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Annual Reports

2014-2015 Annual Reports
  • President's Annual Report

  • Budget Report

    The college operating budget for 2014-15 was $56,962,512. Funding sources were:

    • State aid in support of the operating budget was $8,712,898 in 2014-15, a $510,700 increase from 2013-14, accounting for 15.83 percent of the total in 2014-15 compared with $16.21 percent the previous year.
    • Property tax provided $38,236,785 or 69.49 percent of the total, compared with $33,433,157 and 66.09 percent of the total for 2013-14.
    • Tuition contributed $9,715,672 or 17.66 percent.
    • Other sources provided $297.157, 0.54 percent of the 2014-15 total.

    The majority of the operating budget – 63.03 percent – went toward instruction and academic support, while 20.17 percent went to institutional support, 8.75 percent went to physical plant support, 6.73 percent went to student services and 1.31 percent went to student aid. 

    The capital improvement fund for 2014-15 was $10,256,307 and the budget for the hazardous materials/handicapped access fund was $3,326,000. 

    budget pie charts

    Enrollment Report

    Enrollment for CCC in 2014-15 totaled 22,103. Included were 9,454 students in college credit classes:

    • 3,173 students on CCC’s campuses.
    • 3,613 students taking credit classes at a distance (off-campus or online).
    • 2,668 students taking classes both on campus and at a distance.

    Non-credit enrollment included:

    • 6,955 in non-credit reimbursable classes.
    • 4,060 in avocational-recreational classes.
    • 1,634 in Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and General Educational Development classes.

    The majority of students – 19,212 -- were from CCC’s 25-county service area. Students from Nebraska but outside the CCC service area totaled 2,474. There were 283 students from other states.

    For more information, see the 2014-15 Enrollment Report

    Graduate Outcomes Report

    The 2013-14 graduate employment report (issued in 2015) shows that CCC graduates continue to do well in the job market and provide a good return on investment for taxpayers, with the majority of graduates remaining in the CCC service area.  Highlights of the report include:

    • 2,342 vocational awards (degrees, diplomas, certificates) were granted.
    • 211 academic transfer degrees were granted.
    • 87 percent of the graduates were employed full-time or continuing their education.
    • 99 percent of the graduates who were employed full-time remained in the Central Community College service area.
    • 100 percent of the graduates who were employed remained in Nebraska.
    • $31,345 was the three-year average annual salary for CCC graduates from academic years 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 who received a degree from the college and were employed full-time.

    For more information, please go to the online Graduate Outcomes Report

    Alumni Director

    Cheri Beda of Hastings was hired as CCC’s first alumni director in Oct.2014. 

    Cheri Beda

    She works throughout the college’s 25-county service area to create, develop and promote programs and events that engage alumni, current and future students, and the community. She also reaches out to alumni who live outside the CCC service area.

    “I’m very excited about this opportunity to grow our alumni network and create programs that will benefit everyone involved with CCC,” Beda said. “My job is to engage alumni within CCC and the community to create the best learning experience for current and future students.”

    Immediately prior to her appointment as alumni director, Beda worked for the college as a case manager for the Project HELP grant.

    Bridging the Gap

    Bridging the Gap Deb Gauldin discussed therapeutic humor and positive music association at a continuing education program for nurses and alumni celebration in February 2015 at Kearney.
    Bridging the Gap

    Speaker, educator and entertainer Deb Gauldin was the featured speaker for a continuing education class and alumni celebration Feb. 9, 2014, in Kearney.

    Gauldin, a registered nursing specializing in the study and application of therapeutic humor and positive music association and speaker presented “Generational Woes and Foes - Bridging the Gap,” engaging the audience with guitar and singing performances as well as interactive learning activities.

    Topics included:

    • “Oh No! I forgot to starch my hat, Oh No! I forgot to cover my navel,” successfully bridging generational differences.
    • “Lighten Up!” about how attitudinal health and therapeutic humor affect nursing practice, retention, and patient outcomes.
    • “Who’s hoarding the linens?”, a personality primer for improving communication, collaboration and compassion in the workplace


    Nurses completing the class received 3.5 hours of continuing education credit.

    Immediately following the class was an alumni and nursing celebration featuring Colleen Quadhamer, former full-time and current part-time instructor in the CCC-Kearney nurse education program, sharing the history and growth of the program.

    Gauldin ended the night with more songs dedicated to the nursing profession and the Kearney Center. 

    The event was sponsored by Central Community College and the Central Community College Foundation.

    Outstanding Alumni

    Central Community College and the Central Community College presented three Outstanding Alumni Awards during 2015 commencement ceremonies: Recipients are:

    Barb Averett of Columbus accepted the Columbus Campus 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award on behalf of her family, the first time the award has been presented to a family.
    Barb Averett

    Columbus Campus

    The Averett family received the Columbus Campus 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award -- the first time the award has been presented to a family. Multiple members of the Averett family pursued their postsecondary education at Platte College/CCC-Columbus and demonstrated exceptional service to their respective professions and communities.

    The family’s association with CCC began in 1970 when Richard “Dick” Averett accepted a position as the first theater and speech instructor at Platte College. “Mr. A,” as he was known to many of his students, shared his passion for the fine arts at CCC until his retirement in 2000. He also was instrumental in the growth and continued success of the Platte Valley Playhouse, and his partnership with his CCC music colleagues fostered numerous summer stock musicals, which helped launch several professional theater careers.

    Dick’s wife, Barb, earned an associate’s degree from CCC in 1977 and she continued taking various classes and workshops through 1989. As an avid costume maker, set constructor and director, she mentored and supported hundreds CCC students and Platte Valley Playhouse actors over the years. Her involvement in theater in Columbus has spanned 45 years with her latest role serving as director of the Platte Valley Playhouse production of “I Hate Hamlet.”


