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Moraine Valley Community College Year in Review 2019

August 21, 2019


Moraine Valley Community College
The Year in Review 2019 As Moraine Valley opens the door to a new
academic year, it’s an ideal time to look back at everything we’ve accomplished in
the past year. The college continues to excel as a leader
in higher education. We have accomplished goals, embraced new challenges and looked to the future. Moraine Valley updated its strategic plan
to ensure we are prepared to meet the demands of our community and region in the next five
years. We set strategic priorities and updated our
core values as part of the process. Commencement was the highlight of the year,
honoring learners who worked hard to reach their goals. More than twenty-one-hundred students earned
over three-thousand degrees or certificates at our 50th commencement, a vast comparison
to the six students who graduated in 1969. In fact, one of those six attended this year’s
ceremony. It also was an honor to have Senator Dick
Durbin be the guest speaker, the only graduation ceremony he chose to participate in. Senator Durbin’s inspiring words resonated
well with the at-capacity crowd. Among the class of 2019 was Ray Morain. Ray was a 31-year-old student in our cybersecurity
program. He first attended college back in 2006, but
in his words, was not prepared to complete a college degree. Four years ago, Ray experienced a life-changing
event. He was driving his cousin home, a former Marine
and Chicago Ridge police officer, when they were struck head-on by a drunken driver. Ray was seriously injured, and his cousin
was killed. He decided to change his life and go back
to school to pursue a degree in honor of his cousin. Ray ended up earning three degrees and eight
certificates, graduating cum laude. He now attends Purdue and plans to earn a
bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology and minor in cybersecurity. One of our graduates returned from half-way
around the world to participate in commencement. Mami Tanaka earned an Associate in Applied
Science degree in paraprofessional educator last summer, finishing her studies with a
3.9 GPA. While attending Moraine Valley, she lived
with a host family, who helped teach her about the American culture. She returned home to Japan after completing
her degree, but wanted to join us to walk across the stage. Coming back to Moraine Valley for graduation
is important for many students. John Kladis flew in from Florida the night
before the ceremony. He spent spring semester working an internship
at the Magic Kingdom as part of the Disney College Program. John was a well-rounded student here, participating
in theater, the speech team and honors program. He was very active in Student Life and Phi
Theta Kappa national honor society. He not only served as PTK president for Moraine
Valley but also for Illinois, which is the first time one of our students has held this
statewide position. For many students here, English is not their
first language. But that does not stop them from pursuing
an education. Rama Diab came to the United States from Palestine
five years ago with very basic English skills and low confidence when speaking it with others. Through hard work and determination, she not
only learned to speak English in high school but graduated among the top of her class. Rama came to Moraine Valley as a distinguished
scholar, taking honors classes and participating in extracurricular programming. She was active in Phi Theta Kappa, the Muslim
Student Association and Arab Student Union, and the library’s student advisory board. She received two scholarships here, as well. Rama plans to attend a four-year university
this fall. Moraine Valley’s strong athletics program
is another reason why students choose to come here. Ashley Hunter, a basketball team member, competed
in the NJCAA national tournament in both of her years as a Cyclone. It is here at Moraine Valley that Ashley’s
impressive basketball skills really shined. She played high school basketball but mostly sat
on the bench. She would get maybe four minutes at the end
of blow-out games to prove her skills. But she continued to play the game she loves
and hoped she would be blessed enough to demonstrate her abilities elsewhere. Our coach recognized Ashley’s talents and
recruited her as starting guard, where she made her mark at Moraine Valley. She accumulated an impressive list of honors
and broke school records. Last year she broke a national record for
most field goals in a game. Ashley is continuing her education and sport
on a full scholarship at a Division I school. Providing opportunities to every student regardless
of their abilities is an important part of the college’s mission. Helping students find their niche ultimately
creates an avenue for them to find success. Richard Suwe did not have a very strong first
semester at Moraine Valley because of personal struggles related to autism, and he was not
particularly interested in the classes he had taken. When his mom asked what other classes he might
like, he suggested culinary arts. His baking and pastry professor recalled that
his first day in the kitchen seemed overwhelming and difficult. He didn’t socialize with other students
much either. But, with extra assistance, Richard persevered. His instructors showed interest in his success,
finding ways to help him grasp the content. And his classmates supported him, too. He began to socialize with them more. Richard eventually became so comfortable that
