Retired Rend Lake College Architecture Professor and former Trustee Rick Marlow received a plaque in late November for his more than 25 years of service to the college.
The Mt. Vernon resident was never a stranger to RLC, having attended Mt. Vernon Community College after high school in 1966 and later graduating in one of the first classes at RLC in 1968 with a focus on pre-engineering. He went on to become a licensed architect with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Southern Illinois University.
Marlow became a full-time instructor at RLC in 1992, a role he filled and enjoyed for 14 years, though he had previously been involved with the program, serving on the Architecture Advisory Board for several years. As an employee, he was a member and chair of Academic Council, working directly with curriculum matters.
“There are lots of good memories, but mainly, the comradery with my students, as well as other RLC faculty and staff,” said Marlow of his time in the classroom. “The most rewarding part comes later: hearing of students finding good employment, having families, earning professional architect licensure, and staying in touch with them.”
After his official retirement from RLC in 2006, he stayed active by teaching part-time at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and working full-time as the program manager for YouthBuild of Jefferson and Marion Counties, a new program at the United Methodist Children’s Home, now Spero Family Services, in Mt. Vernon. Only three years later and after being pressed by colleagues, he filled an unexpired, two-year term on the Board of Trustees. He was then reelected in 2011 for a six-year term.
“There were a lot of people who I worked with at RLC who urged me to run. It wasn’t really my idea at first,” said Marlow. “On the Board, you see a different perspective on the college; what happens and how things are done. You see the difficult issues with state funding and other matters.”
But Marlow wasn’t just another seat on the board, he also filled the role of Illinois Community College Trustee Association (ICCTA) representative. As the ICCTA representative, he was more involved in the statewide aspects of community colleges, attending meetings on behalf of RLC, and delivering reports on various events and activities happening across Illinois.
“I wanted to be the ICCTA rep. I wanted to be more involved in what happens in Springfield,” said Marlow.
Just two months shy of completing his six-year term in 2017, Marlow made the decision to go back into teaching at RLC – a role he’d left before joining the Board in 2009.
“I had already decided not to run again, and the opportunity came up to fill in for some classes here,” explained Marlow. “I stepped down a few months early so there wouldn’t be a conflict with me on the board and teaching. My term went through April, and I left in January.”
Back in the classroom, Marlow is one of several filling in after the retirement of Kevin Weston in May. He plans to continue to teach, but also spend time with his five grandchildren and volunteering. He still serves on the YouthBuild Advisory Board and volunteers one day a week at Lifeboat Alliance Homeless Shelter in Mt. Vernon.
“I have known Rick as a colleague and a board member here at RLC. We appreciate all his years of service to the college and its students,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.