What’s that, Francis? You love me?

I get to introduce Francis Curry this morning, and I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity. Ever since a little incident which I’ll tell you about in a minute.
The occasion today will be the annual Legislative Information Breakfast at Luzerne County Community College. We get underway at 8 a.m., so some of you early risers may read this before I actually say it from the podium. If you are attending the breakfast, please keep it under your hat.
I am serving as master of ceremonies. Why? Because it’s hard to get anyone to do it, I suspect. And even harder to get someone up this early.
The college uses the breakfast to update our legislators on what is happening at the school. For those not familiar with how community colleges are funded in Pennsylvania, one-third of the operating expenses comes from the local sponsor (in LCCC’s case, Luzerne County), one-third from the state, and no more than one-third from student tuition. So the state has a vested interest in the college.
Barry Williams, J.D., C.P.A., dean of the McGowan School of Business at King’s College and chair of the LCCC Board of Trustees, will welcome the gathering, and college President Tom Leary will offer remarks.
The legislative update from the state perspective will come from Elizabeth Bolden, president of the Pa. Commission for Community Colleges. Susan Spry, VP of Workforce Development at the college, will talk about initiatives in that area.
There will be comments from two students, general studies major Chuck Stoti, and audio visual communications student Isaura Olivares, who previously earned a degree from LCCC in Criminal justice.
The presentation ends with a few words from Francis Curry, a member of the LCCC board.
Now retired, Francis graduated from LCCC in 1971 and served the college for more than 40 years, many as Director of Admissions. He is generally considered the college’s biggest cheerleader. A few years ago, one of my journalism students wrote a story about him which began with, “If Luzerne County Community College has a face, it’s Francis Curry’s.” The student nailed it, I thought.
I intend to introduce Francis by telling a true story that happened at one of our professional days quite a few years ago. I’ve told it once before in public when I spoke at at event at which Tom Leary and Francis were in the audience.
I popped in the men’s room during the mid-morning break at the aforementioned professional day and nodded to Francis as I stepped up to a urinal. He was standing near the back wall.
As I did what I’d come in there to do, staring at the wall in front of me according to the unwritten rules of men’s room etiquette, I heard Francis’ voice from behind me say, “I lost my wallet.”
I did not respond.
“Will you look for it?” he asked.
“I suppose,” I said quietly without turning around.
“Thank you,” Francis responded. “I love you.”
With that, I glanced back over my shoulder and there was Francis … on his cell phone.
I never did find out what became of the wallet.

Ed Ackerman