Danville trustee plans quiet start to term

Danville trustee plans quiet start to term

DANVILLE – When Dr. Jon Satterwhite announced he would step down from the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees, Dr. Ron Serfoss saw a chance to give back to the community.

"DACC is one of the more significant institutions in our community that contributes to the well-being of Danville and East Central Illinois," said Serfoss, 63, of Danville. "I wanted to make a contribution to the college and the community.

"But I'm not a political person," he said. "I didn't really want to run against someone who was already on the board and doing a good job. ... When Dr. Satterwhite decided to step down after 18 years, I thought, 'OK, I'll throw my hat in the ring.'"

Both Serfoss and retired Judge John O'Rourke, a trustee since 2001, ran unopposed for the two open seats on the board in the April 17 consolidated election.

They will be sworn in to office on Tuesday. Both will serve six-year terms.

After they're seated, trustees will elect a chairman, vice chairman and secretary and vote on other appointments. They will also approve a board meeting schedule for the next two years.

DACC President Alice Jacobs has worked with Serfoss on the Danville Symphony Orchestra board – she as president, he as treasurer. Now she's eager to work with him on college issues.

"Dr. Serfoss will bring many years of service and knowledge of the community to the board," she said. "He certainly has a love for this community. I know he will be someone who's interested in the college and in giving the time to the college that is required of a trustee.

"And he's already had an extensive orientation," she said, adding he will be able to hit the ground running.

Serfoss is an optometrist at Chittick Family Eye Care. During his 34 years in Danville, he has served on the parent-teacher associations of the schools his two children attended, as well as the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce and old Lakeview Hospital Foundation boards.

Serfoss currently serves on the Danville Public Library board and is serving his second term on the symphony orchestra board.

He first expressed an interest in serving on the DACC board after Trustee Jeannine Tucker died in July 2004. Her husband, Dr. James Tucker, a retired veterinarian, was appointed to fill her seat on the board.

Serfoss said he's excited to work with Jacob and the trustees. While his goal is "to serve the best interest of DACC and to keep the institution in the forefront of the community," he plans to start his term by "being quiet and listening."

"I've got big shoes to fill," he said, referring to Satterwhite, a dentist, who was the longest-serving trustee before he retired. "I don't think anyone on the board has that much history. I really want to be quiet and listen and learn for a while."

Another goal is to continue the financial viability of the college.

"It's getting more difficult each year with the state cutting back," he said. "We don't have a community college district that has a huge equalized assessed valuation. We need to maintain our facilities and teaching staff, and at the same time, keep fees and taxes at a rate that students and families can afford."

Also at the meeting:

– Trustees will vote on whether to approve an automotive collision repair technician certificate program.

Jacobs said the college currently offers automotive collision repair courses as part of the College Express program, a dual-enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors. A lab was installed at the college last fall.

"This will interest traditional college students ... and enable students to earn a certificate," Jacobs said.

– Trustees will discuss the 2009 preliminary Illinois Community College Board Resource Allocation and Management Plan.

– Trustees will vote on whether to award a contract for new furniture at the renovated Bremer Conference and Work Force Development Center.

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