    The Averetts have five children: Tami Averett-Brauer, Miki Averett-Naylor, Suzi Averett-Zwick, Gigi Averett-Berol and Cris Averett.

    Tami Averett-Brauer graduated from CCC with an associate degree in 1980. After completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing, she was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force, serving for 29 years, including deployments to Afghanistan, Korea and Germany, and retired this year. She has been recognized by numerous military organizations and is featured on a poster of women in the military created for the CCC Veterans Club. Her husband, Gary, also attended CCC.

    Miki Averett-Naylor attended CCC in 1980 and 1981 and has since completed various workshops at the college. She is executive assistant at Pillen Family Farms and is a dedicated community and church volunteer. Her husband, Jeff, and all four of their children and spouses either attended or graduated from CCC before transferring to other colleges.

    Suzi Averett-Zwick attended CCC from 1982-1995 and currently is office manager for a Columbus heating and air conditioning company. Her husband, Scott, earned two degrees from CCC. They have served in leadership roles in Boy Scouts organization and been highly involved in the Platte Valley Playhouse, serving as board members, performers and directors.

    Gigi Averett-Berol attended CCC from 1986-1988 and currently works in radiology at Banner Health Clinic in Ogallala.

    Cris Averett graduated from CCC with honors, earning an associate of arts degree in 2000. He is employed at Omaha Public Power District as a nuclear site communicator for the Fort Calhoun plant. He also is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves and was deployed twice to Iraq.

    Dick Averett died in September 2014, but his family and friends demonstrated their continued commitment to CCC students by creating the Averett Theater Scholarship through the CCC Foundation.

    CCC alumni director Cheri Beda presents an Outstanding Alumni Award to Stephanie Sydow of Kearney at 2015 Grand Island Campus commencement.
    Stephanie Sydow

    Grand Island Campus

    Stephanie Sydow of Kearney received the Grand Island Campus 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award.

    She is a 1999 Kenesaw Public Schools graduate who attended CCC in Kearney and Grand Island from 2004 through 2008. She currently is working toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing through Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., which she expects to complete in 2016.

    After graduating from CCC, she started her nursing career in the progress care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. She then took a position in the cardiac catheterization lab where she gained extensive knowledge in cardiology interventions.

    Her true desire, though, was to work as a flight nurse for AirCare. To gain necessary additional experience, she transferred into the intensive care unit at the hospital. She also trained new employees and had just been promoted to charge nurse when a flight position became available.

    As a flight RN for Good Samaritan Health System, she has a wide range of responsibilities that involve providing critical care, emergency and pre-hospital care for patients of all kinds while they are being transported to the hospital by aircraft.

    Hastings Campus graduate and CCC retiree Alan Hartley of Doniphan received the campus’s Outstanding Alumni Award during 2015 commencement ceremonies.
    Alan Hartley

    Hastings Campus 

    Alan Hartley of Doniphan received the Hastings Campus 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award.

    Hartley, a Greeley High School graduate, earned an associate of applied science degree in electronics from CCC-Hastings in 1968, a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from Kearney State College and a master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

    He first worked at the Hastings Campus as an assistant electronics instructor in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but left in 1974 to open his own retail business with a Radio Shack franchise. He returned to the Hastings Campus in 1977 as an electronic communications instructor. He was promoted to associate dean of instruction in 1996 and to dean of educational services in 1999.

    While Hartley was an instructor at the Hastings Campus, he served as the faculty association’s president and as a member of the faculty negotiating team. He also was one of the founding members of the Electronics Technician’s Association.

    He was on the verge of retiring in 2013 when he agreed to serve as interim president of the Grand Island Campus for one year. He retired in 2014.

    NEDA Award Winners

    NEDA honors CCC graduates

    Two Columbus-Campus graduates received the 2014 Professional of the Year Award from the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA).

    Cheryl Brandenburgh earned an associate of arts degree in 1975 and received the campus’ Outstanding Alumni Award in 2008. She is external affairs manager for Black Hills Energy and is based in Lincoln.

    Mary Janak Plettner graduated with an associate of applied science degree in 1978. She is senior economic development consultant for Nebraska Public Power District and is based in Norfolk.

    Both women have been involved with economic development in Nebraska for many years. Their most recent efforts concern a large project involving Tejas Tubular Products Inc. This project includes the building of a manufacturing plant in Norfolk that will employ about 200 people over the next two years. Tejas will invest more than $100 million in the plant, and Black Hills Energy will build about 50 miles of natural gas line that will increase the supply to northeast Nebraska by more than 50 percent.

    Both Brandenburgh and Plettner also have long been active in state, regional and national economic development groups, including NEDA.

    Brandenburgh has been a NEDA board member, officer and president. She also has served as a mentor to NEDA members, chamber executives and community volunteers.

    Plettner has held all the NEDA offices, including president; sponsored several new members over the years; and serves as a mentor. Plettner also has been certified as an economic developer by the International Economic Development Council.   

    Athletic Hall of Fame

    Five individuals and one team were inducted into the Central Community College Athletic Hall of Fame at a banquet held Oct. 15, 2014, at the Elks Country Club in Columbus.

    The annual event recognizes outstanding athletes, teams, coaches and other individuals who distinguished themselves by making substantial contributions to CCC athletics.

    Joining the ranks of previous Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were:

    The late Raymond “Bud” Owens of Arcadia was an avid supporter and loyal fan of Raider Athletics from 1988 until his death in July 2014. He was especially fond of Raider volleyball and was the proud father of Coach Mary Young. 

    Dave Kincaid of Dakota City was the first two-time All-Region IX basketball selection for 1970-71and 1971-72. He was instrumental in establishing the Platte College/CCC basketball legacy.

