VP of communications retires with decades of journalism experience

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 7.54.42 PMDuring his sophomore year of college at Northern Illinois University, Shelley Epstein had no idea what he wanted to do with his future.

He wanted some kind of direction, so he took two different classes: Intro to Mass Media and Accounting.

Little did he know, Intro to Mass Media was the introduction to his calling.

Now, after more than 35 years in the world of journalism and communications, Epstein is retiring and looking forward to a new chapter in life while celebrating all of the memories past.

Epstein is the current university associate vice president of communications. He supervises university magazines Hilltopics and Bradley Works, university public relations and oversees various internal and external communications activities.

Prior to working at Bradley, Epstein reported for 33 years at the Peoria Journal Star first covering topics like city council, Springfield state legislature and the county board. After working as assistant city editor for a short time, Epstein became the deputy opinion page editor for the following 16 years.

He said one of his favorite stories he wrote for the Journal Star required interns, a notebook and the legislators’ parking lot.

“Springfield had passed new seatbelt legislation,” he said. “So I hired a few interns to stake out the lots where legislators park. I had them write down license plates and whether or not they had seatbelts on. Then I wrote a story about whether lawmakers were following their own laws.”

Throughout his career, Epstein received awards and accomplished many goals. He said he owes much of it to those around him.

“[At Bradley] there is a team of people,” he said. “To say it’s just me behind it all would be inaccurate. I’ve been a small cog in this big wheel. The people at Bradley are extraordinary: the faculty, the staff and students.”

Upon retirement, Epstein will remain in Peoria with his wife, Marianne, who is retiring from teaching in District 150. He said they hope to travel, possibly to Cuba in the fall, and to spend more time with his two children, who live on the east coast. Epstein said he would keep his ties to Peoria.

“We will continue holding Bradley basketball season tickets just like we have for the last 15 to 20 years,” he said.

Epstein also serves as the Bradley chapter advisor for Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He said “cookouts with the guys” and all of the connections he has made on campus with students, faculty and staff are what he is going to miss the most.

He said the personal connections are what it is all about in your career and in life.

“Just do something that you want to do, and do what makes you happy,” he said.