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Year in Review 2013: Memories & Milestones | Print |

January 22, 2014

As the leading source for higher education in Jefferson County, Jefferson College's progress and accomplishments in 2013 help underscore the institution's mission of educational quality and community service:

College Celebrates 50 Years of Service to Students and Community
In celebration of the college's 50th anniversary and its immense impact on the region, a series of special events and activities was held February-May to honor the college's past, present and future. Highlighted by cultural performances, athletics, a scavenger hunt, photo displays, guest speakers, a documentary, a Leader newspaper retrospect section, and a week-long series of acknowledgement activities April 8-13, the celebration encompassed alumni, college retirees, current students and employees, past and present members of the Board of Trustees and Foundation, and the community.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the second annual Jefferson College Foundation Jazz and Jeans dinner and auction netted over $55,000 for scholarships, emergency student loans, textbooks, and other projects to benefit deserving students. The special evening was highlighted by remarks from the college's first graduate Sheryl Abernathy Pendergast; President Emeritus Dr. Ray Henry; alumni Carrie Flesh and Nancy Johnson; and husband/wife students Joseph and Maria Pilger.

Initiatives and Accolades Exemplify Institutional Excellence
Jefferson College was one of only nine institutions from across the state selected to participate in the Missouri Completion Academy, an initiative by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Complete College America. The college is now even more engaged in increasing student graduation and success rates by implementing a variety of nationally recognized best practices.

The college's Law Enforcement Academy 1000-011 day class, 1000-012 POST-only, and 1000-013 night class all achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) license exam. The Academy continues the streak of consecutive LEA classes (15) that have graduated with a 100 percent POST completion rate.

In connection with the college's long-range strategic plan and key performance indicators regarding student support, the Board of Trustees approved a $300,000 contract to renovate the Student Center on the Hillsboro campus in order to create a "one stop" location for enrollment, financial aid, advising, and payment, while better complying with federal and institutional privacy laws.

As one of several academic strategies developed to help students complete their associate degree, the college created a new Adult Learners (One Night Plus) option that allows students to earn an Associate of Arts degree by attending class one night a week and working online.

Building on the strengths of Jefferson College's bi-level nursing program and a continued emphasis on providing training for employment in high-demand healthcare fields, Jefferson College entered into a partnership with Central Methodist University allowing area registered nurses to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from CMU.

Over 100 residents graduated from Jefferson's Nursing program in 2013.

In order to provide residents with access to bachelor and graduate level classes on the Jefferson College campus, the Trustees renewed the longstanding agreement with Missouri Baptist University as an opportunity for residents to earn higher education degrees without having to commute outside Jefferson County.

All 21 of Jefferson College's Veterinary Technology grads who took the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) passed. Completion of the exam is the first step toward obtaining a license to practice veterinary technology.

he college's new Occupational Therapy Assistant program earned seven-year accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. The program is one of several new healthcare-related options the college has created in response to regional and national employment demands. Additionally, a pinning ceremony was held to acknowledge those who completed the program as members of the inaugural class.

As an added measure of excellence in providing high-quality education, the Jefferson College HRAC (Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology) program was granted six-year national accreditation through HVAC Excellence.

A ribbon cutting ceremony and community-wide open house was held in connection with the start of the college's new MoHealthWINs grant-funded Radiologic Technology program with St. Charles Community College. The event provided an opportunity for attendees to tour classroom/lab facilities, talk with Radiologic Technology instructors and program personnel, view equipment demonstrations, and discuss program entry requirements.

Campus Health & Safety Initiatives Highlight College's Concern for Well-Being
In order to become a cleaner, healthier institution, as one of Jefferson County's leading public organizations, the college adopted a new policy that will prohibit the use of tobacco and/or smoke-related products on all campuses, with the exception of inside personal vehicles, by the fall of 2014.

To safeguard the well-being of all students, visitors, and employees, the Board of Trustees approved the formation of the Jefferson College Campus Police Department staffed with POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) commissioned officers. Diane Scanga (Campus Police Department Chief) and Beau Besancenez (Campus Police Department Supervisor) were commissioned as the department's first officers during a ceremony led by Jefferson County Undersheriff/Board of Trustees President Lt. Col. Steve Meinberg and College President Dr. Raymond Cummiskey.

n an effort to be proactive in supporting health and wellness activities, the college began exploring the possibility of a campus health center proposed by Mercy Health System for faculty, staff and students to provide a variety of on-site services.

s part of an international effort to end sexual violence in all of its forms, including sexual assault, sexual abuse, dating violence, and domestic violence, Jefferson College and COMTREA once again co-hosted "Take Back the Night" in conjunction with April's designation by President Barack Obama as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The inspirational evening included several awareness activities highlighted by a walk to recognize and support survivors of sexual violence and abuse, and a live broadcast by KJFF/KTJJ radio.

