50 Influencers: Marvin Scott, longevity personified

INA, Ill. (May 6, 2017) - The man that holds the distinction of being the longest-serving Board of Trustees member has a pretty firm grip on the honor considering his 35 years of service outpace his nearest competition by an astounding 12-year gap.

Marvin Scott, a farmer and small businessman out of Belle Rive has seen a thing or two during his three-and-a-half decades as an RLC Trustee. Originally appointed in 1978 to replace Dr. Clyde Funkhouser (Mt. Vernon), Scott now boasts a longevity that only a handful of Trustees statewide can equal.

RLC Marvin W. ScottMarvin W. Scott

Following his appointment in 78, Scott won his first seat on the board the following year, and then proceeded to get re-elected five more times until he decided not to run again in 2013, at the age of 82.

Longevity aside, Scott might be best known for his willingness to be involved with the campus as much as possible. He was known to attend almost every board meeting and made a concentrated effort to be present at many other college functions.

“I don’t think very many have received an award that I haven’t been there,” Scott said. “If our instructors or someone at the college has put in the time and work to get an award, then I’m going to put in the time to be there. I just want to be there.”

For his service to the college, Scott another of the exclusive crowd to have a piece of campus named for them. In 2013, then Board Chairman Bryan Drew unveiled a plaque designating the “Marvin W. Scott Executive Board Room” on the second floor of the Student Center.

Scott modestly said, “I appreciate this, but that’s not what I’ve been here 33 years for.”

MarvinScottRecognitionwMarvin Scott at the unveiling of the plaque for the “Marvin W. Scott Executive Board Room." Click on the image for a larger view.

His mission was simple, to help people go to college and get an education.

“I think we’ve improved our options over the years,” he said. “Things have changed for the better. Education is changing for the better.”

“We’ve got some dedicated people. I see some real hard dedication in our teachers who do the job over and above. Just look at our maintenance [department]. I tell people, you go [on campus] and just stand still for a while. One or more of them will end up going by you. If they are going to give their time and extra effort, so am I. A good Board has to do its job.”

RLC wasn’t the only place Scott made an impact on the Illinois community college community. He was one of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s (ICCTA) most dedicated and decorated members, acting as the eyes and ears of RLC at the state level.

In 2013, Scott received the recognition from the ICCTA with a 35-year Trustee Award. He is also a five-time recipient of the ICCTA Trustee Education Award (2012, 2009, 2005, 2002 and 2001), and in 2013, he was also presented with the organization’s Certification of Merit Award, and honor “presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to ICCTA, the Illinois System or a member college. He was nominated for the Harstein Trustee Achievement Award in 2006.

“In this world there are never too many gentlemen and it’s always a pleasure to meet a gentleman. That’s Marvin,” past ICCTA President Warfel said. “It’s been a real pleasure and honor to sit at the table with a real gentleman.”

Scott acted as RLC’s proxy to the ICCTA for almost two decades. He took over as the college’s rep in 1997. He credited his open schedule for longevity with the organization, saying that he had the time to make it work and be involved. But, he always made a point to get fellow board members or college officials involved when possible.

As RLC’s ICCTA Representative, Scott went to meetings and seminars on the regional, state and national levels throughout the year and reported back to the full board about what he learned.

“Marvin valued the importance of the people at the college and those that it serves. It didn’t matter if you were in the President’s Office of the Physical Plant, Marvin knew who you were and what you did,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.

Wilk and Marvin 3x5Scott, left, stands with RLC President Terry Wilkerson during his teaching years.

Scott has been a part of giving the gift of education to thousands. But he never went to college himself. He married his wife Vivian when he was 19 and she was just two weeks out of high school. They worked together at a factory in Rockford for a while and he served two years in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, spending 18 months as a personnel office clerk in Germany. They bought her father’s part of the Hamson Feed Store after Marvin was discharged.

In addition to representing RLC on the ICCTA Executive Committee, Scott formerly served several terms on the Belle Rive Village Board, 15 years on the Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative Board and multiple terms on the Jefferson County Board. He is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and served many years on the Belle Rive School Board. He also served on the Belle Rive Saddle Club Board, Mt. Vernon Township High School Agriculture Advisory Board and is a former USDA Farm Service Director.

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