Interview with Richard L. Nimz, Class of 1962


Richard L. Nimz



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Oral history interview with Illinois State University alum Dr. Richard L. Nimz, Class of 1962. The interview was conducted by Milner Library student employee Ayushi Shukla on July 14, 2023, via Zoom videoconferencing software.

Born in Watseka, Illinois, Nimz initially aimed to enter the Air Force Academy after graduating high school, but failed the physical exam due to not having 20/20 vision. He decided instead to become a teacher and enrolled in ISU, where he majored in social sciences with a minor in psychology.

Nimz was involved in many student organizations while at ISU, including Student Senate, Student Union Board, Social Science Club, Presidential Advisory Board, University Men’s Board, and Entertainment Board. He felt driven to engage more in college after working extensively during high school. He lived off-campus in shared housing with nine other students due to financial constraints and worked nights as a switchboard operator.

Nimz recounts university president Robert “Bob” Bone as having a significant positive influence on him as a student; the two stayed friends until Bone’s death several decades later. His favorite professors included Claude Dillinger and Warren Harden. Nimz's least favorite experience was an English 101 class with a professor perceived to be biased against his department. His last year on campus he was named one of two Outstanding Students of Class of 1962.

Nimz graduated from ISU in three years, then earned his master’s degree and moved to Chicago to take a job teaching Homewood-Flossmoor High School. There he married a woman who, like him, preferred a small town lifestyle and the two returned to Normal. After a year teaching at Chiddix Junior High School, he got a job at ISU as counsellor in the Dean of Men’s Office and occasional instructor in the School of Education. During the four years he worked for ISU he also earned a doctoral degree. Nimz recalls that 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy made him and his wife consider moving to Australia to escape the turmoil in the United States.

Following President Bone’s retirement, Nimz left ISU to work at the newly-founded Illinois Central College, arriving while the campus was still under construction. His career at that institution spanned 27 years. Nimz concludes the interview by describing a number of photos and other mementos of his time at ISU.

Interview Date



  • Introduction; Nimz’ background; applying to ISU: 00:00-01:30
  • Majoring in social sciences: 01:30-02:14
  • President Robert Bone; first memories of ISU: 02:14-03:15
  • Serving on Student Union Board: 03:15-04:54
  • Living situation: 04:54-06:48
  • Working as a nighttime switchboard operator: 06:48-08:21
  • Favorite and least favorite professors: 08:21-11:!6
  • Big Four dances: 11:16-12:02
  • Meaningful colleagues and friends: 12:02-13:02
  • First United Methodist Church; Bloomington-Normal community: 13:08-15:22
  • Student resources; Blackfriars: 15:22-17:19
  • Working at Howard-Flossmoor; return to Normal; being hired at ISU: 17:50-19:45
  • Staying involved with ISU; changes since 1962: 19:45-21:34
  • Student activism and causes that were important to student body: 22:16-25:01
  • Experience working at ISU: 25:09-29:02
  • Teaching at Illinois Central College: 29:02-30:27; 34:22-36:11
  • Committee involvement as an ISU student: 30:27-31:59
  • National events while Nimz was an ISU employee; Stevenson Lectures: 31:59-34:22
  • Being included in books on the history of ISU: 36:32-38:24
  • Describing photos and mementos; conclusion: 38:25-47:40

Interview with Richard L. Nimz, Class of 1962