he gave hugs to his instructors and fellow students at the end of the semester. Richard earned an Associate in Applied Science
degree in baking and pastry, proving all you need to receive a quality education is determination
and a few helping hands along the way. Congratulations to all of our new alumni! 2019 was filled with accomplishments at Moraine
Valley. The college was recognized for excellence
in financial reporting by two international agencies. We have earned these distinctions for over
twenty years. Our marketing efforts gained national recognition
as we won dozens of awards. The college and its Board of Trustees shared
the 2018 Central Region Equity Award from the Association of Community Colleges Trustees. The college is thankful for a board that is
so dedicated to ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of our students. Our nationally noted speech team garnered
an impressive collection of awards. And we hosted the inaugural Walter Fronczek
Speech and Debate Tournament, named in honor of our long-time dean of Liberal Arts. Our Phi Theta Kappa honor society was recognized
for excellence, and one of our students was named a Coca-Cola academic team bronze scholar. Moraine Valley was acknowledged for its student
employment program by a national organization. And, for the third year in a row, a Moraine
Valley employee was named as the State of Illinois Student Employment Supervisor of
the Year. It also was a banner year for the Cyclones. Our athletes boasted a number of championships
and competed at national tournaments. A new Athletics website launched, giving the
Cyclones a fresh look. Several campus improvements took place, and
a master facilities planning project got underway. Plus, the Student Success Center earned a
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver designation. Students in our transfer programs continue
to be well-prepared for four-year university studies. Our general education curriculum, along with
supportive resources from the moment students enroll to the time they graduate, ensure a
smooth transition to the university of their choice. Career-program students gain marketable skills
for good-paying jobs. Our faculty provide real work experiences
so graduates have the know-how to be an employer’s next great hire. And health science program grads tallied impressive
pass rates on national certification exams. Several Moraine Valley alumni were inducted
into our Hall of Fame, while extraordinary athletes and coaches joined the ranks of our
Athletics Hall of Fame. We opened an expanded fire science and EMS
facility. The garage space houses vehicles and equipment
like a real fire station. The faculty and staff’s efforts to support
student success each and every day is one of the main reasons Moraine Valley is highly
rated. People choose to attend here, and our community
relies on us as a preferred resource. Community Learning Day allowed employees to
give back to our community and explore opportunities to help others. And in the spring, Learning College Day focused
on global and cultural awareness, along with a little fun. The Fine and Performing Arts Center celebrated
a milestone anniversary. For twenty-five years, we have provided arts-focused
programming for the community. The season featured music legend Jim Peterik
as well as the world premiere of a play. In addition, one of our theater students was
cast in a Chicago Shakespeare Theater production at Navy Pier. Moraine Valley joined in our state’s two-hundredth
birthday celebration in 2018 as a bicentennial campus. A Native American drum and dance performance
was a highpoint for all to enjoy. Moraine Valley hosted the Skyway art competition,
bringing together artistic talent from regional community colleges. We held the Stem Expo, with over eight-hundred
middle schoolers coming to campus. Likewise, the college brought high school
students here to participate in various competitions, as well as a youth empowerment summit to envision
themselves as successful college students. The final year of our Mosaics: Muslim Voices
in America programming included cultural events to engage young people and other audiences. Our annual One Book, One College endeavor
teamed up with Mosaics as we explored the graphic novel Ms. Marvel, culminating with
a visit by the author. The college hosted international visitors
from the Netherlands and from Chile, who learned more about our well-regarded programs. In turn, two of our employees visited the
Netherlands. More than six million dollars in grants helped
offset funding for programs and resources. In addition, the college received several
equipment donations. The Center for Systems Security and Information
Assurance operated multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and National Security
Agency. These benefit Moraine Valley students through
scholarships and access to cutting-edge equipment and curriculum. The Foundation continues to support Moraine
Valley through numerous endeavors. The golf outing and gala raised impressive
funds. And the employee giving campaign collected
its largest amount yet, which means more students have an opportunity to stay in school and
finish their program. Activities were held throughout the year for
students and employees alike, from a relaxing painting workshop to an action-packed wheelchair
basketball game. There’s an app for that. A Moraine Valley app, that is. The new resource provides students with important
