Category Archive: Uncategorized

Kim Gillespie Joins Full-time Biology Faculty at SRC

Spoon River College welcomes Kim Gillespie as a new full-time faculty member. She previously taught part-time at the college and will be teaching anatomy and physiology.

Originally from northern Illinois, Gillespie earned her associate degree at Sauk Valley Community College before transferring to Western Illinois University, where she received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in biology.

“I got hooked on teaching as a grad student at WIU and I loved it. Preparing labs, breaking down complicated topics into smaller pieces, everything,” said Gillespie. “I like to instill my love of biology to others.”

Gillespie is passionate about her discipline, and it was while she was a grad student that she found the area of biology that excited her the most. “My focus was parasites found in fish. I dissected over 200 bluegill and counted each of their parasites. Being able to get in there and get your hands dirty is awesome! I’m big on dissections, so A & P is perfect for me!”

Gillespie is also passionate about community colleges. “I wasn’t ready to move away from home. I loved going to a community college, where students can really interact with their instructors. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when you have a roster that’s 200 students long.”

“I’m happy to be back at Spoon River College. I’ve had some really great professors since I’ve been in school, and my hope is that my students will think the same about me.”

Gillespie and her husband Neil currently reside at the Kibbe Field Station in Warsaw (a research facility associated with WIU that her husband manages), along with their 2 ½ year-old son Tom and their pets, “an old black lab named Murphy and a new golden doodle puppy named Molly. They keep me on my toes!”

Tonja Huff Joins Nursing Education Team as Full-Time Faculty

Canton native Tonja Huff has joined the Nursing Education Team at Spoon River College as full-time faculty member after teaching part-time since the fall semester.

“The love of learning led me into teaching, and I’m excited to be a full-time member of this team,” Huff said.

Huff started her nursing career as an LPN through the nursing program at Spoon River College and then earned a Diploma in Nursing at the Graham Hospital School of Nursing. After 12 years working on the floor, she received a Bachelor’s of Science and then a Master of Science in Nursing Education.

Huff’s nursing experience includes surgery, obstetrics, and geriatric care. “Nursing has provided me an amazing opportunity to not only take care of a client’s medical needs, but also have the chance to make them feel safe, cared for, and heard.”

“My nursing career started with learning at Spoon River College. I have fond memories of participating in a Habitat for Humanity project that included a 24 Hours of Homelessness event, where I slept on the campus lawn in a refrigerator box.”

Huff resides outside of Hanna City with her husband of 35 years, Curtis. They have “two beautiful daughters who have given us four grandsons,” and Huff enjoys spending as much time as possible with those grandsons, Curtis, 7, and Justin, 5, who live close by.

The Nursing and Allied Health department at Spoon River College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing, a Practical Nurse Certificate, and a Nurse Assistant Certificate and is accredited by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

photo of Tonja Huff


February Recognized as Career and Technical Education Month

February is recognized as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Spoon River College joins other Illinois community colleges in celebrating the valuable role they play in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs.

“For more than 60 years, Spoon River College has been providing career and technical education programs that lead to employment in high-demand and high-wage careers such as nursing, agriculture, and computer technology,” said Brad O’Brien, dean of career and technical education at Spoon River College. “This benefits our students, our communities, and our regional employers.”

CTE programs offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue their career goals, and are designed to prepare students for immediate employment once they successfully complete the course work. Many offer short-term certificates, which can typically be completed in a year or less.

“Certificates within a program can stand-alone, or a student can complete all the certificates within the program and earn an associate in applied science. It’s a great way to get quick skills training and get started in a particular field,” O’Brien said.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, Illinois is currently experiencing a skills gap; 52% of jobs in Illinois require skills training, but only 41% of Illinois workers are trained at this level.  Key Illinois industries experiencing this gap include agriculture and food production, energy, advanced manufacturing, and life sciences and biotechnology. In 2020, CTE degrees and certificates made up 53% of all awards conferred by the Illinois community college system.

CTE programs offered by Spoon River College include Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Diesel and Power Systems Technology, Health Information Management, and Nursing. For more information, visit

Students welding, working on a diesel tractor, and practicing medical assisting skills


Seeking Nominations for SRC Faculty Awards – Deadline February 24

Every year Spoon River College honors three current faculty members (two full-time, one part-time) who have displayed excellence in the teaching profession by awarding them with the H. Truman Standard Award, and the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Outstanding Full-Time and Part-Time awards.

All citizens of the college district, including current and former students, are encouraged to submit a nomination for the teacher they feel deserves special recognition. The nominations will then be used to select the recipients.

