Dr. David Devier
GOCC president receives high marks

Glen Oaks Community College President David Devier received high marks from the Board of Trustees’ annual evaluation. Devier was rated by the Board on a scale of 1 to 5 on forty-eight specific performance expectations.  These expectations were divided among six broad categories covering fiscal management, external relations, internal relations, leadership, institutional performance, personal qualities and relations with the Board.

“President Devier received an overall rating of 4.57,” said Board Chair Bruce Gosling. “This rating compares very favorably with his ratings in prior years. Under Dr. Devier’s leadership during the last year, we have completed the concourse renovation and continued to address safety issues and many years of deferred maintenance as well as updating aging educational facilities. Further, we continued to create new programs to better serve our community and continue to be one of the few of Michigan’s Community Colleges to record increased enrollment.”

The Board has provided for an increase to Dr. Devier’s base salary in line with the rest of the college leadership and has set the term of this contract to continue through June 30, 2021.

Omar Perez Correa
Swartz Scholarship awarded to Glen Oaks’ Omar Perez Correa

Omar Perez Correa, of Sturgis, MI, is the 2019 recipient of the Professor Emeritus B. Swartz Scholarship for Excellence in Mathematics.

Correa graduated with an Associate of General Studies from Glen Oaks Community College earlier this month. He will be transferring his credits to Grand Valley State University where he plans to study both education and Spanish. He hopes to teach at the secondary education level in both math and Spanish.

Currently, Correa works construction for a local sub-contractor during the week and is a server at Fiesta Mexicana on the weekends. In his spare time he plays a lot of soccer.

The $1,000 Swartz Scholarship is awarded to a Glen Oaks student who has an outstanding record in mathematic courses. Correa was recommended for the scholarship by Glen Oaks math instructors.

Under terms of the scholarship created through a donation by Mr. Bernard Swartz, a former professor of mathematics at Glen Oaks Community College, the student must be transferring to a four-year university after graduating from Glen Oaks. The scholarship is intended to assist a student with educational expenses at a four-year institution.

Ben Fries - PTK Award recipient
Fries receives PTK Distinguished Advisor Award

Glen Oaks advisor Ben Fries was one of two advisors who received the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Chapter Advisor Award for the Michigan region during the regional PTK conference held at Glen Oaks Community College in mid-May.

The award recognizes advisors who demonstrate an exceptional atmosphere of teamwork, leadership abilities and enthusiasm for the Society’s Hallmarks. He was nominated by members of the Glen Oaks chapter.

Fries, of Constantine, Michigan, has been advisor to the Glen Oaks Alpha Delta Omega PTK Chapter since 2013.

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Fries, “and I’m very excited to be able to serve our students, our community and Glen Oaks Community College.”

When adjusted for size of school enrollment, the Glen Oaks Chapter is nearly double the
national average in the percentage of students inducted into PTK; and 24 percent above the national average when it comes to completion, enrollment and transfer. In the past two years, 100 percent of Glen Oaks PTK members have either completed their degrees, are still enrolled or have transferred to another institution of higher education.”

In 2016, Fries was one of 15 PTK advisors honored with the Paragon Award for New Advisors at the organization’s national conference.

Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest, largest and most prestigious honor society recognizing students pursuing two-year degrees. Phi Theta Kappa is made up of more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.

Nursing Hall of Fame inductees Hope Bailey, Janell Lederman and Dr. Wesley Eichorn
Glen Oaks announces 2019 Nursing Hall of Fame recipients

As part of the recent Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Glen Oaks Community College recognized three new inductees into the Glen Oaks Nursing Hall of Fame. New members inducted this year were Hope Bailey, Dr. Wesley Eichorn, and Janell Lederman.

Hope Bailey
Bailey graduated from Glen Oaks in 1994 with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007 at Western Michigan University during which time she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau. In 2010, Hope completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Bethel College.

In 2010, Bailey received the Distinguished Alumni award from Glen Oaks and the following year she received the Fellows award.

Bailey is a board member on the Allied Health and Nursing Advisory Boards at the college. She is a member of the Michigan Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association.

Bailey has held the position of chief nursing officer at the Three Rivers Area Hospital for a number of years.

In her words, “I take great pride in leading nurses. I believe in servant leadership. I work to mentor young and seasoned nurses in clinical and leadership growth, and I appreciate the fact that I’ve been afforded the opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much.”

