• Headshot of Maria Kruger
How long have you been working in higher education?

28 years

How long have you been working at Southwestern?

20 years

What inspired you to pursue a career in higher education?

My coworkers at the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics were my inspiration. I realized that I truly enjoyed working with students, and the field of academic advising was something I loved because it allowed me to help others. It was because of their encouragement that I pursued my higher-education career.

How has SU changed but also stayed the same over the years?

Southwestern has grown in the number of students, and the campus has been improved in many ways. There have been many other changes, too, but one thing that has remained the same is the importance of community embodied in the friendships, compassion, and support provided by our students, staff, and faculty. I would call that the “spirit of Southwestern,” which has been a common thread of our university for a very long time. It is what makes this place special for so many.

What is something students and/or your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?

I would love to be a backup singer for James Taylor.

When not working, you can find me…

Most likely at the Georgetown Palace Theater for rehearsal or working on a show.

If you could have a drink at the Cove with anyone in the world, living or dead, what would the beverage be, who would the person be, and why?

I would order a hot chocolate for the beverage. My person would be a group of people actually: I would love to have time to talk with my grandparents and my father-in-law. All are deceased, and I never had the opportunity to meet many of them in person, but I wish that I had been able to know them. The chance to visit with them and listen to their life stories would be wonderful!

Describe your dream vacation.

Easy question: I want to walk across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?

It would be a toss-up between time travel and the ability to fly.

What advice would you give students today? 

There is always something you can learn from someone else to make you a better person, a better friend, a better coworker, a better family member, and a better global citizen. Seek out those opportunities as often as you can.