information at their fingertips. The staff recognition dinner honored outstanding
employees who uphold the core values of Moraine Valley in all that they do. The Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award
Dr. Kiana Battle I cannot begin to express how blessed, honored,
humbled and grateful I am to have been selected for such a prestigious and distinguished honor. I truly subscribe to the thought that a leader
is only as strong as their team. An interesting quote by an unknown author
perfectly articulates my belief, which reads, “Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” I stand before you this evening as a result
of having the support of an amazing team whose hard work and commitment has contributed to
Moraine Valley’s championship status. Professor of the Year
Dr. John Sands You know, there’s really no secret to what
it takes to be a successful teacher. Basically what you have to do is create a
classroom in which students are going to be successful and want to be successful. And I think Sylvia would agree with me that
there’s no secret what it takes to create a successful organization and institution. You have to create a place where people want
to be successful, and that’s what they’ve done here at Moraine, and as a faculty member,
I think I’m speaking for all the faculty members here at Moraine, we are honored to
work at a place where we have leadership that creates such a place for us. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize
my partner in creating CSSIA and that was Erich Spengler who we lost a couple years
ago. Erich was a close friend, he was sort of the
brainchild of it, and we were partners all the way through. The Embracing Diversity Award
Tamima Farooqui It’s a privilege to do the work that we
do, just to lessen some barriers and create a safe haven, a welcoming environment, for
those we serve. I will never take that work for granted, and
I’m truly grateful I’ve had the opportunity to do that in my role. This is truly a special place, Moraine Valley,
and I’m excited to continue my efforts as I move forward. Adjunct Professor of the Year
Krystle Conrad [music playing] The Nancy Blane Guerra Award
Clare Briner I really just wanted to start by saying how much I love working at Moraine Valley. I really do. My work here is challenging and rewarding,
and I’m so passionate about our college and its mission, and the success of our students,
and I’m glad that that shows. This award is testament to that. The Robert E. Turner Award
Pam Murphy I’d like to thank Sadya Khan and Aaron Roe
for their nomination. IR’s a great place to work. It’s a joy coming to work with them every
day. And on a personal note, I’d like to thank
Moraine Valley, a big shout out, we have three daughters who graduated from Moraine and the
foundation that Moraine built for them for outstanding careers is something that goes
beyond appreciation. So, thank you, Moraine, [ applause ] and thank you for
this wonderful award. [ applause ] I’m truly honored. The Dave Sarther Teamwork Award – Speech
and Debate Coaching Staff: John Nash, Amanda Pettigrew and Krista Appelquist We couldn’t ask to be part of a better family than the one that we have here at Moraine. So again, we’re so humbled, so grateful
to have been given this award. Master Teacher
Dr. Anne Morgan This truly is an honor, and I appreciate the
recognition, but I just want to acknowledge the lab staff and the Nursing Department because
we run these eight scenarios at the same time, and it gets complicated. And I want to thank the Phlebotomy, Radiology,
Respiratory and BNAT faculty for allowing their students to participate. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. [ applause ] [laughter] Part-time Employee Service Award
Lynn Threewitt I just want to say a quick thank you. I’m very fortunate to work here, particularly
in Learning Enrichment and College Readiness. Michael and Nina provide great leadership
to our department, and everybody in our department, we really are a fun team. Innovation of the Year Award
Nursing 140 I-Best Program So together, with some magical numbers and
a grant, this program was created, and Patrick Lohan appeared in my classroom. So, so he then, he and I together, but mostly
Patrick, he created a program to teach students how to study, how to think, how to focus,
how to identify the most important content when they’re reading. And that is what our students needed, and
that is why it’s been successful. And the Student Employee of the Year Award
Kayla Cole Thanks to my job experience at Moraine, I
have been offered a job. I’m going to have a salary, I’m going
to have a pension, I’m going to have a 401(k) with matching contributions [applause], so,
yay! [ applause ] Our college president, Dr. Sylvia M. Jenkins,
received awards for her leadership and service. The Council for Advancement and Support of
Education presented Dr. Jenkins with its Chief Executive Leadership Award. And the Chicago Audobon Society honored her
with an environmental education award. The 2019 academic year was filled with excitement,
accomplishments and planning for the future. It is here that students choose to attend
because they can count on us to help them reach their goals. It is here that our faculty and staff devote
their careers to helping others succeed. Moraine Valley is one of the top community
colleges in the nation and the best choice for those we serve, right here.

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