Launched in 2015, the award recognizes retired and retiring employees who served careers of dedicated service to the college. To be considered, an individual must have worked for EICC for at least 15 years and made significant contributions to the college communities and their disciplines or professions.
Nominations are made by peers and supported by letters from colleagues, supervisors, students, and community members. The nominations are reviewed by a selection committee which recommends recipients to the Chancellor. The final award is bestowed by the EICC Board of Trustees.
Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development
In 2006, Arends came to EICC as an Employment and Training Counselor. Since then, she’s held various roles, including Special Needs Specialist, Assistant Director and Associate Director for the lowa@Work programs, Director of Workforce Innovation, and currently, the Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development. No matter the job title, she always lead with: “Will this decision be in the best interest of our students?” This philosophy has underpinned her every action and decision, leaving an unforgettable mark on the lives of countless students.
Arends’ influence is particularly notable in strengthening connections with manufacturers and expanding apprenticeship programs in the region. Her entrepreneurial spirit and expertise have been invaluable in the creation of many innovative programs and services. Arends consistently sought to bring value to local business and industry by forging strategic partnerships with the college and ensuring that its offerings align with their evolving needs. Her knowledge has been instrumental in driving forward-thinking workforce strategies that benefit both the college and the surrounding communities.
Executive Administrative Assistant
For over two decades, Beinke served as the Executive Administrative Assistant for Clinton Community College’s (CCC) Clinton Technology Center. As a CCC graduate herself, Beinke’s contributions to the college and local community has been nothing short of exceptional. She tirelessly coordinated and facilitated continuing education (CE) customized training for local companies, while also providing valuable support to credit students enrolled at the college.
In her role as administrative support for CE Business Solutions Consultants, Beinke excelled in preparing sales proposals, managing contracts, and liaising with businesses to schedule training dates. She also supported the CE manufacturing programs, where she efficiently organizes public and contract training manufacturing classes. Her high standards, collaborative spirit, and willingness to support others have established her as an informal mentor to students and colleagues alike.
Executive Assistant to the Chancellor
Since starting her role as an Executive Assistant in 1997, Swanson has immaculately supported the work of four EICC Chancellors, including John Blong, Pat Keir, Don Doucette, and currently, Sonya Williams. Leading with the highest degrees of professionalism, competence, and compassion, she’s known as ‘the sunshine in the Chancellor’s office.’ With an extraordinary gift for customer service and an unparalleled ability to unravel even the most intricate questions and concerns, Swanson has been a valuable resource for many. As a result, she was instrumental in creating connections with internal and external partners of the college. In 2015, she was recognized for these efforts and received the prestigious Outstanding Support Staff Award from the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT).
Beyond her professional achievements, Doris is a cherished colleague known for her genuine care and consideration for others. She consistently goes above and beyond to support colleagues during difficult times or personal milestones, truly exemplifying the college's core value of "belonging."
Engineering Technology Professor
In his 40-year career with the college, Wallace played a pivotal role in the transformation of the original Electronics program into the Mechatronics program and, subsequently, the present Engineering Technology program. With each evolution, he meticulously developed new curricula, established requirements, and set high expectations for his students. He seamlessly adapted to new equipment and consistently incorporated industry-relevant skills, ensuring that his students would excel in their future careers.
In addition to his outstanding classroom instruction, Wallace fostered strong partnerships with local industries in Clinton and the surrounding communities. Companies knew graduates from his program were exceptionally well-trained and this talent pipeline resulted in countless equipment donations for his programs. Wallace will be remembered by many as a hard-working employee that approached his responsibilities with boundless enthusiasm, a strong sense of purpose, and an unwavering drive to achieve tangible results.
Over the course of her 31-year tenure, Wood continuously found ways to utilize technology to enhance learning experiences for her students. She played a pivotal role in adopting online mathematics courses through the Iowa Communication Network (ICN), landing her the Iowa Community College Online Consortium Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2014. Described as a ‘brilliant educator,’ Wood made sure that her students received in-depth instruction with relevant examples that made math relatable to various professions and daily life applications.
Beyond her instructional achievements, Wood actively contributed to Clinton Community College’s Paul B. Sharar Foundation Scholarship Committee, initiating scholarships that have provided life-changing opportunities for students in math, science, social work, and art. And, as an artist herself, she participated in the Fine Arts Committee and found joy in exhibiting her weavings in the college art gallery.
Scott Community College, Mathematics Instructor
Over the course of her 22 year tenure, Brodersen has worked tirelessly to build Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ mathematics course offerings into what they are today—accessible and achievable for all. Executing a Math Emporium module for the district and creating the curriculum for brand-new courses like Accelerated Algebra and Math Literacy, her advancements have impacted the lives of many students.
