50th Fridays – 1989

Posted on Jun 19, 2015

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Every Friday through December 18, we will be sharing RVC facts and photos from over the years right here on our blog and on social media. Be sure to check here every Friday and follow us on all of our social media platforms as we will be posting unique content across all media throughout the year!

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Today’s 50th Friday covers the year 1989.



Gustafson Named First Faculty of the Year Winner

David Gustafson, chairman of the Mathematics and Humanities division, was named RVC’s first Faculty of the Year award winner in March of 1989. He was praised for his ability to make students with an aversion to numbers enjoy and understand mathematics. His peers selected him for his effectiveness in the classroom, impact on students outside the classroom, leadership, community involvement, and his contributions to academic excellence. Gustafson began teaching at RVC in its first year in 1965.



Child Fair Draws Record Crowd

A record crowd turned out at RVC’s Physical Education Center and Student Center for the annual Child Fair in April of 1989. The fair focused on family well-being and fun for the kids as 83 exhibitors showed toys and supplied information on educational services, medical concerns, daycare centers, adoption, and dental care. Outside the PEC, children got to sit in the REACT (Regional Emergency Air Care Transport) helicopter.

At the annual Child Fair held at RVC in 1989, REACT medical helicopter paramedic Barry Beckwith poses with Megan Davison and her brother Eric as they pretend to be part of the helicopter crew.


Extraordinary Student Honored

RVC student Stacy Breon received a Rockford Register Star Young American Award in April of 1989. The Young American Awards were presented to local teenage students, including RVC’s Breon. Winners were awarded for leadership, academic excellence, volunteer work, and other accomplishments. Breon, a freshman at the time, had won numerous scholastic and athletic awards in high school and received an honors tuition scholarship at RVC. She also served as a lab assistant in the Physical Science Department at RVC.


Alan Arkin Speaks at RVC

Actor Alan Arkin spoke on the topic of “The Creative Impulse and the Search for Self” at RVC in April of 1989. He encouraged those in attendance from all walks of life (actors, musicians, painters, writers, athletes, housewives, surgeons, doctors) to recognize that they were all creative in their own ways. At the time of his lecture at RVC, Arkin was perhaps best known for his very first film in 1966, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, which earned him an Oscar nomination and a Best Actor win at the Golden Globes. In the 1980’s he also appeared on the hit television show St. Elsewhere. In recent years, Arkin’s career has soared to new heights. He won his first Oscar in 2007 at the age of 72 for his role in Little Miss Sunshine and was also nominated for another Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the Best Picture winner Argo in 2013.


RVC Professor Wins ICTM Award

RVC Mathematics Professor Darrell Ropp won the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) Excellence in College Mathematics Teaching Award in May of 1989. The award is given annually to an outstanding college mathematics teacher who is also active in professional mathematics associations. Ropp would receive an even more distinguished award from the ICTM in 1995. Stay tuned to 50th Fridays for more on that in the coming weeks!


Future Landmark Unveiled

On October 10, 1989 (exactly 25 years after the referendum that created Rock Valley College was passed) the occasion was marked by the dedication of the now famous clock that sits on the bridge outside the Student Center. The four-faced Victorian clock is known as the official Alumni Clock of Rock Valley College. Funds for the clock were raised by the RVC Alumni Association, the RVC Foundation, the RVC Student Commission, and general donations. The clock was designed by Verdin Clocks of Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the years, the clock has become a landmark of sorts at RVC, appearing in numerous marketing materials, RVC television commercials, student graduation photos, and social media posts.

The Alumni Clock dedication on 10/10/89.


RVC president Karl Jacobs (left) posed near the Alumni Clock on 10/10/89. Our current president Mike Mastroianni (right) posed by the clock just recently!


Papke’s Pine

In 1989, RVC’s William Papke turned a 10-year hobby of collecting a unique pine that he called “birdseye pine” or “Papke’s pine” into an elaborate treasure hunt, word puzzle, and a creative original story written by Papke and inspired by the special wood. Judy Emerson of the Rockford Register Star wrote a big feature story on Papke’s intricate tale on December 11, 1989. If you see Bill on campus, you now have a great conversation starter!


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50th Fridays – 1988

Every Friday through December 18, we will be sharing RVC facts and photos from over the years right here on...