2021 Annual Report

Student Success

Promising Future

A major statistic CCC reviews in benchmarking our mission of maximizing student and community success is the number of students who earn short-term certificates, year-long diplomas and more two year associate degrees. The graph below shows strong growth and demand in short-term training which can serve as a building block for future education and entry into the high demand workforce. As a community college, this is not our only measure of serving student needs as many will also enter work after learning a specific technical skill, reaching English competency, completing required transfer courses, or continuing education.

Graph of number of awards in recent years.


2021 Commencement

Change was the name of the game for 2021 graduation at Central Community College. All three commencements were held on the same day instead over two days like in past years. Second, both the Grand Island and Hastings graduation exercises were held at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island. Here are a few photos from the day:

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Grow Our Own - Auto Tech Style

Man standing in front of red truck.Author Ashleigh Brilliant said, “Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.”

Such could be said about Dan Janssen (pictured), owner of Holdrege-based Janssen Auto Group.

For two years, Janssen worked hard to create a program to teach high school students the skills necessary to become automotive technicians. One of Janssen’s friends told him about a program called “Pistons to Pathways,” which began at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in 2018. Because most high schools do not have the resources to fund auto tech programs, students learn the skills at local auto dealerships. Students are taught by the dealership’s auto techs.

That was the idea. Now came the hard work of bringing the program to Holdrege.

“There were a lot of different pieces,” said Janssen.

Janssen contacted Holdrege Public Schools and Educational Service Unit 11 to gauge the interest and if the dual-credit program could be successful. Central Community College, which has an automotive technology program at the Hastings Campus, provided guidance on early college programming and credentialed one of Janssen’s auto techs to teach the courses, which allows the students to earn college credit. Janssen was able to secure first-year funding for the program from the Phelps County Development Corporation. A generous donation of tools from the Carriage House Foundation was a huge plus.

“Getting all those organizations together and the funding, that’s what took so long,” Janssen explained.

In the program’s first semester, five students from Holdrege High School and three from Wilcox-Hildreth High School enrolled. Classes were held at Janssen Ford on Monday and Thursday evenings.

In addition to giving high school students a jumpstart on a potential career in the automotive industry, Janssen also hopes to change the perception of auto techs.

“Unfortunately, in the last 10 to 20 years, the perception of an automotive technician is that they’re dirty, they work with their hands,” said Janssen.

However, he is quick to point out that the highly sophisticated technology involved in today’s car servicing can mean very good earning potential.

“I have several six-figure technicians working for me and people don’t realize that they can earn six figures as an auto technician,” said Janssen.

PTK All-State Academic Team

Seven students were named to the 2021 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Nebraska All-State Academic Team, which is sponsored by PTK and the Nebraska Community College Association to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community service. CCC members were:

  • Morgan Bilstad majored in graphic design major at the Grand Island Campus.
  • Grace Cargill graduated with honors. She earned an associate of science degree from the Columbus Campus.
  • Hiliary Huss graduated with an associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene.
  • Danielle Newton majored in business administration major at the Hastings Campus.
  • Justin Tilkens graduated with honors. He earned an associate of applied science degree in information technology and systems from the Grand Island Campus.
  • Haley Witte graduated with honors. She earned associate of arts and associate of science degrees from the Hastings Campus.
  • Ragan Wood graduated with honors. She earned an associate of arts and associate of science degrees from the Columbus Campus.


PTK Convention Honors

The CCC chapters were among 43 chapters participating in the virtual Kansas/Nebraska Regional Convention.

The Chi Sigma Chapter at the Columbus Campus received the 5 Star Chapter Distinction and a fourth place in the Honors in Action category.

Katy Ayers received the Hites Transfer Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement and rigor, engagement in college and community activities, and leadership accomplishments of PTK members preparing to transfer to senior institutions for bachelor’s degrees. After graduating from the Columbus Campus, Ayers transferred to Washington State University.

The Alpha Tau Tau Chapter at the Grand Island Campus received the 5 Star Chapter Distinction, second place in the Sister Chapter category and an honorable mention in the College Project category. It also was recognized as a Reach Rewards Chapter for achieving or exceeding 15 percent for membership acceptance rates.

Advisers Katie Hodges, Ruth Kirkland and Amy Osburn completed the Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Studies: Humanities Approach Certification.

The Beta Alpha Delta Chapter at the Hastings Campus received the 5 Star Chapter Distinction, second place in the College Project category, fourth place in the Most Outstanding Chapter category, and an honorable mention for the Honors in Action Project.


2020-21 Project GPS Scholars

Abigail Hornaman Connor Mueller Rachel Otten
Abigail Hornaman Connor Mueller Rachel Otten

Five Central Community College-Columbus students were recognized as Project GPS scholars for 2020-21. They were Abigail Hornaman, Sophie Kadavy (not pictured), Connor Mueller, Rachel Otten, and Taiylor Sanders (not pictured).

GPS stands for Growing Pathways to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), a scholarship-awarding program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The scholarship program targets high-achieving students with financial needs and who represent underserved populations in the STEM fields. Project GPS scholars receive two years of educational costs paid in full, including tuition and fees and room and board. The NSF is a federally operated organization that funds the majority of scientific research and science education research in the United States.


HEOT Students Receive AGC Scholarships

College students stand in front of sign.Three students in the heavy equipment operator technician (HEOT) program at Central Community College-Hastings received scholarships from the Nebraska chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC).

Denis Mulcahy (left), Erick Sanchez (not pictured) and Adam Turpin (right) each received a $4,000 scholarship.

AGC was instrumental in getting the HEOT program started in 2016 and has since awarded 12 scholarships totaling $48,000.

“I cannot thank the AGC Nebraska Chapter enough for this incredible contribution and continued support of our students, Central Community College and the HEOT program,” said Matt McCann, program director. “Scholarship funding like this plays a key role in promoting, recruiting and in many cases, provides the only financial support system that allows a student the opportunity to pursue higher education.” provides secondary and post-secondary students in trade, industrial, technical, technology and health occupations with leadership, citizenship and character development programs and activities.


Jim R. DeBord Scholarship Awarded

People pose with scholarship certificates.Two students in the heavy equipment operator technician program at Central Community College-Hastings were awarded the Jim R. DeBord Scholarship.

Paul Law (second from left) and Taylor Marie Laveau (second from right) each received a $1,000 scholarship to assist them financially in their educational pursuits.

“It’s good to know that there are people who would do something to help me,” said Law.

“It’s feels amazing,” said Laveau, who previously earned a psychology degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. “I can’t thank (the DeBord family) enough.”

Both Law and Laveau graduated in May.

Ron and Tammy DeBord established the scholarship in honor of Ron’s father, Jim, who worked in the heavy equipment field for more than three decades. 