The nominations must be received by February 24, 2023, and any nominations received after the deadline will be applied to the following year’s nomination pool.

Faculty members may only be given the H. Truman Standard Award once in a seven-year period. Faculty who are not eligible this year are Laura Bandy, Dr. Win Htwe, Dr. Andrew Kirk, Becky Leverette, and Sarah Strode. However, these faculty may still be nominated and considered for the ICCTA Outstanding Faculty Award.

The names of eligible full-time faculty and the nomination forms are available by clicking on the Faculty Award link located under the Academics tab at

The awards will be presented during the college’s commencement, which is currently planned for May 11, 2023.


SRC Schedules Spring College Visit Days in Canton and Macomb

Spoon River College will host College Visit Days at both their Canton and Macomb campuses on Tuesday, February 14 and Wednesday, March 22, both from 9-11:00 a.m., and on Thursday, April 20, 1-3:00 p.m.

These visit days are for people of all ages who are interested in learning about both the transfer and the career education programs available at Spoon River College, as well as the different degrees and short-term certificates that each program offers.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with advisors and financial aid specialists, and will receive information about the application process, tuition costs, and financial aid options including scholarships, as well as student life activities, clubs, and organizations.

Tours of the campuses will be given, and will include the Snapper Villas student housing on the Canton Campus. All attendees will receive a free t-shirt.

High school students should inquire with their school about using a college visit day, and letters from the College confirming their attendance at the event will be provided.

Visit our College Visit Days page to RSVP the preferred date and campus.

The Canton Campus is located at 23235 N. County Hwy. 22, and the Macomb Campus is located at 208 S. Johnson Street. For more information, call 309-647-4645.

SRC Foundation Scholarships Available

SRC Foundation Scholarships Available: Application Deadline is March 15

Spoon River College and the SRC Foundation offer a variety of scholarships to provide financial assistance to students as well as to recognize outstanding performance in academics, athletics, art/theatre, and career and technical interests. The deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2023-24 academic year is March 15, 2023.

Applicants must complete the scholarship application and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and submit their most recent transcripts. This process is required for all scholarships, and all steps must be completed by the deadline.

The scholarships—which may be a permanent named endowed scholarship, a Foundation administered scholarship, an academic performing grant, or a performing skill grant—have differing eligibly requirements. Some may be targeted towards individuals from a specific town or county, a specific career field, or other criteria. Scholarships specifically for nursing students and dual credit students are also available.

Once the paperwork is submitted, applicants will be considered for all available scholarships they are eligible for, and in some cases could receive multiple awards. Applicants will be notified of their status either way by the end of April.

Students seeking to apply for the Graham Health System Scholarship for the Advancement of Rural Healthcare should visit the Graham Scholarship webpage.

Students receiving other sources of revenue such as Pell Grants or Work Study are still eligible to apply for and receive scholarships.

Too view all scholarships and to apply, visit the Foundation Scholarships and Grants webpage. For more information, email Colin Davis or contact any Spoon River College advisor at (309) 649-4645.

Seeking Volunteer Tutors for SRC Adult Literacy Programs

Spoon River College’s Adult Education Office is seeking volunteer tutors for students in their GED®, ESL (English as a Second Language), and Adult Literacy classes.

There is a particular need for a math tutor in the Tuesday/Thursday morning GED® class that meets from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on the Canton Campus, and also for ESL tutors in the morning classes (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) at the Macomb Campus, according to Cyndi Johnston, adult education program coordinator and ESL teacher at Spoon River College.

In the ESL classes, tutors will help students improve their reading, writing, speaking, listening skills, and in learning about American culture. “I have several different levels from beginners to those preparing to take college level classes next fall,” Johnston said.

“English is taught in almost every country in the world and most of our students can read and write English at varying levels but have trouble actually speaking it, which impacts their ability to communicate in social and business situations.”

No special degree is required and training is provided. “Volunteers are a vital part of student success. The need for tutors is great, the time commitment is minimal, and both tutors and students benefit greatly from the interaction.”

For more information about being a volunteer tutor, contact Johnston at (309) 833-6038 or email Cyndi.

For more information about the Adult Education programs offered at Spoon River College, visit visit the SRC Website or call 309-647-4645.

Michael Maher Receives Honor from Highland Community College

Sociology professor, Michael Maher

Sociology professor, Michael Maher

Spoon River College Sociology faculty member Michael Maher was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnus from Highland Community College in Freeport, Il, where he began his higher education following his graduation from Lena-Winslow High School. He was nominated for the honor by Chris Kuberski, president of Highland Community College and Jim Phillips, interim vice president of academic services at Highland.

