The UIS Community

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Charlene Lambert - the untold story

My colleague for almost 20 years is retiring at the end of this week. We had a nice reception for her last week on campus. I spoke about her great contributions to UIS, but there is one story I wish I had told: As the year 2000 approached, Charlene and I were both working for Illinois Issues magazine. We were planning a big celebration of the magazine's 25th anniversary. The program featured political stars such as former Gov. Jim Edgar, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Senate President Phil Rock, in a conversation moderated by Bruce Dumont. We heard a lot of great stories that day at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago. Charlene had everything to do with making it a festive event full of reminiscence and great story telling. Charlene was a natural at making governors, senators, mayors and 300 guests feel welcome and special. Perhaps the greatest compliment she received came shortly afterward from a group of people planning for the 30th anniversary reunion of Illinois Consitutional Convention delegates. I remember the planners saying they wanted an event as good as the one that Illinois Issues just held. Imitation may be the greatest form of flattery -- and not many people know just how extensive Charlene Lambert's influence was in Illinois. Best wishes to her on a wonderful retirement.