Barry McNamara  |   Published October 08, 2021

Distinguished Service Award

College Editor and Historian Jeff Rankin to be honored during Homecoming weekend festivities.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – No person knows more about the history of Monmouth College than Jeff Rankin.

JEFF RANKIN: Son of alumnus Glen Rankin joined Monmouth's staff in 1992. JEFF RANKIN: Son of alumnus Glen Rankin joined Monmouth's staff in 1992.Communicating the stories behind that history has been one of Rankin’s main tasks at Monmouth since 1992, when he became director of communications.

Even before then, he had a passion for sharing the history of Monmouth, editing and co-authoring the book Born on the Prairie, a history of the town published for its sesquicentennial celebration in 1981, when Rankin was just two years removed from graduating from St. Lawrence University. Rankin said he chose the New York college only because his twin brother had decided to attend Monmouth. But the brothers have been back together for decades now, as Doug Rankin is a longtime member of the College’s theatre faculty.

For his life’s work of chronicling the history of Monmouth College and sharing that news with a wide audience, Rankin will receive Monmouth’s Distinguished Service Award at the Alumni Impact Awards ceremony, part of the College’s Homecoming weekend festivities Oct. 22-24.

Since joining the College’s staff, Rankin has served as the editor for what is now known as Monmouth College Magazine. He also authors a recurring “Monmouthiana” feature for the magazine, digging deeper into the colorful personalities and traditions that have helped make the College what it is today.

Now working under the job title of College editor and historian, Rankin says “it’s perhaps no accident” that he became editor of the magazine, as he possesses a photograph of himself in his crib at six months old, holding a copy of “that venerable publication.” It was no doubt brought home to him by his father, Glen Rankin ’43 – also a recipient of the College’s Distinguished Service Award – who had a long career in Monmouth admissions and development, recruiting hundreds of students and securing many important gifts. Jeff’s and Doug’s spouses and Jeff’s daughter are also Monmouth alumni, and the Rankins were honored as the College’s Family of the Year in 2015.

In conjunction with the College’s own sesquicentennial in 2003, Rankin co-authored the definitive work A Thousand Hearts’ Devotion: A History of Monmouth College. The colorful 195-page coffee table book takes readers from the College’s frontier days to the dawn of the 21st century.

“I have frequently enjoyed and benefited from Jeff’s history essays in the College magazine and the illustrated talks he’s given during Golden Scots celebrations, Board of Trustee meetings, and other events,” wrote his nominator for the award.

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