18-year trustee plans exit from DACC board

18-year trustee plans exit from DACC board

DANVILLE – A longtime Danville Area Community College trustee will step down in April after 18 years of service.

Dr. Jon Satterwhite said he will not seek a fourth six-year term on the board in the April 17 election.

"I've had an awesome time," said Satterwhite, the current board's longest-serving trustee. "After 18 years, I think it's time for someone new to bring fresh ideas and help move the college forward even further.

"I'm going out with nothing but good things to say about the college, the community and my fellow trustees," he continued. "I think that the college has done stellar things for the community. And I feel whoever is elected to this seat is going to carry on in this tradition."

On Tuesday, DACC officials honored Satterwhite at a dinner. Later at a board meeting, they presented him with a plaque and thanked him for his years of service and dedication to the college.

"He has a thorough understanding of what community colleges are, how we serve the community ... and students, and the characteristics of our students," DACC President Alice Jacobs said.

"He's also knowledgeable about the role of board members. I was always very appreciative of his leadership on the board and the wisdom he displayed."

"He brings a lot of technical information and input from the community," board Chairwoman Vickie Miller added. "We will miss his expertise."

Satterwhite, 53, of Bismarck, is a dentist who runs offices in Danville and Rossville. A DACC graduate, he was elected to his seat in 1989, and re-elected in 1995 and 2001. He has been vice chairman since 2001.

Satterwhite said the position gave him a unique perspective on education. It also gave him a chance to help shape DACC's campus.

Back in the late 1980s, college officials were deciding what to do with the existing buildings, which were old and not accessible to persons with disabilities.

For nearly a year, they gathered input from the community on whether they should renovate the buildings or tear them down and rebuild.

"We couldn't preserve all the old buildings because the cost of renovating them was so exorbitant," Satterwhite recalled. "We went with a compromise – constructing the new Lincoln Hall in the center of the campus and connecting it to two other buildings. ... We had the foresight to design a campus for the future without disregarding the past."

Satterwhite also was involved in hiring President Jacobs.

"That's the single most important job that a trustee does," Satterwhite said. He was one of four board members who traveled to Kaskaskia College, where Jacobs was president, as part of the selection process. "We were all very proud of that decision."

One of Satterwhite's most enjoyable tasks was meeting and sharing ideas with his counterparts across the United States, he said.

Years ago, a team from DACC visited Northern Virginia Community College, where a friend of his worked, to learn about its Internet courses.

"At the time, we weren't doing many Internet classes," he said, adding the team got some good ideas to use back home. "It's easier to find out what people have already done, what problems they had ... rather than try to do it yourself."

Satterwhite plans to remain active in the Danville District Dental Society, but take a year off from other volunteer leadership roles.

"Then maybe I'll look around for another board to volunteer on," he said.

"I don't think I'll just walk away and retire."

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