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.