In Memorial: Caldwell, Pericolosi, Rubenacker & Crawford remembered

By ReAnne Palmer 

INA, Ill. – It was a night of celebration and merriment at the 2017 Rend Lake College Foundation Annual Dinner with numerous surprise awards and announcements, starting with the 2017 Alumnus of the Year. The Annual Dinner was held Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Mt. Vernon Hotel & Events Center.

Toward the end of the Annual Dinner, Zibby-Damron took a few moments to remember four individuals who have made lasting impacts on RLC and the Foundation: Millie Caldwell, Larry Pericolosi, Jody Rubenacker, and William Crawford.

Caldwell, a former RLC Foundation Board of Directors member and scholarship donor, was remembered for her years of dedication to the college and Foundation – a legacy her daughter, Cindy Caldwell, RLC Mathematics Professor, continues both inside and outside the classroom.

Millie Caldwell. Along with her work for the Foundation, she with husband Cliff were long time publishers/owners of the Christopher Progress. (RLC Photo)

“Millie was a strong supporter and long-time advocate for Rend Lake College. She generously provided scholarships for many years, and the Caldwell Family Scholarship continues to help our students,” said Zibby-Damron. “She served on the Foundation Board and was a recipient of the Presidential Award in 2006. Because of her dedication to RLC, Millie was also featured this year as one of the 50 Influencers of Rend Lake College. We are grateful for Millie’s love for RLC and her community.”

Pericolosi, and his wife Mary, were honored for their involvement with two major campaigns with the Foundation: the creation and fundraising of the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus, and the renovation of the outside of the Dr. Allen Y. Baker Administration Building on the Ina campus, officially called the “Pathway to Success” campaign.

“Larry and his wife have been actively involved with Rend Lake College over the past decade. They were both strong supporters of the Murphy-Wall campus in Pinckneyville and the Pathway to Success campaign, plus they have provided annual scholarships to many deserving students,” said Zibby-Damron. “I know how much he is missed by his family, his friends, and his community.”

Rubenacker, the matriarch of the Rubenacker family, was remembered, not only for her generosity to the Foundation, but also for the impact she and her family have made on the legacy of Rend Lake College.

“Though I never had the opportunity to know Jody, it’s quite evident that she did one heck of a job. Several of our 50 Influencers were recognized for their multi-generation legacy, impactful return, or enterprising spirit, but Jody and her family were recognized for all three,” said Zibby-Damron. “Jody, and her husband Richard, were recognized in 2004 for their $25,000 lead gift to the RLC Foundation Challenge Grant II Campaign and the establishment of the Rubenacker Family Scholarship. Rend Lake College is very grateful for Jody and the Rubenacker family.

Crawford was honored for his selflessness and dedication to the betterment of RLC students and countless others in his community. A magnificent fundraiser and supporter, Crawford was heavily involved with the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus.

“I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Crawford shortly after arriving at RLC. He was a very strong supporter of Rend Lake College, just as he was of many community endeavors, but you probably would not have known it, and that exactly the way he wanted it,” said Zibby-Damron. “Bill provided the lead gift for the construction of the Murphy-Wall campus in Pinckneyville, and only agreed to name the campus after the bank, not himself. He was deeply committed to his family, his community and to the bank – he gave them the glory.”

In his true spirit, Crawford wasn’t done surprising the RLC Foundation. Zibby-Damron continued, “A couple weeks ago, quite to our surprise, we learned that Mr. Crawford’s commitment to Rend Lake College was even stronger than we had known. In his true form, quiet and unassuming, the Rend Lake College Foundation received a check for $100,000 from Mr. Crawford’s trust. I find it very fitting that Mr. Crawford’s name will be the first added to our recently-unveiled Legacy Society. His legacy will remain very much alive on our main campus and at the Murphy-Wall campus for generations to come.”

To learn more about the RLC Foundation, contact Zibby-Damron at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214 or

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