Thursday, August 22, 2013

Leadership lived: Gardener hopes beautiful campus makes students feel at home

Terry Minder, assistant grounds gardener at the University of Illinois Springfield, has made it his mission to keep the campus beautiful. He’s part of an 11 person crew that maintains 370 acres of campus grounds.

“The students will fill more comfortable, I believe, walking campus when it looks nice,” said Minder. “We have people all of the time say it’s beautiful.”

On a daily basis, Minder takes care of the annual plants and tends to flower beds on campus. He also waters indoor plants and helps with snow removal in the winter.

“Especially in the snow, we have to get those walks clean so (students) can get to and from the parking lots,” said Minder.

Minder enjoys interacting with students and jokes he often gets in trouble for talking too much, however he always gets the job done.

“My job to serve students – That would be to make them feel at home and then when you run across one of them to say good morning, good afternoon, whatever and also appreciate that they are here because I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t here.”

Minder has a passion for working outdoors and says he’s “never had an indoor job.”

“I grew up on a farm and I’ve been around plants all of my life,” he said. “I worked 20 years at a landscape company and got a job opening chance out here and got hired on.”

Even after 12 years on the job, Minder still looks forward to coming to work every day.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had and I’ll retire here. It’s a great place to work,” he said.

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