‘A Little Piece in All of This’
Supply Chain Management Program Director Roby Thomas has helped shaped the future for students and the University.
As a special way to mark our sesquicentennial celebration, we asked some of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to share their fondest Elmhurst memories, favorite campus stories and hopes for the future of the University. Read along as we roll out the entire series over the coming months.
When Roby Thomas joined Elmhurst University in 2001 to start the supply chain management graduate program, you could say he had a supply chain challenge of his own.
“I was given 12 laptop computers on a cart I had to push into classrooms,” said Dr. Thomas, program director of the master’s in supply chain management. “Two years later, we had a dedicated lab. Now it’s a completely wireless lab with the latest software.”
What do you remember about your first visit to Elmhurst?
When I walked past the chapel and saw this quad, it was one of the most beautiful quads you could see. I just froze. I made up my mind then: I’m going to take this job because I wanted to be part of this quad.
What makes Elmhurst University unique?
The dedication of the faculty—across the board. It’s not just in my department. There’s a connection between students and the faculty. No student on campus is treated as a statistic; everybody knows your name. You don’t come here and get lost. You have help along the way.
You realize your time will also pass and this organization is still going to be here, hopefully stronger than it is even today.Roby Thomas Program Director, M.S. in Supply Chain Management
How do you feel being at Elmhurst at this moment as we mark 150 years?
It’s humbling to think you’re just a little piece in all of this. I have a lot of gratitude toward the people who started it—the people who built the culture, built the departments, built the buildings. You realize your time will also pass and this organization is still going to be here, hopefully stronger than it is even today. I feel very proud to be here celebrating 150.
What has been your proudest moment as a professor?
Seeing these students walk across the stage at graduation and getting to congratulate them, I will never forget those things. I’m an educator, so that’s what you do this for.