A digital special section of | Subscribe

Peg Ross

Peg Ross

VP, global HR | Project Concern International

Peg Ross’ first brush with celebrity came as a result of her summer gig delivering the mail in Urbana.

“I carried mail as a summer casual for the Urbana Post Office for two summers — 1976 and 1977, I think — and sometimes had the privilege of delivering (two-time Nobel Prize winner) Dr. John Bardeen’s mail to his house,” she says. “As I recall, his wife was nice and allowed me to take a drink from their hose on hot days.

“That was a great summer job — I think I made $10.75 an hour, which allowed me to save enough to pay for school and living expenses and not have to work, other than babysitting, during the school year.”

Now the San Diego-based vice president for global HR at Project Concern International, Ross lived an interesting life while studying cultural anthropology here.

Among her other favorite former stops:

— Amish country. “As married students, we often bought meat at Ag Sales. We also would go out to the U of I orchards and pick up the windfall apples that had been dumped in the dumpster — the staff let us do this, but I’m not sure it was sanctioned by the university — and then take them to Arthur and have the Amish press them into cider for us.

“We’d put the plastic gallon jugs of cider in the freezer we had on the back porch of our flat on Busey.”

— The anthropology department. “As a founding member of the resurrected Undergrad Anthropology Association, I remember how excited I was to escort Margaret Mead — complete with her long wooden staff — from perhaps Gregory Hall back to Davenport Hall, where anthro was located, after her lecture. She then spoke to a group of graduate and undergrad anthropology students for about an hour or so.”

— The DeLuxe. My husband (Carl Ross from the Class of ’74) and I enjoyed the DeLuxe’s great fish sandwiches on Fridays, on rye bread with dill pickles. Heaven.

— Turner’s Ribs. “We went a few times ... when we could afford it.”