The Dahlgren native was selected by the board from an outstanding field of applicants through a process involving interviews by the board as well as by various employee committees. Wilkerson officially assumes the position July 1.
“The RLC Board of Trustees spent two months assessing applicants and interviewing a group of highly qualified individuals for the position of Rend Lake College President,” said RLC Board Chair Bryan Drew. “In the community college setting, it is common for the board of trustees to receive input from faculty, staff, and current administration in the search for a new president. In this case, it was a clear choice by everyone involved as to the best person to lead Rend Lake College into the future.”
“I would like to thank the Board of Trustees and the campus for the confidence they have placed in me to continue our work of providing quality education and building relationships throughout our district,” Wilkerson said.
“Terry Wilkerson is a proven leader who has the rare ability to be as comfortable in a meeting with local politicians and business leaders as he is with students and faculty,” Drew said. “President Wilkerson has demonstrated a deep desire to develop policies for the betterment of the students at Rend Lake College, and the Board of Trustees looks forward to the President’s continued success in implementing these policies to make Rend Lake College the best educational experience it can be for our students and community.”
Wilkerson is a home-grown leader for Rend Lake College. He earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree from RLC in 1992, and followed that with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant and Soil Science in 1994 and a Master of Science Degree in Agronomy in 1995, both from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The valedictorian of his graduating class at Hamilton County Senior High School, Wilkerson maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout his college career.
He continued his relationship with RLC when he began teaching full-time in the Agriculture program in 1997. In 2006, Wilkerson graduated from RLC’s Emerging Leaders Institute, designed to identify and develop potential future campus leaders. He continued his teaching duties through 2008, when he was named Interim Chair of the Applied Science and Technology Division, an appointment which was subsequently made permanent. In this capacity, Wilkerson supervises faculty, staff and students; manages budgets and facilities; evaluates curricula; and develops new programs based on the training needs of area industry.
“We have an outstanding faculty and staff at Rend Lake College,” Wilkerson said. “I look forward to working with the familiar faces on campus as we continue the good work of the college.”
As president, Wilkerson said he will work to focus the college more on student service and satisfaction. “We will continue to put the students first as the cornerstone of our mission, and we will actively strive to strengthen our relationships with area business and industry partners as well as other educational institutions.”
Wilkerson contributed heavily to the successful Higher Learning Commission Self-Study and the subsequent reaccreditation visit in 2008, and also was a contributing author to the following Career Technical Education Assessment follow-up report in 2011.
In addition to his duties at Rend Lake College, Wilkerson is owner / operator of Wilkerson Farms in Hamilton County, and was a national finalist for the Outstanding Farmers of America Fraternity’s Outstanding Young Farmer Award in 2009. He was named an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa in 2009. Wilkerson is involved in various community activities and sits on the Hamilton County Farm Service Agency board.
Wilkerson takes over for current President Charley D. Holstein, who opted not to pursue renewal of his contract when it expires June 30 in order to pursue other professional opportunities and focus on completing his Ph.D. He was named interim president in July 2008, and the appointment was made permanent in April 2009.
Previous RLC Presidents are Dr. James M. Snyder (1967-75), Dr. W. Travis Martin (1975-78), Dr. Harry J. Braun (1978-89), Dr. Jonathan M. Astroth (1989-91), and Mark S. Kern (1991-2008).