The first stop on Lynn Schmit’s spin down Illini memory lane: the bench outside Altgeld Hall.
“That’s where I ate my lunch, weather permitting, singing along with the chiming bells while the squirrels circled me, eyeing my sandwich,” says the recently retired Mahomet Public Library director (BA ’86, English; MS ’88, library and information science).
“My other memorable spot was the tunnel between the graduate and undergraduate libraries. Small tables along one wall were just large enough for one person to eat lunch and pretend to be studying.
“The food vending machines were mostly ignored, for good reason, even when crowds passed through the tunnel between classes. I found this relaxing and an improvement over watching squirrels.”
When she arrived at Illinois, Schmit’s plan was to earn her bachelor’s degree, then enter the workforce. She wound up sticking around a few more years, thanks to the wise advice of a faculty member who went down as one of her all-time favorites.
“I had several outstanding professors, but the one I most appreciated was Professor Larry Danielson," she says. "He was a wonderful instructor for whom I had the highest regard and respect.
“After the final exam of my senior year, he took me aside and told me I should go to graduate school. I had not considered this until we had that brief conversation. I lacked direction and confidence, but those few words from him were the impetus I needed to pursue what became my dream job.
“For the rest of my working life, I had a satisfying, challenging and fulfilling career as a library director.
"God bless you, Professor Danielson, wherever you are.”