A digital special section of | Subscribe

Michelle Hodges

Michelle Hodges

VP and chief HR officer | Curves Jenny Craig | Class of 1995

Thinking back to her time on campus rekindled long-forgotten urges for Michelle Hodges.

“This makes me want a burger and fries from Murphy’s,” said the Carlsbad, Calif.-based VP and chief human resources officer at Curves Jenny Craig (MBA '95).

“My time at Illinois made up two of the most stressful, rewarding and fun years of my life. My academic life as an MBA student planted me in a small square of the campus bordered by the Main Library, what was known as Commerce West, and David Kinley Hall. The standout, of course, are the Morrow Plots

“I have to smile when I describe to my California friends how there is a famous — and very old — cornfield on campus, which resulted in our renowned library being built down instead of up. Or an Agriculture Fair where you could milk a cow or put your hand into the side of a cow to feel its digestive system. People just don’t understand the diversity, beauty and history of the U of I campus.

“I’m ever so grateful to Louis Meerdink, who was the head of the undergraduate business placement office where I had my assistantship. She helped me get my first job in human resources. 

“Now, let’s talk Green Street and the fun parts of those MBA years. Thursday night Mug Clubs were when the MBA students negotiated very cheap beers at that week’s chosen bar. I just found my ‘Best Mug Club Attendance’ certificate with my diploma in a recent move.

“Or the night that there was so much snow that we walked straight up the middle of a closed Green Street, slipping and sliding in a foot of snow. How was it that we couldn’t make it to school, but every bar was jam-packed?”