    Ray Szlanda of Hastings was a longtime men’s basketball coach for the Hastings Campus Rams from 1979 through 1991. He established hard-nosed, competitive teams year after year within the Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference and Region IX.

    Cindy Aerni of Phoenix, Ariz., was a two-sport athlete at Platte College and was selected as an All-Region IX volleyball player in 1980 and a Region IX All-Tournament Team member in women’s basketball in 1981.

    Ron Suggs of Visalia, Calif., was the first coach of the Platte College track (1970-74) and cross country (1970-73) teams. He was also the assistant coach for men’s basketball from 1970-74.

    The 1974 cross country team brought home the Region IX championship trophy and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association cross country meet in Eugene, Ore. Jim McMahon of Fremont was coach of the team, which included Kent Adamson of Columbus; George Dixon of Dallas, Texas; Tom Nickolite of Bellwood; Doug Prewett of Lincoln; Brad Renken of Bertrand; Rich Rohde of Genoa; and Tom Thomas of Salem, Ore.

    Young Named National Director

    M Young

    In April 2015, Columbus Campus volleyball coach Mary Young was elected NJCAA Region IX director, one of 24 regional directors in the nation. She will lead the region in strategic and operation planning while ensuring the organizations principles of leadership, achievement and services are upheld. Young has been head volleyball coach since 1994. During district playoff in 2014 she earned her 600th career win. 

    Outstanding Service Award

    Brad Lang

    Brad Lang of Hastings received Hastings Campus’ 31st Annual Outstanding Service Award in December 2014.

    The award is presented annually to a Hastings Campus employee who demonstrates exemplary service to the college.

    Lang has been an agribusiness instructor at CCC since 1989.

    “Brad combines the academic and practical qualities that one would hope for in an instructor,” said one nominator. “He is very capable and stays current with the body of literature as well as technical applications and has distinguished himself as an excellent instructor.”

    “He cares about his students, his co-workers and CCC, which is what this award is all about,” said another nominator.

    Nominators also cited him for his integrity, his role in achieving record enrollment in the agribusiness program, and his excellence and accessibility as a college adviser.

    Columbus Employee of the Year

    Doug Hann

    Doug Hann of Columbus was named the Employee of the Year for 2014-15 at the Columbus Campus.

    The award is presented annually to a Columbus Campus employee who demonstrates dedication, enthusiasm and innovation as well as a rapport with students and other staff members and a willingness to go the extra mile.

    Hann is a distance learning media technician who oversees the distance learning courses and IP meetings, serves as webmaster for the athletic website and as a photographer and manages the helpdesk requests.

    “Doug is always there to help out students and faculty and staff whenever something isn’t working in the distance learning areas,” said one nominator. “He takes pride in his work.”

    Hann started working at CCC in 1995 as a part-time employee in the media and distance learning department on the Grand Island Campus. After he earned his associate’s degree in 1997, he was hired as a full-time media and distance learning technician on the Columbus Campus. 

    Columbus Faculty Member of the year

    W Hilker

    Agriculture instructor Wade Hilker of Columbus was named the Columbus Campus Faculty Member of the Year for 2014-15

    The award is given annually to a Columbus Campus faculty member who displays excellence and innovation in teaching; rapport with students; and institutional, professional and community involvement.

    Nominators describe Hilker, who has been an agriculture instructor at the Columbus Campus since 2012, as a person dedicated to expanding his own knowledge so that his classes are always up-to-date.

    “A city kid trying to learn farming isn’t always easy,” said one student nominator who took one of Hilker’s classes, “but he related it to golf, something I understand fully, and helped me comprehend the material with ease. I only had him for one semester, but by far hands-down the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

    He also was described as someone students can approach with problems because he always does his best to help them. 

    Grand Island Campus Spirit Award

    The Grand Island Campus honored six employees with its inaugural Spirit Award in 2014-15.

    Recipients, Spirit Award categories and excerpts from nomination are: 

    Casey Lesher

    Access and Diversity

    Casey Lesher, Veteran Resource Center administrative assistant, for her attitude, work ethics and achievements that have a positive effect on other employees as well as students; exemplary performance and expression values motivate students through academic and life challenges; setting an example through significant contribution for current students;  orchestrates the Veteran Communities Task Force (a group of 40+ organizations and service providers); greatly contributed to the planning and implementation of the Investment Plan Competition; and taking  the lead on planning and implementing the Warrior Women’s Night event.

    laurel sweeney

    Innovation and Creativity

    Laurel Sweeney, admissions recruiting coordinator, for work on projects that provide partnerships that promote and create educational opportunities;  developing creative and innovative approaches to personalizing the admissions and recruiting communication process, detailed resource guidance and event promotion; helping create a prospective student and applicant student flyer; taking a leadership role on the college wide promotional items committee; helping develop CCC’s renovated State Fair booth which led to State Fair employees giving recognition for appearance and information; taking a leadership role in developing internal and external communication for Ellucian Recruiter.

    Kathy Woitaszewski

    Outstanding Instruction

    Kathy Woitaszewski, math instructor, for her dedication to student success; her willingness to help any student at any time; her ability to see a problem from a student’s point of view,  allowing her to better help the student in such a way that the student doesn’t feel insignificant; serving on a variety of committees designed to improve the learning experience; helping with the Student Success Summit in the summer of 2014; participating in the statewide foundation education articulation conversations. 

    Mike Cox

    Service to CCC Colleagues

    Mike Cox, ELS Regional Coordinator – Kearney Learning Center (retired), for his dedication to CCC’s  mission, vision and value; attention to CCC’s goals; ability to multitask in a calm, professional manner; providing insight, understanding and a listening ear to students, staff and faculty; providing leadership and communication structures, networks, and processes that effectively guide Central Community College in setting directions, making decisions, envisioning educational needs and opportunities; and providing students, faculty and administrative support systems, processes and resources that assure an environment that encourages student learning.

    maria lopez

    Service to Community

    Maria Lopez, admissions recruiting coordinator, for promoting the college through community involvement; sharing opportunities at CCC while serving as a Community Youth Council Board Member; while volunteering at the city library, encouraging staff to consider continuing education at CCC; developing partnerships that promote and create educational opportunities; and involvement in the Teammates Mentoring Program and Support System, Multicultural Alliance of Hastings, Grand Island Latino Network, and FAST (Families and School Together) program at Howard Elementary School.