Brodersen is described as being a “knowledgeable, patient and kind” instructor, often seen helping students outside of classroom and training peers on innovative teaching methods. In addition to her teaching duties, Brodersen served on the Math Task Force, SCC Honors Program, United Way Foundation, Data Collections Committee, and Time Schedule Matrices Committee, among others.
Clinton Community College Continuing Education, Business Solutions Consultant
For the past 15 years, Cottle exemplified EICC’s commitment to a culture of ‘High Aspirations, High Expectations’ by providing exceptional customer service and high-quality training opportunities to the eastern Iowa region. His diligence to build strong relationships with local agencies, boards, committees and legislative groups, allowed the college to meet workforce needs and increase employee skill and performance.
Cottle’s “incredibly hardworking, dedicated and passionate” nature set the standard of professional development classes at EICC. In his retirement, he will leave behind a long list of successes including the district’s High School Career Academies, ‘Venture School’ entrepreneurial training, the Manufacturing Awareness Program, and the Citizen Police Academy, just to name a few.
Ruth Ann Gallagher
Scott Community College, English Instructor
Gallagher made quite the impact during her 40-year teaching career as a fierce advocate for higher education, the community and EICC. She made sure that students knew they were capable of achieving their career goals, regardless of barriers. This passion bled into her efforts with the Iowa Organization for Student Success (IOSS) and the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), where she served as an Executive Board Member for both organizations. Much of this work contributed to her discipline in developmental education.
Beyond the classroom, she held positions on numerous college committees, and served as a Department Coordinator and the SCC Volunteer Club Advisor. It was through Volunteer Club that she was able to expand the scope of students’ lives through volunteer work and trips to cultural institutions across the Midwest. A past student said this of Gallagher, “She has shown her students the importance of empathy, giving, and being humble. She has encouraged us to follow our dreams, accept our faults, and to know we can change the world around us by helping others.”
Scott Community College, Associate Dean for Instruction and Student Services
Wearing many hats in her 36-year career, Hess wholly embodied the vision of THE Community’s College by fostering an inclusive campus environment with equitable resources and opportunities for all. She began her career with SCC as the Central American Scholarship Program (CASP) Coordinator, selecting, welcoming, and training over 250 students from 20 countries as international students of the college. She later became the CASS (Cooperative Association of States Scholarship) Program Coordinator, and finally co-serving as the SEED (Scholarships for Education and Economic Development) Program Coordinator and Assistant Dean for Instruction and Student Services.
Beside her managerial work, Hess was actively involved in the Diversity Club, planning speakers and events for the Diversity Academy; served as the unofficial “Engagement Officer,” planning activities on campus for students; a member of the Volunteer Club, helping with projects on campus; and organizing the campus’ Food Pantry, which helped students overcome food security.
Scott Community College, Special Needs Coordinator
Devoting 41 years of service to the college, Weis helped hundreds of students overcome challenges and reach their full potential as a Lab Assistant, Disability Services Provider, Special Needs Coordinator, and Instructor. Regarded as one of Iowa’s top experts in higher education disabilities, she provided abundant training to the EICC community and beyond, concerning disability laws, diversity issues for students diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and autism, classroom teaching methods, adaptive technology usage, and more. Nevertheless, Weis never saw limitations—she saw students who needed to understand their disability and find the strategies needed to be successful.
Her decade’s long career also is marked by her commitment to provide students with resources for academic success. Since its inception in 1996, Weis built the SCC Honors Program from the ground up and held almost every leadership position for the past 26 years. In addition, Weis has served as the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Society Advisor since 1997, retaining a five-star status several years in a row. Most notably, her support helped bring therapy dogs to campus every month for mental health reprieve and the Urban Quick Foods Closet, providing free, ready to ‘eat or heat’ snacks for students.
Alan Campbell, Staff Emeritus
Retiring June 2021 as Associate Director for Marketing and Communications
Alan Campbell embodied what it means to be THE Community's College by serving 35 years as the Associate Director for Marketing and Communications, providing vision, creativity and leadership to all of the EICC's marketing efforts. In addition to his great contributions to EICC, Campbell has advanced the profession of community college marketing in both Iowa and across the entire country as a 30-year member of NCMPR (the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations) and former President of the national organization.
“I can think of few others in the community college marketing profession who have been as effective communicator, as novel a creator, as inspiring a leader, as nurturing a mentor, and as passionate a champion as Alan Campbell," said Jeff Ebbing, NCMPR Vice President.
Jonathan Ikoba, Faculty Emeritus
Retiring June 2021 as Economics and Global Studies Instructor, Scott Community College
Jonathan Ikoba served 27-years with Scott Community College as an Economics and Global Studies Instructor, sharing his knowledge and strength of character in the classroom and beyond. Best described as a man of “great integrity and heart,” Ikoba also served as a leader and mentor to faculty as the Social Sciences Department Coordinator and on a variety of institutional committees. A forward thinker with a thirst for knowledge, he is an expert in developing learning strategies and community initiatives with a lasting impact.
