Jake Rendleman has worn many hats throughout his life: Teacher, businessman, community leader, board member, and the one that is most dear to his heart, farmer.
It is his love of farming and his belief in the future of agriculture that has resulted in him receiving the latest in a long list of honors. At their July meeting, the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the Agriculture laboratory on the Carterville campus the Jacob "Jake" Rendleman Laboratory.
"When I became President of John A. Logan College 5 years ago, there was a desire to start an agriculture program, but the state budget crisis was going to make that difficult," said JALC President Dr. Ron House. "Jake Rendleman kept pushing, and he kept the proverbial pitchfork in my back, and today we have a growing program and a state-of-the-art facility. That is why I take great pleasure in recommending the naming of this facility."
After a lifetime in farming and a long career in education, Rendleman knows first-hand the importance of an agriculture program at the College.
"There are jobs in agriculture and a great need for training for those jobs," said Rendleman. "Even in the tough times when the economy is down, jobs in the agriculture industry are in demand."
Rendleman added that many of those jobs now require a minimum of an associate’s degree.
"A lot of jobs in the Ag industry require an associate's degree now, or students can go on and get a bachelor's degree. Students graduating with a bachelor's degree have nearly a 99 percent placement rate.”
Despite a long career in both education and public service, farming has always been his first love. He retired from active farming three years ago, but still enjoys time at the family farm.
"Working on the farm has always been my first love," said Rendleman. "I grew up working on our family farm and then used it as supplemental income when I taught school, and later in life, I just enjoyed being out there and working. I have some friends that farm the ground now, but I still enjoy being out here."
A native of Carbondale, Rendleman has been on the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees for 24 years serving as Board Chair from 2001 to 2003 and 2013 to 2015. He was President of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association from 2003-2004, and he has received both the Meritorious Services Award and the Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award from the organization. In addition to the Board of Trustees, he has been active with the John A. Logan College Foundation serving as President from 1991 to 1994. He and his wife Carolyn endowed the Rendleman Nursing Scholarship at the College in honor of his mother, who was a Registered Nurse.
He was a member of the Illinois Community College Board from 2006 to 2018. The Carterville City Council for 29 years, and taught science at the Herrin Middle School for 28 years. He served on the Prairie State 2000 Authority from 1987 to 1994. He has been active in the Carbondale Elks, Carterville Chamber of Commerce, Jackson and Williamson County Farm Bureau since 1963, and the Carterville United Methodist Church.
A graduate of SIUC, he earned both a bachelor's degree in Agriculture and a Master's degree in Health Education. He is a Charter Member of Beta Alpha of Alpha Gamma Rho, the Agricultural Social Professional Fraternity. He was awarded the 2010 SIU College of Agriculture Science Alumni Achievement Award for his work with community colleges.
Married to his wife, Carolyn, for 57 years, they have two daughters, Amy Schwendemann and Susan Dennison, and four grandchildren. His wife and daughters are educators as well.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a dedication ceremony will be scheduled at a later date.