Alumni Association Alumni Association

Distinguished Alumni Society

One of our more ambitious and successful endeavors the past few years has been the formation of the Distinguished Alumni Society at Lake Land College. The Distinguished Alumni Society recognizes alum who has utilized the Lake Land experience to make an imprint on his or her profession or community. An Alumnus is anyone that has graduated from Lake Land College or has taken classes.

Distinguished Alumni Society Nomination

Class 2014

Tony Aghaei

Tony Aghaei

Mattoon, IL

Hometown:Mattoon, IL
Employer: K.C. Summers Buick, Inc.
Job Title: Sales Manager
Profession/ Occupation: Automotive Sales
Attended: Fall 1978
Major: Microbiology

"I came to Lake Land College as a foreign student in 1978 the faculty and staff was the most helpful and met a fellow student named Keith Summers, which offered me a job at this family owned car dealership. I washed cars, and worked in service while attending Lake Land College. I attended Southern Illinois University and when I came back to Mattoon I started in sales at the place where I had my first automotive experience, and it truly has been a great career. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity that I was given. In my view Lake Land College is one of the most solid higher education institutions in the country and will promote it as best I can. "

Brett Henschen

Brett Henschen

Pana, IL

Hometown: Pana, IL
Employer: Automotive Equipment Sales & Service
Job Title: Owner/Vice President
Profession/ Occupation: Sales & Manager
Graduated: 1984
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Business Management

"Lake Land College provided a business management program that has given me the skills to establish Automotive Equipment Sales & Services, along with my father in 1991.  With business & accounting classes taken at Lake Land we were able to grow our business to employee 12 to 14 local people in full time capacity, never having to cut any of our employees under 40 hours a week.  Lake Land’s ongoing support to educate people of all ages, skill levels, and careers in this region is a great asset to our communities. "

Patty Montgomery

Patty Montgomery

Mattoon, IL

Hometown: Oakland, IL
Employer: Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
Job Title: Physician Assistant - Certified
Profession/ Occupation: Sales & Manager
Graduated: 1984
Attended: Summer & Fall of 1996
Major: Business Management

"At that time in my life, I was aggressively pursuing admission into a Physician Assistant program. I had earned a well-rounded education at EIU, but was lacking some experience and class work in a few disciplines.

I researched what Lake Land College had to offer and was pleasantly surprised at the variety of classes offered. I was able to pick a few classes, which were required pre-requisites to a few of the programs I had applied to.

I feel taking those classes rounded out my education needs and requirements for admission to my physician assistant program."

Mike Sullivan

Mike Sullivan

Mattoon, IL

Hometown: Humboldt, IL
Employer: Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
Job Title: Director of Outreach, Small Business Development Center
Profession/ Occupation: Business Start-up and Growth Consultant
Graduated: 1970
Degree: Ag-Transfer
Major: Agriculture

"After returning home from the service my plans were to attend college; I just didn’t know where. But while in Vietnam, my dad mentioned in a letter about a new college starting in Mattoon and encouraged me to attend. Being a new college with no official approved accreditation papers, the Military was not in a hurry to allow me to leave early to attend Lake Land College. After a couple of calls from then College President Virgil Judge, asking who in Washington he should call, I received my discharge papers and headed home to attend the new college in Mattoon.

One of my older brothers who had already started at Lake Land kept telling me to get involved in something; so I did. Each of the activities I joined, such as student government, photographer for the newspaper or the state IBHE- SAC (Student Advisory Committee) had one thing in common, helping others. I did not know nor did I understand that while at Lake Land I had become what is now known as a servant-leader. A term I was not comfortable with until accepting the idea; if you are going to be the leader, you need to find a way to help others.

Education has helped me help others in many ways throughout my life; for education is like the roots of a plant; they are usually unseen but they are the strength of the plant. By being the tool to cultivate and add air to the roots we help others grow.?"

Class 2013

Adam Bohnhoff

Adam Bohnhoff

Effingham, IL

Hometown:Dieterich, IL
Employer: The Upchurch Group, Inc.
Job Title: Design Engineer
Profession/ Occupation: Civil Engineer
Graduated: 2004
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Civil Engineering Technology

"After visiting four-year universities, I decided to attend Lake Land College because it seemed to be the right fit for me at the time. Having graduated from Dieterich High School, with less than 40 classmates, I felt more comfortable with the small class sizes that Lake Land College offered and its rural setting. This environment allowed me to keep focused, learn effectively, and to readily get help with difficult courses. Additionally, because many of my high school classmates also attended Lake Land College I was able to see familiar faces every day. Another contributing factor was the tuition costs and the location. The tuition was very affordable compared to a four year school which meant that I was able to pay for my education on my own. The short commuting distance meant that I could live at home and keep my job at that time. Most importantly, my experience at Lake Land College prepared me to transition to a four year university where I was able to complete my degree without difficulty."

"There were several instructors in the pre-engineering faculty that were helpful and left a positive impression on me. Tonia Timlin in particular, was very supportive and instrumental in my decision to focus on becoming a structural engineer after taking her statics/dynamics course."

Matt Bowyer

Matt Bowyer

Perryville, MO

Hometown:Shelbyville, IL
Employer: Missouri Department of Conservation
Job Title: Wildlife Management Biologist
Profession/ Occupation: Wildlife Biologist
Graduated: 1995
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Biological Science

"Lake Land gave me a solid academic foundation on which to build my collegiate education. Completing the core classes in a smaller classroom environment with quality teachers helped me prepare for more advanced classes in my major later in my academic career. I was especially able to obtain a better understanding of math and science which were key to later obtaining my Master's degree in Biological Sciences. I always found the faculty approachable and easy to talk to, creating a learning environment that I was comfortable with."

“Two members of the faculty stick out in my mind during my time at LLC: Lucinda Horton was my advisor and biology teacher. Her guidance provided me with the direction I needed to pursue the career in biology that I desired. Jack Browning was the mathematics teacher that was able to explain algebra and calculus in a way that no other teacher had done before. After 3 different classes with him, I felt I had a much greater understanding of this subject.”

Carol Jo Fritts

Carol Jo Fritts

Greenup, IL

Hometown:Jewett, IL
Employer: First Neighbor Bank N.A.
Job Title: President and CEO of First Neighbor Bank Chairman of the Board of First Neighborhood Ancshares Inc.
Profession/ Occupation: Banking
Degree: Certificate
Major: Practical Nursing

"My college education began at Lake Land College when I became a License Practical Nurse. After I started my career in banking, I went back to LLC to pursue additional related education and later attended EIU to fi nish a bachelor's degree. My nursing degree has been beneficial in my career in banking with my co-workers and customers. Lake Land was an affordable way for me to begin my continuing education and provided a road with no boundaries and no end."

"I am always teaching and learning. Because of my personal interest in philanthropy and my community, I have served on the Foundation Board for Sarah Bush Lincoln since 1990. Also, I have served as an instructor for the Illinois Bankers Association, LLC, and as a member of the Education Council for the American Bankers Association. Most recently, I have been involved in starting the First Neighbor Bank Academy which provides both personal and professional development for all bank employees. I am involved with scholarships in the communities we serve, Camp E3 at Eastern Illinois University, and numerous community school projects. It all started for me at LLC."

"Long after I graduated from Lake Land College I decided to go to Eastern Illinois University and finish my BS. Had it not been for Ron Sanderson helping me I very likely would not have even entered EIU. He helped me through the entire process and encouraged me when I was discouraged. I will never forget him and his help!"

Chris Rennels

Chris Rennels

Tuscola, IL

Hometown:Ashmore, IL
Employer: Davis-Houk Mechanical
Job Title: Owner
Profession/ Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
Graduated: 1999
Degree: Associate in Engineering Science
Major: Engineering Transfer Program

"Lake Land College provided me with the opportunity to begin a four-year degree in a smaller classroom environment. It provided me with the one on one attention that I needed early on in my college experience. It also encouraged study groups with peers that over the years has resulted in long term relationships that still exist for me today. All of the classes that I took at LLC transferred to the University of Illinois where I was able to obtain a bachelors in mechanical engineering. I found myself as well as others that transferred from Lake Land to have a head start in a highly competitive environment at the U of I."

