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Interview with Diane Kerruish

Elgin Community College Archives
Polly Nash, Interviewer |
Elgin Community College Archives |

0:00 - Introduction of Narrator

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Diane Kerruish, …

Segment Synopsis: Polly Nash introduces the interview, states why Kerruish was selected to give her oral history, including the fact that she was an Elgin Community College student who subsequently became an employee of the college.

Keywords:

Subjects: Higher Education

0:37 - Kerruish Early History

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Partial Transcript: May we start out with just a little bit about your own personal history…

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish tells that she was born in Chicago in 1956, the oldest of 5 children. After living there a few years, the family moved to various locations in northern Illinois. She attended and graduated from high school in Libertyville. During her senior year, Diane recalls that her parents decided to become the caretakers of Vasa Park, a park established by Swedish neighbors in South Elgin. She joined them in the spring of 1974 after finishing high school. She describes two photographs taken during a Swedish event at the Park in which she was participating in a Swedish folk dancing program for the King of Sweden.

Keywords: Augustana Nursing School; John Kerruish; Libertyville High School

Subjects: Higher Education

5:24 - Decision to Attend Elgin Community College

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Partial Transcript: Why did you decide to come to ECC?

Segment Synopsis: Diane recollects about her rationale for coming to Elgin Community College, specifically that it was close and affordable, the latter trait particularly important because she couldn’t afford to go to a four-year school. She tells about how different her experience was, in that she graduated from a school outside of ECC’s district and didn’t really know any of the other students her age. Also, she reports that there were many returning adult mothers seeking to upgrade their skills. Finally, initially at least, she recounts that there were cliques of students from each of the surrounding high schools that were close to each other. Kerruish shares that these differences soon were ameliorated through the course of the first semester, when all students started realizing they needed to depend on each other.

Keywords:

Subjects: Higher Education

8:17 - Kerruish as a Work-Study Student at ECC

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Partial Transcript: You talked about ECC being affordable. Did you need any financial aid? …

Segment Synopsis: As Diane wonders aloud how her family could have afforded her college education, particularly with a large family and limited income, she explains that she was able to obtain a work-study job in the Registrar’s Office that helped her not only financially but also aided in her self-awareness of what she was looking for in a future career. She recalls that it was a good job where she worked with Registrar Erika Varrak and her assistant, Josephine Homuth. Diane reminisces how she met her husband while she was working. She elaborates how the registration system worked at that time as a paper-based one which required much filing of papers, which is what she did as a work-study student.

Keywords: Erika Varrak; John Kerruish; Josephine Homuth

Subjects: Higher Education

11:08 - Lessons Learned through Work-Study Experience

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Partial Transcript: We learn lessons in our classes, and we can also learn lessons in our workplace…

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish reveals what Erika Varrak and Josephine Homuth taught her, including the importance of punctuality, taking responsibility, and that what she was doing was important. Diane also describes the early use of computers at the college.

Keywords: Erika Varrak; Josephine Homuth

Subjects: Higher Education

13:17 - Recollections of Time as a Student

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Partial Transcript: What did you study while you were here at ECC?

Segment Synopsis: Diane describes what she studied at Elgin Community College, discussing some of the professors who were particularly memorable and influential to her as a young student. She also remembers other specific occasions during her time as a student, including playing intramural softball and dances that she attended.

Keywords: 50s Dance; Harold Echternach; John Kerruish; Pat Dumoulin

Subjects: Higher Education

20:39 - Fellow 1976 ECC Graduate

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Partial Transcript: So, you received an Associate Degree in 1976. Was there anything…

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish tells how a Board of Trustees member (at the time of this recording) also graduated with her in 1976 and about some of the differences between graduation ceremonies in the 1970s and currently.

Keywords: Donna Redmer

Subjects: Higher Education

21:55 - Kerruish’s Time after Graduating from ECC

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Partial Transcript: After you graduated from ECC, what did you do?

Segment Synopsis: Diane recalls that she went to work in a local accounting office as a receptionist after she graduated from ECC. Subsequently, after attending an employment fair at the college, she recollects that she went to work for Equitable Life which had an office in Elgin at the time. She explains that she liked the job as it used the skills that she learned while a student at ECC. She says that she then got married and her husband was transferred to Iowa where they lived for 2 to 3 years. Diane illuminates that, when she returned to the Elgin area, Equitable hired her again and she stayed with the company until they relocated that office to Tennessee. She explains that she and her family, which now had 2 children, chose to stay in South Elgin. Elaborating that she enjoyed working in the sales and marketing offices to assist their work, she subsequently worked for a sales and marketing firm which had the headquarters located in California but with an office in Algonquin.

Keywords: Dubuque, Iowa; Equitable Insurance; John Kerruish

Subjects: Higher Education

26:42 - Decision to Apply at ECC to Work

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Partial Transcript: …and this was in 2007

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish shares that in 2007 she was looking for another work opportunity, since the company she had been working for was bought out by another. At that time, ECC had a job opening to assist in the Marketing and Communications Department. She explains that there were three main efforts on which the department was focused when she was first hired: Planning for the 60th Anniversary of the College, a Referendum for New Building Construction, and the College Branding Initiative.

Keywords: Dr. David Sam; Paula Amenta

Subjects: Higher Education

29:24 - ECC’s Referendum Effort and Importance of Voting

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Partial Transcript: I do want to step back a second. 2008 was a difficult time…

Segment Synopsis: Diane recounts the college’s referendum for new building construction and how close the vote was. She also talks about the importance of voting, not only with the example of the referendum but also at the time when she ran for office in South Elgin and was elected to the position of Village Clerk, holding that office from 1997-2001.

Keywords: Referendum; Village of South Elgin

Subjects: Higher Education

31:51 - ECC’s 60th Anniversary and Return of Presidents to the College

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Partial Transcript: You were involved in the 60th anniversary.

Segment Synopsis: Diane describes the various activities in which she was involved to celebrate the college’s 60th anniversary, including the invitation to all the college’s past presidents to return to the college to celebrate the anniversary.

Keywords: Dr. David Sam; Dr. Mark Hopkins; Dr. Michael Shirley; Dr. Robert Appel; Dr. Roy Flores; Harry Blizzard

Subjects: Higher Education

33:54 - Re-branding the College

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Partial Transcript: Right, and that’s what I wanted, if you could, talk about that re-branding.

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish discusses the re-branding project and how it involved many individuals on campus and in the community with the purpose to make sure the communication to the community was clear and distinct. She also tells about working with Paula Amenta as well as her initial interview for the position.

Keywords: Paula Amenta

Subjects: Higher Education

37:31 - Move to the President’s Office

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Partial Transcript: And Paula was the one who led me to my current position.

Segment Synopsis: Diane explains that she thought she would only work for Paula Amenta during her time at ECC. However, because of the planned retirement of the president’s assistant, Diane shares that Paula wanted to give her the opportunity to flourish. Thus, she has moved to the president’s office and currently holds the position of Senior Executive Assistant to the President. Diane reflects on her growth from a work-study student to an executive assistant in the president’s office – Wow!

Keywords: Dr David Sam; Ellie MacKinney; Kathy Stover

Subjects: Higher Education

40:14 - Final Reflections

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Partial Transcript: So, as we close up, a couple of things…

Segment Synopsis: Kerruish reflects on her two times at ECC – as a student and as an employee. She expresses the importance of completing a degree and what a difference it has made in her life.

Keywords: Erika Varrak; Josephine Homuth

Subjects: Higher Education

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