Illinois Central College faculty and staff are honoring late Board of Trustees member James Polk, who died Nov. 8 at the age of 77.
“The ICC family is deeply saddened at the passing of our Mr. Polk, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey said. “His passing is not only a loss for the college but for the community as a whole. He lived his life as an offering of service through the very active role he played in the betterment of educational, community, and diversity initiatives throughout central Illinois.”
After being appointed to the board in 1997, Polk was elected into the position just two years later where he served on the board until his death.
Polk served the constituents of ICC District 514. During his tenure, Polk was instrumental in the development of the College’s Diversity Department and numerous connected programs. He was a voice for bettering the quality improvement programming, which subsequently resulted in ICC being the first college or university to receive the Silver Lincoln Award.
He backed the college readiness programs and the development of the north campus in Peoria. The college’s Diverse Faculty Fellows Program, derived under Polk’s name, highlights his commitment to diversification, particularly within ICC’s faculty.
“Mr. Polk leaves a rich legacy through the numerous contributions he made to both the college and community,” ICC Board of Trustees Chair Don Brennan said. “His insight and support, as well as the role model he provided our students, will be deeply missed.”