Virgo embraces challenges and is the ‘go-to’ person in the College of Science

This is one in a series featuring the university’s 2020 Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients, who are being recognized for outstanding teaching, significant scholarly and artistic contributions, and dedication to furthering the mission of the university.

Julie Virgo is one of those hard-working, go-to people who ensures things get done efficiently at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. As business manager for the College of Science, she handles hundreds of employment contracts, assists with business reports and budgets and performs countless other tasks to keep the college operating smoothly.

All of that and more make her a natural choice as the recipient of SIU’s 2020 Civil Service Staff Excellence Award, her colleagues say.

Virgo saidshe was “very surprised and humbled to be recognized for my efforts on campus” and feels “honored” to be selected because she appreciates knowing and working with many “deserving people” across campus.

The award recognizes an administrative/professional or civil service staff member for “significant contributions” to further the university’s mission. That includes demonstrating excellence in overall work performance, helping to improve students’ experiences, and serving as a positive role model for faculty, staff and students. 

Loyal Saluki

Virgo’s connection to SIU is longstanding, as she’s both a graduate of the university and an employee since 1994. Initially hired as library technical assistant for Morris Library, she also worked as an information systems supervisor for the Student Recreation Center and graduate programs coordinator for the College of Business before moving to her current post in 2012. She is proud to have completed her master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development at SIU, after earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Eastern Illinois University.

“SIU provides a high-quality education and experience to its students,” Virgo said. “We have recruited talent on campus that continues to make us ‘Saluki Strong’ and they are leading the pack in groundbreaking research and classroom teaching.”

Loves challenges

Praised by her supervisors and colleagues for her professionalism, high-quality work and efficiency, Virgo said she enjoys her job and the challenges it brings. While some tasks are performed daily and the business cycle itself is repetitive, she said, there are always new challenges and things to learn.

Virgo said she strives to find ways to improve processes and procedures and be more efficient and effective. She prides herself in delivering “the best customer service possible to our university patrons, students, vendors, internal campus community, students, faculty and staff and the community at large. I believe if I have compassion for the issues at hand and always look at ways to resolve any problem, then I am contributing to the greater good and mission of the university.”

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is that it is challenging and never the same day in and day out,” Virgo added. “I think a prime example of that is the Coronavirus remote work and managing the challenges of how to operationally complete your job with access to limited equipment and resources that you might have available at your office workstation. ‘Adapt and overcome’ is my favorite motto. It definitely applies to these trying times.”

Virgo gets things done focusing on others

Scott Ishman, dean of the college, said the well-being of the students, staff and faculty are always paramount for Virgo. Boyd Goodson, acting associate dean and chemistry/biochemistry professor, dubs Virgo the “field general” for the college, calling her a tireless worker who is on the front lines, assuring everything that needs done gets done.

Virgo said she enjoys working with people, both in the college and the university community.

“There are many different personalities and experiences,” Virgo said. “It’s always interesting to find out what the faculty are working on for their research as well as what activities the staff are currently involved in.”

She said Ishman and Goodson are “phenomenal” and “allow me the freedom to problem solve and implement solutions for any issue I might be facing. This has allowed me to grow in my position. I am extremely grateful and humbled to be working with such an awesome group of people within the College of Science and across campus,” Virgo added.

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