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JALC Honors McCollum with Room Dedication

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

Stephanie McCollum Tetzloff (left) of Marion and Denise McCollum of Carbondale are pictured alongside a plaque of their father, Les McCollum, Tuesday. A well known and respected educator and politician, McCollum served his latter years on the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees. On Tuesday, the college dedicated the Terrace Dining Room in his honor. It is now the Les McCollum Room. (Logan Media Services photo)

Stephanie McCollum Tetzloff (left) of Marion and Denise McCollum of Carbondale are pictured alongside a plaque of their father, Les McCollum, Tuesday. A well known and respected educator and politician, McCollum served his latter years on the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees. On Tuesday, the college dedicated the Terrace Dining Room in his honor. It is now the Les McCollum Room. (Logan Media Services photo)

CARTERVILLE – The accolades were abundant Tuesday evening and with good reason as former colleagues, friends and family members took turns paying tribute to longtime educator, politician and family man, the late Les McCollum.

John A. Logan College officials officially recognized McCollum, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees, by renaming the Terrace Dining Room next to the cafeteria as the Les McCollum Room. A plaque bearing the likeness of McCollum was later unveiled by his two daughters, Denise and Stephanie.

JALC President, Dr. Mike Dreith, said it was his privilege to be involved with a dedication honoring McCollum.

“I did not have the pleasure of serving with Les, but I can tell you that as I walk around this campus and marvel at the growth of this college, it is evident the impact that he had here at JALC when serving on this board,” Dreith said.

Longtime board member Don Brewer, co-chairman of the Building Naming Committee, scrapped his prepared speech and spoke from the heart.

“I don’t need notes to talk about Les McCollum,” he said. “I still miss him dearly. Everybody liked Les. He was such a great fit on our board of trustees. When things got a little tight or when we engaged in a debate on how we would progress as a college, Les was the calming influence.”

Unlike when he gave some of his keynote speeches at political events, where he was accused of speaking out loudly, Brewer said McCollum didn’t speak out that loudly at JALC board meetings.

The McCollum daughters, Stephanie and Denise (middle) cut the ribbon Tuesday evening marking the official dedication of the Les McCollum Room on the John A. Logan College campus. Also pictured are from left, JALC Board of Trustees, Dr. John O’Keefe, Jaclyn Hancock, Jake Rendleman and Don Brewer. (Logan Media Services photo)

The McCollum daughters, Stephanie and Denise (middle) cut the ribbon Tuesday evening marking the official dedication of the Les McCollum Room on the John A. Logan College campus. Also pictured are from left, JALC Board of Trustees, Dr. John O’Keefe, Jaclyn Hancock, Jake Rendleman and Don Brewer. (Logan Media Services photo)

“But when he did speak, he had everybody listening,” Brewer said. “Dedicating this room is a wonderful choice for Les as this is the room where so many educators and elected officials have gathered for meetings.”

Trustee Jake Rendleman, who taught science at Herrin Junior High School, wore the former school colors of red and black to honor McCollum, who served as his principal at the school.

“I always felt that Les was a gentleman who inspired people. I looked to him as my mentor,” Rendleman said. “When I first started teaching, Les was there for me. He meant a lot to me. He had a great influence on my life, even through the time we spent on the board together here at Logan.”

Former State Sen. Larry Woolard also spoke highly of McCollum.

“He was my coach, my teacher, my mentor…that person who made a real difference in my life,” Woolard said. “Les was like a second dad to me. I know that this day means a lot to a lot of people, but it means even more to me.”

Herrin City Clerk Marlene Simpson described McCollum as a “special friend” of the family and someone who not only predicted she would win her first election to citywide office, but supported her throughout her career.

“I’m just thankful and honored to be a part of this (dedication) today,” she said. “Congratulations to John A. Logan College for making the decision to name this dining room on behalf of Les McCollum. We (Herrinites) are proud of him.”

Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter echoed Simpson’s comments.

“It is a pleasure to be here today and honor Les in this way,” he said. “Les contributed greatly to the betterment of others, was a true gentleman and friend to everyone. His service has not been forgotten.”

Ritter said the city officially dubbed Tuesday, Dec. 4 as “Les McCollum Day.”