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Laker Nation News

Lake Land honors donors with naming of Podestá Park

Posted on October 18, 2019

The Lake Land College Foundation recently honored the life and generosity of Dr. William and Margaret Podestá with a dedication ceremony of the Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá Park on Friday, Sept. 27.

Willie Podestá Young honors the life and generosity of her parents at the dedication ceremony of the Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá Park on Friday, Sept. 27. Pictured from left to right: Willie Podestá Young, Lake Land College President Josh Bullock, Lake Land College Foundation Board President Mike Bohannon and Executive Director for College Advancement Jackie Joines.

Lake Land College Foundation Board President Mike Bohannon opened the ceremony with a statement of praise to the Podestá family members for their dedication to the growth and success of Lake Land College.

“Dr. William and Margaret Podestá were extremely generous to the college. Their initial gift has grown over time, and when combined with memorial gifts and a generous gift of her own, Ms. Willie Podestá Young has built a park that signifies the contributions of her mother and father at Lake Land College and in the community,” Bohannon said.

Jackie Joines, executive director for college advancement, touched on the life and successes of Dr. William and Margaret Podestá beginning with their marriage 85 years ago, as well as the mentioning of the Podestá family ground that Lake Land College currently sits on.

Dr. William Podestá gave his all to the communities he lived in and the nation as a whole. Among several military duties, he served in the United States Army as a lieutenant in the Dental Corps and headed the Plastic Eye Programs for all military branches during World War II.

For more than 30 years, Podestá served his country and upon retirement, he served on the Mattoon school board as well as the Lake Land College Board of Trustees from 1970-1976 and 1978-1981. During his time on the Lake Land College Board, Podestá established the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs. From there, Podestá served as a director of the Lake Land College Foundation from 1982-1997.

Margaret Podestá also generously gave her time and effort to supporting the war efforts. Along with many other responsibilities, she served as the receptionist for the Plastic Eye Clinic at Dibble General Hospital in Palo Alto, California, served as secretary to the Red Cross and was the first person to organize house-to-house fundraising campaigns in Mattoon.

Throughout the years, education was always a top priority to both Dr. William and Margaret Podestá. Margaret Podestá taught at Jefferson Junior High School in Mattoon for eight years and was the first woman to receive the Illinois Administrative Certificate in Curriculum in Coles County.

“The Podestás were as generous with their time to virtually all organizations in Coles County. They were significant benefactors to these organizations, improving the lives of many in their community. Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá served their country and community well. Their impact on Lake Land College and the surrounding community is felt even today,” Joines said.

Visitors to the park are welcomed with beautiful scenery along a quiet walking path that accommodates those with disabilities including those using a wheelchair. The center of Podestá Park boasts a bronze sculpture depicting soaring eagles atop three pillars and a plaque reading:

Bald Eagles

Stefan Savides – sculptor

In memory of

Dr. William L. and Margaret Doelling Podestá

Podestá Park is located on the corner of Podestá Drive and Cemetery Road near the south entrance of campus.

For more information, contact the Foundation at 217-234-5363 or foundation@lakelandcollege.edu.

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