QU honors retired GREDF director at graduation

Quincy University held its graduation ceremonies Sunday and had a guest of honor.

The president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation received an exemplary award during the ceremony at Pepsi Arena.

The 150th Commencement honored a man who spent more than two decades helping the region grow economically.

"What Jim means to QU is a sense of history and of economic development linked to education. He has been instrumental in mentoring a lot of folks here at Quincy University and instrumental at bringing programs to fruition that are linked to businesses and economic development here," said former GREDF director Phil Conover.

Jim Mentesti was the president of GREDF for 27 years. Today he received an Honorary Doctorate in Economic Development.

"It also points out the link between his education background and the work he's done over the years in Economic Development. Theirs a close relationship their and he symbolizes that," said Conover.

Mentesti was humbled and honored to receive the award from his alma mater.

"I said why me. I'm not sure you should get recognized publicly like this at a commencement of several hundred young people when it's their day and all I did was do my job," said Jim Mentesti.

Even after 27 years Mentesti isn't quite sure his work is finished.

"Well when I first announced my retirement, retirement was what I was thinking and people are starting to come to me and say, we miss you. We'd like to have you be a part of something in our business. Do I have an interest to continue to serve in some capacity, paid or otherwise? And the answer is yes," said Mentesti.

Mentesti hopes to continue his work as a consultant. He has a long history of service with not just Quincy University, but this entire region.