English professor to retire after 30 years


Elisabeth Farrell

IVCC English Professor Randy Rambo will retire after 30 years.

English professor Randy Rambo is retiring after thirty years of teaching at Illinois Valley Community College.

He has taught English classes at the college since 1992, and has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of different students in those three decades.

“I’ve learned that the great majority of people are good,” Rambo said when asked to reflect on his experience.

Rambo’s road to education was not a clear path. After graduating from high school, he worked at a restaurant for about two years. He had no career or college plans until he looked around at his coworkers and realized he wanted to do something different with his life.

After that moment, Rambo applied to and attended St. Louis Community College. He would go on to receive his bachelor’s and master’s degree in English at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Ill. before earning his position at IVCC.

After seven years at IVCC, Rambo developed the very first online English Composition class. He considers this one of his greatest accomplishments. His legacy lives on as technology and online learning have become undeniably more important in the modern age.

Rambo is also proud of the connections he has made with students over the years. He fondly remembers an email sent by a former student who was in one of his online classes.

“She said [in the email], ‘I just wanted to let you know that I always put your name down for the teacher that I remember most,’ and it meant a lot to me, because I had never even spoken to her in person.” Moments like that, and seeing students succeed and progress, are some of his favorite memories of working at the college.

“Most of the time, everything works out,” said Rambo, when asked what words of advice he found to be most impactful in his life. He hopes students trust in that same sentiment.

Several IVCC faculty members shared their favorite thoughts and memories of Rambo. Professor Kimberly Radek-Hall said, “I will miss his humor, kindness, and his overall impact on the college’s English Department. He was as great of a friend as he was a coworker.”

“I’ve had the pleasure to teach in the IVCC English Department with Mr. Rambo for over 25 years. I have always appreciated his kindness and professionalism. He truly is a great English teacher—knowledgeable, thorough, well-organized, and genuinely enthusiastic about writing and helping his students learn,” added fellow English professor Kirk Lockwood. “He… was a source of ideas and encouragement that helped me grow as a teacher.”

Lockwood also mentioned that Rambo crafts a beautiful staff calendar each year with pictures he has taken of birds and barns around the Illinois Valley.

In his retirement, Rambo plans to expand on that hobby further by dedicating more of his newfound free time to photographing nature. He is also excited to read more as he tries to read at least one new book a week.

Rambo leaves behind a legacy of dedication and commitment to both his craft and community. IVCC students, staff and faculty wish him well on this next step in his life.