Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Northeastern Illinois University: College Years in the 1970s and early 1980s
When I graduated from Madonna High School in May 1977, I received High Honors and Advanced Placement for Honors classes in the upper 10 percent of the Class of 1977. Both my parents and family attended the graduation ceremony where I graduated with cap and gown. The summer of the year 1977 I was rewarded with a vacation from my parents who were very happy that I had completed four years of high education in a Catholic school. My Father who was working for Felt-Products Corporation in Skokie, Illinois received $1,000 for having a high school graduate in the family. Felt-Products Corporation invited me and my Father to visit the headquarters in Skokie for the occasion where I received my high school graduation gift to help me with savings toward college tuition. In addition, I started working at Samuel R. Lewis and Associates Inc. with the late Mr. Joseph Pelletier, Engineer and President of the Consulting Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Contractors on Wells Street across the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois, upon referral from Sr. Rosemarie, my counselor from Madonna High School which was located on the northwest of Chicago. My family was living on Waveland near Lori and Mary Schulte who were high school neighbors and we used to take the bus together when my Father could not drive us to Madonna High School in the new white Ford Gran Torino. Thirty-five years ago, I was sent to Northeastern Illinois University by my Father, Mr. Roberto Hung J.D. who insisted that I should become a teacher at the Illinois State College which was a member of the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities. Since my Father worked in Skokie at the Felt-Products Corporation known for manufacturing gaskets in the automobile industry, his co-workers and friends highly recommended Northeastern Illinois University as a good choice for an Illinois State University in 1977. Felt-Pro Corporation rewarded employees like my father who had a high school graduate with High Honors in the family with $1,000 for college tuition at the Illinois State institution of higher education. In addition, Felt-Products supported employees educational goals for their children with the Mecklenburger Scholarship which subsidized tuition for one semester during the university’s academic year. I only received the Mecklenburger Scholarship in 1977 and 1980 from the Felt-Products Corporation in Skokie, Illinois while my Father was an employee there. The fifth year of college at NEIU, I was granted an Illinois Guaranteed Loan to complete my college studies. The Illinois Guaranteed Loan for college tuition was paid in full during 1983 while I worked for Holy Cross High School for Boys, a Christian Brothers School in River Grove, Illinois USA. I attended Northeastern Illinois University in the Fall of 1977 and continued my college studies there for the next five (5) years, until I completed the Student Teaching curriculum at NEIU in December 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, French, Spanish, and English. I am a graduate NEIU Alumni from the Class of 1982. While I worked for Samuel R. Lewis & Associates Inc. during the summer, I started saving for college expenses at Northeastern Illinois University where I had been accepted with Advanced Placement to start in the Fall 1977. In September 1977, Dr. Bruno Galassi from Chairperson of the Foreign Languages Department accepted my Advanced Placement in French and introduced me to Mrs. Dorette Klein, the French Professor from Strasbourg, France. At the same time, NEIU place me at the Financial Aid Office as a student aide on campus in the College Work and Study Program where I worked for the next five (5) years at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, B-Wing where there used to be an office instead of the classrooms there today. While I was studying as a college student at Northeastern Illinois University, my Mother became sick after she worked at Felt-Pro and was studying at Loyola University for a Master’s Degree in Spanish Literature at the Lewis Campus, Downtown in Chicago with Dr. Martinez, Dr. Carol Holdsworth, and other faculty who worked for the Jesuits there. My Mother’s mental stress disorder has caused stress and financial hardship for me and my family since my Mother was not able to work at all. My Father who worked at Felt-Products in Skokie, promised to help me with college expenses. I was working different jobs to save for college and family expenses since I lived at home to help my Mother who became sick during the five years I was studying as a college student at Northeastern Illinois University. While my Father worked for Felt-Pro, he was enrolled in a family healthcare plan which included the North Shore Clinic in Rogers Park and St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois USA. After my parents became divorced, my Mother was hospitalized at Illinois Masonic Advocate and Mercy Hospital in care of Dr. Eduardo Machado M.D. in Aurora, in addition to Chicago Read Mental Health Center in Illinois, USA. My Father, Mr. Roberto Hung J.D. visited the North Shore Clinic in Rogers Park for eye glasses and check-ups and also made appointments at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, near Felt-Pro in Skokie, Illinois. Four years later, in the Fall of 1981, I was involved in the French Honor Society and elected as an officer the French Club where Dorette Klein was managing French cultural events on campus from her office in the basement of the Classroom Building known today as the Lech Walesa Center. There is where Dorette Klein introduced me to Benjamin Wolf who was referred to her office by a friend of the Yeshiva High School where Ben Wolf had graduated. Ben Wolf is the son of Arthur Wolf, a corporate executive from Leo Burnett, the Chicago advertising agency located downtown. Ben Wolf invited me to Rogers Park for deep dish pizza along Sheridan Road at My π for the mathematical equation A=πr^2. When Ben Wolf used to drive around in his station wagon through Uptown and Edgewater, he told me that his friends lived in the area for more than thirty years. Now in 2013, Ben Wolf is no longer living in the same area nor is My π the pizza place along Sheridan Road near Loyola University Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park, Illinois. ©2013 Gardenia C. Hung. All Rights Reserved.