"Sam Houston and Chuck Weick were both very helpful and important to me during my time at LLC. Both men provided very practical teaching methods. I really appreciated having instructors who could simplify very difficult concepts into language I could understand. It made my learning experience at Lake Land very special."

Terrall Stewart

Terrall Stewart

Toledo, IL

Hometown:Toledo, IL
Employer: Anamet Eletrical, Inc.
Job Title: V.P. Operations
Profession/ Occupation: Manufacturing
Graduated: 1976
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Business Management

"At the time I was attending Lake Land College, I did not fully realize the amount of influence it would have on my life and career. I have on numerous occasions used the knowledge I gained from Lake Land College in making real time business decisions. On many occasions when I was faced with a decision I could refer back to a classroom discussion or an instructor's comment which assisted me in analyzing a situation and applying a solution. The instructors at Lake Land College had the ability to apply a text book education with real life personal experiences which when combined, is an absolute Dynamic Duo in shaping students for their future. I will forever be indebted to Lake Land College and their dedicated Staff for the experiences and knowledge I gained which prepared me for the challenges I have encountered."

"I can easily say that Max Jaeger, Jan Kidd, Dave Stapleton and Hal Kottwitz were instrumental in providing me with the tools necessary for a successful future. You could easily identify their passion for teaching as well as the understanding and interest they took in each student.. I have had the pleasure of maintaining contact with Max over the years and I can say without reservation that he is one of the most kind, enthusiastic, understanding and infl uential instructors I have ever been acquainted with. He is still today a very valuable Ambassador to Lake Land College. Thank you to all for sharing your knowledge with so many students."

Class 2012

Tracie Goodnight-Egger, Ph. D

Tracie Goodnight-Egger

Delphi, IN

Hometown: Mulberry, IN
Employer: Purdue University
Job Title: Assistant Director, Office of Academic Programs in Agriculture
Profession/ Occupation: Student Services/ Leadership Development
Graduated: 1992
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Ag Business

“Being a member of the Lake Land College livestock judging team impacted my life in many positive ways. I was able to meet and interact with livestock producers throughout the country which I still interact with today. I gained valuable public speaking experience by giving hundreds of sets of oral reasons and was afforded the opportunity to compete nationally against other top ranked livestock judging teams. As a judging team member, I was forced to step outside my comfort zone and interact with others that I didn’t know. I’m grateful to have been a member of the judging team that enabled me to gain many leadership skills and to be in a career that allows me to mentor students through their own personal leadership growth.”

Curt Rincker not only taught in the classroom, but engaged students in experiential learning activities outside the classroom, which impacted my life greatly. He inspired us as a team to set goals and to work hard. In my academic role in student services, I try to instill self confidence in each student I interact with just as Curt did with me. I had a great role model to learn from and I can only aspire to have a classroom as engaging and fun as Curt’s was while I was a student at LLC.

Julie Ann Jansen

Tracie Goodnight-Egger

Springfield, IL

Hometown: Rockford, IL
Employer: Illinois Department of Public Health
Job Title: Public Service Administrator
Profession/ Occupation: Program Administrator
Graduated: 1976
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Dental Hygiene

“I met my husband, David at a ‘student mixer’ at the Elevator. He convinced me to run for student government and mentored me through the political process and fostered my sense of civic responsibility. The dental hygiene program was committed to graduating excellent clinicians as well as dental professionals who cared about people’s oral health. The program encouraged active membership in our professional organization. It was expected that we continue our membership for camaraderie in the dental hygiene community and to participate in community service projects and continuing professional education. The Lake Land experience gave me the confidence, skills and abilities to be a crucial part of the healthcare team and a vital part of the world around me. I’ll always remember the speech that Dr. Podesta presented at our pinning ceremony where he said that ‘if it is to be, it is up to me’ – words to live by.”

“Two dental hygiene faculty members who were pivotal in shaping my dental hygiene education and my life were Marguerite Bryant and Jean Gammill. These ladies gave their students guidance and structure and expected us to give 100 percent. Their teaching ability was impeccable.”

R Rush Record

Tracie Goodnight-Egger

Champaign, IL

Hometown: Mattoon, IL
Employer: Champaign County Court Appointed Special Advocates
Job Title: Executive Director
Graduated: 1987
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Law Enforement

“Growing up in Mattoon, I had always wanted to play baseball at Lake Land College. When given the opportunity to be a small part of that program by Gene Creek and Kurt Stretch, I immediately felt like part of the college from day one. For me, Lake Land was a perfect way to continue my education in a comfortable setting that was not as overwhelming as a large campus. The small class sizes and attention by the faculty made it a great place to be. Lake Land prepared me for a seamless transfer to Eastern Illinois University with the tools to complete my bachelor degree. I had the privilege of meeting many good people as a result of Lake Land College and created many life long memories. It is an unexpected honor to be part of the Distinguished Alumni Society at Lake Land College. I am proud to be a Laker.”

“Coach Gene Creek and Coach Kurt Stretch gave me the chance to be a part of a rich tradition that is Lake Land baseball. Not only did they give me the chance to play with and against some great ballplayers, but they are also two individuals who I learned a lot from off the field. Their support during my time at LLC was invaluable to me and being a part of that program was a privilege.”

Dave Storm

Tracie Goodnight-Egger

Effingham, IL

Hometown: Strasburg, IL
Employer: St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital
Job Title: Chief Financial Officer
Profession/ Occupation:Accountant
Graduated: 1975
Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Major: Business

“My experience at Lake Land College developed in me a better understanding of the word ‘value’ and its importance. The value of an excellent education in a convenient setting, the value of knowledge which enabled me to meet my employer’s needs and expectations and progress in my chosen field, and above all the value of what I am able to give back to my family and community. Lake Land College is the foundation on which my career was built. Lastly, this induction alone signifies the great, positive impact Lake Land College had on my career and life.”

“I have to name four — Marilyn Gover, Joyce Chase, Dave Stapleton, and Max Jaeger. All of these had a passion for teaching and took an interest in every student. Learning was fun under their direction.”

Class 2011

Bob Black

Bob Black

Charleston, IL

Hometown: Charleston, IL

Employer: Midas Muffler Charleston

Job Title: Lead Auto Technician

Profession/Occupation: Auto Technician

Years Attended: 1992

Degree: Associate in Applied Science

Major: Automotive Technology

“The open and friendly environment at Lake Land College gave me the confidence to explore new and different opportunities in my career and my life.  It also gave me the skills and knowledge to evaluate using the resources at hand to come to a concrete conclusion or decision.

While I attending LLC both full-time instructors, Mr. Al Siebert and Mr. Jim Stroud, had impacts in my experience.  Mr. Siebert’s knowledge and teaching style in the Engine class and Mr. Stroud’s Electronic class was exciting and fun.  The most impact to my career and life however came from part-time teacher Mr. Steve Johnson, whom I also worked an apprenticeship under for 2 ½ years.  He had a way of teaching and getting the job done at the same time.”

Tony Hasley

Tony Hasley

Mapleton, IL

Hometown: Charleston, IL

Employer: State of Illinois

Job Title: Sergeant for the Illinois State Police

Profession/Occupation: Law Enforcement

Years Attended: 1991

Degree: Associate in Applied Science

Major: Law Enforcement

“As a child, I always dreamed of a career in Law Enforcement.  After graduating high school, I attended LLC and obtained my Associate degree in Law Enforcement.  Upon graduating from LLC (1991) I transferred to EIU to complete my four year degree (1993).  I moved to Peoria in 1993 to work in the social service field.  On April 5, 1999 my career and dream came true, I was hired by the Illinois State Police.  Working for the Illinois State Police has been an ultimate blessing.  It is the best job one could ever have.  I am so thankful LLC gave me the opportunity to study Law Enforcement.  I learned so much while attending LLC and continue to learn more every day working for the Illinois State Police.  Thanks again to LLC and all my teachers.  Life is Good!!!

