All that remained on John Ginsburg’s desk on his last day at Webster University’s Webster Groves campus was a basket filled with squishy stress relief toys and Association of College Unions International awards from the conferences he’s attended. These items are among the many Ginsburg, former director of the University Center and Student Activities, will leave behind when he leaves for Ghana.
Ginsburg will be the director of Student Services and Admissions at Webster’s new campus in Ghana, which will open this fall.
Before Ginsburg leaves for Ghana, he plans to do two things. First Ginsburg plans to eat his final St. Louis meal with friends at Pho Grand, his favorite Vietnamese restaurant. He then plans to attend Delegates’ Agenda on March 21 — the day before he leaves.
“I can’t imagine packing a suitcase knowing the Delegates’ Agenda was taking place at the same time,” Ginsburg said. “Because then I would start crying.”
Ginsburg was a part of the Delegates’ Agenda creation in the mid 1990s.
“John Ginsburg is the guy that built SGA and Delegates’ Agenda,” said Kris Parsons, Webster graduate student and former Student Government Association (SGA) member.
Ginsburg said he regrets leaving before SGA officers receive payment for their time, which was one of Ginsburg’s projects.
He said it would make a tremendous difference if SGA members were paid by tuition discount, cash or credit.
“You may not be able to afford to be in too many things that don’t pay,” Ginsburg said. “Webster students are responsible for paying their tuition more than most students across the country.”
Jennifer Stewart, assistant director of the University Center and Student Activities, will serve as interim director while Webster searches for Ginsburg’s replacement. The director of the University Center and Student Activities supervises the University Center, oversees all student organizations and is the co-adviser of SGA.
“The next person would need to juggle a lot of things,” Ginsburg said. “They would need to be able to be comfortable with knowing that someone is going to be displeased at the end of the day.”
Ginsburg said one of the most fulfilling aspects of his position was 17 years of connection with students.
Stewart held a going away party for Ginsburg on March 1. Former students, staff, faculty and friends of Ginsburg attended.
“He was definitely someone who loved working with students,” Stewart said. “He loved being here (Webster University).”
At the party, students shared memories they had of Ginsburg in a farewell book. The book included stories about hiking trips Ginsburg took with students, Ginsburg’s overuse of the word “historically” and his challenge of refraining from cursing before 5 p.m. on a workday.
Parsons said most people remember the first time they saw Ginsburg.
“John is the guy in a ponytail, walking around the University Center in a tie, which is the biggest oxymoron you’ve ever seen,” Parsons said.
Ginsburg referenced the film, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” to describe his two laws of life.
“Be excellent to each other and party on, dude,” Ginsburg said. “Which means, be good to your fellow human and have fun in life, which I think you can boil it down to those two things.”