Rend Lake College honored its own Thursday night, at the Foundation Annual Dinner, for their financial support of the college and its endeavors.
One of those was Salah Shakir, Vice President of Information Technology and Student Services. In tribute of Shakir’s generosity, he was given the RLC Foundation Bronze Major Gift Award. The award is given to contributors who have reached the $10,000 mark in donations.
Shakir, who also serves as the chairman of the Advanced Technology Division at RLC, was the Director of Information Technology at Shawnee Community College for five years before joining RLC 11 years ago. He also worked for seven years with the Maytag corporation. He resides in Carterville with his wife, Durar, and their two girls - Ayah and Menna.
RLC Foundation CEO Pat Kern said that Shakir’s donations to the Foundation are typically unrestricted, meaning that the money can be used in areas that the Foundation’s Board of Directors feel will benefit the college most.
“That is really what we need,” Kern said. “While donations to any area are appreciated, unrestricted giving is a good channel to assure donor support is used where it is most needed.”
He was appointed this year to GWEC - the nation’s Global Wireless Educational Consortium. GWEC is governed by a list of directors with varied backgrounds in education and industry pertaining to global wireless and cellular technology. The organization provides Shakir with vast resources regarding the educational aspects of a wireless technology degree and the wireless industry itself.
Among his many accomplishments are the creation of the first Associate in Applied Science Degree in cellular and communications technology in the nation; the design and development of a college-wide administrative system (School Administrative System or SAS) that took five years to develop and has saved RLC more than $1.5 million; introducing the college to nationally-recognized speakers Tim Elmore and Sam Glenn; starting the National Society of Leadership and Success chapter for students, which provides them leadership training and exposed them to people such as Stephen Cover and Jack Canfield, among others; the installation of the first college voice over IP system in Illinois; the development and implementation of the first Student Orientation Program at RLC, which has helped improve traditional-student retention by 10 percent; and automated all federal, state and college reporting.
Most recently, Shakir’s efforts to obtain a key cellular network component for the Wireless Communications Technology program finally paid off as Verizon Wireless agreed to donate the component – a switch estimated at $1 million. It is the largest gift the RLC Foundation has ever received.
RLC and the Foundation salute Shakir for his continuing contributions in making the college the No. 1 fastest growing public, two-year college of its size in the nation.