“Ikoba stands as a model of integrity in all that he does. With a kind and genuine demeanor, Ikoba exemplifies professional standards in his department, in his classroom and the greater community," said Isaac Newman, Interim Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences.
Marcia Larson, Staff Emeritus
Retiring June 2021 as Academic Advisor and Disabilities Resource Coordinator, Clinton Community College
Marcia Larson made it her mission to help students succeed, serving for more than 15 years with Clinton Community College as an Academic Advisor, the Co-Chair of the Retention Committee and the Disabilities Resource Coordinator. A vocal advocate for removing barriers to student success, she was instrumental in the creation of the CCC Cupboard to reduce food insecurity for students, helped develop a program to provide bus passes and gas cards to those in need, and took it upon herself to become the “guru” in many areas of the college.
“She will always go above and beyond to help students. Larson has assisted many with needs such as homelessness, abuse, hunger, lack of support, and low or no income. She works with community resources to try to do what they can to care for students so they can be successful," said Lisa Miller, Clinton Community College Dean of Student Development.
Gale Roeder, Staff Emeritus
Retired December 2021 as Manager of CE Community Programming
Gale Roeder served 46 years in the college's Continuing Education (CE) Department, retiring as the Manager of CE Community Programming. During her decades long career, she mastered what is unattainable for most: the ability to continually innovate and build new relationships at a pace that can only be described as “super-human.” It is her persistent determination that helped her build the largest and most diverse portfolio of programs in the college’s Continuing Education Department.
“With her energy and commitment to the community college philosophy I can say with certainty that Gale touched more individual segments of the community than anyone else in the EICCD system,” said Nancy Kothenbeutel, former Vice Chancellor for Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
Peggy Thoms, Faculty Emeritus
Retired as Psychology Instructor, Clinton Community College
Peggy Thoms exemplified EICC’s commitment to a culture of high aspirations and expectations during her 20 plus years as a Psychology Instructor for Clinton Community College by prioritizing student success. One of the first to embrace hybrid-teaching models, Thoms quickly adopted to new technology and developed a challenging but supportive learning environment where students flourished. Outside the classroom, she was an active member of numerous campus and district committees including Professional Development Committee, Faculty Association Representative and LEAP Assessment Goals Committee, to name a few.
"Whatever her focus…helping a student understand the material or mentoring a faculty member, she did so with enthusiasm a strong sense of purpose, empathy, and integrity, working tirelessly to get results," said colleagues.
Kathy Sunderbruch, Faculty Emeritus
Retired as English Instructor, Muscatine Community College
Kathy Sunderbruch served more than 35 years as an English Instructor at Muscatine Community College, challenging and inspiring students to reach their full potential with meticulous classroom preparation, outstanding instruction and the ability to stretch her students’ critical thinking skills. Beyond her work in the classroom, she was also an active ally of “All Kinds of People,” a G-L-B-T student organization, and the founding member of the AKOP book club.
"Sunderbruch was truly at the top level of all the instructors I have known over my past fifty years in education. She and her husband have always been strong supporters of the college and the MCC Foundation and are the type of folks you would want as neighbors, friends and colleagues," said former Muscatine Community College President Vic McAvoy.
Barb Hixon served more than 30 years as a Biology Instructor at Scott Community College (SCC). Teaching primarily human anatomy and physiology courses, Hixon prepared generations of students for success in various health and allied health programs. Equal to her contribution as a biology instructor, was her contributions as a faculty mentor.
“Barb was always willing to work with new faculty, many of whom have never taught before,” said Angie Ghrist, SCC Biology Instructor. “Thanks to Barb’s expertise and generosity, the tradition of quality instruction in the biological sciences at EICC will continue long after her departure.”
Karen Vickers served Clinton Community College (CCC) in a variety of roles for 35 years, 23 of those as the college’s President, providing vision, leadership and direction to the college’s credit and non-credit programs and student development services. She also dedicated her time and talents as Vice Chancellor for Academic Leadership and Vice Chancellor for Student Development. Her professionalism, empathy, and commitment to improving all aspects of the college helped build the culture and the recognition of being a Top Iowa Workplace for many years.
“Her career at Clinton Community College exemplifies outstanding service to students, staff, faculty, the college, the district and the community,” said Gina Bielski, CCC Communication Instructor and Department Coordinator. “Karen’s presence on campus is missed since she retired, but her hard work and endearing example will be carried forward in the many lives she has improved.”
Deb Goodall served more than 30 years in EICC’s Continuing Education Department, both as CE Program Manager and Dean, demonstrating outstanding service and bringing many “firsts” to the department. For example, she led a comprehensive program review process, resulting in the implementation of an online registration system and restructuring of the department, as well as forged transformative community partnerships.
