The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 10, 2013

DACC to recognize college's founders

Program to honor locals, school district

BY CAROL ROEHM
The Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College will recognize five individuals and an organization who were instrumental to the founding of the college and the DACC Foundation at a Founders’ Day luncheon and program on Oct. 18.

The Founders’ Day activities will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Bremer Conference Center with registration and meeting the honorees, followed by a luncheon at noon. A program to pay tribute to the honorees will begin at 1 p.m.

This year’s honorees are Danville District 118, Peggy Gardner, Marjorie Holmes, Lou and Sybil Mervis, and Marilyn Satterwhite.

This will be the fourth Founders’ Day. The last one was in 2011.

The program’s master of ceremonies will be Mike Hulvey of Neuhoff Broadcasting.

A committee plans the Founders’ Day activities as well as selects the honorees. The committee’s members are Lara Conklin, Chris Cornell, John Hoagland, Maggie Hoover, DACC President Alice Marie Jacobs, Dave Kietzmann, Carrie Thurman, Barb Todd and Tracy Wahlfeldt.

Jacobs said Founders’ Day is an opportunity “to honor these individuals and organizations that have been so instrumental in helping the college become the institution we are today.

“It also really helps us to teach the history of the college,” she said of the event.

“District 118 played a critical role in the development of the college. We wouldn’t be here without District 118,” she said, adding that “many of the individuals being honored are firsts for the college, such as Marilyn Satterwhite, who was the first Business Department chairperson, and Marge Holmes, who was the first Dean of Women.”

Another pair of honorees, Lou and Sybil Mervis, “supported and were involved in the college’s development,” Jacobs said.

“Mr. Mervis was serving on the District 118 board when it (Danville Junior College) became an individual college, and Mrs. Mervis raised funds,” she said. “They’ve continued to be supporters for the college.

“It was a communitywide effort to move the college from the high school to its current location,” Jacobs added.

The following are short biographies about each of this year’s honorees.

Danville District 118: The school district is the founding organization of the college. District 118 welcomed the University of Illinois Extension site in 1946. When the extension sites were closed, the district supported the continuation of a local two-year college from 1949 to 1966, at which time the Board of Education voted to cease control of the junior college, separate and allow the establishment of the independent Community College District 507 with its own board of trustees.

Peggy Gardner: The first and only executive secretary to serve all five of the college’s past presidents from 1996 to 1994. She also served as secretary to the DACC Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1994.

Marjorie (Marge) Holmes: Holmes came to Danville Junior College in 1965, when she served as the first Dean of Women. She was a counselor and became director of counseling at DACC until her retirement in 1981.

Lou and Sybil Mervis: Lou Mervis was a member of the District 118 school board when the college separated to form its own district, and Sybil Mervis was instrumental in both encouraging the vote to support a local community college and the initial fund drive to finance the independent East Main Street campus.

Marilyn Satterwhite: Satterwhite founded the Business Department at Danville Junior College, including writing the curricula, recruiting the staff and serving as the department’s first chairperson. She started teaching full-time at Danville Junior College in 1965, the year the college moved to East Main Street.

IF YOU GO

Danville Area Community College will celebrate five of its influential founders beginning with a luncheon at noon Friday, Oct. 18, followed by a tribute program at 1 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon are $15 and may be reserved in advance by cash, check or credit card at the DACC Cashier’s Office; by mailing a check (made payable to DACC) to: DACC Marketing Department, 2000 E. Main St., Danville, IL 61832; or by calling 443-8768 or emailing marketing@dacc.edu by Friday. Registration and meeting the honorees will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Bremer Conference and Workforce Development Center. Admission to the tribute program is free.