DACC to present honors at Founders' Day
DANVILLE — Back in 1968, Peggy Gardner went to Danville Junior College to enroll in classes. She wasn't looking for a job.
But Gardner, a Danville school district secretary, stopped in to say hello to some former colleagues who worked at the college.
"They immediately said, 'Why don't you come work with us?'" recalled Gardner, who was hired as a secretary in the college's business office that year and became the secretary to its first president, Mary Miller, in July 1969.
Gardner, who served as secretary to five of the college's six presidents, will be honored at Danville Area Community College's Founders' Day Celebration on Oct. 18.
Other honorees are: the Danville school district, a founding organization; the late Marjorie Holmes, the first dean of women; Lou and Sybil Mervis, founding community members; and Marilyn Satterwhite, founder of the business division.
The celebration will be held at DACC's Bremer Conference and Workforce Development Center, 2000 E. Main St., Danville.
Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. People can also meet the honorees at that time.
A luncheon will be held at noon. Tickets are $15, and the last day to RSVP for the luncheon is today.
A program will be held at 1 p.m. The program is free.
Gardner started working for the college in 1968, not long after it moved from the high school to its present-day location and became an independent two-year college district. When Vivian Schultz, the president's first secretary, moved to the new human resources department, Miller invited Gardner to work for her.
Gardner also was secretary to presidents William Langas, her former history teacher; Joseph Borgen; Ronald Lingle; and Harry Braun; plus interim Presidents Maurice Stauder, Lingle and Wilbur Dickson. She also served as secretary to the board of trustees for five years before she retired in April 1994.
"When someone comes in at the top like that, typically, they bring their own people with them," she said. "I thought I wouldn't be surprised if that had happened, but it didn't, and I'm grateful. Each one had a different personality and different style of leadership, but they were very effective and wonderful to work with."
At first, Gardner was reluctant to be recognized for her role.
"I don't like the limelight. I like to work in the background and get everything ready to go. That's where I'm most comfortable. On the other hand, it's so nice to think about all of the years I was there and all of the friends I had," Gardner said, adding she appreciates the honor. "I remember when Dick Van Dyke was given a lifetime achievement award, he said, 'Isn't it great to get paid to do something you love?' That's how I felt about my job. I loved it."
People can RSVP for the luncheon by calling 443-8768 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations may be paid in advance by cash, check or credit card at the DACC cashier's office by mailing a check (made payable to DACC) to: DACC Marketing Department, 2000 East Main St., Danville, IL 61832.