Fall Play

The CCC theater department presented its fall play, "Romeo and Juliet." However, this version of Shakespeare's timeless classic included a few modern twists, such as social media and creative social distancing.

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Teaching and Learning

CCC Goes the Extra Mile During Pandemic

Central Community College’s Area Student Progress Notification System (SPNS) team stepped it up during the COVID pandemic. Under normal circumstances, the team contacts students who have been identified as academically struggling by their instructors in a three-stage process. These students receive personal email messages and phone calls that inform them of available resources and encourage them to persist and create a plan for course completion.

During the pandemic, when a fourth stage was added, the college discovered that nearly 40 percent of the students reported in stage four had not been reported as academically struggling in stage three. The early data suggests that many students reported in stage four encountered difficulty after CCC primarily moved to remote delivery of courses due to the pandemic. However, remote instruction was only part of the dilemma, according to Dr. Elizabeth Przymus, dean of student success.

“Some of our students were not able to work; some of their family members had lost work,” said Przymus. “There were income issues, technology issues, feelings of isolation and uncertainty, and may other sources of stress.”

Amid all the negativity, there was a silver lining according to Przymus. Due to the additional stage, more than 80 CCC staffers were recruited to help with the contacts. The staffers were from throughout the college and many had not been involved with the SPNS previously. They were trained on all services and resources and provided with a script to follow. Even though the assignment was temporary, some staffers expressed an interest in assisting with the SPNS outreach efforts in the future if needed.

“I had a number of staff who emailed me and said they appreciated being asked to help and how touched some of the students were to get a call during the midst of a crisis,” said Przymus. “Some of the students told the callers ‘it meant so much that someone cared enough to call me.’”

CCC Helps Would-Be Subtitute School Teachers

Central Community College began offering a two-week course designed to fulfill a necessary requirement for individuals seeking a local substitute teaching certificate.

Human Relations Awareness, an online course, covered concepts such as understanding of the values and lifestyles of various cultures, dehumanizing bias, and understanding of and respect for human dignity and individual rights. CCC made the decision to offer the course in response to the high need for substitute teach all across the state. 

“Central Community College offering the human relations awareness course could not come at a more critical moment,” said Nebraska Council of School Administrators Executive Director Mike Dulaney. “We routinely hear from our members throughout Nebraska that substitute teachers are in short supply. CCC has provided another avenue to help our members and potential substitute teachers fill a great need.”

High Profile Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies

Central Community College was proud to host Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Lt. Governor Mike Foley during 2020-21.

Ricketts took part in ribbon-cutting ceremonies (pictured upper left and right) for the welding wing of the Hamilton Building at the Hastings Campus, which was the culmination of a two-year, $10 million project. After touring the facility, the governor spoke to the gathering about the important role that the state’s community colleges will play in retraining the workforce in the post-pandemic world.

Foley attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony (pictured lower left and right) for the Center for Health and Technical Sciences at CCC-Grand Island. The event marked the official completion of a $4.4 million, three-phase renovation of the building formerly known as the Center for Industry and Technology. A total of 17,265 square feet was remodeled and an additional 3,600 square feet was added, which features a central entrance and a reception area.

Foley told the attendees no matter where he goes in the state, the call from business and industry is always for more skilled workers. “The community colleges are going to be a critical component in solving this dilemma,” said Foley. “You can get a first-class education that will lead to guaranteed employment with a good paycheck.”

People standing at ribbon-cutting ceremony. Man speaking at a podium.
People standing at ribbon-cutting ceremony. People talking in front of large TV monitor.
Partnerships and Community Service

Grants Fund Rural Training and Recruitment

The training and development division partnered in a pair of significant grants.

The first was a $1,294,579 Advanced Technological Education Program Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to CCC and South Central College (SCC) in Minnesota. The two institutions leveraged the funding to implement the next phase of the mechatronics distance learning model called iMEC 2.0 (see below) developed by SCC in 2013. This phase will bring mechatronics education to rural high school students through partnerships with area school districts and businesses.

The second was a $7.5 million grant given to two Connecticut-based institutions to lead the only NSF National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing. CCC and three other two-year colleges were invited to join the leadership team to identify successful strategies for recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented communities in the next-generation manufacturing workforce.

The center aims address the need for a pipeline of students pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing starting in high school. It will also strengthen career pathways that include robust degree programs at community colleges that can then transfer, without loss of credit, to university programs.

“The injection molding and mechatronics programs were a big reason why CCC was able to take part in these grants,” said Doug Pauley, associate dean of training and development. “CCC has made great strides in professional development and education in both areas, and it is gratifying that other institutions are seeking us out as partners in these great endeavors.”

High Schools Selected for iMEC 2.0 

Six Nebraska high schools were selected for the Independent Mechatronics Education Center Curriculum 2.0 project (iMEC 2.0), which creates a distance learning-based technical career pathway for high school students. The pathway ladders into the mechatronics associate of applied science degree program at CCC. The overall goal of iMEC 2.0 is improving awareness of mechatronics and increasing the number of students pursuing degrees in related industrial occupations.

The schools and instructors selected for the project were:

  • Aurora High School, Tate Erbst;
  • Axtell Community School, Joe Philippi;
  • Kearney High School, Andrew Olson;
  • Lakeview (Columbus) High School, Joe Haschke;
  • Lexington High School, Timothy Potter; and
  • Schuyler High School, Donald Seehusen.

The courses are delivered from an online platform with a considerable hands-on component. The hands-on trainers will be small, portable and cost-effective boards designed for engaging lab experiences which are crucial to technician education. 

Mechatronics careers are classified as H3 occupations – high wage, high skill, and high demand. Technicians work closely with others to install, maintain and repair automated equipment and component parts to ensure a facility is running efficiently and effectively.

“Central Community College is looking for business partners in these communities to help with equipment and mentoring students and teachers,” said Pauley. “As such, companies will help guide the project to make sure we are emphasizing the vital skills industry needs in its future technicians.”

75th Anniversary of WWII Ending

Event planning students at the Hastings Campus prepared an insightful and interesting exhibit commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II. Large storyboards of historical photos were placed in various businesses in downtown Hastings. The pictorial display also honored the role Hastings played in World War II through the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) from 1942 to 1966. The NAD produced approximately 40 percent of naval ammunition used in the war and provided thousands of jobs to the Hastings community. The naval facility was later converted into what is now Central Community College-Hastings.

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CCC and Hastings College Sign New Agreement

Hastings and CCC presidents signing agreement.Central Community College and Hastings College signed a new agreement that provides expanded educational opportunities for Hastings College students.

