INA, Ill. – Long-standing board member Dr. Gene Stotlar left the Rend Lake College Foundation Board this month and received a memorable parting gift.
After 15 years of service on the board, the 82-year-old retired physician from Pinckneyville announced his retirement from the board, saying he felt it was time for a change.
“We have accomplished a lot of good things ... but I’ve been there and done that,” he said. “I feel like it’s time to get some new blood on the board.”
Stotlar and his wife, Ramona, have also accomplished a lot. For the past seven years they have offered scholarships to RLC students. At his last meeting with the board, he was awarded a RLCF Major Gift Award for their giving.
“It’s simple. We do it to help kids get an education. I’m a firm believer that if everyone received an education and went on that the whole area would be much better.”
Stotlar said he continues to also support Southern Illinois University where he obtained his undergraduate degree and St. Louis University where he went to medical school. However, he said his “best” contributions go to Rend Lake. The students who have benefited from the Stotlar’s scholarship include a teacher, a graduate from SIUC’s communications program, a radiologic technologist, current students at RLC, and more.
“Dr. Stotlar’s scholarships for students and his passion for the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus are a clear example of his dedication to the future of Rend Lake College,” RLCF CEO Pat Kern said. “Dr. Stotlar was committed to the board as an ambassador and contributor. Because of Dr. Stotlar’s scholarship support, positive results have occurred for these individuals, and as a direct result, for their families and communities.”
Stotlar said serving on the board was gratifying and rewarding.
“I’ve enjoyed it and I met a lot of nice people. Rend Lake College is a great place and the board is doing a good job.”
Of all the RLCF campaigns Stotlar has been a part of over his tenure, the establishment of a satellite campus in his hometown of Pinckneyville was the most rewarding for him, he said. Before there was the RLC Murphy-Wall Campus, very little RLC presence existed in the community, nestled on the far southeastern boundary of the college district. Before Murphy-Wall, night classes were held in the local high school and some individualized training was offered in industrial facilities. Now, approaching its eighth year, the campus is an important part of Pinckneyville’s landscape and has been an educational conduit from the college to thousands of area residents. Stotlar credited the faculty, staff and administrators who make it an ongoing success, and singled out Kern and Murphy-Wall Bank President Bill Crawford for their foresight on the front end of the project.
“I was pretty impressed that Pat Kern made all the trips to Pinckneyville and took on the president and chairman of the Murphy-Wall Bank,” Stotlar said. “We wouldn’t have this without her and Bill Crawford. A lot of credit goes to Pat Kern and all the work she did to get this established over here in Pinckneyville.”
It opened in August of 2002 and was made possible with the support of Murphy-Wall State Bank and Trust, an anonymous donor, and State Senators Bill O’Daniel and David Luechtefeld.
“I think with the establishment of the Murphy-Wall Campus, [Pinckneyville] became a little more involved and it became more important for us to be involved with Rend Lake.”
Stotlar’s parting words to the board included a challenge. He said a lab is all that stands in the way of students being able to complete a degree at the Murphy-Wall Campus, without ever having to make the long drive to the Ina campus. He said he would like to see that lab become the next project the board takes on.
“It’s a big plus for Pinckneyville to have a facility such as that three miles from town. How many of these kids wouldn’t be going to college if Rend Lake wasn’t here in our community? I wouldn’t have what I have, or been able to do what I have, if it wasn’t for my education.”
Born on New Year’s Eve 1923, Dr. Stotlar was one of the oldest members on the RLCF Board of Directors, third to 94-year-old emeritus member Howard Payne and 85-year-old member Bill Regenhardt. After graduating from SLU, Stotlar started practicing at a city hospital at the age of 23. He served two years in the U.S. Army and moved to Pinckneyville at the age of 27. He retired from his private practice in 1991. Over the decades in which he practiced medicine, Dr. Stotlar said he delivered about 1,500 babies and “made lots of house calls.”
For additional information about starting a scholarship at RLC or applying for one, contact the RLCF at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214 or go online to www.rlc.edu/foundation.