This project, made possible through submissions locally and across the nation, highlights the breadth of people who either have been students or otherwise made their mark with Laramie County Community College. This is not a “top 50” list – it’s a true celebration of the successful and diverse alumni and friends who make us all proud to be Golden Eagles.
Dr. Charles Carpenter: First President of LCCC
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Carpenter had the honor of serving as LCCC's first president. Coming from a highly-regarded doctoral program at University of Texas, he was hired by LCCC's newly-elected board of trustees. Previously he had helped to establish Highline College and to plan the multi-campus Seattle Community College system.
Dr. Carpenter joined LCCC in January 1969, full of inspiration. He enjoyed the opportunity to gather diverse qualified staff in an exciting new undertaking. Cognizant of local political differences, he worked with community leadership to impart a vision, create relationships and develop support for the college. "He was able to see beyond apparent limitations and could be very persuasive," his wife, Doreene, commented. "Chuck enjoyed working with people at all levels and considered employees to be colleagues."
She continued: "When he arrived in Cheyenne Chuck inquired where would be a good place to have his car serviced. He was led to Dan Sanders ... Dan's shop was immaculate ... Dan wore a white lab coat! Chuck determined that Dan was the man to head up a high-quality automotive program. After much persuasion (aided by Dan's wife Lola), Dan became one of the first staff members."
Dr. Carpenter's employment with LCCC was brief but his impact was great. He built a leadership team capable to guide an ever-evolving mission. He went on to Oregon State University to found its cohort-based Community College Leadership Program. CCLP graduates fill leadership positions in community colleges throughout the country.
Dr. Carpenter retired from OSU in 1997 and passed away in 2003. His family and friends continue to share his stories and his love for education in his memory. Interested people may visit the Ludden Library to see some of LCCC's founding documents and news coverage of the period.
Dr. Thomas Gonzales: The First Dean of Students
"It made all the difference in my life."
That's how Dr. Tom Gonzales describes the impact from a call he received from Robert Schliske in the spring of 1969. Dr. Gonzales was encouraged to apply for a role with LCCC: dean of students, a position he held through 1972.
It was the beginning of a 37-year career during which time Dr. Gonzales has earned national accolades for his work on the American Council on Education and the Commission on Skills and the American Workforce. Dr. Gonzales was also one of only 13 educators named to oversee the American Association of Community Colleges Minority Education Initiative. Throughout his career, and into his retirement, he has been a sought-after speaker, facilitator and consultant in higher education.
Dr. Gonzales has served as the president of Front Range Community College for the past 14 years. He has also been appointed to the board of directors for the National Wildlife Federation, of which he has served as chairman.
Dr. Gonzales and his wife Annie live in Santa Fe, but continue to spend a great deal of time in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. "Living and working in Wyoming during those early years at LCCC was a special time in my life. I have met many wonderful people, with whom I still connect to this day."
Doran Lummis: Founding Father
Doran Arp Lummis is one of the "founding fathers" of LCCC and a life-long resident of Laramie County. He has served the community as a Laramie County Commissioner, rancher, member of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce member, Lions Club member, 4-H leader and more.
Doran believed in and supported LCCC when it was just an idea - from the first bond, through the passing of the second bond to the growth seen today. He witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of Laramie County trying to determine what to do with the concept of having a community college. With passion and drive, he approached his family about donating some of their bull pasture to help make this project a reality. In 1968, the Arp and Lummis families donated 300 acres to support having a community college in Cheyenne.
Over the years, Doran has watched an idea turn into a something larger: a vision that has provided education, opportunity, and growth for our community.
Looking back at the past 50 years, we are grateful to the Arp and Lummis families for their amazing generosity and support. Giving LCCC a home, one that began with just one building, growing to the college it is today with numerous facilities across campus to support more than 80 programs. It's hard to imagine what LCCC would be without the dedication of Doran Lummis and these families.
Roz and Bob Schliske: A Founding Couple
From 1969 to 2015, a Schliske was present at nearly every LCCC Board of Trustees meeting (including the very first one), which means that the Schliskes spent a great deal of time and effort for the betterment of the college. Bob and Roz were committed to the college in their own ways and made everlasting impacts during their time here.
Bob was one of the college's first employees, brought on as the vocational-technical dean in 1969, and a year later became the dean of instruction — the equivalent of today's vice presidents. Bob's 13 years as a vocational agriculture teacher at Carpenter High School and six years in various vo-tech areas for the Wyoming Department of Education had primed him as the ideal candidate to lead the college Laramie County voters had approved – Laramie County Community College Vocational/Technical Trade Center. He did so for the college's first 15 years.
"As I look back, we asked a great deal of our students," Bob said at a Kiwanis presentation in 1970. "We asked some to start their post-high school education program in a church basement. We asked others to be satisfied with learning auto mechanics on the third floor of the same building."
The early days of the college started in the basement of the First United Methodist Church, but Bob was a part of helping the campus grow into what it is today as well as expanded LCCC into Laramie first with adult basic education and a licensed practical nursing program, and into eastern Laramie County with credit and noncredit courses.
Roz came on board in 1976 as the director of public information, journalism instructor, and newspaper adviser. She built the journalism/mass media program over the course of her 39 years at the college.
"I never planned to teach. I was a serious newswoman," Roz said. "On the journalism teaching and newspaper advising side, I convinced myself I was simply doing what I had always done in the newsroom: coaching."
And with those words in mind, Roz went on to become the longest-tenured colligate journalism teacher in the state of Wyoming. She attributes her career longevity to the changing of technology allowing her to be innovative and always be learning. From no typewriters to IBM Selectrics to early desktop publishing and online publishing, Roz opened new opportunities for her students as the times, and technology, changed.
Her particular passion was working with the students of the Wingspan, a student-run publication that grew to prominence under her watch. Within two years it was winning regional and national awards, which went on to become routine.
"When I came to LCCC, I didn't know how to advise a student newspaper, but I knew how to manage a professional one," Roz said. "With that credibility behind me, my first staff followed my lead despite the fact I was only 26 years old." optometrist
Art Ellis: The Consummate Educator
Art had so many titles at LCCC during his 18 years of service that he isn't able to recall them all. He began his time under a joint agreement between the University of Wyoming and LCCC, working for both organizations to help offer UW classes in Cheyenne. After a year in that position, Art transitioned to full-time employment with LCCC.
Some of those duties included serving as the assistant to the president, assistant to the dean of instruction, and director of the LCCC Foundation. Art was willing to help in any way he could to see LCCC succeed: he raised money to support the college, he worked with faculty and employees, and he created relationships in the community to enhance the opportunities at LCCC.
Art received a degree in elementary education from Sheridan College, then attended the University of Wyoming, where he received three degrees (bachelor's, master's, doctoral) all in the area of education. You could say teaching and working with students was in his blood.
After teaching in elementary and secondary schools, Art began working in higher education. He was instrumental in changing the C Building (one of the original buildings at LCCC) into the Center for Conferences and Institutes, to provide opportunities for more events to come to Cheyenne. Most importantly, he was proud of the relationships that he created while he was working at LCCC.