Under the terms of the agreement, CCC provides Hastings College students for-credit coursework, which may be used for the completion of an HC degree, including several minors, as well as for the completion of certificate programs at CCC. Students must maintain full-time status (12 credits per semester) at Hastings College in order to enroll in up to six credits per term at CCC for Hastings College to cover the tuition and fees for those courses.

This expands and replaces previous agreements that allowed Hastings College students to minor in Agri-Business, Construction Management and Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts through CCC coursework. Additional minors added to the agreement include Advanced Manufacturing Design Technology, Drafting and Design Technology, Electrical Technology, Energy Technology, Information Technology & Systems, Precision Agriculture, Welding Technology and Media Arts, which allows specialization in broadcasting, graphic arts, photography and video production.

As part of the agreement, participating Hastings College students are admitted as CCC students and provided all available student services at CCC.

NWU Boosts Pathways Transfer Scholarship

NWU and CCC presidents shaking handsNebraska Wesleyan University increased its Pathways Transfer Scholarship from $15,000 to $20,000. The scholarship is available to CCC transfer students who completed at least 18 credit hours.

Additionally, NWU boosted the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Scholarship from $17,000 to $21,000. The PTK Scholarship is open to qualified community college students who are members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“Transfer students are an important part of our student body,” said NWU President Dr. Darrin Good. “They bring experience, diversity and continued academic success. It’s critical that we provide them with the same accessibility and affordability that we provide to our traditional undergraduates who begin their academic career here as first-year students.”

Nebraska Wesleyan made the adjustments to both scholarships as part of an affordability initiative to make its private, personalized education accessible to all Nebraska students.

Underrepresented Students Receive Help From CCC and UNK

Central Community College and the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) joined forces in a national initiative designed to boost college completion for underrepresented students.

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) leads the Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI) with the aim of increasing transfer rates for black, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation learners. Partnering with AACC in the endeavor is American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The two-year ETI was awarded to partnerships between community and four-year colleges to advance transfer pathways and align them to increase completion for underrepresented student populations.

“CCC is thankful for partnerships like those with UNK to provide enhanced opportunities for all students to meet workforce challenges in central Nebraska,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “I am confident the expertise from our national associations will further allow us to develop best practices to help more students succeed in their educational goals.”

The goal of the ETI is serve 6,000 students nationally from the identified underrepresented groups over the two-year project period. Each team will place at least 100 students on one of five identified transfer pathways by the end of the first year and 300 or more total by the end of the second year.

“As an institution with approximately forty percent of our students being first-generation, UNK is at the forefront of the efforts in the region to provide higher education options to underrepresented groups,” said UNK Chancellor Douglas A. Kristensen. “UNK stands ready to provide a supportive system that helps these students understand each step in their college career as well as how their career goals can fit into high-paying and high-demand jobs in central Nebraska.”

Sixteen partnerships form 13 states representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities were selected to participate.

Employee Success

CCC Mechatronics Project Recognized

Pictures of award winners

Central Community College was named the winner of the 2019-20 Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

In announcing the awards, the League for Innovation in the Community College cited Doug Pauley, associate dean of training development; Dr. Nate Allen, dean of instruction; Susan Baer, administrative assistant; Dan Davidchik, mechatronics process instrumentation and control instructor; and Sharon Gutierrez, career coach, for creating and implementing the project.

CCC won the award for its Mechatronics with Instrumentation and Controls (MwIC) project to address Nebraska’s growing need for process instrumentation and control technicians. In collaboration with MwIC’s business and industry leadership team, the project developed a new instrumentation and control pathway as part of CCC’s mechatronics associate of applied sciences degree, making it the first two-year instrumentation program in Nebraska.

“CCC has worked with local industry and recognized the need for instrumentation technicians,” said Lynn Enderson, maintenance superintendent for Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM). “ADM looks forward to adding graduates from the CCC mechatronics instrumentation pathway to our team in the coming years.”

Funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant, MwIC developed six new instrumentation courses, created a new state-of-the-art customized instrumentation and controls lab facility for hands-on learning, engaged secondary schools throughout Nebraska to increase awareness of mechatronics careers, and provided professional development for more than 100 secondary and college educators from 50 institutions while helping establish multiple scholarship and internship opportunities. Students also benefited from the more than $350,000 worth of equipment donated to the project by equipment manufacturers and CCC’s business partners, Pauley said.

As a result, mechatronics enrollment from the 2016-17 to the 2018-19 academic year increased by more than 25 percent.

League Excellence Awards

Barbara Beck Dan Davidchick Gene Friesen Yunteng He Vicki M. Kucera
Barbara Beck Dan Davidchik Gene Friesen Yungten He Vicki M. Kucera
Brian McDermott Libby D. Paro Jared Pettit Karin Rieger Calli Watson
Brian McDermott Libby D. Paro Jared Pettit Karin Rieger Dr. Calli Watson

Ten Central Community College employees received the League Excellence Award from The League for Innovation in the Community College:

  • Barb Beck, early childhood education instructor at the Grand Island Campus, for her work on the national early childhood initiatives and state early childhood grants and organizations.
  • Dan Davidchik, process controls and instrumentation instructor at the Columbus Campus, for leading and implementing many national grants for CCC, including the newest National Science Foundation grant with South Central College.
  • Gene Friesen, drafting and design technology instructor at the Hastings Campus, for his work from obtaining the first AMDT national grant to implementing the innovative steel printer as one of the fi rst community colleges in the nation.
  • Yunteng He, chemistry instructor at the Kearney Center, for his innovative and nationally published methods for assessing student learning and sharing those methods with national and international audiences.
  • Vicki M. Kucera, financial aid services area director, for her work on the federal financial CARES grant aid and state workforce retraining aid as well as her participation in state and national financial aid organizations.
  • Brian McDermott, college effectiveness and research director, for his leadership and innovation on multiple national reports as well as the Best for Vets applications, VFA implementation and most recently on the federal CARES funds.
  • Libby D. Paro, occupational therapy assistant instructor at the Grand Island Campus, for her efforts in enhancing CCC’s OTA program to date and sharing what she has learned with national OTA conference audiences.
  • Jared Pettit, mechatronics instructor at the Kearney Center, for creating the Kearney mechatronics program, serving as a positive advocate in his role with the National Guard and helping with the new National Science Foundation grant.
  • Karin Rieger, associate dean of extended learning services at the Columbus Campus, for her involvement in national and statewide projects that include the National Endowment of the Humanities grant, Central Honors Institute and the Verizon grant.
  • Dr. Calli Watson, occupational therapy assistant program director at the Grand Island Campus, for her efforts in enhancing CCC’s OTA program to date and sharing what she has learned with national OTA conference audiences.

The League for Innovation has been informing, inspiring and celebrating innovation in learning, teaching, staff development and student success for 50 years.

