April 26, 2017

CARTERVILLE — William “Bill” Kilquist is the new chair of the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees.

Kilquist, a resident of Murphysboro, is well-known in Jackson County for serving six terms as sheriff (1982-2003). He was first elected to the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees in 2005 and served until 2010 before resigning. He then ran again and was re-elected in 2013.

Kilquist was placed at the board’s helm Tuesday night by his peers after the board reorganized following the district-wide board election earlier this month. Those elected April 4 were Becky Borgsmiller, Mandy Little, and Glenn Poshard.

Along with Kilquist being chosen as chair, Cheryl Graff was selected as vice chair, and Jacob “Jake” Rendleman, secretary.

Kilquist replaces Don Brewer, who retired from the board Tuesday night after more than 40 years of service. Brewer had been the board’s chair for the past two years. Brewer gave an emotional speech looking back on the past four decades saying that he has a “great regard and love” for John A. Logan College.

Brewer also noted that the past year serving on the board has been the most difficult due to the state’s inability to pass a budget and the financial strain that has caused Logan and other colleges throughout the state.

He explained that the layoffs that resulted because of the state’s financial crisis caused he and other board members “sleepless nights.

“I hope the College never has to go through this again,” Brewer said.

Along with Brewer, board member Jackie Hancock also exited the board after she also chose not to run for re-election. Hancock had served on the board since 2010. Her eyes filled with tears as she was given a plaque for her service by Dr. Ron House, College president.

Following goodbyes to Brewer and Hancock, House oversaw the board’s reorganization. Kilquist then took a seat at the helm. The board then held its April meeting with a full agenda.

Included in the new faces around the boardroom was Timothy McDaniel, student trustee, who succeeds Christine Lipe.

There were a number of highlights in Tuesday’s meeting, including the announcement from Brad McCormick, vice president for Business Services and College Facilities, that the College’s current bond rating is an A+. McCormick also noted that his office — with the help of board members Poshard and Graff — have kept a tight rein on spending due to the state’s financial crisis.

“This has been a team effort and we’ve worked closely together to keep the College’s bond rating high,” McCormick said.

Melanie Pecord, vice president for Instructional Services, also voiced a number of highlights on campus, including “a great Higher Learning Commission” (HLC) visit.

“The HLC’s closing remarks were very positive,” Pecord said. The HLC is currently considering the College’s reaffirmation of its accreditation.

Pecord also recognized Instructor Mark Rogers and his cyber defense team who recently competed in Chicago and defeated two major university teams, the University of Illinois and Governors State University.

Rogers noted that the team has been successful thanks in part to the support of Lora Hines, chair for Business, Computer Science, and the board of trustees.

Pecord also noted that visits from high school seniors this past month have been “very successful.” She praised College Dean for Student Services Tim Williams for organizing the visits and showcasing the campus to prospective students.

Scott Wernsman, director of Dual Credit and Partnerships, was also in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. Pecord noted that Wernsman’s program recently attained a prestigious accreditation through the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. Only two colleges in Illinois have this accreditation.

“Dual credit is a great program,” noted Trustee Dr. Ray Hancock.