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Job is an extension of desire to have an impact
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck/gkrambeck@qconline.com
Tony Franklin, county director for University of Illinois Extension, Unit 7.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck/gkrambeck@qconline.com
Tony Franklin, county director for University of Illinois Extension, Unit 7
Four counties, several programs and diverse cultures make every day different and exciting for Tony Franklin, University of Illinois Extension County director.

His job description is broad and includes developing plans of work, planning and implementing educational activities, evaluating programs for impact, fiscal management, marketing, networking, staff supervision and development, volunteer management and evaluating programs for impact.

"Extension is a great organization," Mr. Franklin said. "It's exciting to know that what you do makes an impact on people's lives. I think that's what I like most about extension is that the work taking place in the office makes a difference in the lives of others. I'm glad to be a part of it and feel blessed to be employed by such a great organization."

Impacting others is what Mr. Franklin is about. His career speaks volumes about his convictions, but his personal and volunteer choices say even more.

The list is long, but, regardless of the community, Mr. Franklin has been involved in religious and community programs, including being a deacon and Bible study teacher at his church to serving on the board of the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Quad Cities Generational Poverty Initiative.

"I have always said that if you're going to complain about something you have to stand up and make a difference," he said.

His making a difference started in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he grew up, went to high school, played football and was class president. He received an associate's degree in social work technology at Glenville State College.

His first job after graduating was as a dormitory counselor at St. Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D. After a year there, he was named recreational director and Title IV coordinator at the Crow Creek Reservation High School in Stephan, S.D.

He said he enjoyed working with youth, developing and implementing afterschool programs such as karate classes, power lifting, intramural sports and field trips for 140 dormitory students in grades seven through 12.

In the mid-1980s Mr. Franklin moved to New Mexico to work with the National Youth Sports Program and earned a master's degree in physical education with a concentration in sports administration.

He said his goal was to be an athletic director, but God had other plans. "Every time I had a plan, someone would come up to me with an offer for a different position or path. I am totally aware that I am in a different place from where I thought I was going. But I believe that God has put me in the right place. He is the author of my life."

In 1990, he was named academic adviser for the University of New Mexico's Athletic Department, then became the university's academic counselor in 1992.

During his time there he developed the Student Athlete Academic Handbook, but Mr. Franklin said his greatest accomplishment was helping to improve the teams' grade-point average from 1.89 in the fall of 1992 to 2.8 by the fall of 1993.

From there, he became director of African-American Student Services, where his duties included developing collaborative relationships and being an advocate and liaison for African-American students.

In 1995, the recently divorced Mr. Franklin was looking to move closer to his children. He was interviewing for a job in Minnesota when one of the people on the panel mentioned a job opening at Knox College in Galesburg as associate dean of students for the Office of Intercultural Life.

While it wasn't exactly close to his children, it was a perfect fit for him.

Again, his responsibilities included leadership, personnel and budget management, along with special projects, outreach programs and academic advising. He also was liaison to the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Minority Concerns Committee.

In 1999, Mr. Franklin was named associate dean of students at Knox College.

In 2001, he was "recruited" to University of Illinois Extension by the Knox County office. Although Mr. Franklin was experienced in developing and carrying out programs, fiscal and staff management, the scope of extension continues to surprise him.

"I knew about 4-H growing up, but was never involved myself," Mr. Franklin said. "It's funny now, but I thought of it then as a farm thing. But it is so much more.

"There is a lot of research-based information available from the University of Illinois for people to tap into. It's our job to get that information into the hands of the public. It's what we've been doing since 1914. There's a lot of work going on in our office."





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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)