CCC Alum and Board Member Recognized at NCCA Conference

October 6, 2021

Central Community College alumna Chandra Anderson and Board of Governors member Diane Keller received awards at the Nebraska Community College Association (NCCA) annual conference on Oct. 3 and 4.

CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall (left) and Chandra Anderson (right).Anderson  received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Central Community College while Keller received the NCCA Governor’s Award, which is given to a college board member for outstanding leadership, both at the institution and in the community, and support of two-year colleges.

Anderson (pictured right) is a 2009 graduate of the nursing program at CCC’s Kearney Center. At the time, she was a single mother. Anderson later earned a BSN followed by dual master’s degrees in health care leadership and business, all through Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University’s online program.

After graduating from CCC, Anderson began her career as a critical care nurse at CHI Health Good Samartian Hospital in Kearney. This was unique because most new nursing graduates do not immediately go into critical care. In 2011, she won the hospital’s Clinical Coach of the Year for Nursing Award.

Anderson then relocated with her family to Pahrump, Nev., where she worked in hospice care for two years before moving on to the emergency department at Desert View Hospital. While there, Anderson was nominated for and won the 40 Under 40 Up and Coming Nurse Leader Award for the State of Nevada.

In 2017, Anderson returned to CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney where she served as the RN professional practice/magnet coordinator. After three and a half years, she was named chief nursing and quality officer at Cozad Community Health System where she remains.

“In nursing, you can go anywhere and to know that my foundation was laid at CCC and I received my golden ticket through them, I am forever grateful,” Anderson said to the awards ceremony attendees.

Anderson and her husband, Justin, are the parents of two children.

NCCA President Steve Anderson (left) and Diane Keller (right).Keller (pictured right) has been a member of the CCC Board of Governors since 2000 and served in numerous leadership positions, including two terms as chair. She is the CEO of Memorial Community Health Inc. in Aurora and co-owns an agricultural production operation with her husband, Keith. In CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall’s nomination, he said, “Because of this background, she is an informed and reliable voice of health care and agriculture in our region, especially given health care’s prominent employer role in our rural communities and significant reliance on local property tax support for Nebraska’s community colleges.”

Keller has championed CCC’s efforts to expand RN-BSN completion agreements, most recently in 2021 with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She has been instrumental in advocating at the local, state and national level for the competence of two-year registered nursing programs when faced with opposition to make programs bachelor-of-nursing-level only.

Keller was very supportive of Nebraska’s first occupational therapy assistant program, Nebraska’s first and only heavy equipment operator program, and supportive of Nebraska’s only two-year dental hygiene clinic and program. She has supported initiatives in entrepreneurship, mechatronics, precision agriculture and student support services including TRiO, federal health grants and aid to students, AACC’s Equity Transfer Initiative and AACC’s Metallica Scholars Initiative.

For the past three years, Keller has supported CCC’s lead role in the statewide Nebraska Math Readiness Project in which the state’s community colleges work with high schools to ensure more students have improved math competencies to prevent enrollment in developmental math courses during the first year of college. Results to date have shown a three-fold increase over national averages of students no longer needing developmental math education post-graduation.

“My years on the Central Community College Board have been an amazing journey,” Keller said upon receiving her award at the ceremony. “I have been so proud to be able to represent Central on the Nebraska Community College Association Board. It has been my honor because I believe so much in the mission of what the community colleges do.”

The NCCA annual conference was hosted by Western Nebraska Community College and held in Scottsbluff. Central Community College will host the NCCA annual conference in 2022.