DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Bob Janis, VP for Facility Operations, announces retirement
By Elizabeth Clements /
March 28, 2022 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
In his 48 years at DePaul, Bob Janis has not gotten a lot of sleep. Whether it was the Great Chicago Flood of 1992, which required Facility Operations crews to work 20-hour days for two weeks or one of countless other unpredictable emergency scenarios, Janis has seen it all. On Friday, he shared with Facility Operations staff his decision to retire, effective Oct. 31, 2022.
“Everyone should be so blessed to enjoy the amazing career that I have had, where so many opportunities were provided to me," Janis says. “I am extremely proud of what I have been able to accomplish, and humbled by the many incredible relationships that I was able to develop over time."
Janis has served as vice president for Facility Operations since 2000. He joined the DePaul community in 1974 as a custodial worker in the Vincentian residence and, as he likes to describe it, worked his way from the floors up.
“I mopped floors and scrubbed toilets," Janis says. “From there, I moved to a custodial job in what is now McCabe Hall. Then I started working with the carpenter on the Lincoln Park Campus."
In 1978, Janis became an architectural technician. In the years following, he received multiple managerial promotions, including physical plant director in 1984 and associate vice president in 1991. That's the position he held in 1992 when millions of gallons of Chicago River water caused flooding in buildings across downtown Chicago, including the Lewis Center on the Loop Campus.
In the midst of all his promotions, Janis also earned Double Demon status. He received a bachelor's degree from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in 1982 and a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in 1986. His exemplary service led to DePaul presenting him with the Spirit of DePaul Award in 2001.
“I always like to say that I 'grew up Vincentian,' as I came to know so many of them so well over my time here - starting with the many wonderful Vincentians who lived in the residence on Kenmore while I worked there," Janis says. “I learned many things from them, and became great lifelong friends with many as well. I do suppose that they liked me as well, as they bestowed the honor of 'Affiliate Vincentian' on me recently."
As vice president for Facility Operations, Janis is responsible for master planning, the coordination and management of capital projects, parking, bookstores, university food service operations, as well as the departments of Public Safety, Student Centers, DePaul Housing, Distribution & Document Services, Campus Recreation and Business Continuity/Emergency Preparedness. He also oversees outside vendors, whose roles range from food services to cleaning to engineering. When Janis first started at DePaul, the university had roughly 1 million square feet of building space. Today, that number has increased to nearly 5 million square feet.
“I can't say enough about each and every member of the Facility Operations Group and what they have meant to me," Janis says. “They are not only smart and hard workers, but they are also some of the most amazing human beings on the planet. I am proud and privileged to have worked side by side with them for so many years. They are my second family and I love them for all that they have done for the students and for me on so many levels."
Throughout his time at DePaul, Janis has managed more than $1.5 billion in campus improvement projects. The most recent examples are the Holtschneider Performance Center and renovation of the Sasha and Eugene Jarvis Opera Hall. In 2019, the HPC received the top award for new construction over $55 million from the Chicago Building Congress. Janis also oversaw the design of the Wintrust Arena. Other projects include the construction of The Theatre School, Cacciatore Stadium, DePaul Art Museum, Arts & Letters Hall, Centennial Hall, Athletic Center, Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center, McGowan Environmental, Chemistry and Biological Centers, DePaul Center, Richardson Library and the University Center. Of these projects, four received LEED gold awards and one LEED silver.
“To say Bob has left his footprint on DePaul's campuses would be an incredible understatement," says Executive Vice President Sherri Sidler. “Every student, faculty and staff member has experienced the outcome of his dedication to this university. Bob is the epitome of what it means to be DePaul, and I am very grateful for his many contributions over the past 48 years."
In order to prepare for Janis' retirement in the end of October, there will be a phased transition of responsibilities to members of the Facility Operations leadership team, including Rick Moreci, director of Housing, Dining and Student Centers, and Rich Wiltse, director of Facility Operations. The university will share details about the search for the next vice president for Facility Operations at a future date.
“I wish Bob much rest and happiness in his well-deserved retirement," Sidler says. “We intend to celebrate his legacy at DePaul this fall."