NEMSA Instructor of the Year

Man posing with awardParamedicine instructor Fred Benzel was named as the Nebraska Emergency Medical Services Association (NEMSA) Instructor of the Year. The award was presented at NEMSA’s Super Conference in March.

“What this award says about Central Community College is that we have a great paramedicine program,” said Benzel. “I enjoy what I do and I guess it comes across to my students.”

One of Benzel’s former students, Cheyenne Massey, nominated him for the NEMSA award. She is one of three CCC paramedicine students who assisted the New York Fire Department at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Massey now works full-time for the Hot Springs Fire Department in Arkansas. Benzel said seeing students like Massey accomplish great things is a very satisfying part of his job.

“I appreciate what my students have given me.” Benzel said. “If I help teach one paramedicine student, they touch thousands of different people over their career.”

In addition to his instructor position, Benzel works for the Grand Island Fire Department and is a volunteer firefighter for the St. Paul Fire Department.

Dale P. Parnell Faculty Recognition

Jared PettitJared Pettit, mechatronics instructor at the Kearney Center, received Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition for 2021.

Named in honor of former AACC President and CEO Dale P. Parnell, this designation was established to recognize individuals making a difference in the classroom.

The recipients demonstrate passion for and support students inside and outside the classroom, participate in college committees, and go above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors.

CCC-Columbus Employee of the Year

Jerry MullerJerry Muller was named the Employee of the Year at Central Community College-Columbus.

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.

Muller is an industrial technology coordinator and trainer based at the Columbus Campus but provides training throughout CCC’s service area.

Nominators cited his exceptional people skills, in-depth knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems, and ability to effectively share his knowledge with his students. They also said he shows respect for his students and colleagues and serves as a positive role model for the college.

Muller was instrumental in developing and launching the Tyson Meats training program in Lexington, which required adapting curriculum, remodeling facilities and buying equipment to meet the company’s training needs. He also has a lead role in the iMec 2.0 grant from the National Science Foundation that will bring mechatronics education to six high schools in the CCC service area.

At CCC, he has helped repair injection molding units for the plastics program, hook up robotic welders in the welding lab, and teach an introductory mechatronics and instrumentation class for high school teachers and administrators. He reached out to several vendors and received free or reduced costs on several pieces of equipment for the college.

Prior to CCC, he was employed at Cargill in Schuyler for nine years where he started out on the maintenance team and finished as a lead automation technician.

CCC-Columbus Faculty Member of the Year

Peg SlusarskiPeg Slusarski of Columbus was named Faculty Member of the Year at Central Community College-Columbus.

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.

Slusarski was an English and speech instructor at CCC from 2010 to 2021 when she retired.

She is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Greeley. She earned an associate of arts degree from Norfolk Junior College and bachelor and master of arts degrees from Kearney State College.

Slusarski taught at Genoa, South Sioux City and Columbus Lakeview high schools and for 12 years was an adjunct public speaking instructor at CCC before joining the staff full-time.

Slusarski is a member of St. Isidore’s Church, Columbus Right to Life, Nebraska Right to Life and the Nebraska State and National education associations and a certified speech and play production judge for the Nebraska State Activities Association.

She is a past recipient of CCC’s TRiO/SSS Support Award for going the extra mile to help students in the program succeed.

Grand Island Campus Spirit Award

Amy StuartAmy Stuart, drafting and design technology instructor, received the 2020-21 Campus Spirit Award at Central Community College-Grand Island.

The Campus Spirit Award recognizes employees who make a significant contribution to Central Community College. The focus is on service above and beyond what is considered a normal or expected part of their job description.

Stuart was cited for promoting her program in innovative ways, working with faculty members in other divisions to support students struggling with coursework and for being actively involved in projects outside her division.

Stuart “jumped at the chance” to use the 3-D printer to benefit both the campus and community. For CCC, she fabricated models that are now instructional tools in calculus classes. For the community, she made headgear frames for face shields and s-hooks for face masks for health care providers fighting COVID-19.

She also has been involved with the Nebraska Summer Transportation Institute, which is a summer camp offered by the CCC extended learning services department to students who want to learn about the transportation career fields.

Hastings Campus Outstanding Service Award

Bruce Bartos  and Wanda Cloet received the 37th Annual Outstanding Service Award at Central Community College-Hastings in honor of their exemplary service to the college.

Bruce BartosWhen Bruce Bartos was hired in 2008 as a machine tool instructor, he was challenged to rebuild a part-time program with only two students. In the years that have passed, he has used enthusiasm, energy, and drive to shape it into the preeminent program in the region.

Changes have included a new name, advanced manufacturing design technology (AMDT), reworked curriculum and increased support from area businesses and industry. The college also applied for and received a $2.2 million National Science Foundation grant to upgrade equipment and curriculum, add resources and hire people to aid in building the program.

Bartos’ contacts with local industry helped pave the way for a capital campaign. The $10.5 million built a 17,000 square-foot addition to the Hamilton Building. Nominators say Bartos is a staunch advocate for his students and his contributions to the AMDT program are evident to anyone who walks into the new lab. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious and an asset to the Hastings Campus and CCC.

Wanda CloetNominators describe Wanda Cloet, director of the dental hygiene program, as a tireless leader who continually updates the program with new technology and science-based products and seeks grants and opportunities to improve the education of dental hygiene students.

They said she is a firm believer in lifelong learning who encourages adjunct faculty to continue their education and helps them with the research and projects required to obtain their degrees.

Most recently, she led her program through the COVID-19 shutdown, working with faculty and other national leaders to adapt the clinics and labs to meet CCC recommendations and government health mandates.

Cloet also oversees a service-learning program that benefits underserved populations in the CCC area by providing patients with access to care they otherwise wouldn’t have. Dental hygiene students screen more than 4,000 children in local elementary schools, Head Start programs and preschools, providing them with dental sealants, oral health screenings and dental health education. They also screen about 200 patients a year at Project Homeless days in Hastings and Grand Island.

She is a site visitor for the Commission on Dental Accreditation and is active on the local, state and national levels in a variety of dental hygiene organizations.

Leading with Excellence

It took a while, but the 2019-20 Leading with Excellence class at Central Community College finally graduated. Like almost everything else in the world, COVID-19 interfered with and delayed the normal schedule.

The Leading with Excellence program began in the 2016-17 academic year. It is designed to help CCC employees identify opportunities within the college for growth or advancement.

The nine-month program gives participants exposure to every location and access to current CCC leadership. They also learn about college operations and departments, build relationships across departments and locations, and gain from personal and professional development activities.

Any full-time or part-time employee who worked 600 hours in previous last year or taught six credit hours is eligible to apply for the program.