High School Partnerships Underscore Importance of College Education
As an extension of the college's ongoing efforts to improve broadband educational access throughout Jefferson County, the Board of Trustees approved a partnership with the Jefferson County 911 Board and all public school districts to develop a "Connect Jefferson County" high speed internet program. Led by Jefferson College, the partnership is designed to create an oversight entity that will assure access to high speed internet connectivity to Jefferson County students and citizens by working with an Internet Connectivity Service Provider (ISP) who will install and maintain equipment on Jefferson County's 911 towers.

Taking steps to create a unique high school dual credit opportunity that combines face-to-face instruction with online coursework to allow high school students the opportunity to accelerate their college degree completion plan, the Board of Trustees approved a series of agreements with Jefferson R-7 High School, Herculaneum High School, and Grandview High School to offer a range of college-level classes to juniors and seniors at each school.

Foundation Success Supports College's Mission
To further acknowledge their generous $50,000 donation to create an endowed scholarship for non-traditional students, Branton and Jane Houser were inducted into the Jefferson College Foundation Monticello Society. Houser has the distinction of being the college's first non-traditional student and the patriarch for several generations of family members who attended and have been employed at the college.

In appreciation and recognition for a $25,000 gift by Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation to create an art gallery on the Hillsboro campus, the Jefferson College Foundation hosted a public reception to commemorate the opening of the artistic space. The contribution has enabled the college to provide a venue for displaying the talents of its art students, faculty and community members; create an additional source of art and cultural enrichment within Jefferson County; and transform the location into a pleasing reception area where both the college and Foundation can entertain or recognize special guests.

The 26th annual Viking Classic Scholarship Golf Tournament hosted by the Foundation at Fox Run Golf Club was a success thanks to the 146 players, numerous business sponsors, and team of volunteers that helped raise money for student-athlete scholarships.

In its support of veterans and local communities, AT&T contributed $10,000 to the Jefferson College Foundation to establish a Student Veterans Support Grant for emergency loans, textbook support and other needs. A presentation ceremony was held in mid-February, attended by local legislators, AT&T representatives, student veterans, Foundation board members, and college administrators, faculty, and staff.

In connection with their long-standing commitment toward providing higher education opportunities for area residents, representatives of the Twin City Area Optimist Club made a $3,000 donation on behalf of its members to support scholarships at Jefferson College. The club's commitment to raise funds for Jefferson College student scholarships started in 1995 and spans a total contribution amount of over $42,000.

The second annual Jefferson County Motorama Show co-hosted by the Jefferson College Foundation and the Jefferson County Growth Association featured a variety of classic cars and other vehicles, along with live music, awards, and giveaways. Proceeds went to the Foundation, whose mission is to support the growth and development of Jefferson College in ways that are beneficial to students, faculty, staff and campus facilities.

The first-ever Leader Publications, Inc.-Jefferson College Foundation Recipe Contest Holiday Dinner was a sold-out success that showcased some of the area's best local recipes. Over 200 people from all parts of our community attended the fun evening while enjoying demonstrations and sampling delicious food prepared and served by students to raise money for the college's Culinary Arts program.

Coinciding with the college's 50th anniversary, the Spirit of St. Louis Number One Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society presented an $800 scholarship donation to the Jefferson College Foundation as the group celebrated its 75th anniversary as the longest established chapter in the region. The chorus' commitment to raise funds for Jefferson College student scholarships spans 14 years with a total contribution amount of over $7,000.

Jefferson College Impacts Education at State Level
Jefferson College President Dr. Raymond Cummiskey was chosen by his colleagues from around the state to serve as the chair of the Missouri Community College Association's Presidents/Chancellors Council to provide leadership for the association and represent community colleges in meetings with legislators, members of the executive branch, and other key groups.

In February, two delegations from Jefferson College travelled to Jefferson City to provide materials and speak with every legislator in the college's service district. Additionally, the college was well represented during the annual MCCA Rally Day as an opportunity to urge for support of community college education and budget resources. During the 2013 legislative session, MCCA fought hard for a funding formula that would provide community colleges with a fair share of higher education funding. The association also worked against bills that would have crippled the Public School Retirement System and that would have ended the academic careers of A+ recipients who get derailed by difficult personal circumstances for a semester.

