INA, Ill. (May 12, 2014) – After spending decades working to help students in various ways, four Rend Lake College employees are saying goodbye to the education realm and starting their retirement. Lisa Payne, Vice President of Career and Technical Education, served 29 years; Cathy Cross, Administrative Assistant in the Liberal Arts Division, served 31 years; Martha McCreery, Computer Networking Professor, served 32 years; and Larry Williams, Zoology Professor, served 33 years.
There are five additional retirees: Paula Myers, Community and Corporate Education Specialist, served 26 years; Barb Crouse, Director of Nursing, served 20 years; Larry Thuilliez, Academic Computer Technician, served 15 years; Don Trogolo, Custodial Supervisor, served 15 years; and Georgia Lambert, Associate Degree Nursing Associate Professor, served 10 years.
All the retirees were honored at the annual Board, Faculty, and Staff Recognition banquet Friday night at Birdies Sports Grille in Whittington. At the banquet, current employees were also honored with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year awards, and the Outstanding Faculty and Outstanding Staff awards were also presented to Crouse and Rachel Sveda, Financial Aid and Admissions Coordinator, respectively.
Vice President of Career and Technical Education Lisa Payne
After nearly three decades of service to Rend Lake College, Lisa Payne is calling it a career.
The current Vice President of Career and Technical Education is retiring from Rend Lake College on June 29. Payne has served in a number of positions at RLC over the years, and in her current position oversees the Allied Health, Applied Science and Technology, and Community and Corporate Education divisions.
The Wayne City resident started at RLC in March of 1985 as the coordinator for community services. She also worked in RLC’s Center for Business and as the Associate Dean of Special Programs prior to taking her current position. Before coming to RLC, Payne was a grain merchandiser for Continental Grain in Minnesota and South Dakota, and for Consolidated Grain and Barge in Mt. Vernon, Ind., and Mounds City.
“I am grateful to everyone at Rend Lake College for providing me with a wonderful place to work. RLC gave me more opportunities that I thought were possible and I enjoyed them all,” Payne wrote in her retirement letter.
In her retirement, Payne said she is hoping to stay active in the education realm as well as spend some time relaxing with friends and family.
“I have many great friends and co-workers here,” said Payne. “Upon retirement, I plan to ride horses and provide more assistance to my brother with the farm and thoroughbred horses. This summer, I hope to spend my weekends under the tent at Ellis Park watching the races.”
Liberal Arts Administrative Assistant Cathy Cross
With a career that spans three decades behind her, Cathy Cross, Rend Lake College Liberal Arts Administrative Assistant, is ready to take some time off to spend with her family and relax. Cross is retiring from RLC on June 29.
Cross has worked for the Liberal Arts Division, or the Department of Arts and Communications as it was once known, for 31 years. The McLeansboro native said the college has become a home away from home, though she worked jobs prior to RLC.
“I have worked for Rend Lake College in the same division since December 5, 1983, and have made many life-long friends I will miss tremendously,” Cross wrote in her retirement letter. “The college has been a great part of my life for 30-plus years. RLC is truly a wonderful place to work and I am quite honored to have had the opportunity to be associated with it for so many years. I have really enjoyed my career at RLC.”
Cross has served on a number of committees in addition to taking notes and minutes for many more. Outside of work, she enjoys teaching Sunday School at Lick Creek Church. In her retirement, she said she’s looking forward to working on her hobbies and spending time with her husband John; son Bucky and wife Melody and their daughter Calista, of Evanston; and daughter Cejae and husband Adam Rawls of Dahlgren.“I do a lot of gardening and canning, so that’s what I plan to do this summer,” said Cross. “John and I would love to travel too. I like to read and be in the sun, so I imagine I’ll spend lots of time outdoors. I’ve also been thinking about doing some volunteer work. It’s going to be a big adjustment, but I’m looking forward to it, and spending time with my husband John.”
Dean of Liberal Arts Henry Leeck added, “Cathy is a wonderful woman who has dedicated 30 years of her life to Rend Lake College, and those employees are few and far between in today’s world. She and I have worked together for 10 years and not a day goes by that she is not smiling and here to support the college, staff, students, and our mission. She will most certainly be missed by everyone, but I am excited for her in her retirement.”
Computer Networking Professor Martha McCreery
After 22 years in computer networking and another 10 in business, Martha McCreery, Computer Networking Professor, is retiring at the end of the spring semester.
The Benton native is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she received a bachelor degree, and Loyola University of Chicago, where she earned a master degree. When she first came to RLC, she was employed as a full-time Business Instructor, a position she would hold for a decade before moving to computer networking. She said she returned to Southern Illinois to be closer to home after working for a small, corporate law firm in Chicago.
In her retirement, McCreery said she is looking forward to doing anything and everything. Some time will be spent traveling and spending time with her family and husband Bill.
Zoology Professor Larry Williams
With less than a month to go before his official retirement, Rend Lake College Zoology Professor Larry Williams is looking forward to having some time off to enjoy the outdoors and do some traveling. Williams will retire May 31 after 33 years of teaching at RLC.
