MT. VERNON – The Rend Lake College Foundation honored its Board members Hunt Bonan and Mary Ellen Aiken, Thursday night, at the 2008 RLCF Annual Dinner Meeting in Mt. Vernon.
Aiken is the recipient of the Rend Lake College Foundation Presidential Award. She is a retired Benton educator and member of the RLC Foundation Board of Directors (2006).
Bonan is the inaugural recipient of the RLCF Board Hourglass Award. It is a special honor reserved for a member and past recipient of the Presidential Award who has continued to excel in longevity and personal commitment in their role as a member of the Board of Directors. RLCF Chief Executive Officer Pat Kern said the name of this award represents the time and dedication the recipient has put into membership on the Foundation Board. RLCF Board Chairman Jim Kelly presented the award to Bonan.
“As chairman, [Bonan] has exhibited a true belief in education an community volunteerism,” Kelly said. “Through his guidance, the RLC Foundation board meetings have always been positive and productive.”
Bonan is a resident of Mt. Vernon, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Peoples National Bank and President of Market Street Bancshares, Inc. He was seated on the Foundation Board in 1988, making him its third longest-serving member. Emeritus member Howard Payne (Benton) and member Millie Caldwell (Christopher) have served longer. Bonan is the Board’s longest-serving chairman, having filled that role from 1990 to Dec. 1 of this year when Kelly, of Sesser, took over as chair.
Before presenting her with the award, RLC Interim President Charley Holsein said Aiken is an outstanding community representative who has displayed exceptional attendance at RLCF Board meetings and devoted herself to Foundation initiatives.
The Presidential Award is given to a RLC Foundation Board Member who has provided exceptional service usually over an extended period of time.
“This award can also be considered the hard working award,” said Kern.
Aiken is a University of Illinois graduate and former mathematics teacher at Benton Consolidated High School. She teaches math part-time at RLC and lives in Benton with her husband, John.
Mary Ellen Aiken championed the Foundation’s Friends of the Theatre campaign to help restore the theater at the college.
“She spent her time making personal calls to help with this funding,” Holstein said. “This campaign made a true difference in the appearance of the RLC Theatre.”
Aiken even served on the decorating committee to ensure that the facility portrayed the intended traditional theatre, added Holstein.
The campaign had generated more than $72,000 by February, when a gala was held to unveil the renovated theatre and pay tribute to supporters of the cause.