wenty-nine employees of Rend Lake College were honored for their service during the 39th annual Board/Faculty/Staff Dinner, held Friday, May 5, at the Rend Lake Resort Conference Center.
Service Awards were presented at the annual dinner to full-time Rend Lake College employees who have been employed for five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years at the comprehensive community college located in Ina. In addition, Faculty Excellence Award winner Larry Williams, Zoology Professor, and Outstanding Staff Award winners Kelly Downes, Assistant to the Vice President of Information Technology / Student Services and Dean of Student Services, and Trudee Wynn, Resource Development Specialist, were honored by the college.
RLC President Mark S. Kern highlighted some of the college’s accomplishments over the last year. He noted that the new Applied Science Center has been operational since Fall Semester 2005. This 22,000-square-feet facility has allowed for the expansion of several programs, including Heavy Equipment, Diesel Technology, Agricultural Mechanics and more.
This new building played a major part in the implementation of the new Heavy Equipment Technician program, which is a partnership with Fabick Caterpillar aimed at training technicians for their dealerships and others.
Other highlights noted by Kern included:
• The creation of the Illinois Law Enforcement Academy at RLC, a program which allows pre-service officers to complete their Police Training Institute requirements prior to being hired by a law enforcement agency. New officers normally must undergo the 10-week program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. RLC’s academy is the only one of its kind in the state.
• Savings of more than $484,000 were realized this past year by the parents of high school students in the Rend Lake College district through RLC’s various dual-credit offerings.
• The Wireless Communications Technology program is now effective, with about 20 students anticipated to join the program in the fall.
• The donation of a 246-acre farm by the late Dr. Barbara Luchsinger, an English professor who worked for 50 years to educate the students of Mt. Vernon Community College and later Rend Lake College.
• Work is moving forward on the creation of a track to be located on the RLC campus, and the college’s baseball / softball training facility, The Hitting Zone, is currently being expanded to include workout facilities for the new wrestling team, the Laker Girls Dance Team and the women’s tennis team.
• The training program at Continental Tire North America’s Mt. Vernon facility is now in its second year. Employees there can undergo many different forms of training, and a second-year business degree is now available on-site for employees.
• The purchase of a tract of land south of the Rend Lake College MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon, which could be used for future expansion.
• The creation two classrooms and a laboratory at the RLC MarketPlace for the Certified Nurse Assistant program. The new facility will help alleviate the waiting list for the program.
• The new Kumon Learning Center has been created at the MarketPlace and should be operational in the near future. This after-school educational program will not only benefit area students but also can act as an economic development tool, helping entice industries and professionals to locate in the area.
• The college has submitted a new Radiology program to the Illinois Community College Board for approval.
• Three overflow crowds came out to see the 2006 RLC Theatre Spring Musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”
“I think you can see Rend Lake College is moving forward,” said Kern.
In addition to the Service Awards, Williams was presented with the 2006 Faculty Excellence Award. “In 25 years, I’ve been very fortunate to work with such wonderful people,” said Williams.
Also recognized were Downes and Wynn with the RLC Outstanding Staff Awards, as was Marketing Director Bob Kelley, who plans to retire this year and was presented with an award for his 27 years of service.
Service Award recipients were introduced by Vice President of Instruction Jim Hull. Award presentations were made by Hunt Bonan, Chairman of the Rend Lake College Board of Trustees.
Maurice Kirsch, Agriculture Professor, received an engraved crystal award for 30 years of service at RLC. Receiving commemorative platters in recognition of 25 years of service were Phyllis Davis, Physical Plant Administrative Assistant; Mary Ann Lewis, Records Officer; Linda Odle, Technology Specialist; David Smith, Welding Professor; and Williams.
Vice President of Finance and Administration Bob Carlock received a pen-and-clock set in recognition of 20 years, and Tina Grounds, Early Childhood Education Associate Professor, was given an engraved paperweight for 15-year status.
Receiving 10-year pins were Catherine Jackson, Subsidized Child Care Specialist in the Child Care Resource and Referral program; Dr. Walter Mongtomery, Alternative and Optional Education Director; Salah Shakir, Vice President of Information Technology and Student Services; and Bonnie Tolbert, Practical Nursing Associate Professor.
Seventeen others were given pins for five years of service.
High-resolution versiions of the above photos are available by following the links in the captions.