Williams began his teaching career at Danville Community College, where he tutored in anatomy and physiology. He then came to RLC as an associate professor in the Math and Science Division. He said his colleagues are what he will miss the most after leaving at the end of the month.
“The daily association with my friends will be the biggest thing,” he said. “It won’t be the same as seeing them every day.”
The outdoor activist is already planning to spend time outside this summer kayaking with the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club and bird watching with the Southern Illinois Audubon Society.
“As a member of the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club, I’ve traveled for trips down the Mississippi and Meramec river streams in the past, and I hope I get to do more of those kinds of trips when I retire and have more time,” said Williams. “I also really enjoy bird watching and taking photographs of nature when doing so.”
The Mt. Vernon resident also plans to take some time out to spend with his family, and even make travel plans to visit his younger son John, who is currently teaching English in Osan, South Korea. He’s also looking forward to seeing more of his daughter Elizabeth, a respiratory therapist at Good Samaritan in Mt. Vernon, and her husband Adam Busenbark; and his oldest son Tom, who is currently studying for his doctorate degree and teaching at the University of Indiana in Bloomington and his wife Betsy.
“I would like to do some traveling and visit my son in South Korea. I’d also like to plan some short trips to Civil War battlefields to the east, like Gettysburg or Antietam. I’m a big Civil War historian and I’ve visited a lot of the western battlefields, so I’d like to continue going to those,” he said.
Williams was awarded the 2006 Outstanding Faculty Excellence Award at RLC and was recently nominated as the Phi Theta Kappa Rho Xi Chapter’s honorary faculty inductee. Though he said the awards are humbling, the biggest reward has been the thanks from past students who said his classes were instrumental in their continued educations.
“I’ve really enjoyed teaching and I feel that I’ve helped a lot of people obtain their goals,” said Williams. “The biggest reward of any is when I get feedback from my students, those who are down at SIU or somewhere taking classes, and they say thanks to my classes that they’re successful. To me, that’s the greatest honor.”
Community and Corporate Education Specialist Paula Myers
Myers is a resident of Du Quoin who has worked at RLC for 26 years. Before her current position, she worked as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Coordinator, the Cooperative Education and Employment Services Specialist / Truck Driver Training Coordinator, and the Director of the Center for Business Services. Myers has a bachelor and master degree from SIU Carbondale.
Recently, Myers has been actively involved in events to help students and local residents find jobs, such as the Job Fair in Mt. Vernon and Lunch ‘n’ Learn workshops on the Ina campus. In the past, she was also important with developing the Heavy Equipment Transportation certificate.
Director of Nursing Barb Crouse
Crouse is a resident of Carlyle who has worked for RLC for 20 years. She has been employed full-time since August of 1994. She served as a Practical Nursing Professor before being appointed to her current position in 2011. Crouse earned a bachelor degree from McKendree and a master degree from SIU Edwardsville. She will officially retire May 17.
In her retirement letter, Crouse said, “I thank the Rend Lake College family for all the great opportunities that have helped me grow, both personally and professionally. It has been a blessing to spend so many of my working years with this group of dedicated people.”
Crouse was also honored with the Outstanding Faculty Award during the Recognition banquet.
Custodial Supervisor Don Trogolo
Trogolo is a resident of Coello who has worked at RLC for 15 years. He has been employed full-time since May of 1999 and he officially retired Sept. 30, 2013. In 2011, he was a part of a Physical Plant Foundation Major Gift Award for helping others in the Physical Plant raise $10,000 in scholarship support for RLC students.
Trogolo said in his retirement letter, “I will miss my Rend Lake College family, but I am looking forward to my next life chapter. I would like to give a special thanks to my workers in the custodial department for being good and loyal employees to Rend Lake College.”
Academic Computer Technician Larry Thuilliez
Thuilliez and his wife Carolyn are residents of Christopher. He has worked at RLC for 15 years, starting December of 1999. He is an RLC grad who also has Novell Networking, Cisco Routing, and CCNA Cisco certifications. In 2010, he won the first RLC Biggest Loser Challenge by losing 34 pounds. Thuilliez will officially retire May 31.
He said in his retirement letter, “I have enjoyed my 15 years at the college and will miss my many co-workers and friends.”
Associate Degree Nursing Associate Professor Georgia Lambert
Lambert is a resident of Walnut Hill who will retire after working 10 years at RLC. She was hired at RLC as a full-time Practical Nursing Instructor in January of 2004, though she taught part-time and temporary full-time starting in January of 2002. She was actively involved in the Evening/Weekend Practical Nursing Program since its inception. She is an RLC grad who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from McKendree and master degree from the University of Southern Indiana. Before coming to RLC, she was employed at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital from 1988-2003.
Outstanding Staff Award
30 Year Award
25 Year Awards
20 Year Awards
15 Year Awards
10 Year Awards
5 Year Awards