GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College will celebrate the academic achievements of more than 850 graduates at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, in the Hatheway Cultural Center’s Ann Whitney Olin Theatre.
Nearly 170 of those students, and their family members, are expected to attend the annual ceremony. Doors of the Ann Whitney Olin Theatre will open at 6 p.m. Additional seating will be provided in The Commons, where the ceremony will be broadcast live on two large screens. A reception for the graduates and their families will immediately follow the ceremony, also in The Commons.
State Sen. Andy Manar, of the 48th Legislative District, will deliver this year’s commencement address.
“We are very excited about having Sen. Manar deliver our keynote address this year,” LCCC President Dale Chapman said. “Sen. Manar has been a tremendous champion for LCCC and its students. It is fitting that he will get to experience this celebratory occasion with the students, whom he has helped in numerous ways since taking office in 2012.”
Born and raised in Macoupin County, Manar and his wife, Trista, live three blocks from where he grew up in Bunker Hill. Together they have three young children: Abbie, Will and Ben. Manar holds a bachelor of science degree in history from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He also maintains Illinois teacher certification.
In 1997 at the age of 21, Manar was elected to the Bunker Hill City Council. In 2001, following his first term in elected office, he was elected as mayor of his hometown. Manar’s tenure as mayor was marked by the construction of an 18-acre city park, the city’s largest sidewalk replacement project and housing rehabilitation for low-income and senior citizens.
Manar left the mayor’s office in 2003 to join the Macoupin County Board. After serving just more than a year as the youngest member of the 27-member board, he was elected chairman in 2004 and served as such for four consecutive terms. As chairman, Manar worked to get the county’s budget under control, arguing that the county’s fiscal path was unsustainable.
Manar’s strong roots in public service come from the late Sen. Vince Demuzio. He met Demuzio during his senior year of high school in 1993, when he enrolled in a college course taught by Demuzio, who quickly became a mentor.
Manar’s first position with the Illinois Senate was an unpaid internship working for Demuzio in Carlinville focusing on constituent services for Macoupin and surrounding counties. A decade later, recognizing the need for a downstate perspective in his new administration, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton named Manar his chief of staff.
Cullerton noted at the time that along with the respect he had earned among Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature, Manar’s patient demeanor, knowledge of the state budget and ability to work closely with members of a diverse caucus would suit the role well.
Manar left the Senate staff in December 2011. He was elected to represent the 48th Senate District in November 2012 and was sworn into the Senate on Jan. 9, 2013.