Art has been married to his bride Cathy (also an educator) for 58 years, and they have two grown children.
Mary Hope: One of LCCC's First Nursing Graduates
"Attending LCCC was my opportunity of a lifetime!"
Mary Hope shared this sentiment recently as she discussed her years at LCCC. She finished her degree at LCCC in 1972 and is an understandably proud member of the first graduating cohort of nurses. Employed as an aide while attending the college, Mary succeeded in earning her LPN license upon graduation and quickly began a long career in nursing. She worked most of those years in Wyoming and several in Texas as well. Mary retired after 20 years, finishing her career at the Veterans' Home in Buffalo.
Mary set her sights on a career in medicine after suffering from polio in her early 20s. She aspired to help others as they had helped her, and she came to LCCC to pursue that dream. At the time Mary was a single mom to four small children, juggling parenting responsibilities, commitments to her employer, and the demands of her degree program. "Hard work got me through and LCCC changed my life!"
Mary's association with the college is fueled today by two new generations of her family. Mary's granddaughter has attended LCCC in pursuit of a degree in health science. Further, Mary's daughter Cynthia Henning is an eight-year employee of LCCC, a program director in the same school from which her mom graduated many years ago.
Angie Morrison: LCCC's First Employee
Angie holds the distinct title of being the first employee of LCCC. When the Board of Trustees began meeting, they needed an executive secretary to take minutes and assist with the paperwork of getting a College started. Angie was the perfect fit. Her previous secretarial experiences and work ethic were the ideal combination, and she was encouraged to apply for the position. Angie began her career in 1968, working from home, typing documents on an electronic typewriter at her kitchen table until the first administration offices for the college opened on Randall Avenue.
Angie was a Wyoming native, growing up in Cambria (what her son Richard calls a "ghost
town" today). Always a good student, Angie moved through her elementary and secondary
schooling quickly in a one-room school house and was the valedictorian of her high
school class in Newcastle. At just 16 years of age, she attended UW as a freshman
on a full tuition scholarship, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree.
Angie loved working at LCCC and always enjoyed being involved with the college as it was built from the ground up. As Richard said about his mother: "LCCC is the best thing that happened to her. She loved the school and every day she went there." He recalls that when his mother retired, she was sad to go — not just because she would miss the people she worked with, but because she was going to miss the job she got to do each day.
Angie passed away on January 18, 2017, and will always be remembered for her role in helping to establish and develop LCCC into what it has become over the years.
Dave Zwontizer: An Alumni, Teaching for 40+ Years
Not only was Dave a Golden Eagle, but he's actually been teaching at Laramie County Community College since 1977!
And his history goes beyond academics. Dave was on the LCCC basketball team that beat the previous national champs from Rangeley, Colorado, back in 1974. Dave remembers what a surprise victory is was for LCCC, with coach Woody Halverson looking on with pure amazement.
However, Dave was more excited that the college opened the new gymnasium in 1974 so the team didn't have to drive to Carey Junior High School gym for practice. He fondly recalled that all of his instructors were great, and he also reflected on his first year as a student when they had a ping-pong table in the room off the President's Office. That area was the recreation center at the time, when there were only the A, B and C buildings on the south end of campus.
One of the things Dave appreciates in LCCC's history was when the library installed new study carrels...especially the wonderful smell of the new wood.
"I thought maybe I could give back in a little way for a couple of years, and it turned into 41 years," Dave said. "I see students eyes light up and I know I'm on to something. To see students get fired up about learning, keeps me going."
Dr. Marty Carroll: Optometrist & Advocate
Dr. Carrol attended LCCC and earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1975. An avid supporter of the college since that time, he has served on numerous boards and promoted the college through various media campaigns.
Dr. Carroll credits LCCC with giving him the academic foundation and confidence to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming and to compete on a national level with other students in a professional degree program. He has been an optometrist in Cheyenne since 1981.
A huge proponent of any form of education, Dr. Carroll often encouraging his patients to continue their education at LCCC. He believes in the foundational importance of transitioning from high school to college in a nurturing and affordable manner and believes LCCC offers that foundation to local students.
For years Dr. Carroll has served organizations and events in the greater Cheyenne area including Head Start, Jaycees, Lions, Rotary, Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, and Cheyenne Frontier Days. He continues to volunteer for the LCCC, Laramie County School District No. 1, and the University of Wyoming.
One of his fondest memories from his student years is a perfect example of the Wyoming spirit: the college president pulling students' stuck cars out of snowbanks so they could leave the campus lots.
Dr. Jim Johns: Longtime Administrator & Friend of LCCC
Jim believes that if you stop learning, you stop living.
To that end, he modeled that way of living for his students, his colleagues, his family and the LCCC community. As an instructor and an administrator, Jim was prepared, firm, fair, and ready to have fun in learning; never losing focus on students and their changing needs.
Through 33 years of service, starting as an adjunct instructor through his role as vice president of instruction at LCCC, Jim had two major goals: to lead faculty and staff in the direction the college gave them and to provide support for everyone to be successful. The key was to be positive, provide clear direction and be willing to listen and compromise; treating everyone with dignity and respect.
Jim believes that it was his responsibility to go beyond, to get plugged in to the larger picture of the college. In fact, he would host an annual trip around Wyoming to visit historical sites and natural wonders, sharing his passion for history and travel. That passion continues today with his wife Connie — together they enjoy the culture of American and international cities, walking through their streets and taking in the sights.
Connie and Jim have established a scholarship at LCCC to help students realize their passions, achieve their dreams, remain lifelong learners and to share their gifts with their communities. Truly, Jim's leadership and support of students is like no other.
Richard Magill: A Boeing Professional
Now retired for the third time, Richard understands that higher education can help you on the many paths you'll take throughout your career.
"Attending LCCC was a good experience for me, giving me confidence in myself."
Prior to attending college, Richard served as a Navy Radarman E5 traveling the world on the U.S.S. Eldorado from 1957-1962. Because of his military service, Richard was able to attend LCCC with funding from the GI Bill.
He began at LCCC as a non-traditional student with a wife and three young children. To avoid distractions, he did his studying in their camper.
While attending LCCC, Richard worked evenings for the Boeing Company, located in Cheyenne at the time. Shortly after graduating, he moved with the Boeing Company. Richard worked on the Minuteman and Peacekeeper missile sites throughout the United States and as a professional and administrative executive on the B2 Bomber in Seattle, Washington. In 1994, he retired and headed back home to Cheyenne.
Richard was also a real estate broker and owner of Magill and Associates Real Estate and Construction Company. He sold and built homes in the Cheyenne area for 15 years, until he retired from that business in 2006.
Through yet another path, Richard found himself working in the disability field for Alliance for Self-Determination, a business owned by his daughter. After eight years, at the age of 79, he retired once again.
