Laker Nation News

Prospective Students Invited to Laker Visit Day

Posted on November 19, 2018

Prospective college students and their parents are invited to learn more about Lake Land College at Laker Visit Day on Dec. 7.

Beginning at 9 a.m. in the Luther Student Center Lobby and running until noon, Laker Visit Day provides an opportunity for students to tour campus, visit a class, meet current students and talk with faculty. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend and learn more about the college during a parent session.

Representatives from Admissions & Records, Financial Aid, Counseling Services, Career Services, Student Life, and other departments will provide information and answer questions. The event includes informational sessions by current Lake Land College Student Ambassadors and college staff. Participants will also meet with faculty members in their academic area of interest.

“Laker Visit Day is a great way for prospective students and parents to talk to faculty and staff about academic options and majors, to talk to current students about their experiences at the college and to learn about financial aid options and opportunities,” Michelle Zumbahlen, coordinator for strategic student communication & initiatives, said.

Guests should be prepared to walk the beautiful campus. To get to the Luther Student Center take Entrance 1 from Route 45, turn right after the curve and park in Lot B. Then, walk toward the Bookstore and Board & Administration Center and proceed to the interior of the campus. Student Ambassadors will be stationed in these areas to greet guests and help with directions. In case of inclement weather on the day of the event, please check the college’s homepage at for closures.

For more information, or to reserve a space for Laker Visit Day, register online at or call 217-234-5377.

Lake Land College Board of Trustees appoints new vice president for student services

Posted on November 12, 2018

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees appointed Beth Gerl of Westminster, Maryland, to assume the role of vice president for student services effective February 1, 2019.

The board took action following a closed session during the regular monthly meeting on Nov. 12, 2018. Gerl will succeed Tina Stovall, who will retire in January following a combined total of 25 years at the college.

Gerl has an extensive background in student services and spent the past 13 years as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. Her areas of responsibility included residence life, judicial affairs, Title IX, student conduct, student activities, Greek affairs, orientation, health and counseling services, diversity and inclusion, food service, campus center operations, department of campus safety, career services and the threat assessment and crisis management team.

Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said Gerl’s vast experience in a diverse set of student service areas and her commitment to student success are closely aligned with the vice presidency at Lake Land College.

“We are fortunate to find in Ms. Gerl a candidate who has both the professional experience in student services and the passion for creating opportunities for students to succeed,” Bullock said. “Throughout her career, she has always made time to meet with students and listen to their thoughts, share in their accomplishments and work with them to find solutions. We look forward to welcoming her to campus and to her leadership of a strong student services unit.”

Gerl said she looks forward to returning to Illinois and working at a college with a tradition of putting students first.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as the next vice president for student services at Lake Land College. I look forward to serving Lake Land College and the local community by building on the many successes that have been achieved. There is so much alignment between my leadership approach and Lake Land College’s mission of engaging minds and changing lives. As a first-generation college student who grew up and attended college in Central Illinois, I look forward to returning to my roots,” Gerl said.

Gerl has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in counselor education/higher education from Illinois State University.

The Lake Land College vice president for student services position provides leadership and vision for all student services areas and works as part of the leadership team to create and sustain a student-centered learning environment.

Gerl has a breadth of higher education leadership experience spanning more than 30 years that ranges from designing and implementing campus facilities, facilitating new identity and branding opportunities, to creating an identity-safe educational setting that supports low-income, first generation and underrepresented students.

Prior to her work at McDaniel College, Gerl served as the vice president and dean of students at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama where she provided oversight to intercollegiate athletics, recreation and intramurals, student activities, the wellness center, emergency/hurricane operations, food service, residence life and orientation. She has also served in leadership positions at Hendrix College, University of Mount Union, Wittenberg University and Illinois State University




Lake Land College Community Choir Holiday Concert

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The Lake Land College Community Choir will present a holiday concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Lake Land College Theater.

The choir will perform selections from My Fair Lady, and singers will “dream the impossible dream” in a set of songs about dreams and dreaming. Christmas music includes traditional British songs in a medley titled Medieval Carol Fantasy, and an arrangement of “The First Noel.” Drummer Alek Mann of Mattoon will set the pace for Frank Sinatra’s “Mistletoe and Holly,” as well as “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” and toes will tap to an updated version of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” titled “Swingin’ St. Nick.”