Joyce Allen, fun enjoyed classes, wonderful teacher, and mother figure.  Bill Little, I felt comfortable talking to him, learning life skills, enjoyable classes.”

Dr. John Killough

John Killough

Ashmore, IL

Hometown: Altamont, IL

Employer:  Self Employed

Job Title: Podiatrist

Profession/Occupation: Podiatrist

Years Attended: 1992

Degreee: Associate in Science

Major: Pre-Medicine

“The solid foundation I received at Lake Land College successfully prepared me to finish my undergraduate program at University of Illinois as well as my doctorate program at Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine.  As a graduate of Altamont High School, I was not fully prepared to transition into a large university; however two years later I graduated Lake Land College feeling intellectually and socially equipped to continue my academic pursuits.  Every faculty member at Lake Land College seemed to have a genuine interest in each and every student.  This personal attention provided an excellent learning environment.  Every member of the staff shared in a very large responsibility; they somehow managed to take a diverse student population, assist us in finding our path and transform us into skilled individuals. When I began Lake Land College as journalism major I did not anticipate discovering a passion for the medical field through a single Emergency Medical Technician course.  I had taken the EMT course to aid me in learning a little about medical emergency terms that I might need as a journalist; however I quickly discovered that this was a field that enthralled me.  It was this passion that ultimately propelled me to my career path.  I received the utmost in encouragement, even enthusiasm, from faculty and staff to follow that path and pursue my goals.

There were several staff and faculty member who had a substantial and positive impact on me at Lake Land College.  Ken Gagnon nurtured my interest in medicine.  Janice Kidd helped hone my writing and research skills.  Chuck Weick helped me develop reasoning and analytical skills.  Larry Gutzler solidified my love for the study of the structure and function of the human body.  The most extraordinary characteristic shared by these faculty members is that they all managed to not only provide a remarkable learning environment, but they also made it enjoyable to learn.  Through these individuals and others like them at Lake Land College, I learned about assuming responsibility for myself, being prepared, accepting criticism and past failures and moving ahead.  The solid foundation these individuals helped me build twenty years ago has benefited me in many aspects of my life.  I am grateful to have had Lake Land College as my foundation.”

Kari Rincker

Kari Rincker

New York, NY

Hometown: Shelbyville, IL

Employer:  Rincker Law, PLLC

Job Title: Principal Attorney/Owner

Profession/Occupation: Attorney

Years Attended: 2000

Degreee: Associate in Science

Major: Agriculture

“I am very thankful for my experience at Lake Land College for several reasons.  First, Lake Land College has a top-notch agriculture program.  Not only does it have a nationally renowned livestock judging program, but it also offers challenging and diverse courses.  Second, Lake Land College was a perfect transition for me out of high school and giving me an environment where I was challenged intellectually.  The smaller classroom sizes with approachable instructors put me in a position to excel academically.  I felt very prepared for my transition to a senior college.  Third, attending a junior college close to home gave me time to think about my next step while keeping expenses low.  I would not have been prepared emotionally to attend Texas A & M University so far away from family at the age of 18 – but I was ready for that stage two years later.

I have attended several different kids of schools around the country throughout my educational career.  I felt very rewarded from my experience at Lake Land College both academically and socially.  I may or may not have had the confidence to excel at the senior college and/or post-graduate level had it not been for my experience at Lake Land College.  Communities surrounding Lake Land College should be proud that they have such a high-class institution in their backyard.

As the daughter of Curt Rincker, the Agriculture Division Chair, I “grew up” at Lake Land College.  I have fond memories attending classes and listening to livestock judging reasons with him on straw bales at a very young age.  I have a very short list of people who I look up to professionally in the agriculture industry and my father is on that list.  I did not fully appreciate his leadership, vision, and talent as an agriculture instructor until I attended Lake Land College as a student.  I only hope that I can make such a powerful difference in the agriculture industry and young people as he has done throughout his career.  He is the type of person who is never too busy to meet with students and discuss their concerns.  He always took the time to go above and beyond – with everything—because he truly cares about the young people involved in the agriculture industry and Lake Land College.”

Thomas Grunloh

Thomas Grunloh

Effingham, IL

Hometown: Effingham, IL

Employer:  Grunloh Construction, Inc.

Job Title: President

Profession/Occupation: Commercial Building Contractor

Years Attended: 1981, 1982

Major: Business Administration

“My education in business classes gave me the jump start that I needed.  Once I started my career in my family owned construction business.  This was also the start of the computer age.  Lake Land introduced me to this technology.  We were the first in the area to embrace computer technology into our business and this helped us improve and grow.  It is easy to see now that Lake Land College was an influential piece of development into adult life.

Wally Taylor was a teacher that seemed to give his all in my development as a student.  Bob Orr was a teacher that I looked up to and has become a good friend and Maria DeBuhr in the Athletic Department was my first boos and an important person in my life at Lake Land.” 

Class 2010

Tim Fedrigon

Alpharetta, GA

Hometown: Mattoon, IL

Employer: Columbian Chemicals

Job Title: Vice President, Human Resources

Profession/Occupation: HR Executive

Years Attended: 1982

Major: Business

“Lake Land gave me the opportunity to explore academic options and to determine my future path in an affordable way. The instructors truly embraced higher education and created an excellent learning environment with a very diverse student population. The size of the college was the right fit for my needs as I wasn't consumed with a large campus or overwhelming class sizes. My father was a long time, well respected faculty member at the college, which made it very challenging, as I had an instant identity with all the instructors. This seemed to create (real or not) a higher expectation for a young college kid. By the way, it turned out to be a very positive experience for me during my two years at Lake Land and I am confident that this attributed to my long term career success. The instructors, my parents and the faculty left me with this life long impression: 'work hard with a sense of urgency, have a positive sense of satisfaction, a passion to excel, learn, and continue to improve.' Life is a journey. It's a series of experiences over and over again. How you manage and learn from each experience is what really matters. Lake Land was a very important stage in my life's journey”

Dr. Brian L. Hastings, DDS

Mattoon, IL

Hometown: Mattoon, IL

Employer: Self Employed

Job Title: D.D.S.

Profession/Occupation: Dentist

Years Attended: 1978

Degree: Associate in Science

Major: Other Major/Zoology

“What I remember the most about Lake Land was the genuine interest that most of the instructors had in their students. I believe that translates into students working harder and it helps inspire them to achieve success. I was an average high school student but became a much more inspired student at Lake Land College. Most of my teachers truly cared and as a result I became more motivated.

All of my dental hygienists and many of my dental assistants have degrees from Lake Land College. I feel blessed to have the highly trained employees that have come out of this fine institution.