Arthur Padilla: Helped Start the Welding Program
Arthur was a World War II veteran who was instrumental in the development of the original welding technology program at LCCC. In the late 1960s, Arthur served Laramie County Community Action as the job developer and placement counselor. This position allowed him to fulfill his desire to assist in the transition of returning Vietnam veterans through improved job training and education opportunities.
Arthur's relationship with the college provided an important pathway to self-sufficiency and future employment for many members of this generation of servicemen. Creating such opportunities through education was a life accomplishment for Arthur.
In 1947, Arthur moved from Alamosa, Colorado to Cheyenne. He knew well the value of education, taking great pride in earning his GED, and later in receiving honorary degrees from the University of Wyoming. Arthur was committed to helping those in need. He served the greater Cheyenne community with contributions to Head Start and the Neighborhood Youth Corps. Arthur raised a large family in Cheyenne, instilling in them the importance of hard work, education, and the responsibility to give back to the community. Arthur was proud to say that he had children and grandchildren who earned their degrees at LCCC. Arthur Padilla passed away in 2003.
Ron Pulse: Agriculture Instructor and FFA Leader
LCCC was just 14 years old when Ron started as an instructor, and he enjoyed being a part of building something that changed lives. His love for teaching and dedication to his students was without question. When Ron was asked what made him proud of his time at the college, he said, "The students went on to become good citizens, responsible people who are succeeding in life."
While teaching here, Ron became the first FFA State Director in Wyoming and served for 28 years. Building FFA in Wyoming was a passion of Ron's, and he developed the FFA Wyoming high school courses. Originally, the annual FFA convention moved around Wyoming, but Ron brought it to the LCCC campus in 2003 and advocated for keeping it here...and the convention has not moved since. This has developed strong partnerships between the high school advisors and the college's agriculture program.
Ron's time with LCCC had a big influence on his family – in fact, both of his children graduated from LCCC. His son, Grant, works for the Department of Agriculture in Tennessee. Rhonda, his daughter, served as the LCCC student government president, worked as a residence-housing assistant, and was named the Outstanding Community College Student of the Year. She is now a doctor.
Dorothy Feldman: The Non-traditional Student/Artist
After raising two children with her husband, Joe, in Cheyenne, Dorothy's husband encouraged her to go back to school and receive her degree. So at the age of 50, Dorothy enrolled for classes at LCCC. When she showed some reluctance, she recalls her husband saying "when are you going to get any younger?" This memory still brings a smile to her face today.
While attending LCCC, Dorothy took courses in accounting and bookkeeping, and she enrolled for art courses. She had previously worked for the State of Wyoming doing office work, and this opportunity allowed her to put all her skills and knowledge together. She said that her experiences at LCCC "filled in the knowledge I had received before...it provided understanding in accounting, which I had been doing for years."
While Dorothy loved her entire academic experience, her favorite memories are from her art classes. Dorothy had always loved art, her husband even courted her by purchasing her a block of clay. She was a founding member of the Cheyenne Art Guild and at the time was the guild's youngest member. She continues to maintain her membership with the CAG and recalls fondly using the skills that she learned at LCCC to help her paint and frame pictures.
Dorothy is a Cheyenne native, she and her late husband raised two children. She now has five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Dennis "Denny" Flynn: Starting the Criminal Justice Program
In 1970, Dennis (or "Denny") became a consultant for the State of Wyoming. As part of this consulting work, he wrote block grants to upgrade law enforcement programs in Wyoming and requested them through both Governor Stan Hathaway and President Lyndon Johnson. In 1972, he wrote a grant for LCCC to federally fund a college degree program in police administration. It started the law enforcement program that still exists today as the criminal justice program.
Dennis taught law enforcement classes at LCCC from 1971 to 1973.
The students in law enforcement classes were mainly continuing education for police officers and Wyoming Highway Patrol. Classes were taught at Warren Air Force Base or in the building now called the Center for Conferences and Institutes. Denny actually taught Introduction to Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigations and Vice & Narcotics.
"The college has been a positive force in our community, and our state because we attract students from all over. We've always had growth going and we've been proactive. Academics at LCCC have done a good job to prepare students to go on, and the trades are important today too," Dennis said.
Dennis ran for Laramie County Sheriff in 1974 and was elected to two terms. He and his wife, Nancy, had three children.
Randy Ludden: First Student Senate President
Randy’s history with LCCC dates back to before the school began in 1968. He recalls walking door to door during his senior year at East High asking residents to vote for the establishment of a community college. It was his hope that following his military service, he could restart his education by attending such an institution.
Once given the opportunity to return to school, Randy didn’t just get his education at LCCC, he became fully engaged in life at the college. He served as the first student senate president where he introduced and received passage of bills changing the school colors from green and orange to blue and gold and worked to establish the Golden Eagle as the school mascot. A University of Wyoming graduate with a finance degree, he is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honorary.
After completing his education, Randy traded crude oil and refined products with Shell Oil Company. Following his Shell Oil retirement, he served as executive vice president at Seacor Energy, Texadian Energy and senior vice president and was a founder of Par Petroleum prior to his retirement in 2015.
While Randy’s work may have taken him away from Cheyenne, he remains connected to LCCC and to the college’s success. Randy and his wife, Yvonne, established an endowment to support the Ludden Library at LCCC, which bares their name. He served as the LCCC commencement speaker in 2009 and was featured in an issue of The Talon magazine. The Luddens were the 2018 recipients of the LCCC Foundation Lifetime Heritage Award.
Randy and Yvonne are retired and living in Houston, Texas, and Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.
Rodger McDaniel: Lawyer, Legislator, Author, Pastor
"I was the first person in my family to ever attend college," Rodger shared. "When my brothers and I graduated from high school, going to college was never on our minds."
But with a college in Cheyenne, it seemed doable. His time at LCCC gave him the confidence to go on to the University of Wyoming where he eventually received a law degree. Rodger attended LCCC in the early 1970s, and also served on the LCCC Board of Trustees (and the LCCC Foundation Board) from 1980-1982
During that time, he also served as a member of the Wyoming State Legislature, serving as a representative from 1971-1977 and a senator from 1977-1981. He was even Wyoming's Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1982.
In 1996, he enrolled in seminary studies at the Iliff School of Theology, receiving a Master of Divinity degree. In 2003, Rodger was named the director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, and in 2007 he became the deputy director of the Wyoming Department of Health, a position he held for four years.
Since then, he has served as the pastor at Highlands United Presbyterian Church and has authored four books, including the recently published work, 'The Man in the Arena: The Life and Times of U.S. Senator Gale McGee.
"I honestly believe none of this would have happened had it not been for LCCC. I will always be grateful to LCCC for instilling in me the intellectual curiosity necessary to continue with an academic career that opened other doors to me."
Joe Phelan: Long-term Faculty, Physical Education
Joe taught at LCCC for 37 year. In fact, when he started, many of his students were older than he was.
"The diversity of community college students was a real education for me and it gave me the opportunity to know and help them," Joe said. "It made me a better person."