    Rachel Brown

    Service to Students

    Rachel Brown, mathematics instructor, for outstanding and open-minded leadership in the math department’s redesign of foundations courses; doing the research necessary to take a leadership role in developing web-supported curriculum; her enthusiastic support for an contribution to developing the Math Emporium that gives students another way of learning that incorporates one-on-one quality instruction with attention to student’s individual needs; focus what is best for students in helping them reach their educational goals by being successful in Math.


    The Columbus Campus dedicated a remodeled and expanded mechatronics program area in October 2014, tripling the amount of space available to prepare students for careers in the high-demand career area. The $1.5 million project is designed to help meet the growing need for industrial technicians.

    Mechatronics Ribbon Cutting

    Mechatronics 1

    Mechatronics 2

    Ribbon-cutting and an open house were held for the mechatronics program in October 2014, commemorating a remodeling expansion project that provides 9,700 square-feet of space for the program. 

    Mechatronics combines training in computer, electrical, hydraulics, industrial engineering, mechanical and pneumatics training – skills in high demand in industry. 

    The project provides space for automation, robotic controls, mechanical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems. The training areas each have their own power, air and computer access. The rooms were set up with smart boards, microphones and AV equipment to allow for more effective teaching. 

    Tables, benches, and equipment provide flexible class setups for multiple students and curriculum topics.

    The average salary of 2013 CCC mechatronics graduates with an associate of applied was $47,344. Employers of the college’s graduates include Becton Dickinson, Behlen Manufacturing Company, Cargill, Case New Holland, Dutton-Lainson Company, Ellison Technologies Automation, Tyson Foods, and ADM Corn Processors.

    The program is offered at the Columbus and Hastings campuses. For more information, please go to the Mechatronics page.


    Hastings Campus

    The Hastings Campus Hall Cafeteria reopened after an extensive remodeling project—its first major renovation since it was built in the 1940s.
    Hall Cafeteria

    Campus center, cafeteria renovations completed

    Hastings Campus students were welcomed to the 2015 fall semester with two recently renovated buildings, the 15,500 square-foot in the Campus Center and 13,300 square-foot Hall Building, which houses the campus cafeteria kitchen and dining room space.

    A modern kitchen with better work flow was installed in the Hall Building and the cafeteria renovation was designed so that students get their meals and be seated more quickly. The project included interior walls, doors, windows, ceiling and ceiling fixtures, electrical and plumbing, a new fire sprinkler system and a new geothermal heating and cooling system. It was the first major renovation of the building since it was built as the mess hall for the Hastings Naval Ammunition Depot during World War II.

    The project also includes a 5,000-square-foot addition between the two buildings.

    Kearney Center

    The CCC Board of Governors in January 2015 approved the purchase of 32 acres of land in Kearney for the site of a new Kearney Center. Purchase price for the land was $1,444,950.

    Artist rendering - east aerial
    kearney artist rendering aerial mall east

    The land is located on the northeast corner of 30thAvenue and 11th Street, adjacent to the site of a new high school under construction by Kearney Public Schools.

    College President Dr. Greg Smith said CCC is planning a new Kearney Center because demand for services has outgrown the capabilities of the current 14,234-square-foot facility on Second Avenue.

    Current plans call for a 63,000-square-foot building that will include provide for:

    • Expanded career and technical education opportunities to address the growing demand for skilled labor.
    • Additional space to meet projected demands for health education.
    • Expanded partnerships with Kearney High School through career and technical education and Early College Opportunities.
    • Additional space for college credit classes.
    • Expanded lab areas for science classes.
    • Additional distance classrooms.
    • A library.
    • A student commons area.


    Artist rendering - main entrance
    kearney artist rendering close up main entry nw

    The college has committed $13 million to the project, including purchase of the real estate. In order meet the needs of Kearney, Buffalo County and adjacent areas, the college is conducting a major gifts campaign to raise an additional $10 million for the new Kearney Center, $1 million for scholarships for Kearney Center students, and $500,000 for a business incubator. For more information, please go to Kearney Campaign

    Virtual Campus

    Central Community College has completed a year-long $2.4 million upgrade and expansion to its Virtual Campus.

    The Virtual Campus is CCC’s video and online distance education program. Dr. Eric Jones, associate vice president for the Virtual Campus, said the new system:

    • Includes the capacity for high-definition video links between CCC’s campuses and centers.
    • Provides students with on-demand access to recorded classroom videos.
    • Improves CCC’s capacity to link to area high schools and provide video-based lecture courses.

    Case IH Donation

    This new Case IH 7230 combine is being used to teach the latest concepts in agricultural equipment to students in the Hastings Campus diesel technology program. (It was donated to the Central Community College Foundation by the Grand Island Case IH manufacturing facility.)
    Case Combine

    The Grand Island Case IH manufacturing facility donated a new Case IH 7230 combine to the Central Community College Foundation in November 2014.

    The in-kind donation will be used in the Hastings Campus diesel technology program and  precision ag program.

    The unit is a prime tool for teaching students the latest concepts the industry has to offer. Its Tier IV emissions engine uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology and Power Plus™ hydro-mechanical drives, making it a benchmark in industry.