Missouri Community College Awareness (MCCA) Day was celebrated in September as Jefferson College joined its 12 member colleges in sponsoring the day to acknowledge community college faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees who train Missourians for 21st century careers.

In association with the annual Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) convention, Jefferson College's commitment to higher education excellence was demonstrated by a diverse group of attendees, presenters, and association award winners.

tate Representative Elaine Gannon of De Soto received the MCCA Distinguished Legislator Award for her steadfast support of higher education and the community colleges in her district, Jefferson College and Mineral Area College. She serves Missouri's 115th House District and is a Jefferson College alum.

Faculty Professional Development Coordinator Christy Cornelius received the Missouri Community College Association's Senior Service Award, presented in recognition of her service to Jefferson College and to the mission of community colleges throughout the state.

Jefferson College student Joseph Pilger was a recipient of the Missouri Community College Association's Student Leadership Award, presented annually to one outstanding student from each community college campus who has demonstrated excellence in leadership activities. Pilger's wife, Maria, was last year's recipient from Jefferson College.

Leader Publications Inc. was presented the 2013 MCCA News Media Award in recognition of the newspaper's longstanding support of the college through news and sports coverage, and especially through the publication of a 20-page special section, sponsorship of the "Jazz and Jeans" scholarship fundraiser during the college's 50th anniversary celebration, and coordination of the first-ever Recipe Contest Holiday Dinner.

Jobs-Jobs-Jobs: Aerospace Consortium & Employment Events Support Economy
Jefferson College was one of five community colleges in the St. Louis region that formed the Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium to support potential training needs of the aerospace industry. The consortium has the potential to train thousands of Missourians for high-demand, high-wage jobs, and strengthen existing relationships community colleges and manufacturers throughout the state.

More than 100 area job seekers met with representatives from companies across the St. Louis region as part of the college's annual Job Fair coordinated by the Employment Services Office as the largest event of its kind in Jefferson and Franklin County.

Graduates Demonstrate College's Comprehensive Excellence
The college held its 48th commencement ceremonies in May as a combined total of over 940 students were eligible to receive associate degrees or career and technical education certificates.

To conclude the college's 50th anniversary celebration, a special multi-media presentation involving college faculty, staff and students was presented in lieu of a traditional address from a guest speaker.

Jefferson College alum, State Sen. Ryan McKenna of Crystal City, was appointed director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations by Governor Jay Nixon. McKenna served eight years in the House before winning election to the Senate in 2006.

he Jefferson College Faculty Senate selected Bill Haggard ('71) as the 2013 Alumnus of the Year. "I am most appreciative of the opportunity I had at Jefferson to transition from high school to college and for the quality education I received while at Jefferson. Lessons learned at Jefferson have impacted me throughout my career and adult life," he said.

Veterinary Technology grads Kaycelyn Alexander and Katie Baker were chosen to participate in a prestigious year-long internship at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Three of Jefferson College's baseball alums were selected during the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Former shortstop Nate Goro (2011) was selected in the 27th round by the Los Angeles Angels, former pitcher Justin Sprenge (2011) was selected in the 29th round by the Texas Rangers, and outfielder Ryan Rippee (2013) was selected in the 31st round by the Boston Red Sox. Jefferson's baseball program has had 12 players selected in the MLB Draft over the last three seasons.

College Leadership Demonstrated by Individual/Departmental Accomplishments
Board of Trustees incumbents Krystal Hargis and Ron Scaggs were re-elected to six year terms. The Board also reorganized by electing new officers for the next two years: Steve Meinberg was elected president, Gary Davis was selected as vice president, Daryl Gehbauer was chosen as treasurer, and Terry Ponzar was approved as secretary.

As part of the annual process to review the financial statements and internal procedures of Jefferson College and the Jefferson College Foundation, both organizations received the highest possible rating/recommendation given by auditing agencies.

Foreign Language Associate Professor Nicole Bach was awarded the 2012-13 Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. History Professor Gabrielle Everett received the 2012-13 Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award. History Professor Dr. Scott Holzer was honored as the 2012-13 Teacher of the Year by the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Dena McCaffrey as Dean of Career and Technical Education and Dr. Michael Booker as Communication and Fine Arts Division Chair. Both had administratively served on an interim basis, having previously held full-time positions in other institutional capacities.

