‘You can’t work forever’: Sankovich retires


Martha Hoffman

Retiring accounting professor Mike Sankovich sits in his office surrounded by his other passions: movie and baseball memorabilia and music.

Martha Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

“This is is a low-stress job, and sometimes I ask myself why I’m leaving, but you can’t work forever,” said retiring IVCC accounting professor Mike Sankovich.

He began teaching accounting part time at IVCC in 1981, and has been full time since 1987.

Reflecting on his years teaching at community college, he sees it as the best of both worlds: getting to teach adult students and being able to focus on teaching instead of research.

“It’s been a great career,” Sankovich said. “I think I lucked out here.”

He enjoys working with students and watching them succeed. He described how he enjoys seeing past students who are working in the industry come back and serve on the business advisory board.

“After three or four semesters, you kind of get to know them,” Sankovich said. “They’re like friends with you.”

He is impressed by the work ethic of the returning adult students, and finds teaching them very rewarding.

His students talk fondly of his sense of humor and skill as a teacher.

“He’s actually one of my favorites,” said Danielle Hawkins, one of his current students. “He actually does make accounting fun.”

She shared that when she had a family emergency that required her to miss classes, he was very understanding and wanted to make sure everyone was okay.

“He’s kind and he cares,” she said. “I just like him a lot.”

In the challenging work of accounting, he has a way of inspiring his students to do their best.

“He encourages you to do what you feel you aren’t capable of doing, and in accounting, you feel like you’re not capable a lot,” Hawkins said.

Sankovich earned his Bachelor’s of Science from Benedictine University, and then drifted a few years, serving for a year as a teacher’s assistant for grades K–5 at Grand Ridge Grade School and as a junior high mathematics instructor in Aurora.

He worked as a CPA for one year, basically to say he did it, he explained. He went back to school and received his MBA with an emphasis in accounting from Northern Illinois University, teaching there for two years before a job opened up for full-time employment at IVCC.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.

In the early years of his tenure, his office was between the offices of former English instructors Dr. Rose Lynch and the late Dr. Mary Weeg in Building B. He remembered that the English instructors were the first staff to get computers, so back in the 1990s his office moved to where it is now in Building A.

He served for many years as the IVCC teacher’s union treasurer, and he has a baseball bat in his office inscribed with the title “Treasurer Emeritus” for his service to the organization.

That is certainly not the only thing gracing his office. His interests are on full display, with the walls covered with photographs of baseball players, movie posters, cassettes, and CDs.

“I’m not looking forward to taking them all down,” he remarked wryly.

Sankovich has been dedicated to making IVCC courses rigorous, attending articulation conferences at NIU to ensure that IVCC’s accounting program is meeting or exceeding what the universities are covering for freshman and sophomore students.

“I think it’s important to cover the material and not water it down,” he said.

After he retires at the end of the semester, he has several vacations planned and is looking forward to spending time on his various hobbies and interests.

However, he is not ruling out coming back in two or three years to teach part time.