A reception will follow in the dining area at the college.

Under the direction of Nancy Caldwell, music instructor, the Community Choir is a choir of mixed voices including students from the college as well as members of surrounding communities such as Mattoon, Charleston, Effingham, Neoga, Arthur, Sigel, and Lovington. Randy Imig of St. Elmo accompanies the choir.  The Community Choir was formed in January of 1998 and performs two concerts annually.

Due to construction behind the Luther Student Center where the Theater is located, concert attendees are advised to park in Parking Lot B or Parking Lot F, and follow the signs to the Theater. The concert is free and open to the public.

Lake Land College and LSC Communications to Offer Fast Track to Jobs with Tuition Guarantee

Posted on November 9, 2018

Lake Land College and LSC Communications are offering an eight-week fast track training program beginning Jan. 7 that leads to a job at the printing facility in Mattoon. Tuition and fees are guaranteed for students who are accepted into the program.

Individuals who complete the training will receive a college certificate and will be hired by LSC Communications in the positions of bindery operator, press operator or assistant press operator at wages of $16 to $18 per hour. Once hired, the employee will enter into an apprenticeship to learn the detailed craft of printing.

Those interested in the program can attend the informational session on Dec. 5, 2018 at the Lake Land College Workforce Development Center, 305 Richmond Ave., E, Mattoon at 6:30 p.m. Details of the Manufacturing Skills training program will be discussed as well as application requirements and discuss financial resources available to pay for the classes. Applicants will be required to complete drug screening and a background check.

Under the Lake Land College guaranteed financial assistance program, students will first apply for state and federal financial assistance and WIOA funding. Should those sources not cover the costs, Lake Land College will waive any tuition and mandatory fees that remain. Tuition and fees for the 16-hour LSC Fast Track program are estimated at $2,300 per student.

Classes will start Jan. 7 and go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Workforce Development Center. The program will span eight weeks, ending on March 6.

John Price graduated from the LSC Fast Track program in July, immediately started working at LSC, and is currently working as a stitching operator.

“By completing the training program I have been able to take advantage of several opportunities to advance at LSC,” Price said.

LSC Communications prints, assembles and ships magazines, catalogs and books in the 1.3 million-square-foot facility.

“Everything we do here is extremely detail oriented and highly technical,” Jim Lanman, vice president of operations at LSC Communications, said. “We are looking for people who are interested in technology and want a hands-on experience.”

Lanman said LSC offers opportunities for career advancement and has many employees who have been there for decades. The positions include full benefits including health, dental, vision and vacation. The facility includes a weight room, locker rooms and a full-service cafeteria.

“We have been making a concerted effort to be more involved in the community and partnering with Lake Land will help us reach that goal. The plant employs nearly 700 full-time staff but we are always looking for new and inspired talent,” Lanman said.

For more information about the program, contact Bonnie Moore, director to Center for Business and Industry, at 217-238-8260 or bmoore71258@lakelandcollege.

Lake Land College Student One of Two Community College Students to Place at Annual Broadcasters’ Awards

Posted on November 8, 2018

A Lake Land College Radio-TV student was one of only two community college students to place in the annual Illinois Broadcasters Association Student Silver Dome Awards for 2018.

John Enright, Shelbyville, received second place in Best Sales Presentation. Speech Communication/Broadcasting Instructor Greg Powers spoke on how difficult it is to place in the IBA Student Silver Dome Awards.

“Students are competing against other students throughout Illinois, mainly from four- year institutions,” Powers said.

Enright, who plans on being a program director for television and/or radio and own his own production studio, was rated on overall content and creativity of the presentation, which he focused on the benefits of buying underwriting with WLKL.

“If there is anything separating me from the competition it is the client,” Enright said. “I focused on what the station and the store had in common.”

“There is a lot of work put into every form of media that we see. All that work is for nothing if the needs of viewers are not taken into consideration first,” Enright said. “Lake Land’s Radio/TV Broadcasting program taught me what it takes to be a content producer for the public and how to better serve the public with my knowledge and talent in the trade.”

Lake Land College and the College of Dupage were the only two community colleges to have students place at the awards.

