INA, Ill. (Jan. 15, 2017) - A look at the 50 most influential people in Rend Lake College history wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the man who first ran the ship. Dr. Howard D. Rawlinson, a Crossville native, was the very first leader of a post-secondary institution in the area.
Initially, Rawlinson helmed the newly established Mt. Vernon Community College before he transitioned, with the college, taking up his dean position at Rend Lake College in June of 1967. Before his ascension to Dean, Rawlinson served as the guidance director for Mt. Vernon Township High School.
In addition to being the dean of the college, Rawlinson was instrumental in documenting the history of the inception of higher education in District #521. His book, The First Fifteen Years, is the go-to source of information on all that happened at Mt. Vernon Community College, as well as the birth of Rend Lake College.
From his book: “Early in the history of the college it became obvious that the local junior college was providing education to students who might not otherwise have had the opportunity. Although the percentage of Mt. Vernon Township High School graduates attending college almost doubled from 1955 to 1956, the percentage attending other institutions decreased only slightly, so most of those enrolled in the home college were obviously either those who could not afford to attend other schools or those who were reluctant to travel considerable distance to obtain an education.”
It was under his leadership that the first articulation agreements were put in place between the junior college and many of Illinois’ senior institutions. He was also instrumental in the feasibility survey to establish a new campus at Rend Lake.
Rawlinson resigned as Dean of the College on August 31, 1972. Dr. Philip Ward was brought in to replace him.
Rawlinson graduated from both McKendree and the University of Illinois. He received his Ph. D from Southern Illinois University. He enjoyed writing, and was reported to have submitted a travel article to several publications after spending three years in Brazil. He had a poetry award named in his honor in the Mt. Vernon Township High School publication JAVA.
Dr. Howard D. Rawlinson's book, The First Fifteen Years,is available to the public via Rend Lake College's website. His book, along with many other pieces of our printed history, may be found at https://www.rlc.edu/student-services/111-learning-resource-center/12078-rlc-archives.