Employees that participated in the 2019-20 (or 21) program were:

Administrative Office: Paige Gibreal, college accountant, and Dani Schwinn, technology integration specialist.

Grand Island Campus: Maria Flores, enrollment specialist; Tami Jones, nursing simulation coordinator; Carrielynn Peace, registration technician and welcome desk; and Jennifer Walker, service center supervisor.

Hastings Campus: Laura Cline, health sciences and business administrative assistant; Tanner Jenkins, biology and chemistry instructor; Sandy Samuelson; extended learning services regional director; Sara Stroman, Project HELP success coach; and Margaret Treff er, assistant registrar.

Kearney Center: Catrina Gray, apprenticeship coordinator.


Alumni Weekend

The inaugural Central Community College Alumni Weekend took place May 13-15 at the Hastings Campus. The festivities began with a red carpet premiere at the Hastings Museum of Bunker University, the documentary of the Naval Ammunition Depot and creation of the Hastings Campus. If you missed seeing Bunker University, a limited number of DVDs are available in the president's office at the Hastings Campus. Please contact Carol Kucera at 402-461-2401. Other events included an alumni golf outing at the Elks Country Club, a 5K glow run/walk, tours of the Hastings Campus buildings and a downtown evening social. Alumni Weekend concluded with a car show and taste of Hastings, featuring local food vendors.

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2021 Outstanding Alumni

Dr. Charles E. Sepers Jr. - Columbus Campus

Charles SepersDr. Charles E. Sepers Jr. completed an associate of arts degree at Central Community College-Grand Island, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and exercise science at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a master’s degree in public health at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a master’s and doctoral degrees in behavioral psychology at the University of Kansas.

Sepers is chief public health officer for the East Central District Health Department. In this capacity, he serves as the chief public health strategist for Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte counties.

With nearly 15 years of public health experience, his work has focused on understanding and improving conditions that contribute to health and well-being by working with communities, especially those with traditionally underserved populations experiencing health disparity.

His work encompasses addressing childhood obesity in urban and rural communities, improving physical activity and healthy food access among Latinos, using federally qualified health centers and patient-centered medical homes as a public health strategy for addressing diabetes, increasing health care access among minority populations, and working with World Health Organization colleagues to implement and evaluate social mobilization efforts to fight the 2015 West Nile Virus outbreak in West Africa.

 Allan Wade Osburn- Grand Island Campus

Allan Wade OsburnAllan Wade Osburn earned an associate of arts academic transfer degree from Central Community College-Grand Island in 2017, graduating with honors.  He then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Kearney where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in special education from UNK.

He is a middle school special education teacher at Ravenna Public Schools. 

Throughout his academic career, Osburn has been an active member of the CCC-Grand Island Alpha Tau Tau chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, and is vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa alumni association. His other memberships include Phi Alpha Theta, a history honor society; Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society; and Phi Kappa Phi, a multidiscipline honor society.

Osburn is an Army veteran who served on active duty for three years and nearly 20 years in the Army Reserves. He has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years, a Boy Scout leader for more than 25 years and is the current commander of Cairo American Legion Post 333.

He and his wife, Amy, have three sons, one daughter and three grandchildren.

Bradley Keasling - Hastings Campus

Bradley KeaslingBradley Keasling earned an associate of applied science degree in information technology and networking from CCC-Hastings in 2001. He transferred to Bellevue University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2006 and a master’s degree in business administration in 2008.

His career includes work in a variety of industries, including farming, the meat industry, retail, manufacturing, finance, banking and sales. After working in the for-profit industry for over 10 years, he took a full-time position with Bellevue University on the CCC-Grand Island campus. He also started teaching business and information technology part time at CCC as well as the night business program for Bellevue University. From 2017 to 2021, Keasling served as CCC's associate dean of business.

Keasling is a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Island where he serves on the Mission and Ministry Council and Praise Team and fills in as a lay minister. He also serves on the CHI St. Francis Foundation Board of Directors.

He and his wife, Katie, are the parents of two daughters.

Alumni Feature: Macey Martinson

Macey MartinsonWhen Macey Martinson tells people what she does for a living, she often gets “the look.” That’s because she is a funeral director and embalmer with Homes for Funerals in Norfolk. The look is often followed with the question, “What would ever make you want to do that?” Her answer is always the same. 

“I love to be the smiling face when people are hurting and to make the worst day of their life maybe not so bad,” said Martinson. “When (a grieving family) tells me that I gave them Mom back (after years of sickness before death), that’s like the biggest joy I could get. That’s why I do this.” 

Growing up on the family farm near Platte Center, working in agriculture was always at the forefront for Martinson. However, she began thinking about a career in funeral directing during her freshman year at Lakeview High School when her uncle died, and a childhood friend died less than a month later. In addition to her uncle, Martinson had experienced the death of her grandparents. But her friend’s death really affected her. 

“He was so young, and it was such a tragic accident that I just didn’t know what to think of it,” said Martinson. “We had grown up since we were babies together. I just wanted to be able to help families not have to feel so alone or for people coming to services to see a friendly smile or a friendly face.” 

While CCC does not offer a mortuary science degree, Martinson used the success she had at CCC to prepare her for the program she eventually selected. 

Martinson enrolled at the Columbus Campus in 2010 on a softball scholarship. Her father was in the first graduating class at CCC-Columbus, and her mother and sister had attended as well. Martinson took close to 20 credit hours each semester, including extra science and English courses that are necessary to become a licensed funeral director in Nebraska. Some of her instructors had taught her previously, like Peg Slusarski, who was her English teacher at Lakeview. Martinson was also a member of Spectrum and a student ambassador, which afforded her many opportunities to interact with potential students and their families, a skill she uses heavily as a funeral director. 

“My success started at a small place (like CCC) where I was comfortable and I was able to grow, find my own way and be a member of so many activities,” said Martinson, who served an apprenticeship at Gass-Haney Funeral Home in Columbus during her sophomore year. 

After receiving an associate of arts degree in 2012, Martinson received a full-ride scholarship to attend the mortuary science program at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Because of the extra courses she had taken at CCC, she was able to complete the program in two semesters. Martinson also worked at Chapel Hill-Butler Funeral Home in Kansas City, Kan. 

Martinson returned to Nebraska and went to work for Pender-based Munderloh-Smith Funeral Home, where she finished a second apprenticeship. She said she wanted the small-town feel again. 

“I wanted to be able to connect with families, and if they see me on the street, they know me, I can talk to them, I know their kids, I know their families,” Martinson said. “I didn’t want them to be another face that walks through the office and I never see them again.” 

In 2019, Martinson moved to Norfolk with her husband, Chris, and joined Home for Funerals. The couple welcomed their first child in 2021. 