“As a leader, she has been open-minded and willing to listen to others’ perspective before making final decisions,” said Lauri Eich, Associate Director of CE Operations. “She has always felt it imperative to contribute any way possible to the organization, whether on the many committees she served, volunteering to help with EICC staff or student events, or just working endlessly to ensure we offer quality training to our community at a reasonable price.”
Rob Lipnick served 17 years as an art instructor at Scott Community College, bringing life to the walls of the campus and inspiring hundreds of students with his passion, knowledge and local partnerships with Quad City art organizations, such as the Figge Art Museum. In addition, he shared his teaching knowledge and expertise as the Humanities Department Chair, taught several unique Honors courses, maintained his own art studio and launched SCC’s “The Read” Art Gallery in the Library, curating five shows each year.
“He has left us an inheritance of beautiful student art pieces and a legacy for continuing his mission of mentoring students and others in the appreciation of all types of art,” said Jan Weis, Disability Resources and Honors Co-coordinator.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2018 as EICC Dean of Curriculum, EICC District Office
For more than 30 years, Laurie Adolph has supported student success from all directions. From striving for excellence in her teaching as an English instructor at Clinton Community College, to effectively leading countless district initiatives, including assessment, accreditation and curriculum, Adolph has exemplified what it means to be a leader.
Adolph believes in the importance of EICC changing lives and communities, and her passion for this important work is evident in everything she does. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Adolph has led the way on many new initiatives that have made EICC an even better institution.
Described as a “forever teacher,” Adolph’s willingness to always share, encourage, and do whatever it takes to get the job done leaves a lasting imprint on the hearts and minds of everyone she encounters.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired May 2019 as Biology Instructor, Scott Community College
Mark Aronson has served as an environmental science instructor at Scott Community
College for more than three decades, using his expertise to ignite a passion in students
for stewardship of the outdoors.
An innovator in the classroom, Aronson has the led the way in new methods to actively engage students. His classes rarely take place inside the lab – instead students participated in hands-on field experiences, like a trip to the wastewater treatment plant or Nahant Marsh. Since 1988 he’s worked tirelessly with members of SCC’s Environmental Club to make the campus a more beautiful, sustainable place. He’s helped initiate a campus recycling program, planted a butterfly garden, installed numerous campus bio swales, created hiking trails, hosted campus speakers and organized off campus field trips.
His legacy will live on not only in the wonders of nature found throughout campus, but also in each and every student making an effort to protect and preserve the environment.
Russ (Armond) Dunn
Faculty Emeritus, Retired May 2019 as Biology Instructor, Scott Community College
Very few instructors reach the point where students use the word “hardest” and “best” in the same sentence when describing their class – but Scott Community College Biology Instructor Russ Dunn is one of the rare few.
Despite the sometimes difficult nature of his classes, his passion for science is contagious and serves to motivate students to learn and achieve beyond their own expectations. In his 30 plus years with EICC, he’s impacted countless students with his enthusiasm and commitment to professional development. Once a week without fail, he traveled to the University of Iowa to read the latest journals and publications, sharing what he’d learned with colleagues and students. In 2008, he created an Honors Seminar titled “The Biology of Cancer,” which has been taught repeatedly due to its popularity, especially among pre-health majors.
Beyond being a beloved and effective instructor, Russ has shown himself to be a selfless and caring person, helping students succeed by giving them a winter coat or a ride to class when their car was in the shop.
Staff Emeritus, Retiring in June as Purchasing Specialist, EICC District Office
During Cindy LaFrentz’s 40 plus years working in the EICC Business Office, her dedication, enthusiasm and positive disposition have impressed everyone who’s had the pleasure of working with her.
As the Purchasing Specialist for the district, she serves a vital role in its day-to-day operations - often handling a significant workload with the highest level of efficiency and professionalism. Over the years, the district has gone through many changes. From conversions to new computer systems to facility improvements to the recent move to SCC’s Urban Campus, LaFrentz has used her immense knowledge and talent to ensure a smooth transition.
In addition, she is the “go-to” person when it comes to all purchases and contracts and is always willing to lend a helping hand. That giving spirit extends far beyond her professional role, as she is often one of the first to volunteer for campaigns like United Way or Toys for Tots.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired May 2019 as Culinary Arts Facilitator, Scott Community College
In the last 20 plus years, Chef Brad Scott has worked tirelessly building Scott Community College’s Culinary Arts Program into what it is today – a nationally recognized program that produces highly trained chefs every year.
A leader in culinary teaching, Scott has won numerous awards and been recognized for the extremely successful Culinary Arts Apprenticeship program, which even earned him a personal visit from former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. In 2010, he was instrumental in the creation of SCC’s state-of-the-art Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management facility.