Dr. Wesley Eichorn
Eichorn graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from Glen Oaks Community College in 2005. At graduation, he received the President’s Award, which is the highest award given to a student at the college.

Eichorn began his career in medicine as a nurse on the adult cardiac floor at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, after graduating from nursing school at Glen Oaks, and later transitioned to the Emergency Department. While working in ER, he often precepted students and nurse externs and became a recipient of the prestigious Daisy Award for meeting patient and family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing.

In 2010 he transitioned from nursing to medical school in a desire to leverage his background to improve patient care in an expanded role.

Eichorn is a board-certified family physician and diplomat of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He currently practices as an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo.

He also serves as director of the Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program, which is an extension of Western Med Family Medicine Residency.

Eichorn is involved in grassroots efforts to use community resources to prevent disease and promote health in his community. He has a keen interest in the effects of food not only on obesity, but also on other physical, emotional, and mental health conditions. His background in agriculture and in nursing assists him in providing a holistic approach to using food as medicine. He is currently involved nationally in advocacy as a 2019 delegate to the National Conference of Constituency Leaders for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Janell Lederman
Lederman received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1974 from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. She began her nursing career at Mercy Hospital in Watertown, NY, as a staff RN on the surgical floor. Her beginning wage was $3.25 per hr.

After a year, she decided to give back, feeling blessed for her education and volunteered through the church at a hospital in Carlsbad, NM. There she worked as a charge nurse on the Medical Floor and relief supervisor at Carlsbad Medical Center which is now Guadalupe Medical Center. She gave a year of service, making $15 per month and at near the end of her year long term was given $25 per month.

Lederman also worked for Sturgis Hospital as an RN in varies capacities – CCU, relief OB and relief house supervisor.  She also spent five years as an RN at Sturgis Home Health Care and Hospice.

Lederman went back to college and received her Master of Arts from Western Michigan University with a special emphasis on ‘Teaching in the Community College’ while teaching full-time and raising three children with her husband, Bill Lederman, Glen Oaks director of nursing.

The next 35 years of her career was spent as a professor of nursing at Glen Oaks. Her teaching responsibilities included: NUR 104 – Fundamentals of Nursing, NUR 111 and NUR 112 Med/Surg Nursing in both clinical and classroom.

Lederman served on the Learning Resource and Judicial Review committees while employed at the college as well as the Health Advisory Committee.

She has served as a participant in a Nurse’s Health Study since 1989.

In 2003, Lederman was awarded the prestigious E.J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence and was bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus at Glen Oaks.

Even in retirement, her joy of teaching is evident in her work with the Literacy Council where she teaches English to the Spanish population in St. Joe County. Lederman is also a Sunday School teacher at her church, teaching the young children.

“All three of our recipients are shining examples of the Glen Oaks Vision – “Transforming Lives and Advancing Communities,” said Bill Lederman, director of nursing.

Fred Haise in astronaut gear
Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise to speak – May 17

Former astronaut and lunar module pilot for Apollo 13, Fred Wallace Haise, Jr., will be the featured speaker at the next Glen Oaks Viking Speaker Series talk on Friday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Three Rivers High School in the Performing Arts Center. The title of his talk is: “Failure is Not an Option.”

Haise was to have been the sixth person to land and walk on the moon, but the Apollo 13 mission was aborted before lunar landing. He went on to fly space shuttle approach and landing tests in 1977, and retired from NASA in 1979.

Haise was born November 14, 1933, and in addition to working for NASA, he served as a fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and he was a test pilot. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon.

“We are excited about bringing a speaker of this caliber to St. Joseph County,” said Dr. Tammy Russell, director of institutional effectiveness/research. “It’s great to be able to host a speaker who can share his story, which is so much a part of this country’s history.”

The Viking Speaker Series is sponsored by Sturgis Media Group and the Glen Oaks Community College Foundation. The event is free and open to the public.

Michelle McNamara
Faculty Scholar

Michelle McNamara, professor of communications at Glen Oaks Community College, has been selected to receive the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Suanne Davis Roueche Faculty Conference Scholarship. McNamara is one of five recipients in the nation to receive this prestigious award, which reflects NISOD’s mission of promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.

“There is simply no other job in the world that has such a tremendous impact on our future as teaching,” said McNamara. “When I began my career many years ago, I vowed to appreciate each and every single day in the classroom. That perspective, along with my ability to connect and interact with students from diverse backgrounds, has made it very clear that teaching is not just what I do, but who I am.”