Joe grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree in physical education from Kansas State University (Purple Pride) and a master's in health and physical education from the University of Wyoming (Cowboy Pride.)
"I always thought I was on the fast track to get my Ph.D. and work at some university. After a few years at LCCC, I realized teaching at a community college was more rewarding. At LCCC, we don't have the politics most universities deal with. We focus on teaching and advising our students," Joe said.
Jason Ficca, LCCC men's basketball coach, shared: "For LCCC, Joe literally built the P.E. program and the P.E. building."
A recipient of numerous faculty excellence awards, Joe was elected to the Cheyenne City Council, was president of the Wyoming Association of Physical Education and Dance, served on the original committee for the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport, and is proud to be a member of the LCCC Foundation family.
"My wife Jean (even an atheist would say a "gift from God"), my daughter Michell and her husband Wil, and my grandchildren, Nyah and Quinn, are the loves of my life."
Helen (McCracken) Roylance: The Art Major Who Started Downtown
Helen remembers a time when LCCC was still conducing classes in downtown Cheyenne. She even recalls classes in the basement of the First United Methodist Church on 18th Street, where sometimes she had to park as many as five blocks away.
As the college grew, Helen found many opportunities to grow with it, in particular with the bookstore and the audio-visual department, working with photography and printing. It was that work that pointed her toward a rewarding career with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Through her 34 years of service, Helen was involved in the Wyoming Wildlife Magazine, state hunter education, outdoor skills education, and conservation summer camp. She even started the Becoming and Outdoor Woman workshop. Helen was thankful that her career could merge her love for the Wyoming outdoors with art and design, and she attributes her time with LCCC for opening that opportunity. "The experience I gained while working with photography and printing was a plus in gaining employment. It was a natural fit."
After her retirement, Helen and her husband, Ken, have continued their love for wild Wyoming by volunteering in conservation projects and teaching shooting sports.
Helen fondly looks back on those early years of LCCC. "There were incredible challenges, and it took an incredible team to get LCCC of the ground. I feel blessed to have been a student at that time!"
Rolfe Burgess: From Student to Faculty to Banker
Rolfe has been a student, faculty member, and a friend of LCCC for decades.
He attended the college as a part-time student from 1982 through 1988, and earned an Associate of Arts degree. He taught in the business program for about seven years and facilitated the banking and finance courses.
Rolfe accomplished a successful career in banking and finance. He retired as a vice president with Wells Fargo. His community service is an impressive list of civic organization affiliations including Sertoma, Junior Soccer league, Chamber of Commerce, Cheyenne Sunrise Rotary, and the LCCC Foundation Board.
"I received a highly valued academic education, and one in humility, preparation and appreciation of the diverse world we live in today," Rolfe said. "I will always remember, value, and hold dearly the guidance/life experiences shared by instructors such as Jim Johns, Dick Williams, and Jim Lamprecht. Those early conversations on diversity, inclusiveness, and giving back, have helped me to be the person I am today."
John Contos: Educational Administrator, LCSD1
Coming from a family of educators, John Contos hasn't regretted his life decision to become a teacher and administrator. LCCC gave him that great start.
LCCC made a huge difference in John's success as a college student. He was a Golden Eagle from 1980-1981 and transferred to UW for his bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education and health teaching.
John is the curriculum coordinator for Health, Physical Education and Safe and Drug Free Schools in Cheyenne with Laramie County School District No. 1. He has had an amazing 32-year career and he is still going strong.
He has been a Cheyenne Frontier Days volunteer for some 36 years, serving as the Public Relations Chairman from 2005 until 2007. John is currently serving as the chairman of the CFD Board of Directors. He has a strong affinity for the great outdoors – his hobbies include hunting, fly fishing, shooting sports, exercise, mountain biking, and bird dogs, not to mention spending time with his grandchildren and significant other, Connie.
Regarding his college experience, John said: "I met some wonderful and now lifelong friends at LCCC, from students to instructors. I have very fond memories there and continue to enjoy watching LCCC thrive. I will always credit LCCC for my early educational success and hold fond memories of those educational days gone by."
Jeri Griego: LCCC's First Faculty Emeritus
A 1975 graduate of LCCC, Jeri is a highly decorated and recently retired faculty member, a current LCCC Foundation board member and the first LCCC Faculty Emeritus, an honor she received in 2017. Jeri's long-term commitment to supporting all students drove her to develop what is now called the Western States Bank Food Pantry and to chair the committee that received accreditation for online learning at LCCC.
As a faculty member, Jeri embedded service opportunities into her classes to bring true benefits to the community and to afford her students the experience of applying classroom learning to real life. Her students would tell you that the experiences Jeri placed before them were life-changing.
Jeri's commitment to the community is evident in her service on multiple boards. Her contribution to LCCC continues today through her membership on the LCCC Foundation board. Though she is the recipient of several teaching awards, Jeri would tell you that the relationships she has built with students over the years are more meaningful than any awards.
Her students remember Jeri's enthusiasm in the classroom, her enthusiasm for the subject matter, and her commitment to student success. Jeri's roots at LCCC run deep. The many students who have passed through her classroom, members of the student groups she has advised, and those whose lives have been touched by the college resources Jeri helped create will be her lasting legacy.
Rodney Tapp: Golden Eagle Making it Big in Wisconsin
Men's basketball coach Woody Halverson recruited Rodney Tapp from an Indiana high school in 1984. "LCCC allowed me to travel nearly 1,500 miles from Indiana as a wide eyed teenager and grow into a man," Rodney shared. The values and character of the professors and athletic department made the difference.
He played on the LCCC team men's basketball team for two years and was selected to the NJCAA All Region IV Team. He received a scholarship to play basketball in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Wisconsin. Rod earned an associate degree in business administration from LCCC, a bachelor's degree in consumer affairs at the University of Wisconsin, and ultimately earned his MBA in finance from Capella University.
Rodney is currently the president of Meridian in Madison, Wisconsin. Meridian provides affordable housing communities to seniors, individuals with disabilities, and families in 100 locations. He is at the helm of a company that employees more than 220 employees and manages 5,000 apartments. Rod has served on such boards as the Wisconsin Partnership for Affordable Housing, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Community Advisory Board, and the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation.
Even more noteworthy, Rodney has been married for nearly thirty years. He and his wife have three children, who have earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin and DePaul University, and are leading successful lives of their own.
Connie (Heil) Trowbridge: A Bachelor's Degree through LCCC
Connie has a rare alumni experience with the college: she received her associate degree at LCCC and— through a program developed with former Dean of Business Mohammed Salih—she also earned her bachelor's degree at LCCC. This was a program made possible through a partnership with Regis University.
"LCCC provided me with a local college option for a young adult paying her own way through school," Connie said. "The additional partnerships at that time allowed me to complete my bachelor's degree locally. I wouldn't be where I am at today without having this opportunity."