Lake Land College is a tremendous asset to the surrounding communities and provides students an opportunity to begin their post high school quest. I will be forever grateful to Lake Land College for helping me develop a solid foundation”

Patrick Kirchhofer

Hometown: Shumway, IL

Employer:  Peoria County Farm Bureau

Job Title: County Manager

Profession/Occupation: Peoria County Farm Bureau

Years Attended: 1985

Degree: Associate in Science

Major: Agriculture Transfer

“Lake Land was an excellent fit for me to further my education and was a good transition between high school and attending the University of Illinois in Champaign.  Both of my brothers and sister attended Lake Land and shared their positive experiences with me.  Small classes enabled me to ask professors questions during or after classes.  To me, this creates an excellent learning environment when you are a teachable student and not just a person filling a seat and paying tuition.  All of my professors seemed to take a genuine interest in their students.  Everyone needs encouragement and the employees at Lake Land College were always there to lend a hand or offer a word of advice.  Meeting new friends also expanded my world to a great extent while enrolled at Lake Land. I have used these contacts throughout my working career and supportive staff and fellow graduates of Lake Land have given me the opportunities that I now have”

Bub McCullough

Gays, IL

Hometown: Windsor, IL

Employer:  Cromwell Radio Group

Job Title: Operations Manager/Mornings-WMCI

Profession/Occupation: Radio

Years Attended: 1985-1988

Degree: Associate in Science

Major: Radio/TV

“If not for the immediate, hands-on methods in the Radio/TV program at Lake Land College, I would not have advanced as quickly. The philosophy of ‘the only way to learn is to simply do it’ is the way I manage my staff today. From clicking on the mic, gathering news, covering a Lakers’ game, writing and producing commercials and learning how to sell advertising, LLC prepared me for the world of commercial radio, a business I’ve been in for nearly 24 years. And as of August 17, 2010, 21 of those will have been with WMCI and the Cromwell Radio Group”

Julie Thomas, RDH

Alma, IL

Hometown: Salem, IL

Employer:  Heartland Dental Care

Job Title: Director of Operations

Profession/Occupation: Dental Hygienist/Business Management

Years Attended: 1985

Degree: Associate in Applied Science

Major: Dental Hygiene

“My experience at Lake Land College impacted my career and personal life in multiple ways. Professionally, it reconfirmed the value of hard work, integrity, doing the right things for the right reasons, the value of a team and how important professionalism is in all we do in our careers. Completing the Dental Hygiene program helped build the foundation from which I was blessed to be able to grow with a small southern Illinois dental company of less than 20 employees to one that has become an employer of over 2,500 employees in 13 states. I have enjoyed a 25 year career that has benefited my family and has allowed me to experience many facets of dentistry and business. I am very grateful for the opportunities and those who have contributed to my career”

Class 2009

Don Jesse

Sullivan, IL

Hometown: Macon, IL

Employer: Monarch Manufacturing, Inc.

Job Title: President

Profession/Occupation: Woodworking Manufacturing

Years Attended: 1972

Major: Business Administration

“Lake Land College provided me with an important step in my life. It provided the foundation I needed to eventually get a degree in finance. My time at Lake Land was not only academically valuable, but socially as well. I met lifelong friends and business associates. Thanks to the excellent faculty at Lake Land, I was prepared and ready to move on in my life and my career.”

Linda Sue Kull

Charleston, IL

Hometown: Charleston, IL

Employer: University of Illinois

Job Title: Program Coordinator, National Soybean Research Laboratory

Profession/Occupation: Ph.D. soybean pathology; coordinate soybean production research at the National Soybean Research Laboratory

Graduated: Fall 1987

Degree: Associate in Science

Major: Biological Sciences

“Lake Land College offers a diversity of options for continued education.  It was this diversity and scheduling flexibility that allowed me to complete an associate’s degree with a busy family including three children.  As an older student returning to school, I remember the first day of class and being very uneasy.  That uneasy feeling quickly dissolved after meeting my instructors and noticing that the student community included a range of ages. The atmosphere on campus and in the classrooms garners passion for learning.”

Carla Lundy-Wheaton

Mattoon, IL

Hometown: Mattoon, IL

Employer: Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center

Job Title: Anesthesia Clinical Support Specialist

Profession/Occupation: RN

Graduated: 1974

Degree: Associate in Applied Science

Major: Dental Hygiene

Graduated: 1994

“I would like to thank Lake Land College and the Alumni Association Board of Directors for this great honor.  The years I spent at LLC are highly responsible for my personal and professional achievements.  LLC provided me with the quality education for two successful and rewarding careers—dental hygiene and nursing.  LLC prepared me to attend Indiana Wesleyan University to obtain my bachelor’s degree in nursing.  The LLC faculty is intelligent, dedicated and passionate about their teaching.”

Monte Reel

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hometown: Mattoon, IL

Employer: The Washington Post

Job Title: Correspondent, currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Profession/Occupation: Journalist

Graduated: Spring 1991

Major: Journalism/Communications

“Lake Land was a great place to try to figure out what I might want to do as a career, and to learn how to get started. By the time I left, I had a much clearer idea of what I needed to do. That probably allowed me to get much more than I otherwise would have out of the later stages of my education. Attending Lake Land also allowed me to be near family and close friends at a time when I needed that, too.”

Class 2008

Larry Blackerby

Missouri City, TX

Hometown: Herrick, IL

Employer: KPRC-TV

Job Title: Vice President & General Manager

Profession/Occupation: Broadcaster

Years Attended Lake land College: 1973-1975

Major: Radio/TV Broadcasting

“The impact that Lake Land College had on my personal and professional life has been immeasurable.  Coming to Lake Land from a small high school with a graduating class of 41 students, the size of the classes was perfect for me.  Thanks to the instruction and practical experience I received I was able to get my first professional job during my second year at Lake Land.  The confidence I gained those first two years at Lake Land allowed me to transfer to Indiana State University and receive a four-year degree.

“While the academics at Lake Land were important, the best thing that happened to me was meeting my future wife, Brenda, in a class during the first few weeks on campus.  We are about to celebrate our 31st anniversary together.

“Suffice it to say, I would not be where I am today were it not for Lake Land College.”

Marnee Fieldman

Palatine, IL

Hometown: Mattoon, IL

Employer: Concordia University Chicago

Job Title: Assistant Dean, College of Business

Profession/Occupation: Associate Professor

Years Attended Lake Land College: 1988-1989

Major: Business Administration

“My experience at Lake Land College provided smaller class sizes and an opportunity to create relationships with faculty.  This personal attention inspired me to work hard, enabled me to develop a strong business foundation and instilled confidence both professionally and personally. These skills were critical to my success as I continued my undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and my master’s degree in business administration while studying at the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago. 

“This academic background gave me the opportunity to work with high profile businesses such as Arthur Andersen and Kraft Foods. However, I have recently returned to academics as administrator for Concordia University Chicago’s College of Business. Within the past year I have developed and launched Concordia’s new master’s in business administration program.  One of my objectives of this program is to provide students the same benefits I received at Lake Land College, an inspiring work environment, and strong relationships with university faculty.”

Dr. Margaret Merry Niebrugge

Effingham, IL

Hometown: Effingham, IL

Employer: Lake Land College/Self-employed Dentist

Job Title: Dental Hygiene Instructor/Dentist

Profession: Dental Hygiene Instructor/Dentist

Years Attended Lake land College: 1976-1978

Major: Dental Hygiene

“Lake Land College gave me a solid educational base, which provided an excellent opportunity to advance toward my chosen field of dentistry. The small classes in the dental hygiene program made it easy for us to make new friends who attended the same classes, and we were able to study with each other throughout our time at Lake Land.   I received one-on-one attention from faculty who helped me to build a strong foundation for my career in dental health.  The dental hygiene program allowed me to obtain an immediate career as well as the ability to work and advance my education.  By first becoming a dental hygienist, I was able to ultimately become a dentist.  Lake Land College provided me with this opportunity to pursue my dreams.”

Larry Norton

Martinsville, IL

Hometown: Martinsville, IL

Employer: Rowe Foundry, Inc.

Job Title: Vice President/Plant Engineer

Years Attended Lake Land College: 1980-1983

Major: Machine Shop Production

“Lake Land College provided me with a foundation from which to build my career. I received an associate degree in machine tool and design, while at the same time taking classes in mechanical electrical technology. I was then able to acquire a job with General Motors Corporation through its co-op program. While working for General Motors I was able to pursue my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with Indiana State University. Knowing the processes and procedures used in designing a product is very critical in engineering. I have worked with many engineers over the years.  I have discovered the best engineers are those who have a ‘hands-on’ approach and background.  These engineers understood the processes involved in producing a product.  By having this knowledge, you can produce a more cost effective product.  The fact remains, in the end, what counts is the bottom line.  Lake Land College gave me that ‘hands-on’ comprehensive approach to engineering.”