“Jim Phillips and I nominated Mr. Michael Maher for the Distinguished Alumni award based on his contribution and passion for education,” said Kuberski. “When Jim and I learned of his recognition as the ICCTA Outstanding Full-Time Faculty in 2021, and that he was a Highland Community College graduate, we invited him to serve as our commencement speaker for 2022.”

Kuberski added that Maher’s commencement speech was “one of the best, if not the best, that I have heard over the many years of attending community college graduations. It is evident that Michael has distinguished himself as an educator, so it is quite fitting that he be recognized by his alma mater as a Distinguished Alum.”

After graduating from Highland Community College in 1993, Maher attended Western Illinois University and earned his Bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology in 1995, followed by a Master’s degree in Sociology in 1997. He has taught at Spoon River College for the past 26 years.

Maher is a staunch supporter of community colleges and has been open about his lack of academic motivation during high school—other than staying eligible to play basketball. “I entered Highland an utterly unremarkable, below-average student. I was directionless, depressed, unhappy, and anxious about my future.”

That changed during his second semester at Highland, and when he graduated from there and transferred to Western Illinois University, he was ready to make up for lost time. “The fact that I’m standing here this evening accepting this award is a testament to the power of teachers and the community college system to change people’s lives, provide opportunities, and positively impact our communities.”

You can read both President Kuberski’s and Maher’s full speeches from the event, included below.

​Spoon River College is a two-year, public community college in West Central Illinois dedicated to providing students a quality education. Its district encompasses a 1,566 square mile area that includes portions of Fulton, McDonough, Mason, Schuyler and Knox counties.


President’s List, Full-time Fall 2022

Spoon River College congratulates the following full-time students who were named to the President’s List in recognition of their academic achievement in completing 12 credit hours or more of college-level classes and earning a grade point average of 3.6–4.0 during the Fall 2022 semester. Students who have a privacy hold on their accounts will not be listed.

Astoria: Elena C. DeWees, Erin C. Elliott, Christina M. Kling, Dagain P. Reneau, Molly R. Westlake

Athens: McKayla A. Clark

Avon: Matthew R. Sinnett

Bath: Ella R. Kramer I

Blandinsville: Joshua L. Miller

Bourbonnais: Nicholas W. Rodriguez

Browning: Andru W. Vaughan,

Bushnell: Patricia K. Chambers, Alyssa J. Zarello

Canada: Emily K. Meloche, Raivyn J. Millions

Canton: Isabella J. Alig, Hannah E. Anderson, Hanna E. Anderson-Davis, Halle E. Bair, Melody R. Barnes, Ethan M. Bender I, Amber L. Burnett, Hailie Clark, Austin R. Corsaw, Shannon M. Coughlin, Jersey R. Dilts, Ella J. Dixon, Destiny S. Evans, Katelynn N. Ferguson, Trinity M. Friedrich, Sarah E. Goldring, Heuston A. Harkless, Gage W. Hasselbacher, Cristian I. Hernandez, Jennifer F. Hernandez, Paige N. Kruschinsky, Jakob R. Malin, Bella S. Markley, Lily L. Martin, Joseph S. Matthews, Alicia K. Maxson, Janelle M. McMahon, Jocee S. Miller, Rylee M. Murphy, Joshua L. O’Donnal, Nicholas T. Oldfield, Addison D. Palmer, Bethany M. Pankratz, Maya Phillips, Madison M. Reeder, Brenna N. Reid, Roxann R. Richardson, Allison P. Roos, Beau B. Slayton, Brenna N. Reid, Abigail M. Spencer, Anna G. Taylor, Gage J. Wallick, Heather E. Weaver, Chase M. Williamson, Lacey N. Yaeger

Colchester: Douglas R. Buford

Cuba: Ethan L. Patterson, Carley B. Seward

Easton: Dale E. DeVore

Elmwood: Casey J. Bednar

Fairview: Jenna M. Schleich

Farmington: Shaylee B. Kellerstrass, Austin M. Marinich, Brooklyn M. Murphy

Fiatt: Isabelle E. Bradley

Frederick: Austin J. Dosset

Galva: Tyvin D. Holdge

Geneseo: Jake R. Nelms

Glasford: Sydney E. Sager

Good Hope: Kyle A. Rhoads

Grant Park: Clayton J. McKinstry

Guthrie: Connor D. McCabe

Hanna City: Connor A. Taylor

Havana: Zoey R. Lane, Tara R. McCausland, Halicyn Minor, Lindsey M. Morgan, Gabriella F. Oxendine, Allison Tibbs, Elizabeth S. Towery