One of the things Martinson is involved in outside of work is teaching discipleship groups for high school age kids at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She gladly encourages the kids to seriously consider attending a community college. 

“I tell my students at youth group that there is nothing wrong with starting at a community college,” said Martinson, who has since earned a bachelor’s degree. “I could never have gone to (a large university), but I was perfect for Central.”

Alumni Feature: Stacy Kelly

Stacy KellyOne of the first graduates of the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program returned to the Grand Island Campus in 2020. 

Stacy Kelly assists OTA instructor Dr. Libby Paro with her handwriting clinic. The clinic serves children from the community who need help with handwriting skills. Kelly supervises OTA students who work directly with the children and give them feedback on their instructional skills. 

When Kelly enrolled in the OTA program in 2010, she was a non-traditional student, having worked in advertising and marketing previously and being the mother of three children. Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but she decided to go in a completely different direction. 

“When I saw that the OTA program came up, I thought that this was something that I would really like to do,” said Kelly. “It was a really fun experience. I think I was more focused than when I was 18 and going to school.” 

After graduating from CCC, Kelly went to work at Grand Island Therapy and the inpatient rehabilitation unit at CHI Health St. Francis. 

A proud CCC alumna, Kelly is grateful for the opportunity that the college gave her to go back to school and to prepare for an entirely different career. 

“Not everybody is going to get a four-year degree and you can find a lot of great degrees at Central Community College and not spend four years and a whole lot of money to find something that you want to do,” said Kelly.


CCC Recognized as Top Performer

STARS Silver EmblemCentral Community College received recognition in the 2020 Sustainable Campus Index. CCC was an overall fourth Top Performer of all two-year institutions in the United States and seventh in North America. Produced by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the publication recognizes top performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)

CCC STARS highlights include 100-percent of the Hastings Campus’ electricity from wind and 100-percent of the Kearney Center power is from a local solar farm, also a detailed environmental sustainability action plan with measurable objectives that address diversity, equity and inclusion.

CCC’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.

Tree Replacement Project

People planting trees.Central Community College received 10 trees for the Hastings Campus Tree Replacement project.

The trees were donated by the Free Trees for Fall Planting program, an effort of the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. CCC-Hastings was selected for the donation after numerous trees were destroyed by a heavy windstorm in August 2019. Hastings Campus students, faculty and staff helped replant the trees.

Free Trees for Fall Planting is supported by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Towns Initiative funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Hastings Campus Recognized for Tree Efforts

Central Community College-Hastings has been honored with 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

"Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of CCC-Hastings’ participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty trees provide.”

The Tree Campus Higher Education program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. CCC-Hastings achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus Higher Education’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 403 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

“It is truly a privilege to be awarded the 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Aaron Thiessen, CCC-Hastings groundskeeper supervisor. “Some of the first planted trees on the Hastings Campus, which was originally a naval ammunition depot, are still standing today. The trees add immeasurable beauty to the college’s grounds.”

Electronic Car Charging Stations

Electronic cars plugged in at charging station.CCC added four new Ford Fusion hybrid electric cars to its vehicle fleet and installed four electric vehicle charging stations at the Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings campuses and the Kearney Center (pictured). In Kearney and Grand Island, charging stations are also available for public use. Both charge $1 per hour for charging with a $2 minimum and a $20 maximum for staff, students and the public.

The Ford Fusion hybrids use electricity stored in the battery for the first 35 miles, but then automatically transfer over to gasoline. Purchase of the new vehicles was made possible after receiving an $81,240 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust through a consortium with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA). The NCEA was founded in 2014, and now has 35 Nebraska community members and is growing- In CCC’s service area, Aurora, Central City, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Hastings, Holdrege, Kearney, Lexington, Minden, and Superior are all members. Its mission is to build and promote advanced technologies for housing and transportation that save energy, reduce carbon dioxide pollution, and cut costs. NCEA defines an advanced technology as one that lowers energy use, reduces CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and cuts costs to communities.

BikeShare in Hastings

Bikes at docking station.CCC-Hastings joined the BikeShare program in September, equipped with a solar powered Bluetooth docking station for improved access to non-motorized transportation.  Since BikeShare was installed on the Hastings Campus by the environmental sustainability student staff, there have been a total of 479 bike checkouts. The student interns were also trained and currently complete all bike repairs on campus. A grant from the Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund made the BikeShare program at the Hastings Campus possible.

CCC-Columbus Composting

Student staples chicken wire to fence.Student volunteers from Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), Students-4- Sustainability (S4S) and Growing Pathways to STEM (GPS) worked together to build a three-bin composting system on the CCC Columbus campus for PTK’s 2020 college service project. The composting system seeks to divert an estimated 40-percent of food waste from the landfill. Chartwells, CCC’s food service provider, began collecting food waste on the Columbus Campus in August 2020 and provided PTK with the perfect opportunity for a college service project. Students rallied together and built the compost bins in just 4 days. The bins were made from upcycled pallets and chicken wire. Tools and supplies were provided by the environmental sustainability office.

Earth Month

CCC hosted its fifth annual celebration of the Earth Day in April 2021 with an event each week at a different location. Some events included the new electric vehicle charging station demonstration in Grand Island, a bike ride to the Hastings wind turbine and a Q & A with energy technology instructor Taylor Schneider. Other happenings included an expo at the new Columbus compost bin and a clean-up event with the Audubon Society at the Kearney Outdoor Learning Area.

S4S Seeds Satchels

Students 4 Sustainability raised funds by selling seeds from the pollinator garden. The upcycled burlap seed-satchels were hand-embroidered with each respective seed variety on the outside for easier identification. The Nebraska native flowers are phenomenal at attracting pollinators to gardens.

Ninth Year of Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series

Central Community College continued the Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS) for 2020-21. Series partners include Creighton University Office of Sustainability Programs, Hastings College Student Environmental Action Coalition, Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Metropolitan Community College, Nebraska Recycling Council; University of Nebraska Environmental Studies, and University of Nebraska at Omaha Sustainability Office. SLPS hosts a monthly live broadcast featuring experts in the field of environmental sustainability and climate change. Programs included:  

  • Finding the Silver Lining and Strengthening Recycling in the New World presented by Kate Bailey, Policy and research director for Eco-Cycle. 
  • Conservation Career Conversations presented by Craig Moody, small business owner, community builder, and chair of the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors.  
  • Conservation Nebraska and Conservation Voters Events Across the State presented by Amanda Gangwish, Program Director for Conservation Nebraska and Nebraska Conservation Voters. 
  • Racial & Climate Justice: Upending White Supremacy & the Artful Regeneration of our Cities presented by Ted Grudin, lecturer at Santa Clara University; and Dawuane Lamont Hayes, artist, journalist, and designer. 
  • Composting for Regenerative Agriculture & Soil Health presented by Finian Makepeace, renowned presenter, media creator, and co-founder of Kiss the Ground.

