Parkland students offer their mentor a lasting gift

Parkland students offer their mentor a lasting gift

Besides having a scholarship established in his name, retiring Parkland College art Professor Don Lake received a special gift from some of his students.

It was a collection of 35 watercolor paintings, all done in the same size by them and organized in a box specially made for the "Don Box Project' by Lincoln Bookbindery in Urbana. The chief organizer of the project was Margaret De Cardy, a perennial student of Lake's and a retired K-12 art teacher.

The gift, kept a secret from the retiring professor the past few months, was given to him May 1.

"I was totally surprised," he said. "I had no clue it was going on. It was very touching. I was quite moved. It was the nicest thing they could possibly give me."

Each painting was accompanied by a sheet telling of the various shows and exhibitions in which the artist has been involved, and several of the givers included "nice personal notes" to their former teacher.

Lake, who lives in Champaign with his wife, Susan, an accomplished artist who has studied with her husband at Parkland, plans to continue painting – he specializes in transparent watercolor – and to teach every other year at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Locally, he is represented by Cinema Gallery in Urbana; it plans to have a show of his work next year. For information about Lake's art, visit online

To give to the Don Lake Art Scholarship at Parkland College, send a check, with Don Lake scholarship in the memo line, to the Parkland Foundation, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, IL 61821.

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