    Donation of the combine was initiated by Jordan Wescoatt, a diesel technology student at CCC-Hastings, and his father, Galen Wescoatt, a Case IH manufacturing employee. Donation efforts were supported by Titan Machinery, a Case IH dealership in Hastings.

    “Case IH firmly believes by contributing to our local and regional technical institutions, we collectively empower the next generation of Case IH dealership technicians with the right knowledge to support our products and, ultimately, the customer experience,” said Kelly Burgess, team leader of the Harvesting Product Line at Case IH. “We believe this combine will be an asset to CCC’s curriculum and beneficial to both of our organizations.”

    Foundation Hall of Fame

    Margaret and Homer Pierce, were inducted into the Central Community College Foundation Hall of Fame in October during the foundation’s annual appreciation luncheon.
      Foundation Lunch

    Pierces inducted into hall of fame

    Homer and Margaret Pierce were inducted into the Central Community College Foundation Hall of Fame Oct. 28, 2014, at the foundation’s annual appreciation luncheon.

    Inductees are selected for their philanthropy, service to CCC and/or the CCC Foundation, and community service.

    The Pierces have been generous donors and supporters of the CCC Foundation with Homer serving on the foundation board from 2003 to June 2014 and the CCC Board of Governors for more than 18 years. He received the Nebraska Community College Governor’s Award in 2000. He also has served on the CCC Facilities Corporation for a number of years.

    Homer’s career has included working as a hired hand for an Axtell farmer, serving in the U.S. Air Force as a nuclear weapons specialist, working in the purchasing department at Hastings Industries and being employed by banks in Grand Island, Minden, Callaway and Lexington. Margaret’s career has led her from employment as a business education teacher and coach to banking and trust department management.

    The couple has been active in a variety of organizations including the Nebraska Bankers Association, Lexington School Foundation, Rotary and Lions clubs, Chamber of Commerce, Callaway District Hospital and Callaway District Hospital Foundation.

    They volunteer at Good Samaritan Villa and are members of the First United Methodist Church in Hastings where they serve as Stephen Ministers.

    They have four adult children: Brian, Laura, Roxanne and Von, and 11 grandchildren.

    Jessica Soucie

    Jessica Soucie

    Jessica Soucie in March 2015 began her duties is the new development director for the Central Community College Foundation.

    Her main responsibilities are to grow assets of the foundation through various annual giving campaigns, events, and planned giving, said Dean Moors, executive director of the foundation and CC vice president for advancement. She will lead the foundation’s employ campaign, assist with legacy group and estate planning, planned gifts and help bring in new donors.

    Immediately prior to accepting the foundation position, Soucie was executive director of the Hastings TeamMates Mentoring program where her duties included fund raising.

    “I’m excited to Jessica join the CCC Foundation staff.  She has a solid background with experience in fundraising, communications, event planning and community service,” Moors said.

    Soucie received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hastings College and a master’s degree in mental health therapy from Doan College.

    She is a long time Hastings resident and has been involved in Leadership Hastings, an ambassador for the Hastings Chamber, and a board member for the Kids and Dreams Foundation.   

    Spectrum in Greece

    spectrum choir

    CCC chorus performs in Greece

    Spectrum, the premiere vocal ensemble at the Columbus Campus, joined other choruses to perform several major works at the Festival of the Aegean in July on the Island of Syros, Greece. 

    The annual event attracts performers and audience members from across the globe.

    In addition to performing with Spectrum, CCC 2015 theatre graduate Eryn Hemmer was selected to sing in the chorus for the festival opera, “Medea.”

    During their trip to Greece July 7-22, Spectrum also performed at the Apollo Theater, with works of Mozart, Beethoven and Fauré, and a solo concert of varied repertoire at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox  Cathedral on Syros. They were joined by choruses from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Western Nebraska Community College and from Athens, Greece. 

    South Korean Students

    Students from Ulsan College in South Korea examine a model of the oral cavity in the dental hygiene lab at the Hastings Campus. They also attended the Children’s Dental Day in Lincoln.
      South Koreans Hastings

    CCC is host for South Korean students

    Student success took on an international flair in January 2015 when Central Community College was host to students from Ulsan College in South Korea.

    Nine dental hygiene and nursing students arrived in January with their sponsor, professor Kim Soo-Ok. Five students went to the dental hygiene program at the Hastings Campus and four went to the nursing program at the Columbus Campus. During their visit, the Ulsan College students observed classes in their respective areas, as well as clinical practice by CCC students at hospitals for nursing and in CCC’s dental clinic on the Hastings Campus for dental hygiene.

    While in South Korea in October 2014, CCC president Dr. Greg P. Smith and Ulsan College president Dr. Heo Jeongseok signed a five-year memorandum of understanding to promote educational and academic exchanges between the two institutions.

    Hastings Earth Day

    Earth Day

    “Extinction is Forever” was the theme for the Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2015, at the Hastings Campus.  

    Activities included:

    • Opening comments by Hastings Campus President Bill Hitesman and Hastings City Councilman Michael Krings.
    • Information displays in Hall Student Union
    • The premiere of “The Last Dodo,” a play written and directed by biological sciences instructor Dr. Robin Buckallew and featuring CCC employees Linda Cooke, Philip Drummond, Marty Keenan and Debbra Troudt
    • “Planting with Pat;” “Buried Treasures,” a fossil dig in the sandbox; and “Earth Words” poetry writing.
    • Disk golf and a sidewalk chalk art contest behind Greeley Hall.


    Hastings International Film Festival

    The Italian movie, “Life is Beautiful,” launched the new International Film Festival series on Oct. 15, 2014 at the Hastings Campus

    The International Film Festival series is offered free of charge and is designed for people who enjoy watching and discussing movies.  

    National Society of Leadership and Success

    Sigma Alpha Pi,the new National Society for Leadership and Success chapter at Central Community College, helps students learn how to achieve their goals through leadership training, presentations and other activities.

