2015 Emeritus Recipients

The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) presented its first-ever Emeritus Award Spring, 2015 to nine of the college’s retirees.

Those recognized include both faculty and staff, and were employed at EICC’s Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community College campuses and other locations. The nine include:

  • John Baker, Scott Community College Biology Instructor
  • John Bonte, Clinton Community College Chemistry Instructor
  • Martha Bonte, Clinton Community College Humanities Instructor
  • Merle Ihne, Muscatine Community College Conservation Instructor
  • Gerhard (Jeff) Koch, Muscatine Community College Chemistry Instructor (posthumously)
  • Iris Lafollette, Clinton Community College administrative assistant
  • Paul Mayes, Muscatine Community College Biology Instructor
  • Vernon Ohlendorf, Muscatine Community College Physics Instructor
  • Mary Teague, EICC Dean of Developmental Education


2015 Emeritus Award Recipients

Nine Eastern Iowa Community Colleges faculty and staff were
recognized Monday with the college’s first-ever
Emeritus Award.
The award was presented to retired and
retiring individuals who
exemplified service to students
and the community during their
years with the college.
Receiving awards were, front row, left to
Deanna Koch (on behalf of the late Gerhard “Jeff” Koch),
Mary Teague, Martha Bonte, Vernon Ohlendorf. Back, Iris
Lafollette, John Bonte, Paul Mayes, John Baker
and Merle Ihne.

“We are blessed to have a number of individuals who, over the course of long careers have far exceeded what is required of them and have helped to create the culture of high aspirations and high expectations EICC works to maintain and develop today,” said EICC Chancellor Don Doucette. “These individuals have given of themselves both personally and professionally to move the colleges forward and to ensure our students have the best possible higher education experience.”

To be considered for Faculty or Staff Emeritus Status, an individual must have served at least 15 years at EICC and made significant contributions to the college, communities and their disciplines or professions.  Nominations are made by peers, approved by senior administrators, and supported by letters from colleagues, supervisors, students and community members.  Because this is the first year for the award, both current and past retirees were eligible.

The nominations were reviewed by a selection committee that recommended recipients to the Chancellor with the final award bestowed by the EICC Board of Trustees. The recipients were recognized at the Board of Trustees regular meeting Monday evening as well as a college reception earlier in the day.

The recipients’ accomplishments include:

John Baker  John Baker, Faculty Emeritus
John Baker is retiring from Scott Community College this year after 36 years of service. Baker served in many roles over those years, from instructor to Dean of Applied Technology, Dean of Continuing Education, Dean of the Kahl Educational Center, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and back to the classroom.

As EICC’s acknowledged expert on professional development, he engaged faculty and staff colleagues in many learning activities and discussions, most notably the Great Teachers’ Workshop.  He has also taken that experience abroad, sharing Great Teacher experiences with faculty in Jordan, Namibia and Thailand.  
John Bonte John Bonte, Faculty Emeritus
John Bonte retired in 2014 from Clinton Community College where he began his career in 1976. Over the course of his 38 years, he exemplified how a faculty member changes with the times, adapting his curriculum and teaching style over the years to accommodate changing technologies and learning styles.

In the 1980s, he pioneered distance learning by taping his lectures and sending them to Muscatine Community College, and later he was among the first instructors utilizing the Televised Interactive Education system.  In the 1990s, he became deeply involved in developing hazmat and environmental classes and in the early 2000s, he was one of the college’s pioneers in online education, developing chemistry courses and integrating virtual labs into his hands-on labs in the regular classroom.  
Martha Bonte Martha Bonte, Faculty Emeritus
Martha Bonte retired in 2014 after 31 years at Clinton Community College.  Martha understood the importance of global citizenship and looked for ways to bring the world to her classroom.  She visited Thailand and China on EICC’s behalf, teaching there and bringing her experiences back to her students and curriculum.  

She was deeply involved in the life of the college and the district, serving on numerous academic and service committees, and serving as a mentor to new faculty. Her commitment continued throughout her career and in her final year as a full-time faculty member, Martha accepted the challenge to co-chair the Committee on a Culture of High Aspirations and High Expectations.  
Merle Ihne Merle Ihne, Faculty Emeritus
Merle Ihne was a pioneer in conservation education, developing the first two-year conservation degree program in the state of Iowa. He led its growth from Muscatine Community College to one that served all EICC students and now involves programming at Nahant Marsh.  

Held in the highest regard by experts in the field, Merle continues to be consulted regularly as an advisor to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Fairport State Fish Hatchery.  He even discovered an endangered species of perch in Iowa, the pirate perch.  He continues to teach, volunteering at a Texas wildlife refuge during the winter where he teaches visitors about the native birds.
Gerhard (Jeff) Koch

Gerhard (Jeff) Koch, Faculty Emeritus (posthumously)
For 41 years, Jeff Koch was the face of the chemistry department at Muscatine Community College, retiring in 2000. His influence was so strong even after his retirement in 2000 and death in 2010 that MCC’s new science wing was named in his honor.  

Koch was a strong believer in integrating new technologies into his classroom.  He earned grants from the National Science Foundation to integrate computer data into chemistry laboratory experiences and helped pioneer the environmental science course still offered at our colleges.  In 1989 he was recognized with the National Teaching Excellence Award.

Pictured  Deanna Koch (on behalf of the late Gerhard “Jeff” Koch)

Iris Lafollette Iris Lafollette, Staff Emeritus
As administrative assistant in several departments at Clinton Community College over her 31 year career, Iris Lafollette was always willing to go above and beyond in providing service to others.  As faculty typist for a number of years, Iris prided herself on providing timely and quality documents to instructors, including the very challenging math and chemistry department exams.

Nursing students have benefitted for many years from a scholarship fund Iris established as a memorial to her daughter, Pamela, and several of her own family members have chosen CCC to begin their college careers.
Paul Mayes Paul Mayes, Faculty Emeritus
Paul Mayes taught biology and environmental science classes at Muscatine Community College for 39 years, 25 of those as department chair.  He was a founding member of the Iowa Community College Biology Teachers Association, a group that made great strides in opening lines of communication with their counterparts at Regents universities and providing for smoother transfer for community college graduates.  

Mayes has done extensive research in biology, microbiology and genetics, and continues to advise numerous area conservation and wildlife groups, as well as teaching FFA and 4H students. He mentored new students and staff and served on many committees, including the one that designed the new science addition at MCC.
Vernon Ohlendorf Vernon Ohlendorf, Faculty Emeritus
Vernon Ohlendorf taught college and engineering physics, geology, astronomy and mechanical drawing, serving as department chair early in his career. At Muscatine Community College, he created many of his own assignments and lab exercises to save students the cost of expensive manuals, and designed and built a number of devices for classroom demonstrations.  He even built a small planetarium in his classroom.  

Retired for more than 20 years, “Mr. O” is still teaching, working his magic with Boy Scouts, at-risk students at a local elementary school, and a local First Lego League Robotics Team.  
Mary Teague Mary Teague, Staff Emeritus
As Dean of Developmental Education for EICC, Mary Teague’s was dedicated to leveling the playing field for disadvantaged and disenfranchised individuals. She was also relentless in finding grant funds and community partners to support perennially underfunded programs and provide critical services to the people who needed them the most.  

Well known and active in many community organizations, Teague has continued to serve as an ambassador for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and for education as the path to success.