To learn more about the broadcast programs at Lake Land College or contact Powers at 217-234-5335 or

Lake Land College offers an Introduction to Concealed Carry Class

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Lake Land College is offering two-day Introduction to Concealed Carry classes at Accuracy Firearms, 1300 S. Raney, St., Effingham.

Participants can choose from two dates for the 16-hour course:

  • Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 – Sunday, January 6, 2019
  • Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 – Sunday, February 3, 2019

Both course sections will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Instructor Dwayne Beccue has designed this class to educate the student about handguns best suited for personal defense, how to carry them safely, and how to deploy and use them efficiently in the context of a dynamic critical incident.  The class will also cover the laws pertaining to the appropriate and lawful use of carrying handguns in public.  The cost is $150 for the two-day class.

To register, go to, choose the class date, and enroll.  Drop date for a refund is five business days prior to the class.  For more information, contact Professional Development Support Jackie Wake at 217-234-5087 or email

One Laker Nation Alumni Trip to Garden Glow at St. Louis Botanical Garden

Posted on November 5, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018    Cost: $50

The Lake Land College Alumni Association is hosting a holiday bus trip. Alumni and friends are invited to kick off the season with a trip to the amazing Garden Glow light walk at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

The trip will depart from campus near the Field House at 1:45 p.m. and from the Kluthe Center in Effingham at 2:15 p.m. Following the garden walk, the bus will drive to The Hill, where participants can select to dine at the restaurant of their choice. The trip cost is $50 which includes entrance to Garden Glow. Dinner is the responsibility of each individual. Expected return to the Kluthe Center is 10:30 p.m. and to campus is 11 p.m. A limited number of seats are available and reservations must be made by Oct. 27. The trip is open to Laker Alumni, Lake Land employees and guests.

“The alumni board is excited to offer this new opportunity for alumni to stay connected to their alma mater. We look forward to a fun event kicking off the holiday season,” Dave Cox, director of alumni relations and annual giving, said.

Register online at

Lake Land College Instructor Mike Rudibaugh Receives Prestigious Award

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Lake Land College Geography/Earth Science Instructor Mike Rudibaugh, Charleston, has received a prestigious achievement award from the Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) for his groundbreaking work in geographic information systems (GIS).

Rudibaugh will receive the 2018 Hilton Distinguished Collaboration Award during an awards banquet on October 23 in Naperville. This award is presented to an individual who has provided extraordinary service to the GIS community in the advancement of coordination between GIS professionals.

Organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information and solve complex problems around the world according to

In announcing the award, the ILGISA said about Rudibaugh: “His enthusiasm is contagious, he is a true champion of GIS in the state of Illinois and beyond. Such is evidenced by his deep involvement with the National Science Foundation and numerous grant awards through the years promoting GIS education across the nation’s community college system through the GeoTech Center.”

Rudibaugh said his success is not all his own but is shared with industry partners (i.e., EJ Water, Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative and Coles County Regional Planning) and his instructors, specifically his recently passed mentor at Eastern Illinois University, Dr. Alan Baharlou.

“This is like a lifetime achievement award however, it’s really as much about the partners we have at Lake Land College to make it happen,” Rudibaugh said. “The credit extends to partners such as Eastern Illinois University and industries we have partnered with to promote GIS across the state of Illinois.”

The ILGISA announcement states Rudibaugh has made significant contributions to promote cooperation within the GIS community and the people the organization serves as illustrated by his extensive involvement in numerous multidisciplinary GIS projects. He has taught GIS for more than 20 years in Illinois and in addition to his teaching loads he currently serves as an external NSF grant evaluator at SCATE, Inc. In this organization, his work includes monitoring and working with teams to develop grant objectives, outcomes and site visits for GIS projects/programs at Lake Land, Kaskaskia and Parkland colleges in Illinois. His previous work as a grant director for Kaskaskia College involved the direction and management of project budgeting, curriculum coordination, STEM teacher training and overall project management for the southern Illinois region. This project evolved into establishing an introductory GIS class to count as general education for all colleges and universities in Illinois. He is also a past ILGISA Board Member.