    New group aims to help students succeed

    A new organization at Central Community College is helping students set the stage for success.

    The National Society of Leadership and Success has participating students on the Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings campuses.

    Students are invited to join the organization if they had at least a 2.5 GPA, are newly enrolled for at least six credits, or are nominated by someone at CCC.

    To be inducted as members, students attend an orientation, a leadership training day, three success networking team meetings, and three out of six online speaker presentations

    The success network teams consist of seven or eight people who meet every other week. They set goals for themselves and then help each other to meet those goals.

    The students who successfully complete the requirements are inducted and receive a Leadership Training Certificate.

    PTK International Convention Awards

    PTK Pin

    Students and employees from the Columbus and Grand Island campuses were recognized at the Phi Theta Kappa International convention in San Antonio, Texas, I April 2015.

    Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for two-year colleges.

    The Columbus Campus’ Chi Sigma chapter received four Nebraska/Wyoming Region awards: a five-star level in the Five Star Chapter Development Plan, a first-place Distinguished Chapter Award, a first-place Distinguished College Project Award and a third-place Honors in Action Project Award.

    A member, Callie Sokol, of Columbus was elected as a regional vice president for 2015-16.

    Columbus Campus President Dr. Matt Gotschall was one of 23 college presidents and campus CEOs who received the 2015 Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction in recognition of their outstanding efforts to promote Phi Theta Kappa.

    The Grand Island Campus’ Tau Tau chapter received three Nebraska/Wyoming Region awards: a four-star level in the Five Star Chapter Development Plan, a first-place Honors in Actions Project Award and a second-place Distinguished Chapter Award.

    Two members also were elected to serve in regional offices for the 2015-16 academic year: HeatherMorgan Turner of Kearney as president and Ricky Grass of Aurora as a vice president.

    PTK All State Team

    Five Central Community College students in April were named to the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Nebraska All-State Academic Team.

    The all-state academic team is an effort sponsored by PTK, an international honor society for two-year colleges, and the Nebraska Community College Association to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community service.

    The team included the following CCC students:

    • Tomasa Aljanabi of Sutton student in the Hastings Campus dental hygiene program. After she completes her associate of applied science degree in 2016, she wants to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree. She eventually hopes to teach at CCC-Hastings or the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 
    • PTK Tomasa Ajanabi
    • Mayra Barbosa of Grand Island is a radiology major at the Grand Island Campus. She plans to complete a bachelor’s degree as a radiologic technologist in diagnostic radiography at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She also wants to earn certification in cardiovascular and sonography and then work toward a master’s degree. 
    • PTK Mayra Barbosa
    • Bruce Keyes of Columbus is a mechanical engineering major at the Columbus Campus. He plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota.
    • PTK Bruce Keyes
    • HeatherMorgan Turner of Kearney is an occupational therapy assistant major at the Grand Island Campus. She wants to work in field of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or amputation. She also plans to participate in a bridge program to obtain a master’s degree in occupational therapy. 
    • PTK HeatherMorgan Turner
    • Amanda Yrkoski of Fullerton is an elementary education major at the Columbus Campus. She plans to work toward a bachelor’s degree at Wayne State College. After she gains some teaching experience, she wants to earn a master’s degree. 
    • PTK Amanda Yrkoski

    SkillsUSA State Winners

    Contestants from CCC’s Columbus and Hastings won in state competition April 15-17, 2015, in Omaha.

    skills usa

    SkillsUSA is a national organization that provides secondary and post-secondary students in trade, industrial, technical, technology and health occupations with leadership, citizenship and character development programs and activities.

    More than 1,000 secondary and postsecondary students competed in about 75 events at the State Leadership and Skills conference, which was sponsored by Nebraska SkillsUSA. First-place winners will participate in national competition June 22-26 in Louisville, Ky.

    The CCC-Columbus team placed first in the automated manufacturing contest. Team members were Jordan Stall, Gibbon, and Guruprasad Appaji and Hoss Hammond Jr., Randolph.

    Hastings Campus winners were:

    • Taylor Brandt, Grand Island, second place in technical drafting.
    • Philip Hammer, North Plate, third place in diesel.
    • Sam Hogberg, Omaha, second place in diesel.

    2015 Board of Governors Officers

    Sam Cowan of Stromsburg in January 2015 was elected by the college Board of Governors to serve as board chairman for the year.

    Other officers elected for 2015 are Sandra Borden of Gibbon, vice chairwoman; Linda Walline of Columbus, secretary; and Linda Aerni of Columbus, treasurer.

    Borden and Diane Keller of Harvard were appointed to represent the college on the board of the Nebraska Community College Association. 

    • Sam Cowan
      Sam Cowan
    • S Borden
      Sandra Borden 
    • Linda Walline
      Linda Walline
    • LAerni
      Linda Aerni 

    Austin Miller of Grand Island in November 2014 was elected to a four-year term on the CCC Board of Governors, representing District 4.

    Austin Miller

    Miller has a bachelor of science degree in emergency medical services and is a Grand Island firefighter and paramedic.

    Civic activities and affiliations include:

    • Local coordinator for Operation Warm, which provides winter clothing for families in need.
    • Special Olympics swim teach coach and volunteer
    • Anti-drunk driving demonstrator
    • Volunteer for triathlon and road races
    • Secretary of Creighton EMS Club


    The Central Community College Board of Governors in August 2015 appointed Dr. Roger Davis of Kearney to fill a vacancy on the board resulting from a resignation.


    He represents CCC’s District 3, completing a term that expires in 2018.

    Davis has been a history professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney since 1986, teaching in the areas of Latin America, the United States and western civilization and conducting research about Latin America, Hispanic immigration and higher education.

