Patrick Walsh (center) with President-Elect Mike Dunker and Past President Laura Docherty
at the 2012 Annual Conference
How did you get into higher education?
My last semester of college I had an unpaid internship with the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office to complete my Criminal Justice Sciences Degree. I was assigned to the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for felony drug convictions. I contemplating law school, but was not sure if that was the right choice. At the time, the Office of Admissions, where I had worked as a student for two years was in transition and short staffed to cover the fall travel. The new director, Molly Arnold, asked if I would be interested in filling in part-time at some college fairs to represent ISU because there was not enough time to hire and train a new counselor. I agreed to help out because I needed the money and it seemed like something I would enjoy.
It was quite a semester working with felons during the day and prospective college students at night. My limited fall travel and my internship went well, but I was still on the fence about a career. I decided to inquire about and was hired for the open admissions counselor position just before graduation in December. I thought I would work for a year in admissions and figure everything out. Ultimately, I found the enrollment planning process very interesting and after a few months I knew that working in higher education was right for me.
How long have you been a member of NACAC/IACAC?
NACAC 6 years, IACAC 9 years
What committees have you been involved in?
Annual Conference Program Committee (Co-Chair 2007 & 2008), Central Districts Seminar (Co-Chair 2007), North Central District Seminar (Committee Member 2005 & 2006), Government Relations Committee (Member 2005-2007), Government Relations Springfield Trip Participant (2006, 2007, & 2012), Registration Volunteer (2006), Hospitality Volunteer (2006 and 2007), James A. Alexander Newcomer Award Recipient (2007), News Brief Editorial Committee Member (2008), Executive Board Member, College Delegate (2008-2011), Conference On Site (Co-Chair 2009), Summer Institute (Co-Chair 2009), Publications Ad Hoc (Committee Member 2009-2011), Conference On Site Committee, Professional Development Grants Committee Chair, Finance Committee
You’re currently the Interim Associate Director of Admission at ISU. What’s the best part of working there?
The best part of working at Illinois State University is the close knit community and the people. I have had the opportunity to work with some outstanding mentors and staff members who have taught me a lot and mean a great deal to me. The people at Illinois State University are what make the campus a very special place. The team mentality and great sense of humor of the ISU admissions staff make it a great place to work.
You’re pretty much a rockstar at managing IACAC’s money. What advice do you have for the new treasurer next year?
Utilize the expertise of your Finance Committee and the Executive Board. They are both great resources with a wealth of knowledge and experience whose ideas and advice will make your job easier. Work as a team instead of an individual, you will get more accomplished this way. Also, put Linda’s number on speed dial.
What is your favorite IACAC memory?
Many of my great IACAC memories have taken place at the five NACAC Conferences I have attended. I look forward to NACAC every year because I get to see and catch up with the people that have made my experience in IACAC so valuable and fun. While each conference had been memorable, I think the 2008 NACAC Conference in Seattle is probably at the top of the list for my favorite IACAC memory. It was my first NACAC Conference and my first year as a delegate. I remember it was a very energetic Assembly with some inspired debate regarding several by-law revisions. The Illinois delegates were active in the discussions stepping to microphone several times to speak on behalf of students and in opposition of the proposed changes. The revisions we opposed were eventually defeated due in large part to the work of the IACAC Delegates. It is one of my favorite memories because it brought to my attention the strong reputation IACAC has as a leader on the national level and left me feeling very proud to be a part of IACAC and carry on that tradition.
Do you have any words of wisdom for new members?
Invest in people. The strength of IACAC is in the knowledge and experience of its members. Do not be afraid to ask questions, get involved, and get to know people. Remember, every IACAC member was new to the profession at one point and needed help.