November 2021 Central Connection

November 2, 2021

NCCA honors CCC’s Anderson, Keller

By Scott Miller
College Communications Senior Director

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

Central Community College graduate
Chandra Anderson and retired CCC
nursing instructor Colleen Quadhamer

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 is a 2009 graduate of the nursing program at CCC-Kearney. 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 Samaritan 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 at the awards ceremony.

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


Keller 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.”

Scholarship to benefit auto body program

By Scott Miller
College Communications Senior Director

The auto body technology program at Central Community College-Hastings has secured a newly endowed scholarship.

The Highway Creepers Car Club of Kearney has donated $10,001 dollars to the Tony Turner Memorial Scholarship, which will generate funds for students in the auto body technology program. Turner was owner of Turner Body Shop 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 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.”

Some Halloween fun

Students and mannequins both got into the Halloween spirit this year at Central Community College-Lexington. Amy Hill, extended learning services regional director, describes instructor Lori Scroggin (in the sunflower top, middle of back row) as an excellent teacher who makes the nursing assistant class fun for these Lexington High School students. She’s joined in this effort by new part-time instructor Shawn Riley (in orange scrubs, third from the left).

News briefs

NCCA gains new executive director

Courtney Wittstruck has been named the new executive director of the Nebraska Community College Association (NCCA).

She will take over for Greg Adams, a former state legislator and speaker of the legislature, who is retiring.

Wittstruck has been plant manager of Continental Tire and Rubber Company’s industrial belt facility in Lincoln since 2017. Before that, she worked as production manager at Eaton Corporation’s vehicle division plant in Kearney.

She graduated from Clemson University and later earned a master’s degree from The Citadel and a law degree from the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina.

The NCCA is a lobbying organization made up of Central, Mid-Plains, Northeast, Southeast Community and Western Nebraska community colleges.

CCC employees win NCMPR awards

Four Central Community College employees received awards at the recent National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) District 5 conference in Omaha.

A Gold went to Emily Klimek, graphic design specialist, and Kelsey Seidler, Hastings Campus print shop manager and designer, for their novelty CCC stickers.

Klimek also received a Silver for novelty CCC argyle socks while Seidler received two Bronzes, one for a novelty CCC Central Visit Days T-shirt and another for the mid-year graduation program.

Other award winners were Amanda Groff, marketing director,  a Silver for the Fall 2020 registration radio advertising campaign, and Deserah Janke, Columbus Campus print shop coordinator and designer, a Bronze for the winter, spring and summer extended learning services booklet.

Seminar to focus on child care businesses

Central Community College will offer a free informational seminar, “Opening A Family Child Care Home Business,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 in Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney and Ord. It also will be available online.

Topics will include testimonials from current home providers, the benefits of family home care, and resources in Nebraska.

The seminar will be held in the North Education Center, Room 904, at the Columbus Campus; Room 103 at the Grand Island Campus; the Dawson Building, Room 306, at the Hastings Campus; and Room 310 at the Kearney Center. Signs will be posted at the Ord Learning Center.

Sponsors are the Hall County Community Collaborative, Communities for Kids-Nebraska Children, Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative, Nebraska Early Learning Connection and CCC.

More than 100 people attended the Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit Oct. 21-22 in Ord.

The progressive dinner drew a sold-out
crowd of 50 people who enjoyed delicacies
from local Valley County growers and

Ord welcomes young Nebraskans

Ord was the destination of choice for young Nebraskans who came to the community Oct. 21-22 to network and learn how they can shape the future of the state and its communities at the Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) Summit.

Fifty young Nebraskans were welcomed for a sold-out evening of progressive dining. They moved locations from appetizer to dinner to dessert and tasted flavors from local Valley County growers and producers.

More than 100 people from across the state attended the Friday summit. It opened with national speaker and author, Melody Warnick, who spoke about “Finding Home Wherever You Are.”

The event continued with breakout sessions at Central Community College’s Ord Learning Center and The Trotter Event Center. Topics included place therapy, entrepreneurship, running for public office, the art of leadership, fall foods, and changing careers.

The afternoon session featured Nebraska speakers Feroz Mohmand and Becky Boesen.

“Summit attendees had the opportunity to connect, network, develop professional skills and share their big ideas, resources, and solutions with peers from across the state,” said Crystal Ramm, extended learning services regional director.  “The summit offered the opportunity and space for conversations designed to give attendees a broader perspective and tangible ideas for making a difference in their organization and community. 

As part of the local planning committee, Ramm and Ord Learning Center administrative assistant Janet Eppenbach assisted with a large part of the planning, marketing, fundraising, and set-up for this event.

“This was an incredible event and an amazing opportunity to showcase Ord and welcome people to the community,” Ramm said.

Employee news

Columbus Campus

New employees include Jodi Chase, registration and assessment technician, and Amy Mahoney, recruiting and admissions technician.

Rodney “Rod” Muller, 70, of Columbus died Oct. 21 at his home. Services were Oct. 26 at Peace Lutheran Church in Columbus with burial in Roselawn Cemetery, also in Columbus.

He was born Dec. 12, 1950, in Columbus to Earl and Kathryn (Rawhouser) Muller. He graduated from Columbus Senior High School in 1969. On June 7, 1969, he married Patricia Frost in Columbus.

He worked for the Columbus Telegram, Behlen Manufacturing and Home Plumbing. He then was physical plant director at Central Community College-Columbus until his retirement. He also owned and operated 1st-N-10 Steakhouse and Scampy’s Ranch House Restaurant. He was a member of Peace Lutheran Church.

Survivors include his wife, five daughters, two brothers, three sisters, 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter, a sister and a brother.

McKowan Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Grand Island Campus

Joining the staff are Wendy Baumeister, criminal justice instructor, and Nathan Henman, building maintenance technician.

Chris Miotke has resigned as a Project HELP success coach.

Misty Peterson is shifting positions from Project HELP success coach to health programming director with the extended learning services department.

Jana Vincik is being promoted from part-time service center specialist to full-time administrative assistant for the business and skilled and technical sciences department.

Hastings Campus

Vicki Kucera, student financial aid services area director, has received the Ron Simout Award for Teaching and Mentoring from the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The award recognizes her dedication and personal commitment to encouraging and developing leaders for RMASFAA and the financial aid profession.

Kearney Center

Ross Huxoll and Bryce Zavadil have joined the staff as nursing instructors.

Anna Payne-Polson is shifting gears from Project HELP success coach to administrative assistant for the extended learning services department at the Hastings Campus.