All At Once

Following the cancellation of the spring 2020 season, the CCC athletics department anxiously looked forward to getting its teams back to action. This after the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) announced during the summer that all sports would return action in the appropriate season. However, the NJCAA later reversed that decision and moved all fall and winter sports to spring 2021. That meant all seven CCC teams would be playing during the spring 2021 semester.

“The cancellation of the spring and fall seasons was crushing enough, but then to combine fall, winter and spring sports into one semester was quite an undertaking,” said CCC athletic director Mary Young. “I applaud the coaching staff, our athletic trainer, the athletes and all the behind-the-scenes personnel for working together to make it happen. It was a busy semester, but incredibly gratifying to see our teams competing again.”

All logistics aside, keeping the student-athletes safe was the most important detail. A difficult part of the plan meant that spectators would not be permitted at any sporting events inside the Raider Fieldhouse during January (Phase 1). Only the teams and essential personnel were allowed, meaning families had to watch via the livestream on the CCC athletics website.

From early to mid-February (Phase 2), team members and coaches were permitted to have four family members attend the games and all spectators had to follow seating, face covering and exiting guidelines. Phase 2 also marked the return of the Raider cheer and dance squad. Phase 3 began on Feb. 15. Seating capacity was capped at 50 percent and all fans had to wear masks and sit in designated areas.

“You never know what you’re missing until it’s gone,” said CCC women’s basketball head coach Billy Perkins. “Having fans back in the stands for the last month was such blessing and helped us get over the hump of a long season. The most gratifying thing was seeing my players happy because of the support they had.”

Post-Season Honors

Men’s Basketball

  • Dwight Glover, Caleb Muia: Region 9 First Team, NCCAC All-Conference Team
  • Michael Ozomah: NCCAC Honorable Mention

Women’s Basketball

  • Bailey Lehr: NCCAC All-Conference Team
  • Brittney Veik: All-Region 9 Team, NCCAC Honorable Mention


  • Lilly Cast, Elle Douglas, Grace Cargill, Larissa Rother, Ragan Wood: All-Region 9 Team
  • Lilly Cast, Elle Douglas, Larissa Rother, Ragan Wood: Region 9 All-Tournament Team

NJCAA Academic All-Americans

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) recognized 27 Central Community College student-athletes for academic achievement during 2020-21.

Student-athletes who earned a 4.0 GPA were named NJCAA All-Academic First team, while those who posted a GPA of 3.80-3.99 were named NJCAA All-Academic Second Team. The NJCAA All-Academic Third Team is comprised of student-athletes who finished with a GPA of 3.60-3.79.

The CCC softball team led the way with six student-athletes earning NJCAA academic honors, followed by golf, volleyball and women’s basketball with five apiece. Men’s and women’s soccer each had three and men’s basketball had one.

The Raiders had six teams that earned NJCAA Academic Team of the Year honors for posting a combined 3.0 GPA or better. Volleyball posted a 3.54 GPA, while golf sported a 3.5 GPA. Women’s basketball posted a 3.35 GPA and softball posted a 3.28 GPA. Men’s basketball posted a 3.01 GPA and women’s soccer posted a 3.0 GPA.

The following is a list of each sport and each team members’ specific honor:


Wyatt Hegemann, Second Team; Darin Hutto, Third Team; Gavin Lipovsky, Third Team, Christian Jewell, Third Team; and Colin Springer, Third Team.

Men's Basketball

Gavin Lipovsky, Third Team.

Men's Soccer

Diego Escobar, Second Team; Chris Izaguirre, Third Team; and Roberto Pedro, Third Team.


Grace Cargill, Second Team; Lilly Cast, Second Team; McKinley Josoff, First Team; Kassidy Soulliere, Third Team; Shianne Willmon, First Team; and Ragan Wood, First Team.


Devyn Erickson, First Team; Khloe Felker, Third Team; Brooklyn Magsamen, Second Team; Chloe Odbert, Second Team; and Kensey Wadas, Second Team.

Women's Basketball

Allanah Beller, First Team; Morgan Boldt, Second Team; Jenna Schwanebeck, Second Team; Macey Thege, Third Team; and Khia Zuniga, Third Team.

Women's Soccer

Emily Fisher, First Team; Madison Garrow, Second Team; and Sydney Weller, First Team.


VMRC Fares Well in Revamped Survey 

Best for Vets logoThe Veterans and Military Resource Center (VMRC) at Central Community College placed 17th in the central region on The Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges rankings for 2021.

From 2014 through 2019, CCC finished atop the annual rankings for two-year colleges. In 2021, the survey took a different approach by ranking all school levels in one survey according to region, type (public, private not-for-profit, private for-profit) and general education and career and technical categories.

CCC’s VMRC still tops Nebraska community colleges but finished behind the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CCC is also the top community college in the central region. Among public general education institutions in the central region, CCC placed 15th.

Salute to Women Warriors; Kellogg Reaches 100

Woman in wheelchair poses in front of bannerThe 2021 Salute to Women Warriors event was hosted virtually to coincide with Wilma Kellogg’s 100th birthday on March 19. Kellogg created the Women Veterans Scholarship and has been a staunch supporter of the annual Women Warriors event since its inception. The idea for 2021’s event came from Kellogg’s daughter, Chris Wissing, who contacted CCC asking if there was something the college could do to honor Wilma and celebrate her century of life. Since in-person events were limited, a walk-a-thon was planned, with a 100-mile goal for all combined participants.

The Veterans and Military Resource Center (VMRC) still had items donated two years ago for the silent auction normally held at the Women Warriors banquet. The donors were contacted, all agreed to honor their original donation values, and an online auction site posted 19 gifts for a week-long auction with the hope of raising $1000 for the scholarship fund. The walk-a-thon ended and the auction started on Wilma’s birthday.

The Facebook walk-a-thon participants stepped through the 100-mile goal in 3 days. By the time the event was closed a week later, a total of 1287 miles by a small group of 38 participants had been tallied and a week after that, the online auction grossed $2,010 with a net contribution of $1,945 to the scholarship fund.

Jaycee Carroll, administrative assistant for the VMRC, was invited to Wilma’s birthday celebration at the Stuhr Museum, to recognize her diligence and desire to have an event this year. She met Wilma and told her the details of the virtual event and shared the energy and determination of the Facebook group to support the scholarship fund. A birthday card was presented to Wilma from the Grand Island VMRC and campus employees. 