Milton Sees

Springfield, IL

Hometown: Bethany, IL

Employer: Illinois Department of Transportation

Job Title: Secretary of Transportation

Profession/Occupation: Civil Engineer

Years Attended Lake Land College: 1970-1973

Major: Pre-Engineering

“As an Air Force veteran, Lake Land College not only helped me build confidence in my learning ability, but also gave me a solid start toward both a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Illinois. My LLC experience improved both written and oral communication skills and broadened my areas of knowledge and interest to include history and fine arts, allowing me to better appreciate other disciplines. Math and science skills essential to engineering were developed under some of the best instructors I have ever met. But, most of all, I discovered a passion for learning and sources of intellectual stimulation that helped prepare me for the challenges of both professional and political career stops. From my first class at LLC (Composition I) to my last final exam (Calculus III), my experience was positive and rewarding. I owe a great deal to LLC and the dedicated faculty I studied under. I am humbled to be considered a Distinguished Alumni of LLC.”

Inaugural Class 2007

Ann Bacon

Charleston, IL

Employer: Consolidated Communications

Job Title: Vice President Customer Service

"My experience at Lake Land College has evolved over the years. Those experiences have always been very positive and always had a strong focus on people, people who make a difference. My first experience at Lake Land College began early in my career when I took general studies courses. I always remember the encouraging teachers and the overall closeness of the LLC community. Lake Land is a place where you want to learn. Later, as an employee of Consolidated Communications, I would hear from some of our employees, who were taking classes to enhance their skills, about their positive experience and how LLC had made a difference for them. Also at CCI we interviewed and hired Lake Land graduates. These graduates were of various ages and work backgrounds. They again told the story of how Lake Land impacted their lives. LLC is a very good resource for our company. Finally, in my latest experience, I was invited to serve on the Lake Land Foundation Board of Directors where once again I have the opportunity to see how the people at the college serve the students. It is clear that Lake Land College is an asset to this area and one that we should all be proud to call ours."

Bert Bradley

Mattoon, IL

Employer: San Francisco Giants

Job Title: Pitching Coordinator

"Lake Land gave me some idea on how to budget my time for classes and sports. The sports gave me the idea that I could take it to the next level in education and sports. Lake Land gave me the opportunity to continue my education at Brigham Young University and sign a professional contract in baseball."

Frank Brummer

Teutopolis, IL

Employer: Farmweld, Inc.

Job Title: President

"My experience at Lake Land College was a stepping stone to a very successful career and a very fulfilling life. My welding instructor at Lake Land, Joe Evans, not only taught me how to weld, but he was also my mentor and helped me form my direction in life. Two years after college, I started my own company, Farmweld, Inc. We manufacture durable, animal friendly swine equipment and are a global leader in the pork industry. Swine producers from North America, South America, Central America, and Asia use Farmweld products. Life is good. I truly appreciate my education and the mentoring I received at Lake Land College."

Dr. Gail Bushur-Irwin

Newton, IL

Employer: Newton Veterinary Clinic

Job Title: Veterinarian

"Lake Land College has a history with my family. I am the youngest of 10 children and eight of us attended college at Lake Land College. Each of us received a different experience there, but all of us received an excellent foundation for the beginning of our higher education. My experience at Lake Land allowed me to gain both personal and academic growth as an individual. Being an active student trustee and student ambassador enabled me to excel in my interpersonal communication skills. This was accomplished through the unique opportunities I had, such as speaking at congressional meetings, television, and numerous other functions. My academic growth was enhanced by allowing me to complete a large amount of my pre-veterinarian requirements in a shorter time frame than at a university, at a fraction of the cost. Finally, Lake Land allowed me to have two extra years to gain personal confidence that assisted me through veterinarian school."

Cindy Bushur-Hallam

Riverside, LA

Employer: Illinois Department of Transportation

Job Title: Attorney

"Since my Lake Land days, I have subsequently attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and the University of Arkansas, for my B.S., J. D. & L.L.U respectively. Of these great institutions, I would credit Lake Land with having the most profound impact on my life, both personally and professionally. Lake Land provided the perfect forum for me to establish long-lasting friendships and professional relationships and the desire for academic excellence. Professors such as Larry Gutzler and Bob Jurgens inspired confidence and direction for future endeavors. Being a member of Gene Alexander’s “A Team” in admissions was priceless. Serving as a student trustee during the search for a new Lake Land president drove home the importance of serving your community after graduation. And as possibly the best reward of attending Lake Land, one summer day on campus, I met my future husband, Dan, to whom I have been married for 14 wonderful years. So I am most honored to have been selected as one of the 45 inaugural members as Lake Land has many distinguished graduates, many of which are my friends and family. Thank you."

Dr. Harry Carter

Fairfield, IL

Employer: Southern Illinois Primary Care Associates

Job Title: Physician

"My decision to attend Lake Land was especially important to my future success as a physician. I was given a myriad of opportunities to grow academically at Lake Land. This allowed me to become the best that I could be and to realize my full potential. I gained many friends in the smaller classes at Lake Land and enjoyed the personal instruction of many excellent professors and staff. I chose Lake Land for many reasons. First of all, as a graduate from a small high school I was not prepared to attend a large university. I had many opportunities at Lake Land to do things that were unthinkable for others. I was able to dissect a cadaver (something usually only reserved for graduate students) as an independent study course offered via the Honors program. I was actively involved in Phi Theta Kappa. I was even given the flexibility and allowed to take two classes (organic chemistry and human physiology) that were held at exactly the same time because it would help me in my future career. I gained even more knowledge in the sciences as I worked as a chemistry lab assistant. These opportunities encouraged me to always strive to do my best and look for hidden opportunities in every situation. Because of the excellent and complete academic preparation I received at Lake Land, I later graduated summa cum laude from The University of Illinois in biology and was chosen as co- valedictorian of my medical school class at the U of I College of Medicine in Urbana. I later completed a residency in family medicine at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville, Indiana. I currently practice family medicine in Fairfield, Illinois. I provide cradle to the grave care for my patients in this rural underserved area. I care deeply for my patients and know that my educational preparation has helped me to improve the lives of countless individuals."

Jodi Dart

Springfield, IL

Employer: Illinois Public Health Association

Job Title: Associate Executive Director

"I believe the education that I received from Lake Land College prepared me equally, if not better, to compete in my ongoing education and for jobs. If it were not for Lake Land College’s education and the Lake Land community making my experience the most rewarding one that I could have hoped for, I know that I would not have been successful in accomplishing my goals."

Ken Fearday

Collierville, TN

Employer: D&PL International Delta and Pine Land Co.

Job Title: President

"Lake Land College provided me the opportunity to start my college education and professional training. Lake Land was within driving distance of my parents’ home which allowed me to remain at home, attend college, maintain a full-time job and save money. Without this convenient and practical opportunity, I am quite sure my college education and career development would have been deferred. The negative impact of this on my career is difficult to imagine. Lake Land allowed me to transfer to the University of Illinois in good status."

Scott Frailey

Champaign, IL

Employer: Illinois State Geological Survey

Job Title: Engineer

"I think the most importance part of my Lake Land experience that I continue to think about today is the dedication, compassion, sincerity and intellect of the LLC faculty and advisors. They knew I was there for an education and they made me feel like I could do well wherever I continued in academics or industry."

Gary Gaetti

North Carolina

Employer: Durham Bulls

Job Title: Hitting Coach

4-time Gold Glove Recipient
2007 Elected to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame
2005 Inducted into LLC Athletic Hall of Fame

"We had a bunch of average guys who just jelled at the right time. We won the state championship. I don't remember anyone having any attitudes or any schisms. We just hung out together. I wouldn't have been so successful in my career if it weren't for the 24 other guys on the team. I was one guy on a team. I'm very proud to say I've been to Lake Land College. This is a very special feeling of pride. If somebody thinks that much of me, to include me in this group of people, it's very humbling."

