Dezirae Leonard

Dezirae Leonard
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Lake Land College names first president 50 years ago

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two years after the initial idea for a community college was discussed, Virgil H. Judge was named Lake Land College’s first president on Jan. 9, 1967. He served until 1972.

Virgil Judge sits at his desk after being elected the first president of Lake Land College.

Judge, who was well-known locally and at the state level, was a superintendent of the Mattoon school district when he was approached to lead the new school.

Prior to working at Lake Land, Judge had been a teacher, principal and superintendent. He served as president of various professional organizations, including the Illinois Association of County Superintendent of Schools and the Illinois Association of School Administrators, and was the chairman of the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education group that was originally responsible for bringing a junior college to the area. 

Judge hired all of the original faculty who worked with him to establish the college’s strong culture of putting students first, while providing excellent, quality educational experiences.

Since Judge’s leadership, there have been six presidents who have served Lake Land College.

“I am very fortunate to follow a legacy of outstanding presidents who have served Lake Land College,” Josh Bullock, current president, said. “Without their exemplary leadership, Lake Land wouldn’t be as great of an institution as it is today.”

Past Lake Land College presidents include: Robert Webb, 1972 – 1984; David Schultz, 1984 – 1988; Robert K. Luther, 1988-2006; Bill Thallemer, 2006- 2007; Scott Lensink, 2007-2013.

 
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