INA, Ill. (September 19, 2022) — The Rend Lake College Foundation hosted a tribute for Beth Mandrell this past Wednesday on the Ina Campus. Nearly one hundred friends, family, and co-workers showed up to honor the memory of the longtime Rend Lake College reference librarian with the dedication of the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden.

Family members, friends, and co-workers gathered outside the Slankard Learning Resource Center at Rend Lake College to dedicate the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden to the late, longtime reference librarian Beth Mandrell. (Click Image for Printable Version)

Mandrell worked at Rend Lake College as a reference librarian for 20 years and is remembered as a caring individual who went above and beyond to help the students of RLC. 

Illinois State Representative David Severin opened the event with a prayer.

ron-head-singingRon Head sings "Amazing Grace" during the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden Tribute on the Rend Lake College Main Campus.

Following the opening prayer, Ron Head stood among the crowd and sang an acapella rendition of Amazing Grace.

severin-presentationState Representative presents Vernon Mandrell, Beth Mandrell's husband, with a certificate of recognition from the Illinois 102nd General Assembly.

"I have a certificate that I'd like to present to the family this morning," said State Representative David Severin. "The state of Illinois, 102nd, General Assembly House of Representatives acknowledges Beth Mandrell, in recognition of the members of the Illinois House of Representatives, and offers our most sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Beth Mandrell. We recognize and honor Beth's 21 years of dedicated service and her commitment to improving the lives and educational experience of students here at Rend Lake College. May the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden be a lasting and beautiful reminder of Beth's legacy of service to the youth of Southern Illinois and honor her memory."

wilk-speech-2Rend Lake College President, Terry Wilkerson, addresses the crowd for the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden dedication. 

The decade that I worked with Beth, I said, so this is what a library looks like," joked Terry Wilkerson, Rend Lake College President. "She was progressive about changing, adapting, adopting the new technology, and making the library something relevant. She was always interested in getting students involved in the library, but she did much more for the college." Wilkerson explained how Mandrell would bake for the college during in-services and bring her other skills to campus. 

"She was always so appreciated," Wilkerson continued. "She was about people. She was about the kids. She spent a lot of time in the children's library, ensuring they got a chance to be involved. She tended to our higher learning commission documents. She helped keep track of the archives. We miss her very deeply."

"She was always dedicated to the college, the students, staff, and the people that were here," said Pat Kern, Rend Lake College Foundation Board Member. "I think having a little segment here on campus is appropriate for people to enjoy. On behalf of the Foundation, I would like to make a few comments on Beth Mandrell's Butterfly Garden. If you look inside the Slankard Learning Resource Center, you will see her name in several places. She was actually responsible for the first donation to renovate the library. She led the charge in fundraising. The garden is located near the building where she worked for 20 years. There are even plants, watering cans, and spinners from her home garden."

reneRene Crouse, Rend Lake College Children's Center Teacher, addresses the family, friends, and co-workers during the butterfly garden tribute. 

"I was a little unsure how I could sum up such an amazing person," said Rene Crouse, Rend Lake Foundation Children's Center Teacher. "I had the pleasure of calling Beth a co-worker and friend for nearly 20 years. She carved time out of her schedule to read to the children every Monday. She provided books to the children and families. She also made themed cakes and cookies to celebrate special events. She was irreplaceable." 

Some students from the Children's Center then did a dance presentation in front of the new butterfly garden.

butterfly-kidsRend Lake College Children's Center Students danced in front of the new Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden at Rend Lake College.

"I would like to thank the college," said Matt Rolando, Mandrell's son-in-law. "You have no idea what this means for the family right here." Rolando explained how he was greeted to the family with a warm hug. "She told me what she did at the school, how much she loved it, and it continued that way for the next 20 years."

beth-son-in-lawMatt Rolando, Mandrell's son-in-law, speaking at the dedication of the Beth Mandrell Butterfly Garden on the Rend Lake College Campus.

Terry and Kim Wilkerson presented a rocking chair gift that will remain in the children's library in memory of Beth. RLCF Board Member, Pat Kern, concluded the event by thanking everyone for attending. 

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