With his vibrant personality and passion for cooking, he’s made a name for himself not only on campus but also in the community. He strongly believes in giving back and instills this commitment of community service in his students. He’s hosted dozens of charitable functions, televised cooking segments, and initiated a second chance program, giving students with a past criminal history a fresh start.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2018 as Dean, Clinton Community College
Ron Serpliss came to EICC in 1997, first serving as the Dean of Students at Clinton Community College before assuming the role of Dean. An active listener, Serpliss served the college and students with great enthusiasm and incorporated their ideas and concerns into his planning.
Giving of his time and resources, he was always willing to help those in need. Whether that be paying for a student’s books or mentoring faculty. A forward thinker, innovator, and creator, Serpliss was the guiding handing in many campus improvement projects, especially library and classroom renovations. As plans were discussed for the library, it was his idea to carve out an Art Gallery. This addition has provided students, faculty, staff, and local artists a beautiful space to display their work.
The manner in which he served the faculty, staff and students helped create a college community that takes care of each other.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2016 as Welding Instructor, Muscatine Community College
In his 38 years as an instructor for Muscatine Community College, Paul Wilts exemplified
EICC’s commitment to a culture of high aspirations and expectations. Initially hired
to teach welding classes, when the program temporarily closed he demonstrated great
He worked in continuing education training dozens of companies, instructed students in the maintenance technician and engineering tech programs, and even taught a German class or two, before eventually transitioning back into his original position as a welding instructor. His ability to connect with students and understand their needs made him a very well-liked and respected instructor.
He was particularly keyed into the needs of at-risk students and strongly believed education would provide them a way forward. He did everything he could to ensure they received a job-ready education and was a big supporter of women in the welding industry as well.
Giving of his time and talents, Wilts frequently volunteered in the community wherever help was needed.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2016 as Biology Instructor, Scott Community College
In her 40-year tenure with EICC, Pamela Bass demonstrated the range of flexibility that made her a highly valued member of the college’s team. Starting as a new faculty member in the medical laboratory technology program in 1975, Bass spent her entire career helping students and fellow faculty members master new skills in changing educational environments.
She served 25 years in the allied health department, where she helped double the number of allied health programs offered at EICC. When the med lab tech program ended in 2000, Pam moved to Arts & Sciences, becoming a full-time member of the biology faculty.
In 2005, she enthusiastically embraced the advent of online instruction, developing courses and becoming a mentor-trainer for the Iowa Community College Online Consortium. Pam is recognized at EICC and throughout the state of Iowa as a leading expert in both the teaching and technology aspects of online learning.
She has been instrumental in the development of state-wide standards for online instructor preparation and development, and has led many professional development sessions for EICC and ICCOC.
Pam’s passion for education is still alive and well in her 43rd year of teaching as she continues to serve EICC’s students as an adjunct faculty member.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2017 as ATEEC Project Coordinator
During Glo Hanne’s 23 years with EICC’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), she held the goal of 100 percent correct, not just “good enough.” She always wanted her work and everything associated with EICC and ATEEC to be “perfect.”
As project coordinator for the college’s National Science Foundation Center of Excellence, Hanne not only kept the office running and everyone on schedule, she also oversaw several projects of her own. She served as project manager for the U.S. EPA’s Brownfields Workforce Development Program, coordinating two-day environmental workforce training workshops all over the country for 22 years.
Hanne helped resurrect the college’s Environmental Health & Safety training program, working with instructors and local business and industry to make it the successful program it is today. She also served as editor of ATEEC’s website and for many of its national publications.
Faculty Emeritus, Retiring 2018 as Developmental Education Instructor, Clinton Community College
An 18-year developmental education faculty member at Clinton Community College (CCC), Jane Marlowe has been described as a “calm, encouraging partner with colleagues, a competent and compassionate instructor, and a tireless advocate for our students.”
In addition to her devotion to students in her classroom, Marlow has been a tremendous leader for EICC. She has served as department chair, worked on numerous college and district committees, and served as board member for the Iowa Developmental Education Association.
Ten years ago she developed CCC’s Learning Communities, providing an opportunity for students to work and learn as a cohort, share the same teachers and build relationships with each other. Retention and persistence of the students in these cohorts outpaced that for other students, allowing many individuals to achieve academic success.
Marlowe has also served as the Phi Theta Kappa advisor at CCC, leading the chapter to Five-Star Status throughout her tenure as advisor. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Advisor by the National PTK, and the chapter has received the organization’s REACH Award for its membership growth.
Marlowe also served as the coordinator of peer tutoring for the college’s Student Success Center – hiring, training and supporting peer tutors who work with students needing assistance.
Staff Emeritus, Retiring 2018 as Dean of Students, Clinton Community College
Lisa Miller is an EICC home-grown success story. As a Scott Community College student in the 1980s, Lisa took her first job in Student Activities, making change for the pool players in the Student Life Center.
After working her way up through the ranks, she is retiring this year as Dean of Students at Clinton Community College after more than 30 years of service to EICC. Miller’s journey from student to leader has shaped her leadership style, providing her with personal insight and understanding of our students’ needs and inspiring her always to make decisions based on what is best for our students.
