Wilmore Peters: a best friend to The Commons

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Wilmore Peters makes sure each floor is clean and each and every student is happy. (Photo courtesy of Wilmore Peters)

When the parents of first-year students get that first phone call from their children while they are at Marquette, one might expect the conversation to be about academics, social life or how the dining hall food is. But for some parents, their discussion might be about how their children have befriended a familiar janitor; Wilmore Peters.

Peters is one of the main janitors working at The Commons. He is responsible for the 7th and 9th floors at Wells and has taken the responsibility of making sure each floor is clean and each and every student is happy.

“It’s not about the job title or how much money you make,” Peters said. “It’s about what you contribute and why you are in that space.”

A typical work day for Peters starts with a 4 a.m. wake-up call. He will make his way to the Commons and begin to clean each of the floors he is responsible for before most students have even made it past their second dream. For some, waking up before even 9 a.m. might make one anxious, but for Peters, it is all part of the process.

“I love what I do man and I have not missed a day of work in 11 years,” Peters said. “I can say I never have a bad day here because the students are the key ingredient in the mix.”

Peters has been working at Marquette for 13 years, and he does not plan on stopping any time soon. Residents of Wells Street Hall and Eckstein Tower have said that Wilmore Peters goes above and beyond his typical job requirements.

Lex Wallace, a first-year student in the College of Business, said that in just four weeks he has become closer with Peters than some of his classmates.

“You don’t really expect there to be this type of presence on a campus, especially from someone that doesn’t necessarily have to interact with you,” Wallace said. “It definitely is something you always hope for, but to see it in action is really cool.”

After an early morning of tidying up the floors, the next part of his job begins with cleaning  the lobby of the building and saying hello to sleepy students as they walk by.

Peters said he enjoys talking about life and the potential scenarios the students could experience in their future. Not only that, but even in the midst of a conversation between a student and Peters, if someone needs help, he will be the first person to assist them.

“Man Wil is always ready to help me out,” Hugh Kingsley, a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences said. “Like this morning I needed dish soap and he immediately went and got me some. He is also just a great person to have a conversation with.”

Peters refers to Kingsley as “big guy” showing that residents have gotten so close with Peters they are on a nickname basis.

And while Peters will always make sure everyone’s day is brightened, he will also make sure they are held accountable.

“The other day me and a few of my buddies were feeling groggy in the elevator and Wil looked at us and told us to ‘wake up’ which is nice to hear,” Wallace said.

But what does Peters credit his positive attitude to? He says it’s his calling to the Lord.

“Each day he gives me the permission to do what I do and uplift people each day and thats what I am going to continue to do,” Peters said.

Peters wants students to also “prepare for the challenge”.

“It is just as much for these students about what you learn outside the classroom as it is what you learn in the classroom. There will be times where students struggle in college and if I can be that source of joy in the midst of a student’s personal challenge then I went about my day the right way,” Peters said.

This story was written by TJ Dysart, he can be reached at [email protected]