How do you get from incredibly shrinking Danville, Ill., to California’s bustling Orange County?
For Scott Chantos, the path involved two wise professors, a part-time job that produced big-time results and membership in a certain Greek house on the UI campus.
“The Sigma Chi fraternity house on the corner of Fourth and John helped a kid from the small town of Danville, Illinois open up socially and maybe prepared me more for life than all my academic pursuits combined,” says Chantos (BA ’86, speech communication with a business concentration).
“The bonds I formed have lasted a lifetime in many cases and the parties were not bad, either. My older brother and uncle, who both attended Illinois, tried to dissuade me from joining, but after a few parties with all the beer I could drink and two-to-one women to men, I struggled to see the downside.”
As for the person who had the most profound impact on the now-RAEN vice president, it’s a three-way tie for first:
1. “The first person that impacted my educational direction was Fred Gottheil. As the professor of economics, Dr. Gottheil gave me my first taste of business and the economy.
“The fact that his teaching helped me better understand economic impact was outstanding, but he delivered his teaching with such humor and wit that what I learned stuck with me as a basis for my business education and career.
2. “The second person of profound impact was Tom Costello in the speech communications department. To say I was terrified to speak publicly would be an understatement.
“Tom taught a class for students with stage fright. His calming and witty nature helped me come out of my shell and open up to the power of speaking. As a result, I changed my major to communications and have grown in my business career largely due to my ability to speak publicly.”
3. “The third person of great impact was Dale Brodt, manager of Redwood and Ross, which was on the corner of First and Green. I worked my way through school selling clothing at Redwood and Ross, including many an interview suit.
“Dale took me under his wing and mentored me, helping me understand the selling process and the real impact of customer service. I would later manage the store on campus before moving on to a long career in apparel and footwear for brands like Converse, Timberland and Nike.”
Lastly, “though I cringe at the performance of the Illini on the gridiron and hardwood over the past many years, I enjoyed some of the best sports years in the schools history from 1982 to 1986,” Chantos says. “Like the Cubs, I believe the dry spell will end — someday — so I still proudly display my University of Illinois license plate cover as I drive down the streets and highways of California.”