She has been instrumental in implementing several initiatives to improve students’ experiences, including the creation of common time for student activities, restructuring academic advising, redesigning the Student Services area, and setting up the CCC Cupboard, a service to students who need food and other basic life necessities.
Miller is deeply involved in college and district committee work, with special responsibility for leading the College Registrars’ team in planning and implementing several new and improved processes. She leads by example, and never asks her staff to do anything she would not do herself.
Throughout her tenure she has always made herself available to assist staff with their own growth, serving as a formal mentor to several staff as both a supervisor and a L.E.A.D. Advocate, and an informal mentor to many others.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2009 as Assistant to the President, Muscatine Community College
Billie DeKeyrel is the “keeper of the flame” for Muscatine Community College. In her
29 years of service, she worked to preserve the history of the college and its alumni
and keep those alumni connected to their alma mater.
DeKeyrel provided support not only to the MCC president but to the college’s growing foundation. In the time she served as scholarship coordinator, foundation scholarship awards grew from $3,000 annually to $285,000 each year.
She also developed and led the college’s Alumni Association, creating regular communication pieces and events to help connect alumni to the college. The “Taste of Education” fundraiser and friendraiser she created for the alumni association enjoyed a very successful 10-year run. As a means of keeping the community more informed about their college, Billie negotiated with the Muscatine Journal for space in the newspaper each week filled with MCC news and activities.
Perhaps her most lasting legacy, though, is the Muscatine Junior College/Muscatine Community College Archive Library, where records, yearbooks, past issues of student newspapers, memorabilia and scrapbooks with photos dating back to 1929 are preserved.
Staff Emeritus, Retiring June 30, 2017, as EICC Dean of E-Learning
Heidi Hilbert began her EICC career in 1997 in the library at Scott Community College. Her skills got the attention of leaders who were starting the college’s distance learning program and she was asked to manage all aspects of the early electronic classes – from course development to marketing of the finished product.
She threw herself wholeheartedly into the distance enterprise, learning as much as she could about each new development in technology, curriculum development and teaching techniques, and becoming EICC’s strongest advocate for expanding accessibility to higher education through online programming. As Assistant Dean and now Dean of E-Learning, she strove for the highest quality in online education and worked tireless to continuously improve and expand the program.
Hilbert has developed 40 of the online courses currently in use, taught in the online program for 12 years, and has personally trained more than 60 online instructors. As a result of her leadership, EICC has the largest online enrollment in the state of Iowa. Known by her colleagues within EICC, at Iowa Community College Online Consortium member colleges, and across the national online community for her friendly and generous nature, she is always happy to share her knowledge and expertise and is a recognized expert in the field.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2016 as Education/Psychology Instructor, Scott Community College
After 35 years of dedicated counseling and teaching experience to SCC and its students, Lori Matthew retired last May as one of the college’s best loved faculty members. She came to SCC as a counselor and began teaching psychology courses before helping to develop the education curriculum.
Matthew served as department coordinator, was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year,
developed multiple courses in education and psychology, and coordinated the college’s
annual “Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day.” She was also very active in professional
development activities, leading many workshops and sessions for colleagues over the
Most importantly, though, Matthew was a great teacher, and continues to have a positive impact on students by teaching as an adjunct. She enjoys an excellent rapport with her students, who regularly stay after class and take advantage of her office hours for conversation and help.
“Lori has been the most compassionate, caring and insightful professor I ever had. Her classroom is a friendly place, where I know I can go to be heard and gain perspectives I normally wouldn’t,” said one of her former students. “She pushes her students to reach their full potential. Lori is everything I hope to be for my future classroom, and I can only hope to be half of the great educator she has taught me to be.”
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2009 as President, Muscatine Community College
In his 29 years at Muscatine Community College, Vic McAvoy made it a point to emphasize the “community” in college. His mission as MCC’s president for 23 of those years was to advance the college as a whole and to serve as its greatest advocate.
McAvoy’s service resulted in residence halls on campus, a Manufacturing Technology Center, a University Center that bears his name, and a foundation that provides more than $300,000 in scholarships to students each year. His commitment to “curb appeal” led to numerous physical improvements at MCC, and he later expanded that commitment when he served EICC as Vice Chancellor for Ancillary Services, including facilities.
McAvoy’s tireless work in the community created many partnerships for MCC and EICC. First National Bank of Muscatine, on whose board he served for 22 years, recently honored Vic’s community service with a $50,000 gift to the MCC Foundation in his honor for the library renovation project. Since retiring in 2009, he has continued his commitment to the college and its students as the part-time Executive Director of the MCC Foundation.
