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  • Past Presidents

    Dr. Dale T. Chapman, 1992-2019

    Dale ChapmanHaving the distinction of being the longest-serving president of Lewis and Clark Community College, Dr. Dale T. Chapman served as the college’s fifth president. He began his career at L&C in 1988 as vice president of administration and finance and was promoted to president in 1992. During his 27-year tenure, the college has experienced exponential enrollment increases, for a total annual enrollment of more than 14,000 students. Moreover, Dr. Chapman has overseen the construction of more than $200 million in capital projects. Major projects during his time at the school include completion of the McPike Complex, which consists of the Olin Science Building, The Commons, Robert L. Watson Math Building and the Templin Nursing Building; the George C. Terry River Bend Arena; the renovation of the Trimpe building; the construction and renovation of the N.O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville; the construction of the state-of-the-art Weber Workforce Center; the renovation and construction of the Ringhausen Music Building; and the relocation of the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel. Dr. Chapman’s passion for education started at Northern Community College in Kentucky, where he earned his associate degree. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Eventually, he received his Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, with a concentration in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. Dr. Chapman has worked extensively with national, state and regional organizations, including serving as chair of the Higher Education Committee for the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, sitting on the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents and serving as the board chairman of the RiverBend Growth Association. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation.

    Dr. J. Neil Admire, 1983-1992

    Neal AdmireBorn in Gillespie, Illinois, on July 24, 1935, Admire was the first in his family to attend college. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and social sciences from Eastern Illinois University in 1958, where he also lettered in two sports and set the Illinois state javelin record. Admire went on to earn a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois in 1964, a specialist degree in education from Eastern Illinois University in 1971, and a doctorate in education from Loyola University of Chicago in 1978. Throughout his professional career, he served as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Illinois public school system, then as the vice president of administration and assistant to the president at Lake Land Community College in Mattoon from 1972 to 1983. In 1983, Admire became the fourth president of Lewis and Clark Community College. During his term, he also served as president of the Illinois Council of Public Community College Presidents and oversaw the college receiving a $1 million donation from the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation for the college’s Hatheway Cultural Center. Admire also served as President and CEO of the Illinois Community College System Foundation, raising funds for 40 colleges to provide student scholarships and other academic funding. Upon his retirement from Lewis and Clark, Dr. Admire was honored with a proclamation from the State of Illinois signed by the Governor, declaring Dr. J. Neil Admire Day. He continued to consult on educational issues, charitable college foundations, and college financial issues and served as chancellor of Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, before retiring to Sanger, TX. Dr. Admire passed on June 4, 2016, at his Montana summer home at the age of 80.

    Dr. Wilbur R. Trimpe, 1973-1983

    Wilber TrimpeKnown as “Mr. Education in Southern Illinois”, Wilbur Trimpe dedicated more than 60 years of his life to the cause of education. Raised in rural Mason County, he obtained a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, a master’s from the University of Illinois, and did advanced work toward a doctorate at the University of Colorado and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He served as a rural school teacher, elementary principal, and superintendent. He came to Bethalto and was superintendent of that district until 1959, where the Wilbur Trimpe Junior High was dedicated in his honor. From 1959 to 1973, he was county superintendent and regional superintendent of schools for Madison County. During his tenure in this position, he pioneered the establishment and development of a system of statewide community colleges for Illinois. In 1973 he became the third president of L&C, where he served with distinction until 1983. While at L&C, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Blackburn College, and in 1979 the Trimpe Vocational-Technical Building was named for his outstanding development of vocational education at the college. He was often quoted as saying: “Education is for everyone, from the cradle to the grave.” Wilbur Trimpe died April 15, 1996, in Morrison, IL.

    Dr. Robert O. Birkhimer, 1971-1973

    Robert BirkhimerA life-long educator, teaching at every level from kindergarten to graduate school, Robert O. Birkhimer served as L&C’s 2nd president. A native of Wabash, IL, Birkhimer held several positions in the junior and community college arena. He was a teacher and administrator at Centralia Junior College from 1955 to 1959. He then served as Specialist in Higher Education and State Junior College Consultant from 1959 to 1965. His expertise led him to Iowa, where he held the positions of Junior College Specialist in the State Office of Education and served as the first superintendent of the newly formed Burlington Community College. He then returned to Illinois, first as Vice President under Dr. Gail Myers when Lewis and Clark was established, and then as its second president from 1971 to 1973. Dr. Birkhimer died in April of 1978 while still a resident of Godfrey, IL.

    Dr. Gail Myers, 1966-1971

    Gail MyersBorn March 1, 1923, in Clark, South Dakota, Dr. Gail Eldridge Myers was a noted and respected expert in the field of speech communication. He published several textbooks and an extensive number of articles and frequently appeared as a guest lecturer at institutions across the country over the course of his career. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. He began his long, distinguished tenure in higher education at the age of 26 when he joined the staff of Iowa State Teachers College as its Director of Publications after serving in the United States Air Force from 1946 to 1949. From there he would go on to teach at the Colorado School of Mines (1953 to 1959) and eventually became Vice President at Monticello College in Godfrey, Illinois (1959 to 1963), only to return to the Rocky Mountain state as an Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Denver (1963 to 1966). In June of 1966, Dr. Myers became the eleventh president of Monticello College. He would ultimately oversee its transition from a two-year women’s college to a two-year co-educational community college, thus serving as both “Monti’s” last president (1966 to 1970) and Lewis & Clark Community College’s first president (1970 to 1971). Dr. Myers passed away on August 11, 2019, at the age of 96.