McNamara, of Centreville, is a resident in St. Joseph County. “The faculty and staff at Glen Oaks consciously work to spend tax dollars wisely and save where we can,” said McNamara. “This was an opportunity to save the college money while benefitting from professional development at the conference.”

“I am lucky to work for an organization that supports my passion for teaching,” said McNamara. “Glen Oaks only recently joined NISOD, and that makes receiving this scholarship even more special. Being able to network with colleagues who share my passion for teaching is an opportunity that I do not take lightly. I am excited to bring new ideas and concepts home from this conference and implement them in my classroom. I feel tremendously honored to be a 2019 Suanne Davis Roueche Scholarship winner and can’t wait to participate.”

“Dr. David H. Devier, Glen Oaks president states of Professor McNamara, “Michelle is a dynamic, student-centered instructor who not only conveys knowledge to students, but cultivates a love for learning they can carry forward in their lives”

McNamara will be recognized at the 2019 NISOD annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in late May.

NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources for community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars. For over 40 years, NISOD’s customer-focused approach has helped align our wide array of benefits with the needs of our members, which explains why the American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, “The country’s leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff, and administrators.”

About Suanne Davis Roueche
The Suanne Davis Roueche Faculty Scholarships are named in honor of the late Suanne Davis Roueche, who served as NISOD’s director from 1985 to 2000. Under Suanne’s brilliant leadership, membership went from 50 institutions to 750 and conference attendance went from 152 participants to approximately 2,000 upon her retirement. Through the Suanne Davis Roueche Faculty Scholarships, Suanne’s impact on community and technical colleges will be long lasting.

Flyer - May 30 Foundation Event
Foundation reschedules fundraiser – Thurs. May 30

The Glen Oaks Community College Foundation has rescheduled its annual fundraising event “Creating a Blueprint for Success” to Thursday, May 30, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the newly renovated grand concourse on the Glen Oaks campus.

The event, originally scheduled for April 26, had to be postponed when the College experienced an electrical outage on that date.  “This decision was necessary for the safety and comfort of the guests planning to attend,” said Phyllis Youga, Foundation Board President.

To capitalize on our opportunity to auction the chance to have a private dinner with Fred Wallace Haise Jr., a former American NASA astronaut, and test pilot, prior to his Viking Speaker Series appearance on May 17, 2019, the Glen Oaks Foundation will be hosting an online auction.  Details for accessing the auction can be found at https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/home.cfm?auctionID=18136

The rescheduled event will feature a silent and live auction, hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  During the live auction, guests will have the opportunity to bid on tuition for a two-year associate degree at Glen Oaks.  “This auction item is valued at $7,000,” said Vonda Marrow, executive director. “This is a wonderful opportunity for someone to take advantage of helping someone to pay for a two-year education.”

The event is $50 per person. Proceeds from the event are used to support student scholarships and College initiatives.  For questions, call Vonda Morrow (269) 294-4384 or vmarrow@glenoaks.edu.

X-L Machine employees participate in a Kaizen simulation event
Glen Oaks assists X-L Machine in upgrading employee skills

X-L Machine is busy upgrading all of its employees’ skills to meet the demands of a highly competitive marketplace. With the assistance of a state grant, X-L is offering a variety of courses such as: Kanban, 6s, Kaizen, 8-D Problem Solving, Supervision, Metrology and GD&T.  The Kaizen Event Simulation course (pictured) shows participants learning how to apply Kaizen by building a model car designed by the instructor, Eric Gatmaitan, who was hired by Glen Oaks Community College to instruct the class.

The Kaizen event simulation is a fast-paced, performance-driven, and fun-filled team building experience. Participants are immersed in a production assembly environment and grouped in competitive teams to build product within the requirements of speed, quality and performance. Each team, wanting to out-perform the other, will have the opportunity to design the optimal production line, gather process telemetry, analyze performance metrics, and witness the results of performance-driven improvements.

Norman H. Haas
First board president recognized at graduation

Glen Oaks Community College will hold its 51st Annual Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 3, in Ken Schuler Court (Glen Oaks gymnasium). The Nursing Pinning ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. in Ken Schuler Court and the Allied Health Pinning ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in the Nora Hagen Theatre.

There are 188 pending graduates with degrees and/or certificates. Their average age is 25 years—the youngest is 18 and the most senior is 59 years young. Their average GPA is 3.354. There are two dual enrolled high school graduates who will be graduating from Glen Oaks with their associate degrees before graduating from their own high schools. There are 40 Early Middle College graduates. There are a total of 151 graduates walking in Friday evening’s ceremony to receive their degree and/or certificate. This is the largest walking graduation class.

