along with developing a budget and deciding on media buys, I wrote and designed all the creative materials.

My classmates were all business majors, and they were more focused on spreadsheets and market research than the creative possibilities of the assignment. Also, their imaginary products tended to be things like office supplies, so they were given the kind of low budgets that go into advertising items like that. But I had a sports car! Professor Arney gave me a huge budget, which I theoretically blew on TV commercials, coast-to-coast billboards and full-page ads in Sports Illustrated and Playboy.

I never got a chance to write car commercials in real life, although I did write print ads for some big-name companies like Yamaha and Kodak. I spent the first half of my career focused on the creative side of advertising as a writer and creative director. Then, almost by chance, I became the marketing director of a health system with a hospital, multiple physician practices and a nursing college.

After a moment of panic, I started drawing on the lessons learned in those marketing classes: how to put together a plan, negotiate ad buys, and conduct and analyze consumer research. It wasn't too terribly different from the work I did on “Ra, the Solar Car,” an assignment I knew I'd already aced.

— Rosemary Keating Stuttle ’76 M.A. ’85

Thoughts on diversity, equity and inclusion

I attended Bradley with the assistance of an Illinois State Financial Grant. I was drafted into the Army in 1971 and honorably discharged in 1973. I spent 38 years working in sales/marketing for Top 100 corporations. I am proud to be a Bradley alum.

But frankly, I must admit to a healthy dose of skepticism in regard to your new position, its goals and your timetable for “success.” Yes, I’m well aware of the terms diversity, equity and inclusion. Yet, I’ve not once heard — from ANY organization embarking on this endeavor — a concise definition of what exactly is meant by those terms and how, precisely, they intend to achieve the specific goals implied? What are the measurements of success?

I know many glass ceilings exist for us all. At one time I, myself, thought that playing point guard for the Chicago Bulls would have been a worthwhile career move. But my 5-foot 8 inches in height, along with the presence of some guy named “Michael” prompted a reversal in my own career thinking.

Dr. Anderson, you well know that solving the many complex issues we face today are not, generally, successful by focusing at the top and working down. A stable and supportive family environment, and much better primary and secondary schools are critical to one’s future success. And, to get to my point directly, I do not relish the idea of lowering the bar of expectations at successful institutions to accommodate the rising expectations for some who might not have the tools to be the future CEO of Amazon.

I’ve seen many well-intentioned programs fail because objectives were forced rather than earned. Boosting individual worth is critical. Mentoring others is, also, a wonderful thing. And, rewarding individuals who achieve/exceed lofty expectations is absolutely essential to the long-term success of great organizations. I hope your program complies, and I wish you well in your endeavors.

— Gary Clemens ’70

A time when Bradley built castles in the air

When John R. Brazil, Ph.D., was installed as Bradley University’s eighth president in 1992,he cited Henry David Thoreau: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Bradley lost its former leader June 2, 2022, when he died at the age of 76. We will always remember how tirelessly he worked to generate lofty aspirations and to build the foundations for their realization. Brazil put academics first at Bradley. He made sure Bradley’s future was grounded firmly in strategic planning, sound financial management, and strong financial support from alumni and friends through the highly successful Centennial Campaign. That campaign raised a record $127 million.

As Bradley’s leader, Brazil was committed to academic excellence. He directed resources to academic programs, student scholarships, faculty development, the library, intellectual and cultural programs, and WCBU. He (ensured) the need for new equipment and facilities were met. As a result, the university dedicated the Caterpillar Global Communications Center in 1999. These actions enhanced Bradley’s national reputation and brought a palpable excitement and strong sense of community to campus.

“What we must remind ourselves is that our success can only be accomplished collectively with the full effort and involvement of all who care about Bradley’s future,” he once said. John Brazil cared deeply for Bradley University, and we owe him a debt of thanks.

— Kathy Fuller, Executive Director of Donor Relations, Emerita

Why they chose Bradley

The high school state music festival was held at Bradley in the spring of my sophomore year. I was in two ensembles that were competing: a flute trio and a woodwind trio. Since we lived in Oak Lawn, a Chicago suburb, we travelled 140 miles by bus and got to spend a night away from home! In those days, that was a big deal for us. As a result of my time on campus, I fell in love with Bradley. It was the first college campus I had ever seen. I loved the quad, old Bradley Hall, the library, all of the dorm buildings. Just the ambiance of the place. After getting back from the trip, I announced to my parents I wanted to attend Bradley.

They were not too excited about my announcement: first of all, it was a private school and, therefore, more expensive, AND secondly, it was further from home than they had anticipated me being when I went off to school. When it came time for me to look at colleges, I refused to look at any other school. I had made up my mind two years before. It was Bradley. I did manage to get an academic scholarship, which assisted in convincing my parents that Bradley was my choice. We could make it work.

Off I went in the fall of 1960, and I have never regretted my decision. I grew up socially and intellectually at Bradley with its conducive environment and the opportunities afforded me. It was a superb four years. I have always been proud to say I received my undergraduate degree from Bradley University!

— Arlie Gaut Bryant ’65, Ed.D.

Coming from Kewanee, Ill., high school having majored in three sports, receiving a scholarship from Bradley and making the freshman basketball team as a walk-on were very exciting years for a teenager! Retiring from Sears as a buyer and later as a real estate broker sums up just why Bradley is a great choice for a university.

— Randy Swearingen ’63

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