With both the Supreme Court (President Biden’s Covid mandates) and Iowa Supreme Court (South Central Regional Airport in Pella) in the news of late, I was reminded of the time I stood before a Missouri Supreme Court judge.
I wasn’t in any hot water. I was just a curious photojournalism student at the University of Missouri-Columbia wanting to do something different.
One of my photo assignments was to do a personality portrait of an important person. I thought, outside of the governor, you can’t get much higher and more important than the Supreme Court.
So, I called the Supreme Court in Jefferson City and asked if I could make the drive down and take some photos of one of the judges.
“Sure, come on down,” the person on the phone told me.
I loaded my gear in the back of my Chevrolet S-10 and headed south to Jefferson City.
Once I was in the stately building and my gear had been checked, I was ushered upstairs to one of the judge’s chambers.
I don’t remember the judge’s name, but he welcomed me, allowed me to set up my lights and take all the photos I wanted.
I asked if he would be willing to put on his robe and let me to take some photos in the courtroom. He said yes and we were off to the main courtroom for photos. He was so gracious.
I took a number of photos of the judge. As we headed back to his chambers, I missed a great photo opportunity of the judge carrying my light stands and umbrellas down the Supreme Court hallway.
I was quite nervous, yet excited about this opportunity. The University of Missouri-Columbia was filled with important people, but a chance to take a photo of a Supreme Court judge was a fun project that took me out of my comfort zone.
When I arrived on the MU campus in August 1992, I was a man on mission.
It didn’t take “no” for an answer. When I failed, it got up and went after it again.
You are going to fail in life. You are going to make mistakes. If you don’t give up, you can see projects and dreams become a reality.
In February 1993 I was reading the school newspaper, “The Maneater,” regarding a story on the school chancellor, Dr. Charles Keisler, who took the reins of the school that previous fall.
Access to a new vehicle was one of the many perks he received as part of his job.
Students were complaining in the school paper about this benefit, saying that tuition was being increased as a result.
I decided to write Dr. Keisler a letter to show my support of him and MU. I noted that I was glad to be at the school and that I planned to graduate. I also touched on the fact that students may not have realized that the chancellor was in their shoes one point in his life.
To make a long story short, about three weeks later, I received a personalized letter from Dr. Keisler, who has since passed away, thanking me for my kind words. He offered me the opportunity to come visit him.
When word got around the agriculture school about this meeting, my academic advisor called me at home on the telephone.
“Do you realize that the vice provost of MU Extension can’t get a meeting with the chancellor, but you are,” my advisor said.
Anyway, I met the chancellor about six weeks later for about 5 minutes. He offered to help me get a job on campus and thanked me for my kind words.
All I did was write a letter.
I ended up getting a job as a campus custodian. It was great job for a returning college student. I always said I swept a lot floors and cleaned a lot of toilets to get through journalism school.
I leave you with this. Your dreams can be realized.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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