Glen Oaks President David H. Devier will preside over the ceremony and will recognize recipients of several special awards including:

  • Distinguished Alumni Award – Didimo Arreola
  • Fellows Award – Norman H. Haas
  • Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Bethany Chambers
  • Outstanding Service Award – Judy Fetch
  • J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence – Reid Leaverton
  • President’s Award – Heather Schumacher

President Devier will confer the degrees and Dr. Patricia Morgenstern, dean of academics and extended learning, will serve as grand marshal for the ceremony. Tonya Howden, dean of students, will read the names of the candidates as they walk across the platform to receive their degrees.

The Vintage Brass will provide music for the ceremony.

As part of the event, a short video “Creating a Blueprint for the Future – Let’s Keep Moving” will be shown focusing on the transformation that is taking place on the campus.

The College holds graduation exercises annually in the spring. A listing of the graduates will be available in June. Free parking will be available to all guests. The college is located at 62249 Shimmel Rd., Centreville, Mich.

Background on award recipients

Outstanding Service Award – Judy Fetch
This award recognizes employees of Glen Oaks for outstanding performance and contributions to the College. This year’s award goes to Judy Fetch.

Judy Fetch, library technician, has served the college since 1981—38 years in the same job, in the same department—in the library at Glen Oaks. Over the years, she has timelessly served students. She is said to always have a smile on her face and goes above and beyond to help students and fellow staff. Judy helps with almost every college event that is held whether it is on or off campus.

Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Bethany Chambers

This award is presented annually to a part-time faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching and who reflects the value of education to students of Glen Oaks Community College.

Bethany Chambers, instructor in English and Communications, is always available and willing to help in any way possible. She likes to try creative instructional activities in her class to keep the students engaged. She has studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, while an undergraduate and tries to stay current on her Spanish speaking skills because of her love of all languages. Bethany has a Master of Arts in Composition and Communications from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Kalamazoo College..

E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence – Reid Leaverton

(Please note there is separate feature media release forthcoming on Reid Leaverton for a potential separate article.)

The E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching and Excellence Award was initiated in 1984 with a generous donation from E. J. Shaheen, one of the original Glen Oaks Board members. Shaheen, a college professor, lawyer and business owner, placed a high value on education and spent much of his later life in promoting high quality education and education institutions, including Glen Oaks. This year’s recipient is Reid Leaverton.

Reid Leaverton, agricultural technology instructor, is said to go above and beyond to make sure his students understand and learn the content. He is always willing to put the time in to help them. Reid was instrumental in initiating the college farm and Glen Oaks is the only community college in Michigan to have an actual working farm—where the students obtain real hands-on experience. He is said to be extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter and very effective in relaying the material to his students. His enthusiasm helps motivate all students to do well – encouraging them to use their skills and troubleshooting ability to help solve problems. Reid studied Mechanized Agriculture at Reedley College in California.

Distinguished Alumni Award – Didimo Arreola
This award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through professional excellence and personal service.  This year’s award goes to Didimo Arreola.

Didimo Arreola, is a 2005 graduate of Glen Oaks with an Associate of Business degree. Didimo is said to dedicate a lot of his time helping the community in so many different ways. He currently serves on the board for the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, Centro Vida, and the St. Joseph County Transportation Authority. He is getting ready to join the Sturgis Exchange Club as well! In the past, Didimo has served on the boards of the Sturgis Neighborhood Program and the Sturgis Youth and Family Council. He is also proud to be a business partner for the Sturgis Area Business/Education Alliance. He is a former member of the Sturgis Lions Club, and the Sturgis Eastside Kiwanis Club. Didimo is currently the lead talent manager at GT Independence in Sturgis.

Fellows Award – Norman H. Haas
The Glen Oaks Community College Fellows Award recognizes a community member and/or institution for outstanding service to and/or in support of Glen Oaks. This year’s recipient is Norman H. Haas.

