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Pardon Our Progress

I’m a member of the Normal Rotary Club.  We meet on Wednesday’s at the Bone Student Center on the beautiful campus of Illinois State University.  For those who haven’t visited ISU in awhile, they’ve got some great revitalization going on to modernize the look and feel of campus and particularly in the case of the Bone Student Center to make it a centerpiece of the campus experience for students, faculty, alumni, and importantly prospective students and their families.


But they’re also doing it because it serves the community.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that for two summers, while a student at Illinois Wesleyan University, I served as a tour guide for the Admissions Office.  IWU was going through a significant renovation during that period as the now nearly 25 year old Shirk Athletic Center and the Science Building created a chaotic construction scene as I walked prospective students around.


Back then, we didn’t have quite as sophisticated renderings of how the new buildings would look like the beautiful signage at the Bone Student Center.  As I made my way through a temporary entrance and through a meandering hallway shuttling people around and under construction, one particular sign struck me.  It read in red letter (Redbird red, perhaps):


Pardon Our Progress.


The relevance to our situation struck me like a steel I-beam.  What better analogy for our current reimagining.  We don’t have the architectural pictures that help people visualize how we’ll look when we’re completed.  But, just like blockaded doors, chain link fencing, and construction hard hats are signs of progress, we can demonstrate that as well.


I won’t allow our future to be darkened by the cynics and their narrow perspective.  Let me paint a picture for you that describes our future.


United Way works hand in hand with local businesses, with government, with donors, with non-profits, with schools, and any other willing partner and organization to:

  • Ensure all youth reach their full potential
  • Convene and coordinate resources to tackle community issues in a holistic fashion
  • Strengthen and modernize the systems that support the infrastructure of health and human services
  • Contribute to McLean County being viewed as a beacon for its residents


Our current value and our future potential are measured by more than the limited terms of the past.  Our success with Rock the Block, KiteFest, and 48 in 48 demonstrate clear signs of progress.  It’s a new day at United Way.

So, hopefully, you’ll “pardon our progress”.