Ever since Lou Ann Gilchrist landed a job teaching in the University’s graduate program 30 years ago, she and her husband Neil have been fixtures on campus.
Both Gilchrists received bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and advanced degrees from Idaho State University. Neil, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in addition to his MBA, is a devoted professor of business, so much so that he even enjoys following business news on his free days.
During her tenure at Truman, Lou Ann, who has an Ed.D. and master’s degree in counseling-related concentrations, has moved from the classroom into administration. She is currently the vice president for student affairs where she is largely responsible for what happens with students outside of the classroom. Services and facilities in her purview include Residence Life, the Student Union Building, Campus Recreation, University Counseling Services, Student Health Services, Disability Services, Multicultural Affairs, Citizenship and Community Standards, the Center for Student Involvement and the Career Center.
The Gilchrists have been married for 40 years, and together have two sons and 10 grandchildren. As employees, they have a robust history of giving back to the University.
What do you like best about teaching?
Neil: Helping students understand their potential to improve the world of business and the world in general.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Lou Ann: The experiences in my career that I value most are not the successful programs or initiatives in which I have been involved. I, instead, treasure the experiences I have had with individuals whose lives have changed and who have allowed me to be a part of facilitating those changes. I have watched a number of remarkable students overcome incredible challenges to become successful and confident graduates. There is nothing more inspiring to me than witnessing how much people can overcome and accomplish through the power of caring relationships.
What is your best advice to students?
Lou Ann: My best advice for students is to give at least as much thought, energy and commitment into who you are going to be as you put into what you are going to do. An exemplary character is the greatest accomplishment.
Neil: Always do your best and treat others as you would like to be treated.
What is the nicest thing someone has said to you?
Lou Ann: I was told by a student that I was an answer to her prayer. I thought that was a pretty great compliment.
Neil: “I enjoyed your class and learned so much.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Lou Ann: I love spending time with my grandchildren. They remind me about what is most important in life and we have a lot of fun together.
You have a day off, and you’re caught up on grading. What do you do with your free day?
Neil: Read current business news and mow our lawn.
Why do you give back to the University?
Lou Ann: Truman is a remarkable place. I believe in our public liberal arts and sciences mission. I have witnessed the combined power of our curricular and co-curricular experiences at Truman transform lives. I want to do what I can to help ensure that students will continue to have the Truman opportunity.
Neil: Truman has been a good place to work with good colleagues and great students. It is a wonderful university offering students an excellent opportunity to become successful, productive citizens and enjoy their college years as they prepare to move forward in their lives.