Mary Lanell Mogab
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2012 as English Instructor, Clinton Community College
As an English instructor at Clinton Community College, Lanell Mogab was recognized as an outstanding teacher, one who held high standards for her students, expecting them to be prepared, engaged, curious and dedicated to their studies. In return, she was a compassionate, caring instructor who worked tirelessly to help them succeed.
Service to the college and EICC were also important to Mogab, as evidenced by the many college and district committees she served. That included serving on an EICC team working in partnership with a college in Chennai, India, where she was instrumental in preparing the team for the academic and instructional conversations that took place.
As a long-time department coordinator, she provided positive leadership and generous support for all faculty and, upon retirement, left her successor with a jump drive full of syllabi, class materials, processes and contact information for adjuncts.
She continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member at the CCC Maquoketa Center and at Scott Community College.
Staff Emeritus, Retired March 2017 as EICC Assistant Director of Computer Support
Lynn Summers came to EICC in 1991 B.C. – Before Computers. Her natural logic and analytical skill-set transferred seamlessly to computer technology applications, and five years later she was one of the team leaders for the design, configuration and implementation of EICC’s first computer network. Many of the PC policies and procedures she put into place during those early years are still in place today.
Summers understands the importance of technology to students and EICC employees and, as Assistant Director of Computer Support, she and the technicians in her department provide fast and friendly service – they know that waiting until the next day to fix the problem is not an option.
For 20 years, she worked in the IT department by day and taught as an adjunct instructor
in the Administrative Office Professional program by night. Her high-energy level
engaged her students in learning hands-on skills.
Summer’s love of globetrotting is legendary, and she has proudly worn her EICC gear from Europe to South America to the Caribbean.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2016 as Information Technology Instructor, Scott Community College
Building the pipeline of students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is one of Iowa’s highest priorities. Over the course of her long career at EICC, Lori Walljasper made building that pipeline her personal mission.
Both a passionate teacher and an outstanding content expert, Walljasper generates enthusiasm from her students and her colleagues. She has been a driving force in the effort to attract more women and girls to technology careers working in special events such as “Girls in Coding,” “Plant Yourself in STEM,” EICC’s “Women in IT” conference, and STEM-related summer camps for middle school students.
Walljasper played a key role in bringing the EON virtual reality program to EICC, led the Department of Labor IHUM grant activities, and led the IT department through the difficult process of revising its curriculum.
She has been deeply committed to faculty professional development, presenting many Tech Talks on campus and serving as a leader in the Great Teachers Workshop, both locally and in an EICC-led project in Jordan.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2012 as Director of District Facilities
Kirk Barkdoll started at Scott Community College in 1982 as a career and technical instructor, before moving on to become Associate Dean for Community Education and Alternative Programming, Dean for Applied Technologies and then Dean of the College at Scott Community College (SCC). When EICC decided to make a major change in its IT operations, Barkdoll led the monumental transition effort. Following that success he was named Director of Facilities as EICC began $33 million in construction projects approved by voters in a 2007 bond referendum. Barkdoll retired when the last ribbon was cut in 2012, but remains dedicated to EICC, serving as a consultant on current facilities projects and volunteering his time as a LEAD Advocate for the colleges’ internal leadership academy.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2011 as Assistant to the President, Scott Community College
During Pat Cawiezell’s 33 years at SCC, she set a pace that few could keep up with. In addition to her responsibilities overseeing bookstore, cafeteria and maintenance operations, she was an early pioneer in the college’s sustainability efforts. From the beginning of her tenure in 1978 through today, Cawiezell has been one of SCC’s biggest supporters, both within the college and throughout the community, continuing to serve on the SCC Foundation Board and assisting part-time in Student Services and with a Continuing Education grant program for seniors.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2009 as Business Instructor, Muscatine Community College
As Muscatine Community College (MCC) Business Instructor, Carol Cunningham was committed to her students and their success, serving as both teacher and mentor. As the college’s Business Department Coordinator, she was a leader among her colleagues and used her strong connections in the community to build a highly effective program advisory committee and create internship opportunities for students. Cunningham also served on many college and district committees, bringing her calm and efficient manner to the task at hand.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2015 as Automotive Technology Instructor, Scott Community College
Putting others first was the hallmark of Darrell Hanan’s 28 years of service to Scott Community College and EICC. As a two-time recipient of the college’s Distinguished Faculty Award, he was widely recognized as an outstanding teacher. From designing the Automotive Technology classroom and lab in the most effective instructional format, to videotaping lectures and labs for students to refer to after class, Hanan found ways to help his students really grasp the skills they needed to learn and to encourage them to become lifelong learners once they were on the job.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2007 as Speech and Drama Instructor, Muscatine Community College
Over the course of her 39 years as Speech and Drama instructor at MCC, Nancy Keel introduced generations of students to the challenges and joys of public speaking, dramatic performance and theater production. In her pursuit of producing the best musical and dramatic productions possible, she reached out to Muscatine-area fine arts organizations and to business and industry to build support for student and community productions at MCC. That work led to development of MCC’s Partners in Excellence program, through which the community provides financial support to arts programming at the college.