Greg Grunloh

Aurora, IL

Employer: Holabird and Root, LLC

Job Title: Architect

"Lake Land was an important and necessary step in my academic and social development. Though I ultimately obtained a professional master's degree in architecture, the faculty at Lake Land College is among the finest that I have encountered anywhere. Lake Land provided an ideal preparation for my future studies in architecture and lessons that I learned while at Lake Land guide me still today in my professional capacity as an architect. Those formative years of my life were critical to me as a person and they have helped to shape me into the professional that I am today. For that, I will always be thankful and proud to be a part of the Lake Land College community."

Dr. Kristene Gugliuzza

Galveston, TX

Employer: Professor of Surgery/ General and Transplant Surgeon

Job Title: University of Texas

"The time that I spent at Lake Land College was fun and enriching. I think the small class size, the individual attention from the excellent faculty, and the quality of students made the experience enjoyable and rewarding. The quality of the faculty most impressed me. They were intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated people who were passionate about their teaching. Their passion was demonstrated almost daily and was very contagious. The love of learning that was instilled in me as a child was nurtured and facilitated by the faculty. I only hope that I am as passionate a teacher as the ladies and gentlemen who taught me at Lake Land College."

Dr. Dan Hallam

Riverside, IA

Employer: University of Iowa

Job Title: Physician

"Lake Land College gave me an excellent academic foundation for my future endeavors. I began my college career at Lake Land as an Ag major and then later switched to Life Science. Instructors such as Larry Gutzler, were instrumental in assisting me in the beginning of my science career. The scientific course work at Lake Land gave me a strong start ultimately leading to a Ph.D. in molecular biology as well as a medical degree. Additionally, attending Lake Land College gave me the opportunity to meet my wife, Cindy, for which I will always be grateful. Lake Land College continues to be a special place for me and my family."

John Inyart

Charleston, IL

Employer: City of Charleston

Job Title: Mayor

"Lake Land College helped me to solidify my decision to become an automotive technician. The automotive business has been good for my family and me, and the start I received at Lake Land gave me the knowledge and the support to make it in this business. We’re fortunate that the institution continues today to provide high quality candidates to area employers in a broad range of fields."

Joe Kingan

Warsaw, IN

Employer: RR Donnelley

Job Title: Vice President/Professional Engineer

My experience at Lake Land enabled me to get the opportunity to be introduced into business and engineering. I later returned to Lake Land to complete my pre-engineering course work which led to an engineering degree at the University of Illinois. The combined education at Lake Land and the U of I prepared me well for a great career at RR Donnelley where I am now a Vice President of Manufacturing.

Larry D. Lilly


Employer: Superintendent of Schools Mattoon CUSD#2

I grew up on a small farm near Beecher City, Illinois in a community of 500 people. My high school graduating class was only 33 students; consequently, Mattoon seemed like a big city and Lake Land College might as well have been the size of the University of Illinois. What I found at Lake Land were instructors who were dedicated and committed to my learning, personal growth, and future. In retrospect, it was obvious, that in many ways, I was not ready for a large university. If not for the caring and nurturing environment of Lake Land College and its people, I may not have started or finished college. Following in the footsteps of my former instructors at Lake Land, I am also committed to helping others. During my tenure as a teacher and coach, I was fortunate to work with high school age youth. The joy of seeing them mature into young adults was extremely satisfying. While a middle school administrator for 10 years, I worked hard to enhance the learning environment for our students so as to maximize their educational opportunities. Throughout my career as a building principal, and now as a superintendent of schools, I have tried to help teachers and other administrators with their own professional growth. My future aspirations are to carry on the lessons I learned from my Lake Land College instructors; namely, helping others learn and grow.

John Livesay


Employer: First National Bank of Pana

Job Title: President

The opportunity to pursue college in my hometown after discharge from the U.S. Army was certainly a key factor that has impacted my career and life. As a veteran, I knew from first hand experience that a college education could make a difference in career advancement. Having been out of school for several years I would have to question if I would have ever completed bachelor’s and graduate degrees had it not been for Lake Land College. I am truly grateful and appreciative of Lake Land College and am certain it has changed the lives of many other central Illinois families.

Carl Meinhart Ph.D.

Santa Barbara, CA

Employer: University of California, Santa Barbara

Job Title: Professor of Mechanical Engineering

The physics classes I took from Chuck Wieck inspired me so much that I changed my major from agriculture to engineering. I went on to get a Ph.D. in Engineering at the University of Illinois. I have been a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at University of California Santa Barbara for the past 10 years. My experience at Lake Land was a critical turning point in my academic career and has had a profound impact on my life.

Randal J. “Randy” Miller


Employer: Miller Media Group

Job Title: President/Media Owner

My experience at Lake Land College prepared me for a career in radio broadcasting…first as an announcer, then in news and sports, then in advertising sales, and finally in ownership. My years at Lake Land College also taught me responsibility and gave me the self-confidence I needed in the marketplace to get that first job!

Chad Moutray

Alexandria, VA

Employer: U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy

Job Title: Chief Economist & Director of Economic Research

At Lake Land College, I studied business administration and enjoyed the variety of courses that I enrolled in. I was uncertain, though, which field of study I would eventually specialize in. I did well in a number of courses, including accounting and finance, but I could not see myself doing these professions for the rest of my life. Then, I took a Principles of Macroeconomics taught by Bill Little. He made the topic exciting and practical. (That is not something you often say about an economics instructor.) I always have had a passion for public policy, and his examples brought economics to life for me. I was hooked. From that point forward, I studied economics. I earned my baccalaureate and master’s degrees in economics from Eastern Illinois University and my Ph.D. in economics at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. My experience, I guess, proves the ultimate cliché that one teacher c really make a difference.

Steven E. Myers, Ph.D.

Colorado Springs, CO

Employer: Land O’Lakes Purina Feed

Job Title: Beef Consulting Nutritionist

I would like to begin by thanking Lake Land College, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the Agriculture Department for this great honor. I am confident that the time I spent at the Lake Land College campus is highly responsible for what I have accomplished since graduating in 1990. I credit the college for its quality of education and its instructors. The livestock judging activities I participated in provided me with the development of decision-making, public speaking and organizational skills. I was out on my own for the first time and faced with the apprehension of what path to take. Curt Rincker, Bob Jurgens, Tom Reedy, and all the others, gave me the advisement to follow my heart, and I thank them! Again, this is a great privilege to me, and I thank the college from the bottom of my heart. God bless.

Michael V. Neal

Employer: Charleston Retired, Administrator Department of Corrections

I graduated from high school as an under achiever. I received D’s and Fs, I just did not care. I enlisted in the marines, went to Vietnam and returned home. I decided to attend Lake Land College as a lark. The initial year began at Lake Land and a strange thing happened, I found instructors who cared, who made learning fun and taught me I could achieve at a much higher level. Lake Land was my stepping stone to all my success.

Nancy Neal


Job Title: Posthumous

Nancy always felt that her years at Lake Land College were very beneficial in helping her to gain the confidence she needed and used in her future years as a business woman working in the male dominated tire and auto service industry.

Gary Niehaus, Ph.D.


Employer: Charleston Community Unit School District #1

Job Title: Superintendent

Lake Land College gave me the opportunity to transfer to Eastern Illinois University to complete my Bachelor’s Degree. Lake Land gave me that chance to enhance my teacher’s certificate with another teaching endorsement in History. It was an honor to be able to play college basketball under Howard Garrett and college baseball under Gene Creek. Lake Land gave me the confidence to continue my degree work and to attain my goals throughout my life. I appreciate the time spent and education gained from LLC.

