Bradley University reflects the strength and stability of a respected university, coupled with the energy and enthusiasm that comes with a new president, new vision and new construction.
That's how Allan Bartel '70 of Park Ridge, Illinois, describes Bradley today. "It really is an honor to be an alumnus, to come back to campus and see how it's growing. The university is revitalizing with our new president, Joanne Glasser.
"At the same time, I see [communication professor] Ron Koperski, who is still as engaging and passionate about teaching as when I had him as a professor in 1968. What a great balance this is one of the university's strengths."
Bartel said the sense of anticipation on campus is electric. The Markin Family Student Recreation Center and the new Bradley arena are completed, and the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and Westlake Hall renovation expansion are well under way.
"You can't help but feel the energy here. This is a university on the move," Bartel said during a visit to campus this fall.
"All this, and Avanti's is still here, too."
He remembers his own experiences at Bradley: fine professors like Koperski and the late George Armstrong; his fraternity, Sigma Nu; and living in University Hall and at Sigma Nu.
"Bradley gave me the social, interpersonal and academic tools I needed to succeed."
He credits the people he met at Bradley with instilling in him an entrepreneurial spirit that continues today. "The people I met and interacted with at Bradley nurtured those skill sets and that attitude," said the former co-owner of Argus Press in Niles.
He sold the business in 1997 and now owns Allegro Music Center, Inc., in Park Ridge. The center employs 20 young adults trying to make careers by "gigging" and teaching. About 375 students take instrumental and voice lessons at the center.
Bartel met his first wife, Mary Fasulo Bartel '70, when they were students at Bradley. They had just begun their lives together when Mary passed away. Soon after, Bartel established an endowed scholarship, given each year to a female student majoring in either international studies or communication.
"Bradley was an important part of Mary's life," said Bartel. "Her memory lives on in that scholarship. This is an opportunity to provide a resource for young women, to support them in their chosen path in life."
Bartel and his second wife Lorie give annually to increase the scholarship's endowment. In addition, they have included Bradley in their estate.
He values the opportunity to give to Bradley. "You reflect on your own experience during a very formative part of your life and realize how the university influenced you and made you the person you are today. Things came together for me here.
"I like the notion of being part of something bigger than myself, something that's really enduring. It's neat to know that after you're gone, students will still be going here to learn. That in itself has a certain everlasting quality to it."