    He earned a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1983, a master of arts degree from the University of Arizona in 1973 and a bachelor of arts degree from Youngstown State University in Ohio in 1972. He also holds a permanent Arizona Community College Teaching Certificate, received in 1983. 

    The author of a book about the history of Ecuador from 1820-1830, Davis also wrote a book chapter, “Hispanics in Central Nebraska 1890-1966,” published in “A Prairie Mosaic: An Atlas of Central Nebraska’s Land, Culture, and Nature.” He has written numerous articles and presented papers on a variety of topics including Nebraska’s history, Hispanic and Latino culture and history and higher education.

    His many professional and civic activities include representing the National Education Association at international events including the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in Paris.   

    Dr. Thomas A. Walker Jr. become campus president of the Grand Island Campus and college vice president of student and enrollment services on July 7, 2014.

    Thomas Walker

    College President Greg Smith said, “We are pleased that Dr. Walker has chosen Central Community College. He is a student- and community-focused educator who brings a wealth and breadth of experience to the job.”

    Walker currently was vice president for student affairs at St. Louis Community College in Forest Park, Mo., at the time he accepted the CCC position. Previous positions include dean of administrative services at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, dean of student services and enrollment management at Davidson County Community College in North Carolina and a similar position at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, as well as having served as a full- time faculty member and an academic dean. In addition, he was founding executive director of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), a regional office supporting KIPP Public Charter Schools in St. Louis. He also was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

    A native of Lumberton, N.C., Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master of public administration degree and a doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Memphis.

    Bicycles added to sustainability program

    Cycling has joined recycling as part of CCC’s sustainability efforts.


    The Grand Island Campus launched a bike share program that provides an opportunity for students and employees to check out bicycles for a 24-hour period.

    A $10,533 Wellness Grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska funded the program.

    “This is a great opportunity to connect students and staff with local bike trails and to have a good time roaming Grand Island and exercising,” said Tara Friesen, community relations specialist for BCBSNE.

    The college will evaluate the Grand Island Campus bike share program. If successful the college will look at expanding it to the Columbus and Hastings campuses.

    Sustainability series

    Central Community College in 2014-15 continued its Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series. The free series is free and open to the public. It is streamed live by CCC and features sustainability experts from around the globe who will take an in-depth look at sustainable buildings, their design and construction from conception to demolition. Speakers during 2014-15 were:

    Wind and Renewable Energy: Nebraska's Growth Opportunity, presented by Dan McGuire, co-chair of the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference.

    Renewable and Clean Fuel Technologies: The Future of Transportation, Today, featuring a panel including Bill Moore founder and publisher of EV World.Com; Jim Stark, vice president of investor and media relations for Green Plains Inc.; and Dr. Scott Williams, managing director of the Omaha Biofuels Cooperation. The panel was moderated by Christopher Swanson, grants program manager and sustainable technologies instructor at Metropolitan Community College, a partner in the SLPS series.

    Green Matters: How You Can Make a Difference, live from the United Kingdom, featuring Julia Hailes, author of “The Green Consumer Guide.”

    Sustainable rebuilding post-disaster: The story of Greensburg Kansas, featuring Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson about the rebuilding of Greensburg as a sustainable city after a tornado leveled the community in 2007.

    The Alaska Bellwether:Perception, Response, and Adaptation in a Time of Climate Change, presented live from Alaska, featuring Jim Powell, assistant professor at the University of Alaska Southeast.

    Sustainability Advocacy: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout, and Influence for Good, featuring Adam Hammes, an author, speaker, and consultant who helps companies define sustainability and identify their relevant issues.

    Sustainable Farming and Foods in Nebraska, by William Powers, executive director for the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.

    Learn to Thrive: Lessons from Nature, by Daniel Lawse, co-owner and Chief Century Thinker at Verdis Group, a sustainability consulting firm in Omaha, and Lily Livingston, sustainable design project manager for HDR's Sustainable Design Services team.

    Conservation and the Quest for Quality Nebraska Places, by Cecil Steward, dean emeritus and emeritus professor of architecture and planning at the University of Nebraska College of Architecture in Lincoln and president and founder of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Omaha/Lincoln. 

    Diversified Manufacturing Technology

    The Grand Island Campus began offering a new diversified manufacturing technology certificate in January 2015.

    The certificate was created through Project IMPACT (Innovations Moving People to Achieve Certified Training) and is aligned with the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s Certified Production Technician program. People who complete the certificate will be prepared to go into industry or to continue their education with a solid foundation in manufacturing.

    Four classes – worth a total of 12 credit hours – are required to complete the certificate. “Introduction to Industrial Safety” and “Introduction to Manufacturing Technology” will be offered during the 2015 spring semester. “Introduction to Quality and Continuous Improvement” and “Introduction to Maintenance Technology” will be offered during the 2015 summer session.

    Project IMPACT is funded by a Department of Labor grant awarded to a consortium of community colleges across Nebraska. It aims to increase industry productivity and competitiveness by providing participants with knowledge in plant operations, basic technical skills and interpersonal skills.

    For more information about diversified manufacturing technology classes or Project IMPACT, contact Ashley Weets at (308) 398-7953; toll-free at 1-877-222-0780, ext. 7953; or by email at; or visit

    Foundations Education

    CCC has introduced a new approach to foundations education, which helps people who need to brush up on their skills in preparation for college-level work.

    Dr. Kathy Fuchser, dean for academic programs, said students who have been out of high school for a while or who didn’t take higher level math and English courses in high school often need to take foundations courses, based on their scores on pre-enrollment assessment tests.

    The college combined separate foundations courses in reading and writing into two levels of reading-writing essentials courses and replaced three math courses with one math essentials course, offered entirely on computer in a new “math emporium” as well as in traditional classroom settings. A new math lab provides the opportunity for students to apply their new math skills. Instructors and tutors are available to help students in the math emporium and lab.