Karen L. Noffke


Employer: Mason Point

Job Title: RN

My desire as a young child was to become a nurse. I had always believed that I wanted to be in the nursing field and as a high school graduate Lake Land was a terrific option. Lake Land’s costs allowed me to live and attend school while working part-time. Upon completion of the practical nursing program I was able to begin a career in nursing immediately. Lake Land also offered an ADN program in cooperation with IECC and I was able to continue my education in nursing. My education at Lake Land was the launching pad for a continued education in the geriatric health field and I was able to successfully complete a personal goal of a higher education. I was able to transfer credits accordingly to Eastern Illinois University and completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Gerontology. My education has allowed me to work in the healthcare field and continue doing what I love - working in the health care field.

John Phipps


Job Title: Retired Major General and retail store owner

My family settled in Goose Nest Prairie (Lincoln Log Cabin area) in the early 1800’s. They knew the Lincoln family quite well. My father, who had only one year of schooling, had a general store in Kansas, IL where I was born in 1919. He wanted his sons to go to college, so he bought a rooming house and we moved to Champaign. In the U of I ROTC (mandatory in my time) an early course was equitation. The Army said that if you wanted to be an officer you had to be able to ride. I met Pauline in my French class that year. I proposed to her when she was seventeen. Fortunately she turned me down. The war came and I was a field artillery lieutenant. Pauline joined the Navy. I was sent to the South Pacific with my combat time with the First Cavalry Division in the Philippines. Our troop ship sailed by the Missouri while the Japanese were signing the surrender. We made a combat landing but fortunately not a round was fired. I rode home on an aircraft carrier in January and married Pauline in February 1946. I have kidded her ever since about marrying me to get out of the Navy. I joined my brother Clem in the retail shoe business in Mattoon. We had a small chain of stores in Illinois and Indiana. The city fathers wanted an armory and I was persuaded to drop back from major in the artillery reserves to become an infantry captain to recruit a company in Mattoon which would entitle us to the armory. So I had to go to Ft. Benning to learn to be an infantry officer, Since I was the honor graduate, I become a lieutenant colonel. Our 44th Division was activated for Korea – mostly trench warfare against the Chinese. So after all this time I decided to stick with the Illinois National Guard. Now I had a dual career – military and civilian. Our son Chuck was born in 1950 and our daughter in 1951. They both got degrees in Illinois. Chuck lives in Colorado and has two sons and our only princess. Kelsey had two sons who live in California. We lost Kelsey in a small plane accident two years ago. In 1967 I became a Brigadier General and Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade in Chicago. In 1968 during the Martin Luther King riots, I was given the formal mission “Restore law and order to the west side of the City of Chicago.” That was the time the old mayor Daley issued the order to “shoot to kill.” Fortunately we never fired a shot. Later that year came the Democratic Convention and I feel that it was more trying than war-time. As an after note, Mayor Daley invited Pauline and I to a formal dinner honoring Emperor Hirohoito. Here was a man I would gladly have killed thirty years earlier. Of course, he would have killed me too. In 1970 I was appointed assistant Adjutant General which required us to move to Springfield. In 1977 I moved up to The Adjutant General. I retired in 1983 and we returned to Mattoon. We closed our last retail store in 1990, having been in business in Mattoon for 54 years. I served as Chairman of the Coles County Board of Review for property taxes for 15 years and retired in 1999. Our hobbies now are traveling (we have visited all seven continents) and U of I football and basketball. We attend all home games. We are also trying to master the computer. In Lake Land’s early years we took French and then later computer classes. I can not say these helped our careers, but they certainly contributed to our retirement. Lake Land is definitely an asset to the community.

Richard Reid


Employer: Shelby Memorial Hospital

Job Title: Physical Therapist Assistant

I graduated in 2002 from the Physical Therapist Assistant program. However my affiliation with Lake Land goes way back. I actually first enrolled in the fall of 1968. I did poorly and then the draft caught up with me, and my college days were over before they really began. After a tour in Viet Nam, I returned home with no desire to return to school. Fortunately I got a manufacturing job that earned me a good living for many years, but outside of the paycheck there was little reward. In the fall of 1998 my youngest son (also a Lake Land graduate) entered the Civil Engineering program. I considered taking “a few classes” and a Lake Land counselor informed me I was still eligible for the Illinois Veterans grant which would pay for most of my tuition and books if I were to select a program. I had never dreamed of being in the medical field, but it proved to be the perfect fit. When I left Lake Land College in the spring of 2002, I was well prepared for my board tests and to enter the work force. Martha Mioux, Kay Foreman, and the rest of the PTA staff gave me the skills and knowledge to serve patients in a job that rewards me far beyond dollars and cents. Lake Land’s support continues through their sponsorship of continuing education courses and my participation as a clinical instructor for the PTA program. I’m honored to receive this recognition but feel I only represent hundreds of Lake Land graduates working in the medical field. You would be hard pressed to find any medical facility in the area not benefiting from the employment of a Lake Land graduate. I wouldn’t recommend taking 36 years to graduate, but if you’re looking to change your life for the better it’s not too late. Not with Lake Land’s help.

David B. Reis

Willow Hill

Employer: State of Illinois

Job Title: State Representative

“It is always an honor to come back to the campus. Lake Land is such a great story, from its beginnings in buildings scattered all around town to the most recent building expansion. It has become one of the finest community colleges in the country. Attending my community college was a great transition for me. Lake Land allowed me to get my core classes completed and meet a lot more people. I went on to major in animal science at the University of Illinois, but there I always felt more like a number. Lake Land gave me a much broader educational experience and more hands-on attention. I hope others realize what a positive difference Lake Land can make in their lives and that they choose to give back to the college. After all, you can only pay forward, not payback.”

Jeremy Richey


Employer: Coles County State’s Attorney’s Office Lake

Job Title: Assistant State’s Attorney

Land College was a bridge to the rest of my life. After high school, I went to Lake Land not knowing if any type of college experience was for me. I knew for sure that the typical four-year college experience did not appeal to me. I chose Lake Land’s Automotive Technology program because I had an interest in cars, and, I also thought that I might be interested in starting a repair shop. At Lake Land, I learned a lot about cars, but, I also discovered that college was something that I was interested in. Furthermore, I learned that while I liked working on cars for fun, I did not want to do it for a living. Accordingly, after graduating from Lake Land, I went on to earn my bachelor’s and law degrees. It is likely that if Lake Land was not in the Coles County area, I never would have enrolled in a four-year college, and after that, law school. For me, then, Lake Land opened my eyes to new opportunities and possibilities. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jill Rogers


Employer: Martinsville CUSD#C-3

Job Title: Superintendent

My business degree from Lake Land gave me the skills I need to run a school district and has helped earn Martinsville School’s State Financial recognition two years in a row.

Greg Sapp

Employer: Premier Broadcasting

Job Title: Effingham Station Manager

Lake Land was a great basis from which to launch out into a career and into life. It was affordable, it was close enough that I could live at home while completing my studies, and flexible enough that I could work in my chosen field while going to school. The instructors were a fine group, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special thank you to Ken Beno for his guidance and his friendship even all of those years later.

Charlie Schwerman


Employer: RR Donnelley

Job Title: Graphic Arts/Print Management

Lake Land provided a solid educational foundation prior to moving on to getting a four-year degree. Lake Land offered flexibility and options of determining a career major that I don’t feel I would have had at a 4-year institution.

Michael Searles

Rowlett, TX

Employer: Software Development Base 16 Corporation

Job Title: Consultant

My entire 24-year career has been built on the education I received at Lake Land College. I spent about 5 years as an Electronics Technician. Through experience I became an Electronics Engineer, and developed both hardware and software for embedded Communication Systems. For the last 10 years I’ve worked strictly in software development.

Larry Smith

Peachtree City, GA

Employer: CNN

Job Title: Sports Anchor

There is no question that I would not be where I am today without Lake Land College. Lake Land gave me not only the educational knowledge, but the practical applications needed to succeed.

