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Parkland Foundation Exec. Director to Retire

Carl Meyer's legacy includes $25.5 million raised for college equipment, programs, scholarships

Friday, February 01, 2013
Parkland College Foundation Executive Director Carl Meyer recently announced he will retire from his 16-year post at the organization’s helm at the end of June.

A retirement celebration for Meyer will be held Friday, May 10 beginning at 5 p.m. at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Proceeds from the event will be used to establish the Carl R. Meyer Scholarship.

When Meyer replaced Ken Gunji as director in 1997, the college’s foundation had one staff member and assets of about $75,000. Meyer leaves a staff of four and $7.1 million of foundation assets. Under his watch, Parkland College benefited from $25.5 million raised by the foundation for scholarships, programs and equipment.

"It’s been an enjoyable 16 years working at a classy institution,” Meyer said. “I’m honored to have worked with some of the most professional and generous donors, community leaders, administrators and faculty through the years. Everyone has had the same goal of improving the quality of life in our communities throughout east central Illinois. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family."

As foundation executive director, Meyer was able to implement major facility projects at Parkland, including the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center ($2 million); the Construction Education Alliance, with offices that allow collaboration between the unions of east central Illinois, TEAM, and Parkland; the Prairie Gardens Plant Laboratory; and the Parkhill Applied Technology Center, which opened in fall 2012. In addition, Meyer led the foundation in raising $14 million for its “Creating Brighter Futures” Major Gifts Campaign, which concluded in December 2005.

Meyer’s legacy also includes the establishment of more than 140 scholarships and the creation of 70+ partnerships with academic departments and businesses, which has increased enrollment in Parkland's technical and health programs. He was instrumental in starting several of the foundation’s annual fundraising events, such as its Entrepreneur of the Year Banquet and Endowment; the Parkland Proud program; the Foundation Golf Outing sponsored by FedX Ground and SUPERVALU; and its yearly scholarship Gala. Through his vision, Parkland’s trustees approved naming opportunities for new college facilities in spring 2011; this allowed the renovated gymnasium and new fitness center on campus to be named the Donald C. Dodds, Jr. Athletic Center and the new ATC building to take on the Parkhill family’s name. In March, the foundation expects to hold a ceremony naming the high fidelity simulation lab in Parkland’s Health Professions wing in honor of former faculty Dr. Joanne Huff and Jo Ann McGrain.

Meyer, a Champaign resident, was named Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the East Central Illinois Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2000 and was the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for 2009. He was honored in 2008 with the annual Merit Award by the Varsity “I” Association at the University of Illinois. The award recognizes a former Illinois coach or administrator whose hard work left an indelible print on athletics and student-athletes.

Parkland President Tom Ramage said Meyer has done a “fantastic job for Parkland College from the outset” of his tenure as executive director.

“Carl’s hard-working spirit and ever-present influence will be greatly missed, both at the foundation and within the college,” Ramage said. “He was at every critical Parkland event and knew everybody—and everybody knew him and his love for this college. He stands tall among Parkland’s greatest endorsers.”

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