A group of 11 Jefferson College employees were selected to represent the college as participants in the 2013-14 President's Leadership Academy: Linda Abernathy, Kelly Almond, Diane Arnzen, Janie Blum, Alisha Conley, Melissa Coolich, Sandy Frey, Katherine Johnson, Lisa Martin, Miriam Rouggly, and Kristen Yelton. The employees joined a similar group of colleagues from Mineral Area College to learn about community college policies, governance, finances, and state legislative issues. The academy (held every other year) is a means for participants to grow professionally and learn about the many facets of community college operations.

The college's Xi Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and the Jefferson College chapter of the National Technical Honor Society recognized the scholarly excellence of over 200 students.

The Child Development Center achieved its fourth consecutive four-year state accreditation by the Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Children and Youth.

Jefferson College hosted the 34th annual Mastodon Art and Science Fair, the largest combined art/science fair in the United States. Every school district in Jefferson County participates, accounting for 98 percent of the 3,000+ students who submit entries.

Five full-time faculty were granted tenure status, including Terry Kite in Teacher Education, Shanie Latham in English, Imran Shah in Mathematics, Ida Steiger in Physical Education, and Wesley Whitfield in Chemistry.

The Jefferson College Performing Arts and Cultural Enrichment (PACE) event series which debuted last year, returned for 2013-14 with numerous performances including guest artists such as the Harlem Wizards, the Wee Trio, the United States Air Force Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble, and Brandon Ridenour of the Canadian Brass. The series also featured several student-community performances such as plays, band and choir concerts, theatre performances, and art exhibits.

Adjunct Vocal Music Instructor Keith Boyer performed the role of Horace Adams in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's presentation of Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of a celebration on what would have been composer Benjamin Britten's 100th birthday.

To increase communication and provide a greater voice to students in the Nursing program, a seven-member graduate panel, coordinated by Program Director Linda Boevingloh, was formed to discuss issues or concerns and to develop solutions based on best practices.

Business Information Technology Program Director Niki Vogelsang received the Rising Star award from the Missouri Health Information Management Association.

Rita Fischer-Bauman (volleyball, 1986-1988), Willie Lee (basketball, 1966-1967) and the national championship soccer team from 2006 were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.

Nijaz Muratovic was selected as an NJCAA Soccer All American for 2013. He scored six goals and delivered five assists for the Vikings who finished their season at 16-7 and won the 2013 NJCAA Region 16 title. In addition to being named a 2013 NJCAA All American, Muratovic was also selected First Team All-Conference in the Midwest Community College Athletic Conference and was named 2013 NJCAA Region 16 Player of the Year.

Six outstanding Jefferson College student athletes and two teams were recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association as Academic All Americans and All-Academic Teams for 2013. Volleyball player Abby Landewee (3.84 GPA) and softball player Kayla Meier (3.81 GPA) received the award for Superior Academic Achievement. Meier was also recognized as the 2013 Jefferson College Athletics Scholar Athlete. Blake Martin-baseball (3.77 GPA), Kelsey Schlake-volleyball (3.73 GPA), Rylan Smelcer-soccer (3.72 GPA), and Jessica Gray-volleyball (3.71 GPA) each earned Exemplary Academic Achievement. The two teams recognized for outstanding academic performance were Volleyball and Softball. The volleyball team had a team GPA of 3.35 and the softball team had a team GPA of 3.07.

Jefferson College and the Area Technical School served as the host site for the 2013 SkillsUSA district competition that involved over 520 students from six regional career centers/high schools in 74 separate competitions.

A trio of Jefferson College Culinary Arts students (Lydia Blomberg, Kristin Withington and Ashley Waber) won first place during the 24th Annual Gingerbread Contest in Belleville, Illinois, with a display piece that was made of gingerbread and edible decorations. The trio entered the Master's level of the competition, pitting them against certified chefs, industry professionals, and previous winners.

Middle school, junior high and high school students took part in several on-campus learning activities including Camp Viking, athletic camps, District Music Festival, Performing Arts Summer Workshop, Viking Band Camp, and Career Expo.

The college's Marketing and Public Relations Department won two Medallion Awards during the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 5 Conference for excellence in the Electronic Newsletter category (The Windjammer) and in the Promotion Campaign for a Special Event category (50th Anniversary). The regional Medallion Awards is the only competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges.

Last Updated ( Monday, 10 February 2014 )
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