Hazlehurst: Morgan A. Yearty

Jasper: Kylie R. Morton

Kewanee: Mitch N. Lambert

Kilbourne: Addisyn R. Chapin, Chole S. Turner

Lewistown: Traci L. Brown, Elliot I. Dalpiaz, Brooke E. Hampton, Brady R. Hanes, Emma J. Henderson, John R. Hess, Chelsey M. Hopkins, Madalyn G. Jones, Robert W. Micklus, Kyle A. Smith, Esmeralda Uribe, Calvin D. Weaver, Ethan L. Yaste

Liverpool: Jacob E. Warren

London Mills: Deacon M. Clardy, Aidan M. Kenyon I

Mackinaw: Taylor M. Purdy

Macomb: Eric Y. Akto, Nathan C. Andrews, Joshua P. Bryan, Lollita Campbell, Alexander M. DeWeese, Alexis L. Ebey, Thomas Y. Engel, Mallory A. Hoyt, Jennie R. Ismail, Arberim Kadriu, Trustin L. Kimbrough, Lael J. McKee, Brady P. Sullivan, Bethany J. Swanson, Cydni J. Thrapp I, Jasmine N. Zachary

Maqon: Katie J. Baker, Lillian M. Mason

Marietta: Autumn K. Hughes

Naperville: Tela H. Meech

Normal: Clint T. Goodman

Payson: Calen M. Rogers, Kylie E. Simmons

Pekin: Melanie K. Behymer, Kylee A. Hadsall

Roseville: MaKenna J. Babcock

Rushville: Christian L. Bertoux, Haley R. Emmett, Isabel M. Escapa, Emily A. Gossage, Cheyann V. Ide, Erica J. Lacy, Austin M. Lindsey, Sherilyn A. Umphryes, Abigail G. Wright

Sherman: Lauren M. Sinks

Smithfield: Keera L. Virag

Springfield: Iyanuoluwa A. Olalere

Stronghurst: Brynna K. Seitz

Table Grove: Allyson D. Bithos

Tinley Park: Samuel R. Ruchala

Vermont: Chole S. Boggs, Abigail A. Kessler

President’s List, Fall 2022 Part-Time Students

Spoon River College congratulates the following part-time students who were named to the President’s List in recognition of their academic achievement in completing at least 12 credit hours of college level courses at SRC and who were enrolled in six to eleven credit hours and earning a GPA of 3.6 or higher during the Fall 2022 semester. The names of students who have designated a privacy hold will not appear on this list.

Bushnell: Lillian K. Powell

Canton: Daniel E. Burnett, Cy Carrithers, Vanessa B. Coker, Alexander J. Dornberger, Austin J. Dornberger, Rochelle R. Green, Jace W. Gudzinskas, Lindsey N. Harrison, Matthew R. Kumer, Dalton R. Leezer, Emily K. Love, Taylor K. Marshall, Brooke L. McBride, Cooper Nelson, Justin A. Rollet, Andrew T. Tarvin, Sheldon N. Toft, Daniel E. Vollmar, Sarah E. Ward, Kayleigh E. White, River Williams, Hannah E. Zimmerman

Cuba: Emily E Graham, Cindy R. Luthy

Elmwood: Blake L. Umiten

Fairview: Holly L. Henry

Farmington: Jill R. Ifft, Keith H. Ifft, Mary R. Toothaker

Havana: Ryan Emme, Kaley R. Meyer, Margaret A. Porter, Allison J. Ralston, Kaitlyn M. Robinson

Industry: Ethan G. Eskridge

Lewistown: Curtis A. Bump, Casey M. Jones

Macomb: Mariam Adebo, David M. Adkisson, Irene Akinyemi, Dallas F. Davis, Olubukola A. Dopamu, Annaliese Goc, Zachary M. Hagmeier, Diana M. Hanks, Chloe M. Moulton, Misty A. Peyer, Chester Ruff

Norris: Anthony J. Delost

Rushville: Reagan N. Horsch, Alexandria J. Lamm, Amy L. Logsdon, Hayden E. Moon, Henry N. Mordiva, Melanie J. Norton, Gabriel K. Park, Adam L. Sipes, Andreas R. Smith, Andrew C. Tomlinson, Sabrina R. Vining

Table Grove: Kristen A. Essex

Wyoming: Gaston A. Sierra

Yates City: Riley Jansen