IVCC Board Holds Organizational Meeting on Tuesday


The Illinois Valley Community College board held an organizational meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, to name officers, canvas results of the April 4 consolidated election and honor outgoing trustee Bill Hunt. At his last meeting, trustees presented Hunt with a silver and crystal desk clock inscribed: “William F. Hunt, IVCC Board of Trustees 2021-2023.”

The eight-county canvas confirmed reelection of trustees Jay McCracken of Hennepin and Angela Stevenson of Ottawa and the election of Rebecca Donna of Rutland to six-year terms. McCracken led with 8,725 votes, Stevenson was second with 7,887 and Donna third with 6,709.

Trustees reelected Everett Solon, chair, McCraken, vice chair and Stevenson, secretary. Walter J. Zukowski was reappointed board attorney, Kathy Ross treasurer and Judy Day secretary to the board. Meetings are held at 5:30 PM on the second Thursday of each month in Room C307.

Amy Boyles was appointed ICCTA representative and Jane Goetz the alternate. Committee assignments include audit finance: McCracken, chair, Boyles and Maureen Rebholz; facilities: Stevenson, chair, Rebholz and Donna; planning: Goetz, chair, Boyles and McCracken; and closed session minutes: Stevenson, chair, Goetz and Donna.

In other business, former IVCC President and trustee Larry Huffman addressed the board regarding enrollment – a campaign issue in the April 4 election.

“Increasing enrollment has become much more difficult to accomplish in recent years – and likely will increase in difficulty,” Huffman said.

“It used to be a fairly standard expectation that when unemployment numbers went up, so did community college enrollments as unemployed or under-employed folks came to our colleges to retrain for another occupation or add specific knowledge and skills to make themselves more employable – that’s no longer a given!”

Huffman continued, “Pandemic-related layoffs and decisions then and since then by some workers to just stay at home and not work exacerbated the financial difficulties faced by many, and economists know that during financially-difficult times like those we’ve been in, people cut or entirely eliminate their spending on non-essential goods and services, so going to college definitely takes a back seat to financially-distressed consumers’ spending on essential items,” Huffman noted.

“We all see the ‘help wanted’ signs everywhere, and I’m fairly certain that if able-bodied adults are choosing not to work, most of them are likely not thinking about taking college classes, either.”

Huffman also noted that with the number of high school graduates expected to decline, “even maintaining IVCC’s historically good percentage of attracting those graduates means smaller numbers.”

“Marketing to potential non-traditional students has become more challenging also, because how do you reach them to communicate the benefits of an IVCC course or program? Fewer adults are reading newspapers, which used to be an effective way to promote courses and programs because everyone was reading the newspaper.”

The former president praised current President Jerry Corcoran.

“I commend Dr. Corcoran for staying with the college during the difficult pandemic times and the unsettling results of the college’s computer system being hacked,” Huffman said. “In fact, I suggested to him during those challenging situations that it would be a good time to retire, but he told me he wouldn’t feel right leaving when there was so much to be done. A lesser person and lesser professional would have bailed out, but he chose to stay and help IVCC get back on its feet – he won’t get credit for doing that, but he should.”

Former IVCC President and trustee Larry Huffman of Peru spoke to the board about the pandemic’s impact on enrollment and lauded President Jerry Corcoran for seeing the college through difficult times. New trustee Rebecca Donna is pictured in the foreground.
IVCC President Jerry Corcoran opened the meeting by honoring outgoing trustee Bill Hunt. Trustee Amy Boyles is seen in the foreground.

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