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RLC Foundation awards grants, recognizes faculty and staff

The Rend Lake College Foundation spent part of last week celebrating faculty and staff by awarding new We Are Warriors grants and recognizing those who go above and beyond with giving back to the college and RLC students. RLCF Board of Directors Chariman Brad Gesell and Director Mary Ellen Aiken, a former part-time RLC instructor, were on hand to personally congratulate and thank each faculty and staff member.

In total, the RLC Foundation gave away 10 grants totaling $10,550, which was solely generated by RLC employee donations and the Foundation. Each grant will go toward upgrading or purchasing new equipment, or professional development expenses.

RLCFGrantWinners Feb2018W
The We Are Warriors grant recipients are, SECOND FROM LEFT, Chris Sink, Computer Networking / Wireless Professor; Margo Wagner, Director of Community and Corporate Education; Chris Edwards, Computer Networking Instructor; Barb Hampton, Associate Professor of Developmental Reading / English; Greg Hollmann, Associate Professor of Physical Sciences; Cindy Caldwell, Mathematics Professor; Tyler O’Daniel, Director of the Rec; Tracey Webb, Theatre Professor; Pete Wilce, Welding Associate Professor; and Mike Meinert, Welding Instructor. Also pictured is Brad Gesell, RLCF Board of Directors Chairman, LEFT, and Mary Ellen Aiken, RLCF Board of Directors Member, RIGHT.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

Division / Program

Grant Amount

Grant Purchase / Upgrade

Advanced Technology


PLC Lab Stations

Culinary Arts


Mixer Stand

Information Technology


Wi-Fi Routers

Liberal Arts


Professional Development

Math & Sceince





Short-throw Projector

The Rec


Exercise Equipment



Panel Truck

Unmanned Aircraft Sytems


Drone Equipment



Watts Bevel Machine

The RLC Foundation also spent some time thanking individual faculty and staff for continuously giving back to the college and its students. Forty-one people were recognized for donating for 10 to 20 years. Another five were honored for more than 20 years of giving.

“It’s wonderful that we have so many employees who give back – not only of their expertise and time, but also their financial gifts. I think it sends a very powerful message to our constituents and our community that our faculty and staff know Rend Lake College better than anyone, and they believe so strongly in our mission that they too are generously making personal investments in our institution” said Kay Zibby-Damron, RLC Foundation CEO. “Our employees are already giving 100 percent in the classroom and in their departments, but to turn around and give back with charitable donations is a testament to me that RLC is much more than just their workplace.”

She continued, “When we talk about giving for 10 and over 20 years – that kind of longevity shows a dedication and commitment like none other. We often say the words, ‘above and beyond,’ but that doesn’t come close to describing it. It speaks to their passion for education and for our students.”

Zibby-Damron said there are over 100 RLC faculty and staff who are making annual donations to the RLC Foundation – further evidence that the college is more than just a workplace.

“The culture of Rend Lake College is very much about pride. People are very proud of what they do. It’s also a culture of generosity and philanthropy,” said Zibby-Damron. “Our employees don’t have to do any of this. They have a choice when it comes to their charitable dollars, but they believe in our mission and they value how the Foundation benefits the college, particularly through the number of students we’re able to help through scholarships. The Foundation is so appreciative for their level of commitment. They are truly our rock stars.”

RLCF20YrsGiving Feb2018W
Five faculty and staff were honored for making regular donations to the RLC Foundation for over 20 years each. They are Lynda Lanningham, THIRD FROM LEFT, Mathematics Professor with 25 years of giving; Tim Wills, CENTER, Health and Physical Education Professor with 24 years of giving; Jean Huie, THIRD FROM RIGHT, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Instruction with 25 years of giving; and Angie Kistner, SECOND FROM RIGHT, Vice President of Finance and Administration with 26 years of giving. Not pictured is Cathi Jackson, CCR&R Subsidized Child Care Specialist with 22 years of giving. They are all pictured with Gesell, LEFT; Kay Zibby-Damron, RLC Foundation CEO, SECOND FROM LEFT; and Aiken, RIGHT.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

RLCF10YrsGiving Feb2018W

Forty-one individuals were honored for giving between 10 and 20 years to the RLC Foundation. They are listed below in alphabetical order.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

  • Elizabeth Bailey-Smith, Speech Associate Professor with 14 years
  • Heather Bauersachs, Murphy-Wall Campus Coordinator with 13 years
  • Sarah Bilderbeck, Office Systems Technology Associate Professor with 13 years
  • Summer Braden, Records Specialist with 14 years
  • Tranae Brockhouse, CCR&R Director with 13 years
  • Kathryn Byars, CCR&R Subsidized Child Care Specialist with 13 years
  • Cindy Caldwell, Mathematics Professor with 19 years
  • Shari Carpenter, Computer Science Professor with 13 years
  • Chad Copple, Dean of Communications & Marketing with 14 years
  • Kathy Craig, Agriculture Associate Professor with 13 years
  • Susan Cunninham, Title III Activity Director with 12 years
  • Peggy Davis, English Literature Professor with 13 years
  • Kelly Downes, Director of Student Records with 13 years
  • Joe Ervin, English Associate Professor with 11 years
  • Kelly Eubanks, Custodian with 13 years
  • Trinda Heitmeyer, CCR&R Data and Technology Specialist with 13 years
  • Greg Hollmann, Physical Sciences Associate Professor with 11 years
  • Cary Hottes, CCR&R Professional Development Specialist with 18 years
  • Jena Jensik, Director of Academic Advisement with 15 years
  • Beth Mandrell, Reference Librarian with 19 years
  • Stephanie McKinney, former CCR&R Subsidized Child Care Specialist with 19 years
  • Daphne Mitchell, Cosmetology Associate Professor with 17 years
  • Julie Oxford, Administrative Assistant with 13 years
  • Shannon Perkins, Automotive Technology Professor with 12 years
  • Lisa Price, Vice President of Student Services with 18 years
  • Carrie Ragan, Biology and Anatomy & Physiology Associate Professor with 13 years
  • Lori Ragland, Vice President of Instruction with 19 years
  • Cheri Rushing, Director of Financial Aid with 13 years
  • Vickie Schulte, Director of Enrollment Services with 12 years
  • Kristina Shelton, Perkins Coordinator with 11 years
  • Roy Simpkins, Custodian with 13 years
  • Beth Stevens, Testing and Placement Specialist with 13 years
  • Rodney Summers, Maintenance Technician with 16 years
  • Nigel Thompson, Automotive Technology Professor with 12 years
  • Deidra Traylor, TRIO / Upward Bound Student Advisor with 12 years
  • Arvella Waugh, Administrative Assistant with 12 years
  • Tracey Webb, Theatre Professor with 12 years
  • Sandra West, Technical Services & Collection Coordinator with 13 years
  • Kevin Weston, retired Architectural Technology Professor with 12 years
  • Marcia Whitehead, TRIO Program Specialist with 14 years
  • Terry Wilkerson, RLC President with 11 years