Mervis and Miller Recognized for “Significant” Contributions to Community
DANVILLE – For the first time in its 70-year history, Danville Area Community College will confer honorary degrees on two community leaders. Louis L. Mervis and Vickie J. Miller were chosen because they have excelled in personal and professional achievements, made significant contributions to the community around them, and inspired others with their life achievements and ability to overcome obstacles.
“These two extraordinary people have conducted themselves and contributed to their community in a manner sure to inspire DACC students and graduates,” said President Stephen Nacco in announcing their selection.
Mervis was noted as a “Great American Success Story” who built one of the most prosperous businesses in the Midwest while serving his State and community through boardship such as the District 118 School Board and the Illinois State Board of Higher Education. He was instrumental in the founding of the Danville Area Economic Development Corporation (now Vermilion Advantage) and the movement to establish Danville Junior College as an independent public junior college and move the campus to the current Main Street location. As a couple, Lou and Sybil Mervis have given of themselves and their resources to support an untold number of community causes including the Boys and Girls Club, Danville United Way, Danville District #118 Schools, Danville Area Community College, and the DACC Foundation. The Mervis Family Scholarship has provided assistance to more than 50 DACC students since it was established in 2005.
Miller dedicated more than 20 years of service to the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees including 12 as Chair. She served in various offices and committees with the Illinois Community College Trustees Association, and was a determined advocate and lobbyist on behalf of the Community College mission in Springfield. During her tenure, the College added cutting edge programs such as Wind Energy Technology and NIMS, both of which were among the first in the State at a community college. Under Miller’s leadership, the College pursued and successfully gained admission to the nationwide Achieving the Dream student success and completion initiative. Along with her husband Doug, Miller has hosted countless fundraising events at their historic Centennial farm near Indianola and was recognized as Master Farmers by Prairie Farmer Magazine in 2005. The Doug and Vickie Miller Faculty Endowed Chair in Math and Science at DACC provides professional development support critical to faculty recruitment and retention.
Mervis and Miller will be recognized during Commencement exercises at DACC Friday, May 19, 2017, at 7 pm in Mary Miller Gymnasium.
Honorary degree nominations were submitted in early February and chosen by an 8-member Graduation Committee. Nomination forms were available on the DACC website and open to all current and former DACC employees, students, and Board members including the DACC Board of Trustees and DACC Foundation Board. No current DACC employee, student, or Board member was eligible for consideration.