50th Fridays- 1996

Posted on Aug 7, 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 1996.



Manufacturing Excellence

In January of 1996, Rock Valley College’s Tech Center established a Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence, a storehouse of information about the best practices in manufacturing- the best ways to accomplish every step of design, testing, production, facilities, logistics, and management. At the time, Rock Valley College was one of only six such centers in the nation, the only Midwest site, and the only community college site. The program was a free service offered to companies to help them learn from other businesses by obtaining reports, or tapping into a database to learn about best practices companies have used to boost production or improve management. Local companies like Hydro-Line Inc. and Camcar Textron were two of the first companies to take advantage of the new service at RVC. The program’s director, Dean Zaumseil, was expecting by the end of 1996 to have helped 150 Midwest companies, half of them in Rockford.

Dean Zaumseil holds a stack of CD software called Program Managers Workstations from the Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence at RVC.


CLR Receives Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement

Rock Valley College’s Center for Learning in Retirement (CLR) was one of 11 recipients of the Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement in 1996. The Northwestern Illinois Area Agency on Aging nominated the CLR for the award, which was established by former Governor Jim Thompson to recognize older adults who have made a difference in their communities.

CLR Director Sara Skaggs accepts the Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement in 1996.


30 Years of Starlight Celebrated

RVC Starlight Theatre celebrated its 30th year in the summer of 1996 with productions of Bye, Bye Birdie, Pippin; Crazy For You; and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Next summer Starlight will celebrate its 50th season. Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming months on what to expect under the stars for Starlight’s 50th!


Drought Appointed Director of Public Safety

In July of 1996, Joe Drought was named Director of Public Safety and Assistance at RVC, succeeding Bradley Meister, who resigned to move to Texas. Though his title has since changed to Chief of Police, Drought has remained in the same position since 1996. Chief Drought began his career in law enforcement in 1981 with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. His primary specialty during his nine years of service was as an Explosive Detector Dog Handler. Upon separation from the Army, he served as a part-time police officer at RVC before being hired as a deputy for the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office. He served Ogle County as a deputy, detective, SWAT team member, and K-9 handler for three years prior to being hired as a full-time police officer at RVC.

Chief Drought holds instructor certifications in firearms, defensive tactics, self-defense, and Rapid Response to Active Shooter. He is proud to serve the RVC community, and particularly enjoys addressing the needs of and interacting with students, faculty, staff, and visitors of Rock Valley College.


National Treasure

Rock Valley College athletics has won numerous NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national championships. Since 2011 alone, the RVC women’s tennis, women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s basketball, and softball teams have brought home national titles, including back-to-back titles for women’s basketball and softball. In all the Golden Eagles have raised 15 championship banners since 1996.

It all began in November of 1996 when Heidi Hutchison’s Golden Eagles volleyball team captured the national championship after defeating Central Lakes (Minnesota) 16-14, 15-11, 15-13. Hutchison was named National Tournament Coach of the Year and Tandy Johnson was named National Tournament MVP. Rachel Schrader, Catie Bumber, and Sheila Zander joined Johnson on the All-Tournament Team.


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