Connie has been married for 27 years and has two wonderful children, Nathan and Lexi. Nathan graduated with a bachelor of arts in 3D animation and media arts from Denver Art Institute, and Lexi just graduated from Cheyenne East High School and is starting a full ride scholarship to play volleyball at Eastern Wyoming College.
Connie shared, "My education allowed me to be successful in my 23-year career at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming allowing me to move up to the position I hold today, vice president of strategy and planning."
Kim Withers: CEO, Meridian Trust FCU
Kim was a self-proclaimed typical 70s teenager growing up. She liked jumping into lakes from makeshift tire swings, dancing to the Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever album, and yearned for a date with Donny Osmond. She knew at that time that she had a desire to create and achieve more and recognized that would require growth through learning.
Her education path started by taking telecourses at LCCC. After earning her associate degree, she obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration from Chapman University, a master's degree in management from Lesley College, and a Ph.D. in banking and finance from Preston University.
"I ended up having a ton of degrees, but the one from LCCC ignited something even bigger inside of me," Kim said. "Learning is challenging, but there are abundant rewards. From learning, you do. From doing, you choose. From choosing, you influence. From influencing, you create."
That craving for knowledge continues beyond all the degrees, through living and indulging in a variety of hobbies, such as fishing of any kind, running half marathons, planning intricate Christmas music light shows on her house, studying the Civil War battle at Franklin, Tenn., beekeeping, and biking to work.
"I still like tire swings, and I listen to the Bee Gees cranked up," Kim, now the CEO for Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, said. "But truly - my nature, human nature, is to feed the insatiable appetite of learning through living and all forms of education."
Guy Cameron: 40 years serving the community
From the basketball court to the firehouse to the legislature, it's safe to say Guy has definitely seen his fair share of challenges. But nothing seemed to slow him down.
His experience at LCCC—not to mention his career success—are attributable to the commitment, passion and personal relationships forged with faculty and staff at the college. After being recruited to play basketball in 1976, he took a break from his educational path. For many students, this could have been an end to their college career. Not for Guy.
During that time away from school, several LCCC mentors reached out to him, determined to stay in touch.
Eventually, this group convinced Guy to return to complete his degrees – one in fire science as well as an associate of arts and science.
"It's that personal connection that I will not forget and for which I am eternally grateful."
Since his LCCC education, Guy has been through 40 years of service to the community: a firefighter, a state representative, state senator, fire chief, and now the Wyoming Director of Homeland Security, appointed by Governor Matt Mead.
Ever the gentleman, Guy asked to include a "thank you" to his mentor, Bill McIlvain, for the support and inclusion in celebrating 50 years of LCCC.
Derede Darden: Principal, Hobbs Elementary
Without her parents around to help, no money to her name, and her confidence at an all-time low, Derede walked into LCCC back in 1986 and said, "I don't have any money, I can't complete the FAFSA, and I want to go to college." That determination paid off as Derede persisted to not only complete an associate degree, but went on to the University of Wyoming to receive a bachelor's degree, a master's in special education, and an endorsement in educational leadership.
"LCCC started a desire in me to learn and I continued on and off for 25 years," she said.
Derede is currently the principal at Hobbs Elementary School here in Cheyenne. She is in her 27th year working in education, 15 of those years with Laramie County School District No. 1. She sincerely loves education, though it wasn't love back when she was actually the student in K-12. For her, that time was far from a great experience. That's why she's made it her mission to leave a positive, lasting imprint on every stakeholder she encounters.
In fact, her husband and both daughters attended and graduated from LCCC.
"LCCC gave me the confidence I didn't get the first 17 years of my life, to know that I was not disposable to the world," she said. "I am so thankful for LCCC, and I share that daily."
Jimmy Orr: To the White House and Back
Jimmy has had an amazing career – working at the White House, running Arnold
Schwarzenegger's digital strategy, being on the masthead at the Los Angeles Times, successfully running his wife's campaign for mayor, and so many things in between.
"And it's all because of the foundation I had at LCCC. The one-on-one relationships I built with the faculty helped develop my work ethic and my career goals," he said.
Jimmy got a job in Senator Al Simpson's Cheyenne office. After that, his interest in politics mushroomed into a decades-long career in politics with stops on Capitol Hill, two governors offices, and four wonderful years as a White House spokesman and director of digital strategy.
He was always writing during this time as that's his true passion: speeches, press releases, scripts, columns, he had to keep writing. He wrote in the digital space for Christian Science Monitor, covering covered the 2008 presidential election before becoming the managing editor for digital.
The Los Angeles Times hired him to lead its digital transformation was soon promoted to the masthead as "Managing Editor, Digital." After that, with ESPN's Woody Paige, he launched a digital startup; that online-only sports show was the fastest growing program on Facebook in 2015.
When his wife decided to run for mayor of Cheyenne, Jimmy left the startup to focus full-time on running her successful campaign. He now runs Orr Communications -- a digital video communications firm with clients in sports programming, restaurant, health care, and political sectors.
"It's great to be home," he said. "It really all started at LCCC."
Stan Torvik: Leader in Workforce & Community Development
After retiring from a successful career at the State of Wyoming, Stan took the role of LCCC's coordinator with Warren Air Force Base. Then in 2007, he became the vice president of Workforce & Community Development and retired in 2014 as the special assistant to the president.
Stan never wanted credit or glory. His objective was to support the workforce needs
of business and industry by developing and offering training and technical programs.
He passionately wanted to do the right thing for the students, the college, and the
In fact, numerous non-credit and academic programs were launched during the years Stan was leading Workforce & Community Development and many of these still thrive today.
Stan believed that starting junior and high school students on a career path early would help them succeed in education and life. Under his guidance, dual/concurrent enrollment and GEAR UP were the first high school programs absorbed into Workforce & Community Development.
Stan and his late wife, a counselor at Central High School, often talked about helping students on the edge of dropping out of high school. When a chance to house the High School Diploma program came along, he realized this was a solution – giving students the opportunity to graduate with their class. Of all the program developed and launched under Stan's leadership, this one touched his heart the most.
Kathleen Urban: The Queen of All Trades
Kathleen Urban's first love has always been teaching. She comes from a family of teachers (and calls it "the family business"). Receiving a bachelor's from the University of Wyoming, and a master's from the University of Maryland, Kathleen began her teaching career in 1974 at Yavapai College. After getting her law degree from George Washington University, she found her way back to Wyoming and eventually to LCCC where she stayed until she retired ... on four different occasions.
LCCC first reeled in Kathleen with an ad to start up a legal assistant program at the college.
"There really is nothing more exciting – and terrifying – than starting something new," she said. "One of the first graduates of the program is now a trustee at LCCC."
Kathleen taught in the program from 1988-2000 and became the first female faculty president along the way. Her first attempt at retirement was in 2003 after serving as dean of social sciences for a few years, but instead she began her cycle of interim dean positions – dean of Health, Science & Agriculture (2004); dean of Arts & Humanities (2005); dean of Arts & Humanities, again (2010-2013). She even became the interim associate vice president at the Albany County Campus before truly retiring in June of 2014.
