The Ladies of EIU

Me and Stacia

This week, I’m getting ready to head to my last board meeting for UCDA, the University and College Designers Association. This has been an important organization for me. It’s taught me a lot: design inspiration and practice, networking, leadership skills, organization skills, and all the while, I met lots of incredible people and saw some amazing cities. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity, not just because I got elected by my peers, but because Clemson gave me the time to be a part of this organization. (I’ll still be involved, just not on the board for now. Time for someone else to have some fun shaping the organization.)

One of the amazing people I met through UCDA is Stacia Lynch, and through her, the Eastern Illinois University communications staff. What a fun group of ladies this is. They’ve been sweet to adopt me as a sister staff member and we have fun looking at each other’s posts and pictures. I feel I know them as well as some of the people I actually work with at Clemson.

Thanks for all the donations!

Stacia is one of the reasons I started running. Well, along with a fellow Jazzerbuddy who ran a half and got a medal for it. Stacia participated in Team in Training to run a marathon and raised a lot of money for leukemia. This inspired me to put on the running shoes and I’m not the only one; from what I can tell, she’s got most of the office running as well. When I started to raise money for Alzheimer’s during the Bridge Run, the EIU ladies donated to my cause. In fact, they donated a lot more than my own colleagues.

Would you let these ladies help you move in?

So, for the EIU ladies, I made them a beard, in royal blue, as a thanks for all their support. I hope they look good with the blue wigs, ladies!

And there’s one more special lady at the EIU office that gets one more extra gift. Tracy Hall-Ingram was the very first to click on that “make you a gift” thing so many of us posted back in January. Tracy has been through a lot this year. She too took up running and even finished a half-marathon, but as a result, has also found she has a fair number of health problems. Looks like she’s switched to biking, as well as working hard to find out a diagnosis and answers to feeling better. She’s also a big supporter of my sister Carla, who wrote a book about her issues with lupus. (If you know anyone chronically ill, they will thank you for buying them this book.) So Tracy, you get a purse, and for you, I lined it with the same royal blue color. Imagine how fabulous you’ll look if you carry the purse AND wear the beard!

A purse for Tracy!

Unfortunately, budgets mean that the EIU ladies can’t make it to Phoenix. I can’t express how disappointed I am not to see them. They’ve managed to keep me sane on the difficult days and make me laugh on a regular basis. And I know they are just as disappointed to not get to go. So, I hope this little care package brings them a small smile. I promise, I’m dropping it in the mail tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll see them in Montreal!

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