20, No. 7, Oct. 5, 2000
On the Job: Mary Anderson
Mabry, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
Anderson is secretary for the program for Arms Control, Disarmament
and International Security, which is located in the Armory.
Anderson started with ACDIS when it was created in 1978.
Mary Anderson is
secretary for the program for Arms Control, Disarmament and International
Security, which is located in the Armory. Anderson started with ACDIS
when it was created in 1978. She and her husband, Don Saupe, a professor
emeritus of horticulture, live in a large historic home in Homer. She
has three grown sons and he has three grown sons, and between them they
have 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
was the ACDIS office located in 1978, when it was created?
We were in a closet
in Lincoln Hall. Literally. We started on a shoestring with just nothing.
It was exciting seeing it get started, and it still is an exciting place
was exciting about it?
Back in 78
the threat of nuclear war and nuclear devastation was headline news
everybody was talking about it. It was very prominent. I think
the threat is still as big today as it was then, but other things overshadow
it. This office is focusing on all the major issues in front of the
whole world and its very exciting.
have you learned so much about the topics yourself? Outside reading
or work on projects?
We put out a lot
of publications books and articles and I work on formatting
them so I get a chance to read most of what goes through this office.
And we have scholars who come for weeks, months or years to study with
us, and we hold conferences and workshops. Ive been privileged
to travel to India and Nepal and be involved in those conferences, and
last summer I attended a class in India.
So youve made two trips to India?
The first conference was in Katmandu, Nepal, a relatively neutral area
in a larger region. It was a four-day conference. That was in 1992.
It was really fascinating. Its a whole different world and I dont
think anybody can understand what that culture is like unless youve
been there. So it opened up a whole other lifestyle to me.
Tell me about your most recent trip.
That was in May, to do two weeks of a summer course at Panchgani, India,
which is a British hill station about 120 miles from Bombay. There were
18 students, mostly from the UI. It was a beautiful place the
prettiest place Ive ever seen in India.
Tell me about your background.
Well, Ive lived in Champaign-Urbana since I was 5. I grew up here
and raised my children here. I went to the UI for a semester and then
stopped and had kids and then went back and got a degree in interior
design in 1992. But that was made possible by working at the UI and
getting tuition assistance.
Why did you get a degree in interior design
and then keep on working at ACDIS?
I didnt feel that competent in the field to go out and just leave
the security of this job behind. I was still raising kids and getting
them through college, and this [job] offered benefits that I wasnt
confident I could have in a job in interior design. But I did a little
part-time work I worked for Habitat for Humanity and I did an
internship with the Small Homes Council.
Do you like your job as a secretary?
I never thought Id be a secretary. Sitting behind a desk in an
office all day didnt really appeal to me. But this job is different
because you get to meet all these wonderful people and you get involved
in all kinds of other activities, other than sitting in front of a computer.
The activities are so varied Im doing a different thing every
day. I couldnt really give you a job description.
How has this changed your life?
Oh, its just opened up everything. Its made it so much more
interesting and broadened everything. Youre not closeted in a
little Midwest town. You get to see how countries interact and how people
in different countries interact and you get to know them and learn about
them. I cant put a word to it. Its just opened up so much.
My interests have expanded tremendously.
What do you when youre not working at ACDIS?
I very much enjoy painting. So does Don, so its a joint activity.
Weve hosted foreign students and visitors to campus through the
International Hospitality Committee and the Intensive English Institute.
We were linked with a Korean couple two years ago, and that lady happens
to be a painter. She initiated a once-a-week get-together to paint.
We spend a lot of time with my mother who is 93 and living independently
And I like to be outside very much and I enjoy sports, especially baseball.
I play softball and bowl with the C-U Church League. I ski with my sisters
in Colorado once a year. We cycle in and around Homer and weve
done some other trails. I keep a bike in a garage in Urbana and I ride
All the time. I like it. I enjoy being outdoors so I like having that
opportunity. Plus its so convenient. Its so much better
than fiddling with cars and parking and all that.
Do you ride to work in the winter too?
Oh yes. All the time. I dont do ice. But rain is no problem as
long as it isnt a downpour.
Youre probably close to being able to
Yes, next year. Im going to see what else I can do. See if I can
do anything with interior design. Play with my grandkids. And work with
Habitat for Humanity. Don and I also plan to volunteer at a Christian
retreat center in Washington state.