Lake Land College Math and Science Division Chair/Biological Sciences Instructor Ikemefuna “Ike” Nwosu, said “Mike has accomplished a lot of groundbreaking work with GIS collaboration cutting across industries as well as different departments on campus. I have had the privilege of a front row seat to some of his collaborative projects and I sincerely believe his work is truly deserving of this recognition.”

Co-educational committee member of ILGISA and director of the GIS Center at Western Illinois University Chad Sperry said that Rudibaugh was dedicated to making GIS more accessible to students and professionals alike.  “Mike works hard with interns to get them relevant experience and placed in the job market,” said Sperry. Sperry also mentioned how instrumental Rudibaugh was in establishing regional meetings to bring ILGISA content to members that weren’t as able to travel to the annual spring meeting.

The Illinois GIS Association is the only statewide organization of GIS/geospatial professionals in Illinois. Rudibaugh is the education committee chair for ILGISA.

ILGISA advances the understanding, communication, and effectiveness of geospatial technology in Illinois. ILGISA connects more than 500 members working in local, regional, state and federal government, higher educational institutions and private industries. ILGISA programs include an annual conference, regional meetings, training events and webinars that address the ever-evolving geospatial technologies, applications and standards.

Lake Land College offers a certificate in Geospatial Technology through the Math and Science Division. The certificate can be earned simultaneously with several other majors on campus. The courses provide training in a valuable, marketable skill. According to, jobs as surveying and mapping technicians are expected to grow nationally by 11 percent through 2026.

New Plastics Manufacturing Program offered in Paris

Posted on November 2, 2018

Lake Land College is offering a new plastics manufacturing program this spring to meet a high demand for employees in this region.

The evening courses will be held exclusively in Paris at the VoTech Center, the old high school. Students will be able to work with injection and extrusion molding processes and equipment coupled with basic maintenance and automation skills used for several positions in plastics manufacturing.

Six North American Lighting employees completed the pilot class in the spring and have since received upgrades in their employment. The program is intended to promote current employees in the plastics field and provide new students with a job soon after completing the program.

Area companies such as North American Lighting and Libman Co. have already dedicated resources and funds to get the program started.

“NAL was actually the first business we were working with that gave us the idea. They donated two 90-ton injection molded presses, and a dye, that allowed us to get started,” Vice President for Workforce Solutions/Community Education Jim Hull said. “Libman has been very supportive, providing both a monetary gift and dyes.”

National and worldwide corporations NAL, Libman, Flex-N-Gate in Danville, and Plastipak in Champaign, all require plastic manufacturing technicians. Each business has expressed interest in the program and has offered to provide employees for an advisory committee to help the program grow, Hull added.

“You don’t think of everything that is involved in making those bristles. That plastic was once about 90 feet long and then it is stretched down to the size of a toothbrush bristle. They’re making bristles to clean the airport runway or even the brushes on the Mars rover,” Hull said.

“Flex-N-Gate in Danville is going to be doubling the square footage of its facility within the coming year, Libman is adding a new corporate office. Plastics is huge and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

To learn more about the new plastics program contact Michael Beavers, division chair of technology, at 217-234-5341 or To enroll in the courses, visit and select the “Enroll Now” button.


Lake Land College Seeks Award Nominations

Posted on October 30, 2018

Lake Land College is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Service Award to be announced in spring 2019.

The Distinguished Service Award and the Alumnus Achievement Award will be presented at the college’s 2019 Commencement ceremony and the Retiree Wall of Fame recipients will be announced during a ceremony on campus in the spring.

All nomination forms must be received by Dec. 14, and are available on the college’s website at or by contacting Seirra Laughhunn, administrative assistant to the president’s office, at 217-234-5222 or Submissions can be submitted to Laughhunn over email or in person.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual whose exemplary service and contributions have benefited Lake Land College or its affiliated organizations.  Current paid members of the faculty and staff and current members of the board of trustees are not eligible for this award.