    Pass rates in the reading-writing classes increased by 11 percent and the pass rate in the math essentials class increased by 13 percent from the previous year.

    In addition, full-service academic success centers were added on each campus, providing a wide range of services including peer tutoring, academic assistance, academic skill builder workshops, a writing coach and writing help desk and a computer lab. Students who were tutored had a 79 percent pass rate in the reading-writing essentials classes compared to 58 percent for students who weren’t tutored.

    Precision Agriculture

    Central Community College began developing a new precision agriculture program during 2014-15 with funding from a $2.5 million Trade Assistance Adjustment Community College Career Training (TAACCT) grant that was awarded to the college by the U.S. Department of Labor.

    The grant is being used to develop the Nebraska Precision Agriculture Center of Excellence (N-PACE). An associate of applied science degree, diploma and certificates will be offered, and laddering to four-year degree programs will be available.

    The program teaches students how to use new technology to achieve precise results, according to Dr. Nate Allen, dean of business, skilled and technical sciences. It is designed to help long-term displaced workers who need to update their skills, but it also will benefit other students interested in the field.

    The curriculum aligns with industry standards, Allen said. After students have completed required classes, they could then branch out into specialty fields such as crop science, livestock production and agribusiness.

    Components of precision technology also will be integrated into current curriculum as well as in the development of new curriculum. “This will allow curriculum to cross programs,” Allen said. “We’ll also be offering courses for business and industry.”

    The first four classes in a new precision agriculture program began during the 2015 fall semester at CCC’s Columbus and Hastings campuses.

    Partnerships with other institutions with similar programs, such as Southeast Community College in Beatrice and Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N. D., are expected to draw students to N-PACE from beyond CCC’s 25-county service area.

    CCC ranked first in nation as ‘Best for Vets’

    best for vets

    For a second year in a row, Central Community College in 2014-15 was ranked first in the nation as “Best for Vets” for two-year colleges by Military Times, the main news source for the military community.

    Military Times – comprising the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times – used a detailed survey to evaluate a wide array of factors that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families.

    The survey required schools to meticulously document the services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives they offer to military and veteran students and to describe many aspects of veteran culture at their institution.

    Biker Ball

    The first-ever Biker Ball was held on Sept. 20, 2014, in Grand Island to raise money for scholarships to help veterans attend Central Community College.

    Eligible veterans receive G.I. Bill educational benefits but often don’t have the up-front money they need and have to postpone their education, according to Travis Karr, CCC Veterans and Military Resource Centers director.

    Filling that gap with a scholarship for veterans was the goal when the Vietnam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club joined with the United Legacy Club to organize the Biker Ball, which they plan to hold annually. Other sponsors include the United Veterans Club of Grand Island and Harley Davidson Central.

    Hiring our Heroes

    Hiring our heroes 2

    A free employment workshop and job fair for veterans, “Hiring Our Heroes,” was held March 25, 2015, on the Grand Island Campus.

    Both events were designed for veterans, active duty military members, guard and reserve 

    Sponsors were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, University of Phoenix, Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Nebraska Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Goodwill Industries International, American Legion, NBC News and other local partners.

    Hiring our heroes 3

    Salute to women warriors

    The Grand Island Campus Veterans and Military Resource Center held a, “Salute to Women Warriors Workshop."

    salute to women warriors banner

    The workshop presenter and dinner speaker was Sharon Robino-West. She’s a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who brings her understanding of the military to the Women’s Center for Advancement in Omaha where she advocates for active duty women and veterans. She is trained in Trauma Informed Care, Peer Support facilitation through the Vets4Vets program and the State of Nebraska and previously worked as the lead peer support specialist for the At Ease program through Lutheran Family Service.

    The LZ (Landing Zone)

    A new and innovative event debuted at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair’s Veterans Day.

    The LZ 2014

    The “LZ” (Landing Zone) was created by the Central Community College Veterans and Military Services Department and the Veterans Community Task Force to create a veteran and family-friendly event that focuses on service, survival and success.

    The main attraction was several military S.E.R.E (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) instructors. They shared stories about their experiences, the challenges they’ve faced and what it took to obtain success beyond the uniform.

    The S.E.R.E. instructors also shared survival techniques at different survival stations, including how to build a fire without matches, set traps to gather food, signal for rescue, and improvise in emergency situations.

    Vets Centers

    Centers help increase veterans graduation rate

    Since CCC established its Veterans and Military Resource Center program in 2011 the graduation rate for veteran students has increased from 21 percent to 51 percent — part of the reason the program has garnered top honors nationally.

    Military Times in December 2014 ranked the program first in the nation as the “Best for Vets” for two-year colleges for the second consecutive year. Military Times is the main news source for the military community

    CCC’s four-star rankings for staff support and extracurricular activities and three-and-a-half stars for academic support reflect its commitment to veteran and military students.

    In addition, Military Advanced Education named Central Community College a Top School in its 2015 guide to colleges and universities.

    The guide measures the best practices in military and veteran education through a questionnaire on military-supportive policies at more than 600 colleges.

    MAE Top School

    Military Advanced Education (MAE) in December 2014 designated Central Community College as a top school in its 2015 MAE Guide to Colleges and Universities.

    TOP Logo

    The guide, which measures the best practices in military and veteran education, the guide can be found in the December issue of MAE and online at

    The guide includes the results of a questionnaire on military-supportive policies at more than 600 private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year and two-year colleges. They were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, on-campus support and online support services.

    “We believe the guide serves as an invaluable tool for both education services officers and transition officers when advising service members about their educational opportunities,” said Kelly Fodel, MAE’s editor. “We used strict criteria to individually evaluate the submissions of respondents, and we had a record number of schools participating this year.”

    Online, the guide is a searchable database with an easy-to-recognize dashboard that will enable prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education.