50 Influencers: Honorary degrees, a family affair

INA, Ill. (Aug. 19, 2017) - Throughout Rend Lake College’s 50 year history, the most influential people on the college’s campus have been the thousands of students that have called it home. And while every student has left their mark on the pages of RLC legacy, we’ve only got 50 slots on the influencer list.

To that end, on behalf of all the Warriors out there, we dedicate this 50 Influencer story to you by focusing on two local families that help demonstrate the symbiotic nature between the college and those who utilize RLC’s services to better their lives.

The college had 16 great reasons to honor Rose Maloney and Victor and Betty Rapp.

Between the two families, 16 children attended and graduated from RLC, in perhaps the two biggest displays of support in the college’s history.

While neither Rose, Victor nor Betty graduated from RLC, each and every one of their children took advantage of the close location and cheaper costs to jump-start their lives.

For their part, Rend Lake honored both the Maloney and the Rapp families by presenting Rose with an honorary degree in 1978 (the second in the college’s history). The Rapps were similarly honored in 1995 with the fifth honorary degree bestowed by RLC.

From an excerpt when Maloney was presented her honorary degree:

… A graduate already of the School of Hard Knocks, Mrs. Maloney received an Honorary Associate in Arts Degree for her critical role in seeing eight children graduate from RLC, and seven did so with high honors.

Recognized at the same time was 1978 grad Janice Loretta Maloney, one of only five Associate in Arts Degree recipients boasting perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.

Others in the Maloney household with Rend Lake College degrees are Geralyn Mary “Gerry” Maloney (A.A., Class of ’76), Thomas Gerard Maloney (A.A., ’75), Rita Gail Maloney (A.A., ’74), Ronald Maloney (A.A., ’73), Ellen Catherine Maloney (A.A., ’71), Theresa Ann Maloney (A.A., ’70) and Rosemarie Maloney (Mt. Vernon Community College / A.A., ’67).

Maloney familyWRose Maloney, 5th from the left, is pictured with her nine children, eight of which were RLC graduates at the time and Dr. Kenneth LaSalle, RLC Dean of Instruction. Maloney had just received the second honorary degree ever awarded by the college.

“I was very honored and surprised,” Mrs. Maloney admitted later. “I’m pleased children can live at home and go to Rend Lake College.”

The family has lived in the RLC District 20 years, initially in Mt. Vernon and most recently in Dahlgren. Rose Maloney has worked the last three years for Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative as a Commercial Representative.

A member of St. John’s Church, she is Secretary of the Parish Council and participates in the church choir and St. Ann’s Altar Society. She also is a member of the Dahlgren Grade School PTO. When she is not enjoying the privilege of entertaining her two grandsons, she likes gardening, cooking and reading.

The youngest of her children, Sallie Maloney, has plans to attend Rend Lake College in the near future. Jan Maloney will continue her education at Eastern Illinois University; all seven older siblings went on to obtain their Bachelor’s Degrees.

Father Paul Maloney died in 1972.

Dr. Kenneth LaSalle, Dean of Instruction, told the Commencement audience Rose Maloney “is a mother, who with selfless devotion, has enabled her children to excel in the world of academics and to lead responsible lives in society.

“We would like to honor this tradition of excellence and love; more specifically, we honor the mother who has made it possible.”…

Fast forward to 1995…

 … and a return trip to Dahlgren, where RLC graduate Anita Louise (Rapp) Brown (A.A., ’81) alerted Rend Lake College administrators to the almost-identical accomplishments of the Victor and Betty Rapp clan.

“At the time Rend Lake College was under construction, I remember taking a Sunday drive with my family to visit the campus. I remember my father remarking that, hopefully, all of us would attend Rend Lake College,” Brown indicated by letter.

The dream began with Karen Marie (Rapp) Perryman (A.A., ’77), and continued through Deborah Ann (Rapp) Rubenacker (A.A., ’78), Susan Elizabeth (Rapp) Mikel (A.A., ’80), Anita Louise (Rapp) Brown, David John Rapp (A.A., ’83), Paul J. Rapp (A.A.S. in Ag Production and Management, ’85), John W. Rapp (A.A.S. in Ag Production and Management, ’87) and Vickie Elizabeth Rapp (A.S., ’95).

And as if that were not enough, add to the family total in-laws – RLC grads Randy Rubenacker (’78) and Chassity Simmons Rapp (’92).

Rubenacker, of course, has gone on to sit on the Rend Lake College Board of Trustees and the Rend Lake College Foundation Board.

Victor and Betty Rapp, surrounded by their proud family of Rend Lake College graduates, were presented Honorary Degrees during the 28th Annual Commencement program Friday evening, May 12, 1995, by Dr. Stephen B. Tietz, RLC Vice President.

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