Farewell party celebrates Stacey Shimizu time at IWU

By Farah Bassyouni Sep 23, 2022

Stacey Shimizu with the 2026 class of international students. (Illinois Wesleyan University)The third floor of Illinois Wesleyan’s Center of Liberal Arts is home to the Language Resource Center, International Office and, for the last time this week, Stacey Shimizu’s office. Shimizu is the Director of the International Office and a good friend to all. The international office threw her a farewell party Wednesday, September 21, to celebrate her 27 years of working at IWU. 

Students of all years, majors and countries came together to say goodbye to Shimizu, who was responsible for helping them with their IWU study abroad experience. Whether it be international students coming to Illinois for the first time, or students studying all over the world, Shimizu was always there to help students feel supported. 

“I only started here in January, so I’m pretty new to everything but she was always very welcoming. It helps that she’s been here so long, she knows everybody,” said Stephanie Porter, an educational studies administrative specialist. 

Shimizu is also well-known for her friendly and reliable nature, especially when it came to livening up the office. Jessie Dixon-Montogomery, an associate professor of Spanish and a long-time coworker, recalled Shimizu’s ability to bring the community together with her parties and hilarious video invites. 

“She once passed out funny awards, like the person most likely to bring cake or something. I think we were in isolation but everyone was so friendly and she made it seem like it was real-life,” Dixon-Montgomery said. 

At the farewell party, digital film cameras were passed around as much as the stuffed raviolis. The afternoon was full of people capturing memorable moments with a long-time friend. 

“Stacey has incredibly inspiring knowledge in terms of advocacy and international arts. She’s a phenomenal student advocate, and her longevity of experience is hard to replace,” said Dean Carney-Hall. 

People came and went through the office until the very last minute of the party, when Shimizu joined her husband, Daniel Terkla, who also used to work at IWU, in her office. Sitting around unpacked boxes, her office was filled with countless monuments, gifts from students and souvenirs from all around the world. 

Shimizu and her husband reminisced about old times when they both worked at IWU, including the time they invited their friends and family to their surprise wedding. 

“We told them it was a potluck, and then we surprised them and got married in our living room. We were hiding a three-tier wedding cake downstairs on the washing machine,” said Terkla. 

As Shimizu gets ready to say goodbye to IWU, it is apparent that she’ll be missed dearly by her co-workers, who have come to consider her a good friend. In Director of Residential Life Kyle Griffith’s words, “Stacey will always pass the vibe check”. 

Shimizu’s favorite part about being at IWU  for so long was getting to know the “people and the students”. She said “seeing everyone here today, it’s hard knowing I won’t have all these people and friends that I’ve worked with for so many years.”

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