Staff Emeritus, Retired 2013 as Vice Chancellor for Continuing Education and Workforce Development
EICC’s outstanding Continuing Education division owes its strength in no small part to the visionary leadership and creativity of Nancy Kothenbeutel, Vice Chancellor for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. Through her 36 years, led establishment of the Business and Industry Centers, the Blong Manufacturing Technology Center, the Midwest Center for Public Safety Training, and the West Davenport Center. She was a respected leader at the state and national levels including the National Council for Continuing Education and Training, the National Council for Workforce Education, and the Iowa Department of Education.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2013 as Agriculture Instructor, Muscatine Community College
In his three decades as an agriculture Instructor at MCC, Marshall McDonald embraced the concept of high aspirations and high expectations in all aspects of his teaching that extended well beyond the classroom to student organization meetings, study abroad trips to Ukraine and Denmark, and simply sitting down to lunch with students and fellow instructors. His positive influence extended well beyond the classroom and campus, to district committees, the annual FFA Soils Contest that he oversaw, Muscatine Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, Muscatine Sister Cities organization, and the farmers in the far reaches of northern Europe.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2011 as English Instructor, Scott Community College
For 32 years, English Instructor Dan Morgan taught students, encouraged and supported his peers, and strove to improve the academic environment at SCC. As English department coordinator he encouraged faculty to engage in professional development and to share what they learned with their colleagues. In addition to grateful students and colleagues, perhaps his most lasting legacy at SCC is the Honors Program. In his quiet, passionate way, Dan led a group of equally passionate colleagues in the development of this signature SCC program.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2006 as Humanities Instructor, Scott Community College
Alice Nielsen was hired in 1974 as an English Instructor for SCC’s career and technical programs. Her legacy began with an uncompromising dedication to help steer the development of SCC as it journeyed from a strictly vocational-technical institution to a comprehensive two-year college. She developed numerous classes in communications, human relations, humanities and art appreciation, and has taught telecourses, online classes and at businesses through the Continuing Education division. Although she officially retired in 2006, Alice continues to teach at SCC, where another generation of students benefits from this creative and gifted teacher.
Faculty Emeritus, Retiring 2016 as Music Instructor, Muscatine Community College
Jan Phillips has been MCC’s musical ambassador for 37 years. As music instructor, she encouraged students to explore the joys of music, no matter their perceived talent level. Students not only learn in the classroom, but gain the experience of performing in front of groups, from the MCC campus community and local Rotary Clubs to cruise ships and the hallowed stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. Phillips works closely with the drama department to produce a biennial Spring Madrigal Feast, as well as musical theater productions and variety shows. She also serves as musical director for the Muscatine Civic Chorale, and was one of the founders of the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2015 as History Instructor, Scott Community College
Bill Roba is the Quad Cities’ recognized expert on German-American history and was instrumental in the creation of the German-American Heritage Center. Many years before that, as one of the first Arts and Sciences instructors to come over in the merger with Palmer Junior College, he established SCC’s social sciences department. He serves as the college’s historian, having compiled and cataloged an impressive college archive, and recently wrote EICC’s chapter in a statewide book celebrating the 50th anniversary of Iowa’s community colleges. Roba was recognized with a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, allowing him to spend a semester teaching and learning in Ukraine.
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2008 as Diesel Technology Instructor, Scott Community College
In 32 years of teaching diesel technology at SCC, Frank Spies had a tremendous impact on hundreds of students, the college and the program. Through his efforts, SCC’s program was the first in the state to earn Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. His strong relationships with professionals in the field resulted not only in generous donations of equipment to the program but in 100 percent placement for his graduates. Spies continues to teach in the diesel technology program as a substitute instructor, serves on the program advisory committee, and serves as a teaching assistant at the Blong Technology Center.
Susan Hamilton Trudell
Faculty Emeritus, Retired 2014 as English Instructor, Scott Community College
Sue Trudell had an uncanny ability to connect with her students, perhaps because she was once one of them. Sue was a non-traditional student at SCC who went on to earn a Master’s degree and came back to teach in the SCC English department, eventually serving as department chair. She was instrumental in bringing the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society to campus and is a major reason why that organization is now recognized as a Five-Star Chapter.
Faculty Emeritus, Retiring 2016 as Philosophy/Humanities Instructor, Scott Community College
As coordinator of the Honors Program at SCC, Philosophy Instructor Nnachi Umennachi has been the driving force in developing the program into one of the most respected community college honors programs in the country. His commitment to education extends into the community, both locally and internationally, and he is actively involved in everything from research and publication to leading international educational organizations and building primary schools in his home state in Nigeria.
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 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 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 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
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.
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 benefited 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 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 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.
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.