"Building Partnerships" provided the theme for Thursday’s Rend Lake College Foundation Annual Dinner, with the entire evening spent doing just that with 370 friends of the comprehensive community college at the gala Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon.
Partnerships, by definition, include such terms as "participation," "joint interest" and "an association of persons joined as partners in a business," all of which would seem to fit supporters of Rend Lake College and its mission within the community it serves.
Numerous partnerships were recognized, including one just down the road where the Rend Lake College-owned RLC MarketPlace ends 2003 fully occupied and operational, a thriving contributor to the Mt. Vernon and Southern Illinois economy with its unique blend of retail stores cornerstoned by the Rend Lake College Golf Outlet, the State of Illinois One Stop Business and Employment Center and college facilities featuring the Small Business Development Center and Cosmetology and Massage Therapy programs which will soon be serving the public as well as training students.
Among those honored during the RLC Foundation Annual Dinner . . .
** "Alumnus of the Year" Donald H. Dame (Class of 1972 and ’76), a Sesser native who is Vice-President of Human Resources and Government Relations for Freeman United Coal Mining Company under Freeman Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics since 1959.
Dame, whose father, Dwight, served as a coordinator of the college’s Practical Mining Technology program in the 1980s, first earned an Associate in Arts Degree from Rend Lake College and later an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Mining Technology. He is now based in Springfield.
** RLC Foundation "Presidential Award" winners Dr. Gene Stotlar and Dr. Charles (Bill) Roe, both members of the Board of Directors representing the Pinckneyville area. Both have been instrumental in encouraging and helping increase Rend Lake College’s presence in the southwest corner of the college district, including the $1-million RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus.
** Two area health care facilities which have stepped forward with special programs to enable students to repay any student indebtedness and gain invaluable work experience while earning nursing degrees.
St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan Inc., based in Mt. Vernon and Centralia, was awarded a Gold Major Gift Award for donations of $50,000-$250,000. SMGSI has made a two-year, $100,000 commitment to support its Loan Forgiveness Program and to establish the Oliver D. Spitler Memorial Scholarship Endowment. A scholarship supporter since 1987, Good Samaritan Regional Health Center previously established the Dr. David E. Hill Memorial Scholarship Endowment.
Pinckneyville Community Hospital received a Bronze Major Gift Award for its efforts supporting a scholarship employment opportunity for Rend Lake College nursing students. The Pinckneyville program asks for a one-year commitment from RLC nursing graduates in return for help in repaying student loans. Their partnership with the college includes both recruitment of students and maintenance of the scholarship program.
** Other major gift donors cited were "Silver" recipients Dr. Charles (Bill) and Mary Roe, "Silver" recipient Milford (Doc) Harrell and "Bronze" award-winners Don and Jerry Peacock.
The Roes -- Presidential Award-winner Bill and his wife, the Vice-President of Student Services at RLC -- have both served on the RLC Foundation Board, albeit at different times.
They have been contributors since 1988. In 1993, they were instrumental in starting the Jane Waugh Memorial Scholarship in honor of a colleague’s daughter who was killed in an automobile accident. In 2002, at the time of the opening of the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus, they stepped up again with an endowed scholarship to benefit Pinckneyville residents.
Mary Roe has announced her retirement at the end of the current academic year.
Harrell established the "Norma Harrell R.N. Scholarship" in memory of his wife as "a payback to the community." Norma Harrell was able to attend school thanks to her participation in a government program which trained registered nurses during World War II.
Don and Jerry Peacock were saluted for establishing the "Henry and Fern Peacock Nursing Scholarship" in recognition of their parents. The elder Peacocks were patients of home health and hospice care; the excellent treatment they received led their sons to see the value in nursing and created a desire to help others.
** Contributors to the "Andrea K. Boucher Memorial Scholarship" were cited in the RLC Foundation Annual Dinner program. Boucher, the Rend Lake College Controller who joined the college workforce in 1992, died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident June 21, 2003.
Tributes to Andrea were contributed by some of her relatives, friends and co-workers.
"It was like losing a member of the family," wrote her immediate supervisor, Vice-President of Finance and Administration Bob Carlock. Those sentiments were shared by many.
** First Cellular of Southern Illinois was thanked for its continuing sponsorship of this annual event. CEO Terry Addington’s company celebrated a 10th anniversary in April and has been a Rend Lake College Annual Dinner co-sponsor almost since its inception.