(LLC) — Lake Land College Alumni will induct four new members into the Distinguished Alumni Society, and Laker Athletics will honor one new member into the Athletics Hall of Fame during the Laker Homecoming weekend.
The Distinguished Alumni Society (DAS) Class of 2017 inductees are Todd Gartner, Paducah, Ky., formerly of Effingham; Thomas Overmyer, Mahomet, formerly of Mattoon; Dr. Sally Salmons, Mattoon; and Katie (Askew) Williams, Marshall, formerly of Mattoon. The Distinguished Alumni Society recognizes alumni who have utilized the Lake Land experience to make an imprint on their profession or community.
This year’s induction ceremony is part of Lake Land College’s 50th anniversary homecoming weekend. The honors will take place during the Alumni Recognition Brunch on Saturday, Sept. 30 in the West Building Atrium. Emily Friese, Stewardson, sophomore member of the 2017-2018 Cheerleaders, will give the welcome at the brunch.
“We’re extremely proud of the newest members of the Distinguished Alumni Society. They exemplify the values we all share at Lake Land College. In addition to being accomplished in their careers, they are dedicated to giving back to their communities and improving the world around them,” said Dave Cox, director of alumni relations and annual giving.
The newest member of the Lake Land College Athletics Hall of Fame is Denny Throneburg. The Athletics Hall of Fame recognizes athletes, coaches and friends who have excelled in their careers or brought recognition and support to the program.
Athletic Hall of Fame
Denny Throneburg, Laker Nation Class of 1970
Coach Throneburg served eight years as the athletic director at Lake Land College. During his first four years at the college, he served as both the athletic director and head softball coach. He had his start at Lake Land College as a student-athlete and played basketball for one year under Head Coach Jim Dudley, later being an assistant coach for five years under him.
Prior to coming to Lake Land, he completed 32 years of teaching and coaching at Casey-Westfield Jr-Sr High School. There he was the head coach for 22 years, where his teams compiled a winning percentage of 92 percent — a national record for that number of years. In Coach Throneburg's four years as the head coach at Lake Land, he guided the Lakers to an overall record of 158-42 and a conference record of 104-15. In his first season as the head coach, the Lakers became the first softball team in school history to advance to the D-1 National Tournament.
Coach Throneburg has received numerous honors in softball. He has twice been named the National High School Softball Coach of the Year, in 1997 and 2000. He was also named Illinois High School Softball Coach of the Year in 2000 and was inducted into the Illinois Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame and into the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame in 2000. Coach Throneburg's travel ball teams have won numerous state and national titles in his career, and in 1987 he was the pitching coach for the Dominican Republic National Team in the Pan Am Games.
Coach Throneburg was inducted into the inaugural class of the Lake Land College Distinguished Alumni Society in 2007.
Throneburg currently serves as the pitching coach for the Lakers Softball Team. He resides in Mattoon with his wife, Sue. They have three children, Derek, Dara and D.J, and four grandchildren, Brya, Reese, Ella and Paxton.
Distinguished Alumni Society
Todd Gartner, Laker Nation Class of 2003
Gartner is the director of surgical services at Baptist Health in Paducah, Ky. He has an associate degree in nursing from Lake Land College, a bachelor’s degree in finance from Illinois State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Maine at Orono.
Prior to being named director of surgical services at Baptist Health, Gartner was the director of surgical services at Stone Crest Medical Center in Smyrna, Tn., operating room technician and nurse.
Originally, Gartner worked in business accounting, management and sales in Effingham before his career took a change. Now, he supervises the hospital’s surgical staff and coordinates anesthesia services with North Star’s three anesthesiologists and 23 nurse anesthetists.
“By obtaining my ADN at Lake Land College, my career has taken me to places and doing things I could only dream of doing. The education I have received has allowed me to help make peoples’ lives better,” Gartner said.
“Now, as a director of surgical services at a regional facility, I have the opportunity to influence the care of many patients every day. I have truly been blessed to be able to be a part of healthcare. Lake Land College has played a major role in helping me achieve that goal.”
Thomas Overmyer, Laker Nation Class of 1983
Overmyer is the president and owner of Phoenix Consulting Engineers in Mahomet. He has an associate degree in civil engineering technology from Lake Land College and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois.
Overmyer began his career at Daily and Associates, a local engineering firm in Champaign, eventually becoming a principal partner and director until 2005. When Daily and Associates was purchased by another company, he found his entrepreneurial spirit and started Phoenix Consulting Engineers.
Overmyer gives Lake Land College a lot of credit for helping him achieve his goals, mentioning the Civil Engineering Technology program provided him with the necessary knowledge to compete with anyone in the marketplace. “Lake Land College gave me both an educational foundation and job skills that seeded my life and career. Upon graduation, I was able to find a good job in my major as a civil engineering technician.”
“After working in my profession for several years, I decided to continue my education and applied to the College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois. It quickly became apparent that the critical thinking skills and educational foundation that I absorbed while attending Lake Land would play a major role in my success at the U of I. In 1989 I graduated with honors from the U of I with a bachelor of science degree from the College of Engineering,” he said.
He belongs to the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers and is an Illinois Municipal League Member. He and his wife Rhonda have five children and are active supporters of Camp New Hope and Special Olympics.
Dr. Sally Salmons, Laker Nation Class of 1982
Salmons is the associate chief medical director of primary care services and medical subspecialties at Carle Hospital in Mattoon and is also a family practice physician in Tuscola. She has an associate degree in business administration from Lake Land College, a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Illinois University and a doctorate of medicine from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
With more than 17 years of diverse medical experience, Salmons is affiliated with many hospitals, including The Carle Foundation Hospital and Hoopeston Community Memorial Hospital. She cooperates with other doctors and specialists in medical group Carle Health Care Incorporated and has worked with 18 primary clinics throughout underserved areas in east central Illinois.
In 2016 she received the Physician of Excellence Award from the Illinois Rural Health Association for her commitment to bringing access to medical care to rural communities.
Salmons credits Lake Land College instructors for inspiring her path and changing her life with education. “I was working in the healthcare business world when I felt the need to be closer to the delivery of care. I had a bachelor’s of business at the time I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I also had a mortgage, a full-time job and two kids. Lake Land helped me gain the knowledge I needed to pass the entrance exam around my busy schedule. The instructors at Lake Land are incredibly committed to making a difference in the lives of their students. They know education changes lives — just like it changed mine,” she said.
Katie Williams, Laker Nation Class of 2002
Williams is the special education coordinator for the Marshall Community School District. She has an associate degree in psychology from Lake Land College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Illinois University.
Before she received her master’s degree, she worked as a paraprofessional for special education at Mattoon Middle School. In 2008, she went on to receive a certification of educational specialist in school psychology from Indiana State University.
Williams has also published two articles in the Illinois School Psychologists Association Quarterly: “When not to keep a secret” and “The standard basic report card.”
Williams noted that Lake Land College was a place in which she immediately felt comfortable as a student. “My experiences while attending Lake Land College have had a very positive impact on my career and life. The time I spent serving as a Lake Land College student ambassador provided me with the experiences that helped me develop leadership skills, integrity and connections among students and surrounding communities.”
“All of these skills have assisted me in obtaining a higher education, my career and continued positive relationships. Further, the smaller class sizes and relationships I was able to build with my instructors at Lake Land allowed me to push myself as a student and as an individual, thus laying the groundwork that would later enable me to maximize my educational and professional potential,” she said.
Currently she is a member of the Illinois School Psychologists Association, the Illinois Principals Association and the Illinois Education Association.