OTTUMWA — The gifts that Dr. Jim Lindenmayer received at his retirement party Thursday all centered around the theme of stability — something that has been the core of his time at Indian Hills Community College.
The Centerville campus has dedicated a brick in his honor, which thanks him for his leadership and dedication to the school.
Incoming president Dr. Marlene Sprouse presented Lindenmayer with a painting of the waterfall outside the Advanced Technologies Building, the location of Thursday's open house. This waterfall, Sprouse said, is one of the school's landmarks now, and one that will always remind students and staff of Lindenmayer's leadership.
"I can only hope that I can lead with the same skill and heart that you have," Sprouse said.
And from the school as a whole, a rock has been placed at the top of the waterfall that reads, in part, "Dr. Lindenmayer was a catalyst for all students, employees and communities to grow, become stronger, and fulfill our dreams. He helped each of us get better every day."
The 1,500-pound stone was placed Thursday afternoon by Rick Fosdyck, director of facilities, and some other strong helpers, quietly and as secretly as possible when the honoree could be out and around on campus at any given moment.
Following the presentation of gifts, Lindenmayer took a few moments to speak. He said it was his allergies — you know how that can be when the trees leaf out — as his voice broke.
"I have loved working with all the people in the community and at the school. It's been a great ride," he said with only a sniffle or two. "Now enjoy some more camaraderie. That's what it's all about."
A video screen on the wall of the Warrior Junction scrolled through photos of Lindenmayer through the years while a crowd of people waited to say a few words to the guest of honor. There were pictures of his time as president, presenting and receiving awards, speaking to classes and visiting with the governor. Some showed family, others captured his younger days and they all brought smiles to the faces of those mingling.
School officials, instructors and students, city and county leaders and countless community members and friends joined the celebration. They shared congratulations, thanks, pats on the back and good wishes for the future.
Lindenmayer began his career with Indian Hills as a recruiter in 1980, and the plaque on his new stone will commemorate the time he spent as president. Sprouse explained to those gathered that Lindenmayer had talked her out of doing anything flashy. He just wanted something informal so he could converse and enjoy the time.
And Lindenmayer's future looks just as stable as his presence was at Indian Hills.
"I'm going to stay in town," he reassured everyone. "We love this community."