College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 25
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 24
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 25
Title Art by ADHL
“Eva's World” Page 24

Jim Mulyk: His Legacy of Service Above Self

Culinary and hospitality professor Jim Mulyk’s time at COD demonstrated an eternal passion for always supporting and putting student needs first.
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College of DuPage
Jim Mulyk in the dining room of the Culinary and Hospitality Center (CHC).

Jim Mulyk was hired as full-time faculty by COD in 2011 where he went on to teach a variety of courses inside the Culinary and Hospitality Center (CHC) as a program chair. Before this, he taught hospitality and restaurant management to juniors and seniors in DuPage high schools at the Technology Center of DuPage in Addison, Ill.x 

Those students and his fellow faculty are mourning his death. Mulyk died unexpectedly at age 47 on Oct. 17. 

Within Mulyk’s passion for teaching, his curriculum taught students to focus on strong customer service above all else. Laura Lerdal is the culinary market and lab coordinator at the CHC, managing its overall operation as a building and program. She always remembered Mulyk as someone who would make everybody feel seen and heard and someone who would fill a room with his personality. 

“I always called him ‘the mayor,’ because he was one of those people who would walk into a room and make everybody comfortable,” Lerdal said. “He was just charismatic like that, and everybody he met was a friend. He never met a stranger.”  

No matter if you were a guest or student of the CHC, Mulyk didn’t want to just remember your name; he wanted to recall your passions. Loved ones hosted a memorial service for Mulyk Oct. 21 where Lerdal recalls hundreds of people in attendance as massive amounts of past and current students came to pay respect.  

“What I will take away from having him in my life is just the depths of thoughtfulness he had,” Lerdal said. “You don’t see kindness like that much and just that warmth, and it was genuine. It was absolutely genuine to his core.”  

 Students have typically had Mulyk watch over them as a support figure during food service, but now they’ve completed their first one without him since his passing.  

 “We had counselors here today for that because some of them are struggling,” Lerdal said. “If you’re a culinary student and you’re not super social and have to serve tables, it’s really awkward and uncomfortable. Then to do it without the guy who’s been taking care of you – it can get a little stressful.”  

Timothy Meyers and David Kramer, both professors of the culinary arts, have worked with Mulyk closely for over 24 years.  

“He was charismatic; he was smart; he was funny,” Meyers said. “I think one of the things that we’ll greatly miss is his laugh.  

“You knew he was Jim when you heard his laugh,” Kramer said.  

Meyers and Kramer knew him as someone who came to the CHC every day with a student-first mindset. Mulyk was compassionate and constantly assessed if the needs of students were being met. He was known as the face of the restaurant.  

“There’s a big hole right now in the (CHC),” Meyers said. “I think all of us are trying to determine what some of the next steps are and maintaining that standard, but also to maintaining it in Jim’s honor, and what his visions were, and how he would want us to keep growing.”  

As Meyers and Kramer think about Mulyk’s lasting impact, his passing leaves big shoes to fill.  

“We felt like we lost our brother,” Meyers said. “That’s how close of a relationship we had with him.”  

“We knew him personally, but also professionally,” Kramer said. “I still feel like he’s out, and he’ll be back tomorrow. We have someone who can fill the void, but just the role, not the person,” Kramer said. 

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