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From students to board members, CLC honors Trustee Emeriti Anderson and Griffin

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Apr 28, 2021

Leaving a legacy of serving their community, senior members of College of Lake County (CLC) Board of Trustees Richard A. Anderson and Dr. William M. Griffin became emeriti members after Tuesday’s board meeting. Both started as students and brought enthusiastic energy to the board. After a combined 71 years of experience governing CLC as it expanded to three campuses, they welcome three new members recently elected: Gerri Songer, Robert J. Tomei, Jr. and Paul G. Virgilio.

Board of Trustees Emeriti Anderson and GriffinTrustee Anderson has been a board member for 47 continuous years, the longest serving community college trustee in the state of Illinois. Before his election to the board in 1974, Anderson was vice president of the student body while attending classes at CLC. He was tasked with bringing a student voice to the board’s executive session and he’s been standing up for student access and success ever since.

Photo: Trustee Emeriti Richard A. Anderson (left) and Dr. William M. Griffin.

“Rich lives and breathes community colleges,” said ICCTA Executive Director Jim Reed. “He is truly an inspiring and inclusive leader who encourages us to work cooperatively and become better board members. Rich continues to be a passionate defender of local control of community colleges. He is always the first to remind his fellow trustees of the value of local decision-making that keeps students foremost in mind.”

A local attorney practicing in Grayslake, Anderson became deeply involved in all levels of community college government: local, state and national. He was honored with the top Ray Hartstein Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) in 2014. Called the “dean of Illinois trustees,” the lifelong dedication Anderson made brought him around the world to share his expertise on community college governance. He was also named CLC’s Outstanding Illinois Citizen in 1999.

In addition to keeping a surplus and balanced budget, one of his proudest achievements is the partnership established with the local fire department. Under Anderson’s leadership, the college leased land on the Grayslake campus to build a fire station. Within the first week of opening, firefighters saved a baby and a college employee who would have died from a heart attack if they hadn’t received such quick attention. CLC is still one of the only community colleges in the country to train firefighters.

“Serving community colleges has been my entire adult life,” said Anderson. “I’ve met many great people and worked on many significant topics to benefit students across the state.”

It’s rare to find a community college board member who is also a teaching instructor at the same time, but Trustee Griffin dutifully brings both capacities to offer a different perspective from both sides of the table. After a successful career climbing the ladder to become general manager of Commonwealth Edison’s Chicago region, Griffin became an adjunct business professor at CLC when he first won his seat on the board in 1995. He became an award-winning tenured faculty member in the business department at nearby Triton Community College and has additionally taught for doctoral programs, graduate schools and liberal arts colleges.

“I didn’t know I’d be around for 25 years when I decided to be a part of the governing body at CLC,” said Griffin. “I believe in volunteerism and wanted to give back to the community I call home. I’ve been able to help provide a wonderful learning institution for students with great faculty and resources.”

Griffin remembers going to classes at CLC trailer by trailer because hardly any of the buildings were built. He said it’s been a rewarding experience to see the college grow into what it is today, an institution with a budget of more than $110 million and a wide scope of learning opportunities with holistic student supports.

Members of the CLC Board of Trustees“CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick and her team will lead the college forward with a strong strategic plan,” said Griffin. “The leadership of the board and Dr. Suddick did the right things for the college to navigate the pandemic and the future is bright.”

Photo: New board members join College of Lake County’s Board of Trustees (pictured from left to right: Robert J. Tomei, Jr., Gerri Songer, Amanda D. Howland, Matthew J. Stanton, Torrie Mark Newsome, Paul G. Virgilio, Julie B. Shroka and Daniel Blaine)

Reed of the ICCTA says Bill Griffin personifies servant leadership.

“He has established a legacy of academic excellence, integrity, and dedication to the community at large,” Reed said. “Drawing upon his background as a business executive and non-profit director, he has excelled in carrying out his duties as a college and civic leader. He has also demonstrated responsibility and transparency in guiding CLC’s adoption of policies for high ethical standards and fiscal accountability.”

From students to board chairmen, both Griffin and Anderson have worked hard to provide students the tools and resources they need to fulfill their college dreams. Recognizing the valued service, commitment and contributions of outstanding retiring board members, the board passed a resolution approving trustee emeritus status to Griffin and Anderson in March. They join other Board emeriti members: Millicent Berlaint, Patricia Jones, James Lumber and Barbara D. Oilschlager.

About College of Lake County:  

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.