Dr. Bettsey Barhorst Receives ICCTA Certificate of Merit Award

June 10, 2024

Illinois Central College (ICC) is proud to announce Dr. Bettsey Barhorst, a former board member and long-serving advocate for community colleges, was honored with the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) Certificate of Merit Award at their annual Awards Banquet on June 7, 2024, in Chicago.

This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the ICCTA, the Illinois community college system, or an individual member college and is a testament to Barhorst’s lifelong dedication to the community college system and her impactful contributions to Illinois Central College.

Dr. Barhorst exemplifies the spirit of service and dedication that is at the heart of community colleges. Her legacy at ICC and beyond will inspire future generations.

Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, ICC President

Barhorst’s career in the community college system spans nearly three decades at Illinois Central College, where she served in roles including faculty, department chair, and Vice President of Planning and Information Services. Her dedication to student success and institutional improvement left an indelible mark on ICC.

Bruce Budde, Executive Vice President of Administration and Finance at ICC, said, “Bettsey was the cabinet member we turned to when a problem was identified and we needed a solution to be developed thoughtfully and thoroughly. She was known for her passion for our students and doing all she could to ensure students were supported.”

In addition to her tenure at ICC, Barhorst served as President of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, and Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) in Madison, Wisconsin. At Hawkeye, she became the institution’s first woman president and oversaw significant developments including the passage of a $25.1 million bond, one of the largest in Iowa’s history. At Madison College, she secured $133.7 million in special funding for expansions and transformed the college into a primary feeder school for two local universities.

Barhorst’s contributions have been celebrated both institutionally and nationally. In 2012, she was recognized as the Chief Executive of the Year by the Association of Community College Trustees. She has also been inducted into Illinois State University’s Hall of Fame as a distinguished graduate.
After retiring from Madison College in 2014, Barhorst returned to Central Illinois and was elected to the ICC Board of Trustees in 2021, where she continued to provide invaluable expertise and leadership until stepping down in 2023.