Lean on me – Leaving a legacy through leadership and service

Although they describe themselves as two gray-haired men always wearing plaid shirts, Doug Grant and Dale Rebhorn are much more than that.

With offices housed side-by-side in the Ruth Lilly Leadership Center, Grant, the college’s director of service-learning and civic engagement, and Rebhorn, director of leadership development, are always partnering with each other to create worthwhile experiences for students.

“My objective is always to make sure every student who crosses that stage has been given the best opportunity possible to become an engaged citizen,” Grant said. “To be able to address conflict, work with others, understand their own personality and how they can lend a hand in their community in whatever way that looks like; if we can instill that in students as they go out into the world, then I sleep really well at night.”

Through the college’s engaged learning department, which houses leadership, service-learning and civic engagement, professional development and global education under one roof, Grant and Rebhorn work with Jill Novotny and Jennifer Cataldi to encourage students to pursue a different level of engagement learning.

With years of different experiences under their belts, together, Grant and Rebhorn offer a plethora of knowledge to all students across campus.

Grant came to Franklin College 14 years ago with a desire to work with students. After 15 years in the restaurant industry, Grant said he sought change. 

“I took a hard right turn and went into education, which is where I think I was supposed to have been all along,” Grant said. “I felt like I could make a difference in the lives of young people.”

Through Leadership Johnson County, an adult leadership program, Grant discovered a disconnect between the college and the community. He immediately offered to investigate the lack of integration between the two entities.

“It was really exciting because they gave me an opportunity to come in and start from scratch, trying to develop those relationships and build those opportunities for our faculty and staff to really partner with the community in a meaningful way,” he said. 

Grant’s position as director of service-learning and civic engagement received funding during his third year at the college.

But for Rebhorn, education was nothing new when he joined the college faculty three years ago. As a former middle and high school teacher, he knew the responsibilities that accompanied teaching.

Before coming to the college as the leadership department director, Rebhorn spent 30 years traveling the world for IBM. 

“It was time to make a change for a variety of reasons,” Rebhorn said.

Since making that transition, Rebhorn has made a large impact on the college.

“Working with the students—it’s what I love to do,” he said. “It’s all about what we can do in class, outside of class, through programs. I get to work with students from all over campus.”

The leadership curriculum is a minor that involves four required leadership courses and two additional electives from related fields. Rebhorn said the program is known for its ability to partner 

with all majors on campus.

Last year, Rebhorn also received a grant to create a “Maker Space,” which includes a 3D printer and a button maker, among other technology open to all students.

Meanwhile, Grant is well-known on campus for his work with F.O.C.U.S. Day. He also worked with students to create the county’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate. 

Every other year, Grant can be found teaching the Inner-City Mission course, which gives students a firsthand look at homelessness and poverty in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

“Every day is a little different,” Grant said. “I get to wear a different hat, sometimes two or three in a day. It makes it fun.”

Together, Grant and Rebhorn continue to make strides in their service to the campus community. With service projects and leadership programs, the plaid-shirt-wearing duo is making an impact.

“We call on each other. We can lend assistance,” Grant said. “We all have different skills, different personalities and things that we bring to the table that we are able to help each other out with.”

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About Shelby Mullis 29 Articles
Shelby Mullis is the news editor for The Franklin. She has held various positions in multimedia journalism, most recently serving as a reporter at The Republic in Columbus during Summer 2017. Shelby is also a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, Franklin College's Indiana Statehouse news bureau, and was recently hired as a feature writer for the Franklin College Marketing and Communications Department. This is Shelby's second year in a leadership role and her third year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as a staff writer, assistant news editor and copy chief.

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