Lake Land College will posthumously award the 2017 Distinguished Service Award to Scott Lensink, the sixth president of Lake Land, during Commencement on Friday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. The award acknowledges an individual who has rendered outstanding service to the college.
Lensink served for six years as the college’s sixth president, retiring in 2013. His career in higher education spanned 30 years, starting with a teaching position at Eastern Illinois University. He joined Lake Land College in 1993 as a business instructor and head coach for the Laker women’s basketball team. He went on to hold several positions at Lake Land prior to retiring as president.
“Scott will forever be remembered at Lake Land College for the impact of his professional career; but just as importantly, he will be remembered by employees and students as a jovial, caring, larger-than-life personality, who inspired us to make an impact at Lake Land College,” David Cox, director of alumni relations and annual giving, said.
Lensink’s wife Michele Lensink and their sons Zachary and Alex will receive the award on his behalf. Zachary Lensink will graduate that evening with an associate degree in pre-medicine.
In his nomination, Cox listed several student testimonials, one of which came from Jenny (Westendorf) Lange, Laker Nation Class of 1998: “Scott Lensink was a huge part of my college career. He was both one of my instructors and my basketball coach. Scott taught us how to enjoy ourselves and laugh through most of life’s situations. We also learned that a good pizza and movie night would help fix almost anything.”
During Lensink’s tenure, Lake Land College emerged as a national leader in the sustainability field, attracting grants and attention from public officials from coast to coast. In addition, the college received prestigious Aspen Institute recognition, which named Lake Land among the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation. The college was also named the safest campus in Illinois.
Upon Lensink’s retirement in 2013, Lake Land College Board Chairman Carl Hart said, “President Lensink has been a driving force in the continued success our students, faculty, and staff experience here. Under his leadership, the college has continued to grow and develop despite tough economic times.”
Lensink was very active in the higher education community and local area. He served on numerous task forces and committees for the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board.
Locally, Lensink served as a member of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems Health Center Board of Directors, the Coles County Historical Society Depot Restoration committee and Mattoon Foundation Board. He hosted international exchange students and volunteered as a coach for youth league baseball and football programs.
His previous experience included consulting, working in the insurance industry and owning and operating his own business. Lensink had a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern College and a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.