"LCCC gave me the chance to return to my hometown and do something I love," she said. "Serving the college in so many capacities meant I had the opportunity few others have: to get to know the personnel, program and students at a deeper level."
Kara (Crist) Acton: Dedicated to Her Community
College often can be more daunting than many people may realize initially. Kara discovered this when she began this part of her academic career - she started at the University of Wyoming, but decided to leave school and move to the east coast. Before long, Kara realized that if she wanted to get her degree, she needed to move back home and attend LCCC. With great dedication she ultimately received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Wyoming.
Since then, Kara has found ways to thrive and give back to her community. For 26 years, Kara has worked as the controller at Aztec Construction. Not only that, this working mother who calls eastern Laramie County her home, is also a business owner: when you find yourself in Pine Bluffs, you'll want to visit The Knotty Pine Saloon.
Kara's benevolence reaches far and wide – she finds time to volunteer tirelessly for several non-profit organizations, including CASA of Laramie County, but she also commits herself personally to the cause. She and her husband have been foster parents for the past 12 years and are dedicated to helping youth in southeast Wyoming, particularly those that have faced tremendous disadvantages and obstacles. Kara's heart and her home are open to those children who often have had neither.
This Golden Eagle has truly found a way to let others soar.
Tommy Cress: A Principal Who Rides for the Brand
Rodeo is more than a sport – it's a way of life. And depending on who your coaches and teammates are, it can actually change your life.
Tommy Cress was on LCCC's rodeo team in the late 1980s (in fact, he even rode with the late Shawn Dubie). It was during Tommy's time on the team that he learned many lessons outside the classroom.
"Everybody had a job to do," he said. "If you're not riding something yourself, you're helping out so other kids can get some practice riding."
Once Tommy laid eyes on the new indoor arena at LCCC, he was committed. "There's not a nicer college rodeo arena in the country," Cress said. "We drove here from Pueblo. We walked in and said 'we're gonna go to school here.'"
Coach Russell "Pinky" Walters was also a mentor to Tommy. "We were really lucky to have a guy like him. I was no good. But Pinky believed in us, took care of us," Tommy shared. "He wanted you to be prepared for when school was over."
Those lessons carry over to Tommy's life today and his dedication to students. An agricultural education major at LCCC, he continued his education and earned more degrees. He now works as the assistant vice principal at Cheyenne East High.
Both of Tommy's kids took part in rodeo, both at Tarleton College...and Tommy's son, Brody, won the Cheyenne Frontier Days bronc riding title in 2017 and 2018. Brody also finished 2017 as the National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc riding champion.
The family really does ride for the brand.
Amy (Thiel) Lenhardt: Bison Ranch Manager
Amy built her life around her family, and she managed to get a degree and became a successful businesswoman. She began college at LCCC after marrying her husband Kent in 1986. After two years, one more class was needed to complete her associate degree when she had her first child, Steven. She went on to have two more amazing children, David and Melanie, and made her family her number one priority. Amy completed her degree in business administration in 1998 after her children were a little older, during which time she continued to work in the family business at the Terry Bison Ranch. She is proof that women can raise a family and have a career too!
Amy has assisted with and managed the land and ranching division of the Terry Ranch/Iron Mountain Bison Ranch and Terry Grazing Association for more than 20 years.
"I enjoyed my time at LCCC especially because I could take the classes in Cheyenne and it was convenient. The teachers were always very approachable and helpful," Amy said. "It gave me the opportunity to learn about business and got me started in this direction. I'm so thankful for the start it gave me."
Matt Pope: President, First Interstate Bank
Matt's family had limited exposure to college, so LCCC's smaller campus atmosphere allowed him to transition into college comfortably. He attended LCCC on a golf scholarship while he studied business and went on to complete his accounting degree at UW – and Matt has a plethora of wonderful memories of the Golden Eagle golf trips with teammates. He went on to complete the CPA exam and an MBA at Regis University on the LCCC campus.
"It wasn't until I went to LCCC that my focus began to turn to academics, and I started to become a better student. LCCC was the beginning of how to learn. I was able to do well and get more out of the classes because they were smaller, and the instructors were always available and wanting to help students succeed."
Matt is currently the president of First Interstate Bank of Cheyenne and a former member of the LCCC Foundation Board. Matt and his wife, Karen, have three children.
Matt believes that having the opportunity to start his academic journey at LCCC then come back to serve on the Foundation board—and also support the Foundation and the college both personally and through First Interstate Bank—has provided him with a great sense of satisfaction and confirmation that LCCC really is fulfilling its mission to students and the community.
Larry Atwell: College Trustee & Commissioner
Larry and his wife, Connie, moved to Cheyenne in 1973 seeking a stable environment in which to raise their family. After owning a small business for 15 years, Larry then spent 19 years working with local businesses as part of the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.
He served as an LCCC Board Trustee from 1996-2006. During that tenure, a major contribution made was the building of the Albany County Campus in Laramie. That venture seemed risky at the time, but later they realized it was such as great idea that they should have built a bigger facility. Ultimately, that project resulted in stronger relationships between LCCC and the University of Wyoming.
Larry continued to look for ways to improve the opportunities for Wyoming's community college, so after retiring from the Chamber and ending his service as a trustee, he applied to fill a Wyoming Community College commissioner position. Governor Dave Freudenthal appointed him as a commissioner in 2008, and Larry will serve until February 2019.
"I'm proud to say that through the efforts of myself and many other people at the Commission and the colleges, there is now a very strong, positive and interactive relationship that will bring success across the state."
Jane Iverson: Making Music for Years
During her time at LCCC, Jane Iverson was heavily involved in building the music program into what it is today. With the help of colleagues such as Chuck Thompson, Sean Ambrose, and the late John Wacker, Jane spent countless hours working with her students; witnessing those 'light bulb moments' that made her (nearly) ten years so rewarding.
Perhaps Jane's biggest champion was her late husband Don, who sang in both the Collegiate Chorale and Cantorei groups at LCCC. "Now THAT's Love," she beams of Don. For Jane, those shared memories of travels with the musical performance groups, performances of the madrigal dinners at the Atlas Theatre, and concerts with the Cheyenne Chamber Singers have come to typify the LCCC experience.
Whether it was recruiting additional instructors for the music program, finding creative solutions for performing venues, or championing the music to the rest of the community, Jane's impact can be seen in the lives of the students she encounters more than 20 years later.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have worked at LCCC. I believe LCCC offers a great value in education, for all ages, and I am proud to have been a small part of it."
Margy Najar-Anderson: Music in the Heart
Margy began her educational career at LCCC in the music department. She earned an Associate of Arts in music in 1998 and was the first student to receive the Most Outstanding Performer award.
"I was fortunate to attend LCCC when the music department was led by Jane Iverson, who was the driving force behind the growth of a thriving music program for several years."