Norm Haas’ initial affiliation with Glen Oaks started back in 1964. He was president of Haas Corporation in Mendon when he was asked to chair a community college feasibility study for St. Joseph County. The results of this study were used as the basis for an application for approval to establish a community college to the state. The state replied favorably, an election was held in 1965 to establish the college and elect a Board of Trustees and to bring it to the voters to approve – and the rest is history. Norm was elected as the first president of the Glen Oaks Board of Trustees. He was instrumental in hiring the first college president, administration and faculty, and he led the collaboration of people that it took to kick off the first day of classes back in the fall of 1967 in the old White Pigeon High School, while overseeing the building of this beautiful campus which opened just a little over 50 years ago in 1969. He could easily be called the “Father of Glen Oaks.” Norm served on the Board until 1977.

President’s Award – Heather Schumacher
This award recognizes a student who has been nominated by the faculty for his/her high achievement in academics and excellence and contributions in the classroom. This year’s recipient is Heather Schumacher.

Heather Schumacher, of Sherwood, MI, is a 2005 graduate from Colon High School. She has an Associate in Dental Hygiene from Kellogg Community College, and has been employed as a dental hygienist for over 10 years. She says that nursing is her new passion. For the past year, her nursing clinicals were at Promedica Coldwater Regional Hospital. She has accepted a graduate registered nurse position at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.  She plans to explore multiple areas before choosing a specializing. Heather is described as an exceptional student who is a very hard-worker, very motivated and driven. She always strives to do her best and she is an exemplary role model for all students to follow. She has served as class representative for two years. Heather is graduating from Glen Oaks with her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.

Reid Leaverton
Teaching Award

Never in a million years did he see his future playing out as it has, yet this year’s E. J. Shaheen recipient, Reid Leaverton, wouldn’t want it any other way because he clearly sees that teaching is his calling. Leaverton teaches classes and oversees the new agricultural equipment technology program at the college.

Born and raised in San Diego, California, Reid played both football and baseball in high school, and he was required to take agricultural courses in preparation for the transfer. So, it was actually back in high school that agriculture peaked his interest and there he ended up serving as president of the FFA Chapter.

Leaverton attended Reedley College where he studied mechanized agriculture and worked a couple different a positions with Caterpillar dealers in Southern California after graduation.

“My wife, Shalico, was from Buchanan, Michigan,” said Reid. “We knew we wanted to move out of California and find a different and more wholesome environment in which to raise our kids. We actually came out here for a family wedding in 2013. I had already applied for a position at Fillmore Equipment in LaGrange (now Greenmark), and was offered the position while on vacation – this was all sort of a ‘happy accident.’”

The start date was two weeks later, and the couple decided to go for it – they packed up their son, Ryker, and moved to Michigan two weeks after the wedding. “My wife was nine months pregnant with our daughter, Reis, when we moved,” said Leaverton.

And how did he end up at Glen Oaks? “I actually applied for a different position at the college, and at the time,” he said. “There was a plan in place to try to and start an Agricultural Equipment Technology program. So that’s when my resume and background caught the attention of the administration and the rest is history.”

Leaverton was hired in 2017, and in his two short years at the college, he worked on developing the program, obtained equipment, promoted and attracted students to the program and reached out to businesses in the community for support and partnerships. He even started an Agricultural club where he serves as the advisor.

Last year, Leaverton worked with the farmers who were nearing the end of the lease in farming the campus grounds – and he formed a plan for Glen Oaks students in agricultural programs to gain hand-on experience by doing the farming. Glen Oaks is the only community college in Michigan to have an actual working farm.
More recently, he is having his students rebuild a couple of tractors and an engine from area farmers.

Leaverton was very surprised when he learned of receiving the prestigious E. J. Shaheen award. His students say “he goes above and beyond to ensure his students understand and learn the content. He is always willing to put the time in to help them.”

In addition, he is said to be extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter and very effective in relaying the material to his students. His enthusiasm helps motivate all students to do well – by encouraging them to use their skills and troubleshooting ability to help solve problems.

“I really enjoy the ability to communicate with the students,” said Leaverton of his teaching style. “I get straight to the point and ask a lot of questions, because I want to make sure they understand the material.”
Plans for the future—“We want to continue community outreach and diversify the campus farm to provide exposure to different crops to the students,” said Leaverton, “and we’re even talking about creating a pumpkin patch this year.”

E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence
The E. J. Shaheen Fund, is maintained through the Glen Oaks Community College Foundation. The Teaching and Excellence Award was initiated in 1984 with a generous donation from E. J. Shaheen, one of the original Glen Oaks Board members. Shaheen, a college professor, lawyer and business owner, placed a high value on education and spent much of his later life in promoting high quality education and education institutions, including Glen Oaks.