There is one word to describe Mr. Dan Waggoner: inspiring. A Quincy native, Waggoner is well known in Adams County. He is as an artist, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and now a college student.
At age 70, Waggoner is attending John Wood Community College and has graciously donated an oil painting portrait of Illinois Governor John Wood, the college’s namesake. He completed the portrait for a recent speech class demonstration. Michael Elbe, JWCC president said, “We are honored to receive this wonderful gift from Mr. Waggoner. Dan personifies our College’s core value of lifelong learning.”
Waggoner worked for Kirlin’s Hallmark for 25 years, retiring as Director of Purchasing. He is also a renowned artist who has painted more than 200 portraits of Adams County war casualties from all branches of the military from WWI, WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. The paintings are displayed in the All Wars Museum on the campus of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
Waggoner shared, “My parents always wanted their three sons to attend college and earn their degree. My father attended the Chicago Art Institute, but discouraged me from becoming an artist.”
“I thought I really had let my parents down over the years,” he said. “So, I enrolled at JWCC and am studying to get my undergraduate degree, majoring in art or history. I am still on the fence trying to decide; I love them both. I am retired and now is the time!”
Waggoner credits JWCC admission counselor Matt Bilgri and advisor Marty Fleer for understanding his journey and showing him the path towards his educational goals. “From the moment I stepped on campus, I felt welcomed,” said Waggoner. “I am so impressed with the staff and faculty at JWCC; they are all top notch.”
JWCC speech instructor Heather Keller-Giltner said of her student, “Dan exemplifies not only the qualities that professors look for in a student - he is hardworking, loves learning and joyfully collaborates with others- but also the earnestness that is one of his core characteristics. His classmates and I have really enjoyed listening to his speeches as a way of learning about him and his experiences. While his portrait of John Wood showcases both his giving spirit and his tremendous artistic talent, I consider the greater gift to be just making his acquaintance.”
Waggoner’s portrait of John Wood will be proudly displayed at the College. Waggoner said, “JWCC is a gem.” JWCC thinks Mr. Dan Waggoner is a gem, an inspiration to all and a true Trail Blazer.