After LCCC, Margy continued to the University of Wyoming where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in music. More importantly, she met her husband at UW. They decided to return to Cheyenne to raise their family. Margy has worked for the State of Wyoming for 11 years, but music is still in her blood. She continues her passion for singing by performing with the select vocal group, Cheyenne Chamber Singers. Impressively, she was even a member during her time at LCCC. She has spent roughly 12 years with this group.
And it all started at LCCC.
"LCCC has a positive learning environment with smaller class sizes which was beneficial for getting the most out of class interaction and feedback from the professors. It's an excellent choice for students to begin their college education," Margy said. "Right now, my daughter is attending LCCC, and we really value the smooth transition she has had from high school to college."
Britney Butler: Working for a Senator in DC
After obtaining her associate degree in business administration from LCCC, Britney completed her B.A. and certificate in real estate at the University of Wyoming; in fact, LCCC prepared her so well that she only needed three semesters at UW to finish her B.A. This provided her the opportunity to intern at a lobbying firm in Washington, DC, followed by an event planning position in the DC Metro area. Her tenacity opened the door to a full-time scheduling position with Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi.
While she enjoyed her time in the nation's capital, she wanted to return to Wyoming and did so in 2014 when she took on the role of director of operations on Senator Enzi's re-election campaign. Following the election, Britney turned her skills to the Wyoming Office of Tourism as the industry relations manager.
Britney got the political bug again and most recently was the field manager on Leland Christensen's campaign for state treasurer.
"LCCC was a life changer for me," Britney said. "I loved it there. Academically it suited me and prepared me to succeed at UW and as I entered my career."
Alana Frick: Teaching in South America
LCCC gave Ali an opportunity to explore many different paths. She planned on studying anthropology, but was approached by an instructor to switch to English because he believed she had an aptitude for the subject. Little did she know at the time, but he had helped Ali find her vocation.
After leaving LCCC, she earned a B.A. in secondary education from Arizona State University in 2009, then earned her master of arts from Columbia University's Teachers College.
Besides going to school, she loves exploring new places, especially visiting archeological sites. As of January 2018, Ali can officially say that she has been on all seven continents. She considers herself lucky enough to combine her love for travel into her career as well. An international teacher, she first lived and worked in Managua, Nicaragua, for six years and is now starting her fourth year in Santiago, Chile, as a middle school Language Arts teacher.
"While most people deem me crazy for this, I love it!"
Ali also loves the diversity that is found in international schools. Being exposed to so many different cultures not only helped her improve her practice as a teacher, she believes it has helped her grow as a person.
"I am thankful for the education and support that LCCC offered. It allowed me to grow and explore different interests that I might not otherwise have discovered."
Andrew "Andy" Killian: From GED to Theatre Professional
"I was a high school dropout that never made it past the seventh grade."
Andy is open about the challenges of his past, and that fact that LCCC helped give him a new direction. His journey at LCCC began with taking the tremendous step of earning his GED. He then became a music student the following fall and soon discovered his love for theatre, specifically lighting design, which has become his livelihood.
"Jason Pasqua opened so many new avenues for me during my time as a student that made me who I am today," Andy said. "He and Gary Hall laid the foundation of my lifelong interest in learning and teaching."
Andy currently lives and works in Las Vegas where he will complete his master of fine arts in theatrical lighting design at the University of Las Vegas this May. He has worked a variety of freelance lighting design projects for corporate events at trade shows, rock concerts, dance, opera, theatre, fashion, and everything in between.
"Until LCCC, I was unaware that a career in the technical side of theatre was even possible," he said. "A love and passion of lighting design was fostered here."
Andy and his wife (also an LCCC alum) have two children.
Elisha Maldonado: A New York City Writer
Elisha has impressive media chops: she's written for the Wall Street Journal as well as National Review. She is a member of the New York Post editorial board.
And she is a graduate of LCCC.
Elisha arrived at the college in 2004 and earned the Associate of Arts in mass media two years later. She continued her education at San Jose State University in California and has been writing and reporting professionally for more than a decade. Elisha credits the journalism program at LCCC for opening her eyes to a life that she didn't know she'd wanted. It was at LCCC where she discovered that her love of truth and justice could be the foundation of a career.
Elisha recalled that "... at LCCC I realized just how much words matter and that, through writing, I could give others a voice they might not otherwise have."
Elisha is currently serving as senior fellow for the Independent Women's Forum, which seeks to advance freedom, choice and opportunity. In reflecting on how her years at LCCC shaped her academic and career paths since Elisha shared, "It was the best education I could have gotten!"
Ron Rabou: Alumni & Foundation Board Member
Ron graduated from LCCC in 2002 and went on to become the chairman of both the LCCC Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board.
Of his time at LCCC, Ron shared: "I have met an enormous amount of amazing people through my time and involvement with the college. My dad always told me you become who you associate with. The people at LCCC have helped to make me a better person. I've learned a tremendous amount about people, business, vision and innovation because of my various levels of involvement at LCCC."
Ron and his wife, Julie, own Rabou Farms which is a fifth generation family farm located in southeastern Wyoming where they raise their three sons: Carson, Spencer and Mason. They produce organic wheat as their primary crop and also grow spring crops, including green lentils, proso millet, chick peas, and ancient grains. In addition, they currently offer certified transitional wheat.
"Community colleges are the backbone of success for thousands of industries in our country. They provide the training, the workforce and the visionary leadership to help these industries to progress and to stay on the cutting edge of innovation," Ron said. "They are an invaluable asset to the communities they serve."
Bert Devilbiss: The Student as Published Scientist
Motivated to get out of working in retail, Bert came to LCCC without a clear goal in mind, but left with a love for biology and scientific research. He is now a published scientist in "Frontiers in Plant Science" based on work he did while at LCCC. Opportunities of doing research at that level is kind of unheard of for an undergrad to have, let alone a community college student.
"I'm very excited to have my name on something that contributes to the greater scientific
knowledge," Bert said.
When he started at LCCC he picked a program that would allow him to become a game warden. But when he took biology from Ami Wangeline, that's when his direction began to change.
Ami invited him to join her research group after that class and Bert spent the next six years at LCCC working on that research. In 2012 he became involved with the research group at Colorado State University, through a partnership with LCCC. He left LCCC in 2014 and went on to get a Bachelor of Science in microbiology with minors in botany and molecular biology in 2017 at the University of Wyoming. He's currently working as a research technician in Lincoln, Nebraska, and plans to complete a doctoral program in mycology.
"Being part of the research group was really the turning point in my life," Bert said. "I wouldn't have the degree or the passion that I have now. I wouldn't have the respect for the scientific community that I have now."
Edited from the article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle by Kristine Galloway
Dr. Luke Hollmann: The Ph.D. from Notre Dame
The second of eight children, Luke had no real "hometown" until age 17 when his family moved to Cheyenne, where his father eventually retired from the Air Force. At the age of 20, Luke decided to pay his hometown community college a visit. LCCC offered the right blend of classroom size and proximity to home, helping this homeschooled Air Force kid from everywhere transition to a more traditional classroom environment.
