HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Officials say after 35 years in higher education and 34 of those at Southeastern Illinois College (SIC), President Jonah Rice, Ph.D., has decided to retire on June 30, 2024.

SIC says Rice began as junior faculty in 1990 and began the theatre program as well as helped coach multiple national championship speech and debate teams for nearly 20 of those years. Officials say Rice also led the college through successful reaccreditations with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). A news release says Rice was also awarded the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Advocacy Award in 2019 for his dedicated leadership in advocating for the needs of students and the Illinois community college system.

SIC Board of Trustees Chair, Dr. Pat York, says, “He saved the college two times. First, when the state sent no money, and second when he made all the right moves during the COVID pandemic.”

SIC says during Rice’s time, the college developed a fund balance policy ensuring a safety net for emergencies like state impasses and gross late payments.