Glen Oaks Community College

Graduation 2024
GOCC Annual Report 2022 Cover image
If you would like a printed copy of the 2022 GOCC Annual Report, please contact Denise DeVries.

News Archives

Glen Oaks News

Gold Glen Oaks Community College Seal Logo

Glen Oaks recognizes award recipients during the 56th annual commencement ceremony.

Glen Oaks President Dr. David H. Devier recognized several individuals during the 56th Annual Glen Oaks Community College commencement ceremony on Friday, May 3. Those receiving awards were:

  • President’s Academic AwardAbigale Youmans
  • Outstanding Service Award – Diane Zinsmaster
  • Part-time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Dan Miller
  • E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence – Michelle McNamara
  • Distinguished Alumni Award – William (Bill) Lederman
  • Up and Coming Distinguished Alumni AwardAlan Albarran
  • Fellows Award –Mike Stiles

President’s Academic Award – Abigale Youmans
Nominated by the Glen Oaks faculty, this award recognizes a student for high achievement in academics and excellence, and contributions in the classroom, class work, and the college, Recipients have an accumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher.

Abigale Youmans Headshot
President’s Academic Award – Abigale Youmans

Abigale Youmans, of Athens, is graduating with an Associate of Arts. She has been engaged in so many aspects of Glen Oaks. A multi-sport athlete, Abby has supported her teammates and works tirelessly to ensure she and her teams represent Glen Oaks respectfully on and off the court. Abby has been involved in many on-campus student activities and she encourages her suitemates to attend as well. Her fellow classmates look to her as a leader and role model. Her professors say she is a kind and thoughtful young lady who works hard in pursuit of her athletic, academic, and personal goals. Abby was accepted into the Vet Nursing program

Outstanding Service Award – Diane Zinsmaster
This award recognizes employees of Glen Oaks for outstanding performance and contributions to the college, while taking into consideration accountability, responsiveness and excellence in their work and embracing innovation, diversity, and sustainability.  

Diane Zinsmaster Headshot
Outstanding Service Award – Diane Zinsmaster

Diane Zinsmaster, executive associate to the president, has over 20 years of service with Glen Oaks. So much of her work is behind the scenes, planning numerous college events, including luncheons, meetings, and retirement gatherings, and she is always willing to help wherever she is needed. Her biggest contribution is making sure the commencement ceremony runs smoothly. She assembles and spearheads a team beginning each January and works to ensure everyone stays on track to meet the timeline. This involves collaborating with vendors and double and triple-checking plans to ensure all efforts come together as intended. She is said to make sure the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed, and she does an excellent in paying attention to detail.

Her nominators say she is professional and organized, will help anyone who needs assistance, and she is a strong advocate for Glen Oaks in the community.

Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Dan Miller
This award is presented annually to a part-time faculty member or adjunct who demonstrates excellence in teaching and reflects the value of education to students.

Dan Miller Headshot
Part-time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Dan Miller

Dan Miller, agricultural equipment technology instructor, is an engineer for Waco Aviation in Battle Creek. In addition to balancing a 50-hour a week, full-time job, where he spends a lot of time maintaining airplanes, Dan makes time to teach an additional eight hours on Fridays for the Glen Oaks Ag Tech students making sure that they are set to succeed. He is said to think outside the box to solve problems when they arise. His passion for anything mechanical or electrical has made him the perfect fit for the program.

E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence – Michelle McNamara
The 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 promoting high-quality education and educational institutions, including Glen Oaks.  

Michelle McNamara Headshot
E. J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence – Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara, professor of communications, is the 2024 recipient of the E. J. Shaheen Award. She was presented the award by Glen Oaks Foundation VP John Dresser during the annual awards breakfast in March. Michelle was recently recognized for 30 years of service at Glen Oaks, where she began her career after graduating from Centreville High School. While attending Glen Oaks, she began working as a work-study student. Upon graduation, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Business from Davenport University and later earned master’s degrees in both Communications and Business from Spring Arbor University.