Past Distinguished Service Award winners are Robert Luther (2018), Scott Lensink (2017), James Shaffer (2016), Robert Pancoast (2015), Max Jaeger (2014), Annette Lynch (2013), Gerald Forsythe (2012), John Livesay (2011), Rick Manuell (2010), Preston Smith (2009), Bob Willenborg (2008), Don Portugal (2007), Dwight Schilling (2006), Anne Bacon, (2005), Susan Leach (2004), Anne Kabbes (2003), James Allee (2002), Roger Dettro (2001), Peter M. Bonutti (2000), Charles Adams (1999), Michael Yager (1998), James Bennett (1997), Tom Reedy (1996), R. Dale Adams (1995), Jack Schultz (1994), Consuello Luttrell (1993), George Mitchell (1992), Melvin Lockard (1991), Lowell Samuel (1990), Eugene Bauer (1989), William Podesta (1988), Jack Oberhill (1987), Floyd Curl (1985), Robert Johnson (1984), Virgil and Charlene Roberts (1983), Eddie Collings (1982) and William B. Hills (1981).

The Alumnus Achievement Award is presented to a Lake Land College graduate who has attained outstanding success and distinction in his or her field of endeavor.  The nominee must hold a degree or certificate from Lake Land and be active in the endeavor for which the degree or certificate is intended.

Past Alumnus Achievement Award recipients are Cari Rincker (2018), Diane Sterchi (2017), Kenin Smith (2016), Chad Moutray (2015), Greg Conrad (2014), Rex Morgan (2013), Larry Blackerby (2011), Monte Reel (2010), Tom Wright (2009), David Storm (2008), Scott Frailey (2007), Zack Taylor (2006), Larry Lilly (2005), Greg Grunloh (2004), Michael Searles (2003), Harry Carter (2002), James Zimmer (2001), Carolyn Kolling (2000), Dianne Harless Schultz (1999), Richard Smith (1998), James Winfield (1997), Randall Miller (1996), Gina Spinner (1995), Patricia McNutt (1994), Lt. Daniel Wise (1993), Tom Cox (1992), Larry Wilson (1991), Edward Ward (1990), Kris Koontz (1989), Gail Darling (1988), John Livesay (1987), Dennis Charney (1986), Michael V. Neal (1985), Carol Spannagel (1984), Thomas Stoutenborough (1983), Eric Randal Heiple (1982) and Richard West (1981).

The Retiree Wall of Fame Awards are presented to retired faculty or staff who made significant contributions to the college and/or who have made contributions through their profession or community at the local, state, regional, or national level that reflect positively on Lake Land College. The nominee must have been employed at Lake Land College for a minimum of 15 years and must have been separated from his or her SURS-eligible position for a minimum of five years. Present paid members of the faculty and staff and current members of the board of trustees are not eligible for these awards.

Past Wall of Fame Award recipients are Dennis Gathmann (2008), Max Jaeger (2008), Joe Albin (2008), Marilyn Gover (2008), Charles Womack (2008), Gerald Parker (2008), Thomas Reedy (2008), Bill Rich (2008), Helen Smith (2009), David Greeson (2009), Larry Gutzler (2009), Hal Kottwitz (2009), Joyce Shull (2009), Marianne Morgan (2010), Robert Orr (2010), Richard Heller (2010), Carol Sanders (2010), Jack Browning (2010), Joe Hanley (2011), William Little (2011), Mildred Flottmann (2011), Roberta Hollada (2011), Roberta Williams (2011), Charles Wieck (2012), Jalee Cox (2012), Wayne Weaver (2012), Robert Luther (2013), Marion Rohlinger (2013), James Luedke (2014), Robert Jurgens (2014), Carroll Gibbons (2014), Roy Culp (2015), Marilyn Fuqua Thompson (2015), David Stapleton (2016), Cletus Underwood (2016), Ron Sanderson (2016), Jim Dudley (2017), Curt Rincker (2017), Bill Hollada (2017), Kathleen Doehring (2018), Tom Kerkhoff (2018), and Ben Ragle (2018).

The Retire Wall of Fame Award recipients will receive their awards at the Employee Appreciation and Wall of Fame Ceremony.

For any questions regarding the awards, contact Laughhunn.


Lake Land College District 517, located in Mattoon, Illinois, serves the second largest community college district in the state, with a total population of 189,869. The Lake Land College district comprises all or part of 15 counties and 31 public school districts in rural east central Illinois. Counties served by Lake Land College include: Christian, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Macon, Montgomery, Moultrie and Shelby.


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