Patsios Promoted; Supports DC Troops

Soldier takes part in promotion ceremonyShawn Patsios, Veterans and Military Resource Center coordinator at the Kearney Center, was promoted from Technical Sgt. to Master Sgt. in the Nebraska Air National Guard in January. Ceremonies were held at the Kearney Center, where Patsios was joined by his wife and daughter, his parents and other well-wishers. However, the ceremony was quite unconventional as the oath was administered via Zoom because of restrictions related to COVID.

A few days later, Patsios departed for Washington, DC, to join in the military security operation for the inauguration of then President-elect Joe Biden. A member of the Nebraska Air National Guard and a unit religious affairs airman, Patsios supported the spirituality of the DC troops.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day ceremonies were held at the Columbus Campus (upper left), the Grand Island Campus (upper right), the Hastings Campus (lower left) and the Kearney Center (lower right), where the Kearney High School marching band performed.

Flag presentation cermony People looking at veterans displays
Giant-sized thank you card on display. Marching band performing.
CCC Foundation

CCH Center for Science and Technology

People turning soil at groundbreaking ceremony.Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in October 2020 for the Columbus Community Hospital Center for Science and Technology at the Columbus Campus. The $16 million facility will offer cutting-edge science and nursing labs and interactive learning spaces featuring instructional technologies to enhance student learning and support industry demands.

Initially, the CCC Foundation set a fundraising goal of $3.5 million. Thanks to the generosity of several corporations, foundations and individual donors, more than $4 million was raised, which includes $3.5 million for the building fund and $500,000 for an endowment to fund student scholarships and future technology upgrades.

Once complete in fall 2022, the facility will increase to an estimated 33,500 square feet, more than twice as large as the existing space.

CCC Employees Demonstrate Generosity

The 2020 employee appeal was quite successful with $75,851 raised with college-wide participation at 66-percent. The CCC Board of Governors, the CCC Foundation Board and the CCC Foundation office each sported 100-percent participation.

The average gift was $214 per year or $17.80 per month. In total, 77 funds were supported.

“We’re always so grateful that CCC employees support our students, not only through their time and effort, but also through their gifts to the employee appeal,” said development director Jessica Rohan. “Each dollar makes a difference and impacts students greatly.”

Tony Turner Scholarship

People posing with oversized check.The auto body technology program at Central Community College-Hastings secured an endowed scholarship.

The Highway Creepers Car Club of Kearney donated $10,001 dollars to the Tony Turner Memorial Scholarship, which generates funds for students in the auto body technology program. Turner was the owner of Turner Body Shop, located in Kearney and Holdrege, until his death in 2019.

The money was raised at the Highway Creepers’ annual car show in April, which included a live and silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and a fill-the-bucket campaign. Highway Creepers President Matt Mattson also credited the Bummers Car Club of Sioux City, Iowa, and the Omaha-based Headliners Car Club for providing auction items.

“This is the biggest donation we have ever given,” said Mattson. “As long as the Tony Turner Scholarship is going on, we will donate to it.”

While Turner was not a member of the Highway Creepers, Mattson said Turner was a friend of the club and many of its members.

“The guy would bend over backwards for anybody,” said Mattson. "He was always smiling, even when he was mad, he still smiled. But you never really saw him mad a lot.”

In accepting the donation, the Turner family expressed appreciation that Tony’s love for helping others will continue well into the future.

“He was always mentoring and never hesitated to help anybody,” said Ashley Turner, Tony’s widow. “These funds will go to worthy, dedicated students who are struggling financially to follow their dreams.”

A third-generation family-owned business; Turner Body Shop has had multiple CCC student interns and alumni throughout the years.

“It’s not just fixing the cars,” said Turner. “It’s ordering parts, it’s working in the office, it’s writing estimates. There are a lot of different areas that the students can learn about.”

The Turner family also expressed thanks to James Rodis, vice president of the Nebraska Autobody Association (NABA), who provided scholarship funding in honor of Tony’s involvement with NABA. The family also recognized several other individuals and businesses for donating to the scholarship.

Mike Hoskins, CCC auto body technology instructor, said the endowed scholarship comes at a critical time as more than half of the students in the program come from lower-income families. He said some students cannot afford the necessary equipment or to pay for fuel as some come from as far away as Lexington to attend classes.

“This donation is going to give scholarships to students for years to come,” said Hoskins. “Our program has never had anything like this.”

Like most skilled technical fields, Hoskins said the auto body industry needs technicians and students.

“The Turner family is part of our advisory board and is heavily involved in the Nebraska Auto Body Association, which makes suggestions for what the industry needs,” said Hoskins. “Our industry has really reached out to us to figure out how to get technicians into their jobs.”

Leading for Success

2021 Board of Governors Officers

Sandra Borden John A. Novotny

Rita Skiles

Sandra Borden of Gibbon
Board Chair/Alternate NCCA Rep.
John A. Novotny of Columbus
Vice Chair
Rita Skiles of Huntley


Tom Pirnie 

Diane Keller Austin Miller
Tom Pirnie of Grand Island
Diane Keller of Harvard
NCCA Representative
Austin Miller of Grand Island
NCCA Representative


Broekemier Joins CCC Board of Governors

Michelle BroekemierMichelle Broekemier of Central City is the newest member of the CCC Board of Governors. In the November election, she defeated longtime board member Paul Krieger in District 1.

Since 2007, Broekemier has been employed by York General, a community, not-for-profit health care organization. She presently serves as an administrator at Willow Brook Assisted Living. Broekemier previously served as the admissions coordinator for Hearthstone, a 127-bed skilled nursing facility. Prior to joining York General, she served as a medication aide/certified nursing assistant at Central City Care Center.

Broekemier earned a licensed practical nursing degree from Central Community College in 2008 and later earned an associate degree in long term care administration from Southeast Community College.

Budget and Finances

Budget Report

The college operating budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year was $59,487,844. Funding sources were:

  • State aid in support of the operating budget increased from $9,623,041 in 2019-20 to $10,144,145 in 2020-21, which provided 17.05 percent of the total.
  • Local property tax for 2020-21 contributed $37,313,271 to the operating budget, compared with $36,972,089 in 2019-20, which provided 62.72 percent of the total.
  • Tuition provided $9,630,427 in 2020-21, which amounted to 16.19 percent of the total.
  • Ancillary services and college reserves contributed $2,400,000 to the operating budget, which provided 4.04 percent of the total.

Operating budget breakdown:

  • 60.39 percent went toward instruction and academic support.
  • 20.06 percent went to institutional support.
  • 9.27 percent went to physical plant support.
  • 8.49 percent went to student services.
  • 1.79 percent went to student aid.

The capital improvement budget for 2020-21 was $9,778,020 and the budget for the hazardous materials/handicapped fund was $2,503,394.

20-21 Budget Charts


During 2020-21, there were a number of facilities projects completed at various CCC campuses and centers. Here is a pictorial sample:

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