Students describe Michelle as being a caring, creative, and engaging instructor who works tirelessly to make sure her students understand concepts and succeed in their communication classes. “Professor McNamara spends a lot of time leaving detailed and personal feedback on every single one of our speeches and exams,” said one of her nominating students. In addition to teaching on campus, she also travels to local high schools to teach students through the Dual Enrollment and Early Middle College programs. 

Before becoming a full-time faculty member, Michelle worked at WLKM radio in addition to serving roles in staff, administration, and as part-time faculty for the college. Michelle shared that “Glen Oaks has been a major part of my educational journey, and this award means so much!  My dad, husband, siblings, and children are all Glen Oaks alumni — there is no question I have a lot of pride in the work that I do here.” Michelle previously received this award in 2014.

Distinguished Alumni Award William (Bill) Lederman
The Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded through the Glen Oaks Foundation and recognizes alumni who have gone on to make a difference in their communities via demonstrated achievement in their chosen professions or personal service.

Bill Lederman - Headshot
Distinguished Alumni Award – William (Bill) Lederman

William (Bill) Lederman graduated from Glen Oaks in 1975 as a licensed practical nurse. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, followed by a Master’s in Education from Western Michigan University and a Master’s in Nursing from Goshen College. He began his 37-year teaching career at Glen Oaks in 1988, including five years as director of nursing. Bill has received numerous awards and accomplishments and has touched hundreds of lives in the Sturgis community and at Glen Oaks.

Bill is a two-time recipient of the college’s prestigious E. J. Shaheen Teaching Excellence Award. His students have said he “made learning interesting—and his love for teaching was quite evident.” He is said to have had a knack for making difficult topics easier to comprehend. His students felt he pushed them to do their best while becoming more confident in their nursing roles. He is said to have an ‘inspiring sense of compassion for helping others.’

When he is not teaching, Lederman enjoys reading and you’ll often find him in the yard working on his landscaping projects. He also enjoys singing with the praise team at his church.

Up and Coming Distinguished Alumni Award – Alan Albarran
The Up-And-Coming Distinguished Award is a newer Glen Oaks Foundation Award category for alumni who graduated 10 years ago or less who exhibit professionalism, have demonstrated achievement in their chosen careers, and have provided significant service to the community.

Alan Albarran Headshot
Up and Coming Distinguished Alumni Award – Alan Albarran

Alan Albarran graduated in 2022 with an Associate in General Studies. While a student and juggling a challenging home life, Alan started making ice jigs, which led to an online fly-tying business. He is also the office manager for KLS Underground, a utility contractor in Constantine. In his spare time, Alan is active in St. Joseph County’s Republican party and represents Precinct 2 in Sturgis as the youngest city commissioner. Alan is the second recipient of this newer award.

Fellows Awards. – Mike Stiles
The Glen Oaks Fellows Award is given to an individual, individuals, or institution who has provided outstanding support to the college as evidenced by one or more of the following: Long-term dedication and commitment to the college; extensive community level support for the college, direct and continuing support for the college and students via contributions to the Glen Oaks Foundation or Board of Trustees.

Mike Stiles Headshot
Fellows Award – Mike Stiles

Mike Stiles, local radio personality, has been a cornerstone of St. Joseph County for more than 30 years. In this role, his work plays a vital role in creating and fostering a vibrant culture while showcasing the positive aspects of the community. A native of Sturgis and an alumnus of Sturgis High School, Mike has always expressed his utmost support of Glen Oaks Community College in an abundance of ways.

Whether it is promoting campus news, covering campus events, or providing a venue for employees to share information on his radio talk show, Mike makes himself available for campus functions and to highlight the successes at Glen Oaks. His outstanding support helps foster a sense of campus pride and unity that permeates among students, faculty, staff, and the community. Mike is a shining light for Glen Oaks and for St. Joseph County and his tireless efforts have undoubtedly made our campus and our community a better place.