Jan Storm


Employer: Lake Land College

Job Title: Administrative Assistant

Lake Land College provided me the education needed to become a secretary. Growing up I was always impressed with the secretaries in the schools I attended. While at Lake Land I was a part-time student worker in the Public Relations Department and was allowed to complete my internship at the college and after graduation was hired full-time. I also met my husband while attending Lake Land College. This is my 30th year of employment as I worked for seven years after graduation in 1970 – took seven years off to have a family ¬– and returned in 1983. Lake Land College has been my only place of employment.

Zack Taylor

Jacksonville, FL

Employer: ATA Airline Pro

Job Title: Pilot

Upon reflection I can readily discern areas in my life and career in which Lake Land College played a significant role. One was self-confidence. Entering Lake Land, I soon discovered that I could successfully compete academically with other students. Another area was that of self-esteem. The growth in self-confidence created a greater sense of self-worth. With said growth, fears were allayed. Additionally, I can mention strengthening my goal-setting attitude, strengthening my career goals in life, plus strengthening my powers regarding people, i.e. their mores, ethics, values. Perhaps most importantly, Lake Land College aided in “opening doors” of opportunity. A Lake Land degree enabled me to enter University of Hawaii at Hilo, resulting in a degree and my entering the U.S. Navy. The Navy led to my becoming a help pilot, my ascension through the ranks to become a Captain, and eventually to my becoming a commercial pilot with American Trans Air. Lake Land College was indeed a spring board for me.

Denny Throneburg


Employer: Lake Land College

Job Title: Athletic Director/ Softball Coach

Lake Land College was a great place for me to start my education. Coming from a small high school, Lake Land College gave me an opportunity to get off to a good start without being overwhelmed by a large university. When I transferred to Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, I felt much more prepared for that environment. Because I had the opportunity to be a student-athlete at Lake Land College, I was able to continue as a student-athlete at SIUE and that led to my career as a teacher and a coach. After having attended Lake Land in its infant years, I am very proud of the advancements in education and technology facilities and general campus appearance of Lake Land College. I am proud to say that I was not only a student at Lake Land College, but that I am now an administrator and coach at Lake Land College.

Jon VanDyke

Louisville, IL

Employer: Lake Land College

Job Title: Dean of Admission Services

From the first time I met a member of the faculty I knew that Lake Land College was the place for me. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed my experience at Lake Land so much that I knew that someday I wanted to work for the college. That goal came true for me in September of 1994 when I was hired as the College Admissions Specialist. Currently I’m serving as Dean of Admission Services where I witness on a daily basis the great things that are happening on our campus. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to give back to an institution that gave so much to me.

Richard C. West


Employer: West & Company, LLC

Job Title: CPA

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Lake Land College. Whatever minor accomplishments I’ve achieved can be traced back to Lake Land College. The faculty took a genuine interest in students and their welfare. Lake Land prepared me very well for my transfer to Eastern. Once I arrived at Eastern Illinois University, I found out that I was better prepared than most of the other students. A lot of people helped me along the way and a lot of those people are right here on Lake Land’s campus. I feel we have a responsibility to give back to the college some of what it has given to us. There’s no way I could repay the college for all it has done for me. The Foundation scholarship and donation to the Alumni Park are just small tokens of what Lake Land has done for me personally.”

William O. Whitworth


Employer: Gardner-Whitworth & Associates Realtors, Inc

Job Title: President/Real Estate Broker & Real Estate Developer

Along with providing me with the basic academic tools that I would use in developing business skills, my experience at Lake Land helped me to gain self-confidence, develop organizational skills and to become independent and self starting. In addition, many of the relationships established while here continue to this day and have been important in establishing social and professional networks. In short, I am proud that I am an Alumnus and continue my association with an institution which has had such a positive impact on so many people and my community.

Larry Wilson, Ph.D.

Evanston, IL

Employer: University of Illinois Extension

Job Title: Educator

Attending Lake Land College allowed me to transition from a small high school into college life without having to deal with large class sizes, lecture halls and competing with thousands of other students for academic achievement. Lake Land offered a personalized touch where the instructors knew you by name and were directly involved in your academic success. Instructors such as Tom Reedy, Ed Dunphy, Bill Rich, Jan Kidd were more than just instructors, they became confidants and mentors. Lake Land College offered the opportunity to be involved with Livestock Judging on a regional and national level; an opportunity that helped boost my confidence in livestock evaluation, critical thinking, and public speaking. These skills I use in my employment throughout the year, and in my personal life as a partner in Robjoy Shorthorns and advisor to Junior Shorthorn Associations at the State and National level. Attending Lake Land College allowed me to still be involved with the home farming operation while continuing my education. Doing so enabled me to put into immediate practice that information that I gained through course work at Lake Land. As I have continued my education and my work I recall the learning experiences, and the challenges that Lake Land College laid out for me as a student. Challenges that helped me grow and build my interest in Animal Agriculture, working with young people and building community by building leadership capacity skills in individuals.

Dr. James E. Winfield


Job Title: Dentist

I came to Lake Land College seven years after graduating at the bottom of my high school class, having only a slight hope that I could handle college courses. What happened was to me magic, becoming a student for the first time in my life. I was encouraged and helped by my instructors and department heads. They gave me the time and skill to become anything I wished. My lifetime of learning started and blossomed during the three years I spent at Lake Land College, which continues to this day.

Thomas Wright


Employer: Wright Furniture, Inc

Job Title: President

My experience at Lake Land College taught me that one size does not fit all. I began my post high school education at a larger four-year institution. My graduating high school class totaled around 41 students so the emotional transition to a larger university was much more difficult for me than the class work. I soon became disillusioned with the college life and was going to give it up until a friend suggested I apply at Lake Land. The smaller class size and the personal attention from the instructors was a perfect fit for me at that time. I completed my degree from Lake Land and transferred back to the four-year university where I completed my bachelor’s degree. Had it not been for Lake Land College, I would not have finished my education and would have had to live with my own disappointment of not completing something that was very important to me. My experience at Lake Land has always been a very positive influence on my life. Today, I have a son attending Lake Land and another son who plans to attend in 2008. I wholeheartedly support our community college and recommend it to all who wish to improve their job skills, prepare for a higher degree, or just enjoy learning. Thanks to Lake Land College for giving many of us another choice and thanks to the instructors for caring about the students and their future.

Mike Yager


Employer: Mid America Motorworks

Job Title: President and Chief Cheerleader

“Lake Land College has provided so many individuals with a solid foundation for learning to help further personal growth opportunities- countless Mid America Motorworks personnel included. Online classes and the addition of the Kluthe Center to the Effingham Community have given our employees easier access to continued education and the opportunity to enhance their existing skill sets. Mid America Motorworks has benefited from Lake Land College’s various training programs and job recruitment. The Center for Business and Industry for process and quality improvement has been a tremendous asset to us. I am incredibly proud and grateful to have Lake Land College here in our community.”

Jim Zimmer


Employer: Monsanto

Job Title: Seed and Crop Protection Sales

“I currently have a rewarding career that has ample advancement opportunities available to me. I owe a great deal of my career success to where my career began, my community college. Lake Land’s Ag faculty had the confidence in me, offered me encouragement, and cared enough to show me the road that could lead to success. The Ag curriculum was challenging, but not too challenging for an average high school student, such as I was. However, it helped me to develop some good fundamentals. These fundamentals helped shape my career and my own personal values which I have made a personal goal to teach to my own children. One of the most notable experiences that helped shape my career in agriculture was my S.O.E. (supervised occupational experience) experience with a local fertilizer company. This experience helped me obtain my first job in agriculture and find a career close to farming which was what I had always wanted to do. Through my 23-year career in agriculture, I have never forgotten those fundamental values that I learned from the Ag faculty. They have provided me with the ongoing inspiration to continue to share those values with my family and others, and to find success in my own career.”

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