Luke graduated with associate of science degrees in engineering and mathematics, while he also worked in the LCCC tutoring center. Luke was an officer for the honor society Phi Theta Kappa, a member of the LCCC collegiate chorale, and a student-athlete on the LCCC equestrian team.
Continuing his education, Luke graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and delivered the student address at the College of Engineering's commencement ceremony. He again graduated from UW in 2008, this time with a master's degree in electrical engineering. Luke continued his academic pursuits, earning a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has spent the last eight years working as an engineering scientist for a US. Navy contractor (UnderSea Sensor Systems, Inc.), where he specializes in acoustic signal processing and algorithm design.
Luke and his wife, Kate, have seven beautiful children. They currently reside in Kate's hometown of Columbia City, Indiana.
Nichole Killian: Stage Manager in Las Vegas
LCCC laid the foundation to several key components in Nichole's life today: she made lifelong friends, met her future husband, connected with ongoing mentors, and found her love for theatre.
"The theatre program was an excellent first step into my professional career. I was able to work in an educational environment and learn skills for both on and off stage," she said. "I also learned how to run my own shows and company through my involvement in the theatre program and the theatre club."
After earning two degrees at LCCC, Nichole went on to get her Bachelor of Arts in theatre at Colorado State University. She worked professionally as a stage manager in Colorado for three years before moving to Las Vegas in 2016. She is currently the resident stage manager for Cockroach Theatre Company, a nonprofit theatre voted this year in Las Vegas Weekly as the "Best Theatre for the Apocalypse."
"LCCC allowed for my passion for the arts to grow through my instructors," Nichole, who is also a mother of two, said. "I was able to explore my love of English, Theatre and Music in a way I would not have been able to if I had just gone to a four-year university."
Jillian Kay Melchior: Journalist in New York
Jillian, an accomplished journalist in New York, gives a lot of credit for where she is today to her beginnings at LCCC.
"My adult life started at LCCC," Jillian reflects. Coming into college, her interest in journalism developed into much more with the guidance of Rosalind Schliske, an LCCC journalism instructor, and the experience gained at Wingspan, the student-run newspaper. She was introduced to investigative reporting and opinion writing. Rosalind encouraged Jillian to apply for the Scripps Howard Roy W. Howard Collegiate Reporting Contest, which took her to South Korea and Japan. Jillian says it made her fall in love with foreign correspondence.
"Those experiences prepared me to launch a career in journalism, and I'm still using the skills Roz taught me every single day."
Today, Jillian is an opinion writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page, and she reports on higher education, free speech, organized labor and activist movements, among other topics. She has also worked as an investigative reporter for National Review, a political editor for Heat Street, and a fellow for the Independent Women's Forum and the Steamboat Institute.
While she may be a long distance from where she started, the relationships Jillian built at LCCC have stayed with her. Her best friend, Elisha Maldonado, who was also an LCCC Wingspan reporter, works nearby at the New York Post. Jillian also met her husband, Taylor Collins, while working at Wingspan.
Billie Addleman: Donor & Founder of Flight Crew
Billie has been a dedicated friend of LCCC since he and his wife, Brandi Monger, established their first endowed scholarship in 2008. Since that time, they have endowed an additional scholarship, and Billie has served as a member of the LCCC Foundation board since 2011.
While his engagement started in the Foundation and has grown into the academic areas, Billie has also shown his passion and dedication for athletics. Billie helped start The Flight Crew this fall, which provides scholarship support for LCCC student-athletes. Billie and his wife, regularly attend sporting events at LCCC and always look for opportunities to share these experiences with friends and family.
Though not a Wyoming native, Billie has embraced all that the state have to offer. After attending the University of Wyoming College of Law, Billie and his wife chose to make Cheyenne their home. He is currently the managing partner at Hirst Applegate, LLP, a Cheyenne law firm that traces its roots back to the late 1930s. In fact, that firm has a long history supporting LCCC, including an endowed scholarship for paralegal studies.
Billie has served on many boards and has been involved in numerous community programs and organizations. However, he states that "none of them mean as much as our involvement with LCCC. I think the college is an important and valuable resource to the Laramie County community. I look forward to working with the staff and supporters to continue improving the campus facilities and educational opportunities."
Halley Jankovsky: Albany County Campus Student, Miss Frontier
Halley started her college career at LCCC's Albany County Campus in Laramie. After completing her Associate of Arts, she enrolled at the University of Wyoming this past year to continue her education. However, her love for LCCC brought her back for more, and she is a current student again with the goal of getting into the radiography program.
Halley loves the intimate learning environment that the college provides, and with that, the ability to make connections with classmates as well as the faculty and staff.
"This was one of the best decisions I have ever made," she said. "My experience at LCCC has shown me that even when you think you are failing there is always someone there to help."
Born and raised in Cheyenne, Halley is all about this community and the western way of life. At the age of seven, she started volunteering and getting involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days and now is set to be Miss Frontier in 2019. She partly credits LCCC in helping her achieve that role, thanks to the education and experiences she had here — and specifically the skills in public speaking.
"I truly believe that LCCC has shaped me into the person that I am today, which is why I have chosen to come back for my second degree."
Lesley (Gregg) Deason: Alive & Thriving
Amber Ringus: A Literal Lifesaver
Lesley Deason and Amber Ringus became friends in junior high, but now they share an unusual and deep bond.
The friends started at LCCC in 2011. However, in 2017, Lesley suddenly became terribly ill with Goodpasture syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease which attacked her kidneys and lungs. She endured extensive treatments that cured the disease, but unfortunately her kidneys did not recover. She had to undergo dialysis three times a week for four hours.
Hoping to avoid waiting years for a transplant, Lesley put a request on Facebook for anyone who might be willing to test and see if they were a kidney match. Amber was the first one to step up to be tested and, miracles of miracles, they were an exact match.
On May 18, 2018, the transplant, surgery was a success, and Lesley was taken off dialysis as soon as the surgery was complete. Both are healthy and doing well. These friends share good times, bad times, dreams, and secrets, but in this unique friendship, Amber shared a kidney.
Today, Amber is enrolled in the police academy in Colorado while simultaneously planning her wedding. Looking back on her times at LCCC, “It really helped me figure out who I was outside of my friends and family in Colorado. I was really able to be myself and grow into the person I am today!”
Lesley originally had no desire to go to college, but was talked into LCCC from a friend. “It was decision that I am forever grateful for leaving me with memories and friends that will last me a lifetime.”
She believes that LCCC helped shaped who she is as a professional and helped her find her my passions, including human services. She became heavily involved in such projects as the COMEA homeless shelter, working with VA and veterans, becoming an AmeriCorps volunteer, starting the student food pantry at LCCC, and so much more that gave her a completely different outlook.
But the story of these two woman reaches beyond the LCCC campus. It’s about the connection of two people who looked deep inside themselves to find what’s most important in life.
As Lesley said, “Luckily I received a kidney transplant from a live donor and my best friend in May of 2018, and am currently recovering and getting stronger every day!”