I first became acquainted with Waubonsee Community College after my wife Doreen and I moved to the area in the late 80s. Over the years, my family has attended many lectures, community events, and even taken courses at Waubonsee. I am grateful and proud that Doreen and my children, Emily, and Ian, all have course credits through Waubonsee. My involvement grew several years ago with the college when Dr. Christine Sobek, President of Waubonsee Community College, invited me to become a judge for the John J. Swalec Presidential Achievement Awards scholarship. It was an amazing experience to meet so many Waubonsee students and hear their drive to complete their educational goals. I became hooked!
Dr. Sobek called again and invited me to join the Foundation Board of Directors. It has been my privilege to support and serve Waubonsee with my colleagues on the Foundation Board of Directors. Today, as President of the Foundation Board, I continue to value the time I share with my fellow directors, meeting and hearing from Waubonsee students. However, the real honor, over all these years, has been to meet and assist students on their educational journey.
We have been charitably involved over the years with many organizations. While our financial support of Waubonsee began in a very general way, we have refined that after meeting so many outstanding students over the years. My wife, Doreen, and I created our family scholarship to reach and benefit non-traditional students specifically.
We have been impressed by the stories of our family, friends, and neighbors who have continued their education in fields like the various trades, fire science, manufacturing technology, healthcare, automotive technology, aviation, and law enforcement. We want to continue to support these students. We applaud and marvel at the many students we have met who are simultaneously pursuing their education, raising children, and working to support their families. They are an inspiration to us and a tremendous asset to our community.
We give to Waubonsee Community College to do our part to help current and future students reach their personal and educational goals-whatever they may be. Education has changed a great deal over my four-decade long working career and I see Waubonsee at the forefront of that change.
Post-secondary education has evolved and continues to change to meet the needs of diverse students in various stages in their lives. We do a real disservice to the high school students in our community by over-emphasizing the traditional four-year education path while overlooking the many alternatives. Today, we have a significant need in our community for young people with diverse skills and training. This can come from a traditional four-year university. However, it is more flexible and cost-effective to obtain an education from a community college with skills-based training; this is where I see Waubonsee Community College filling the gaps in our educational landscape.
I have been impressed how Waubonsee has gone into our community and talked with local employers about what jobs are available and what skills are needed. The ability for the college to then develop the training and certificate programs to meet those needs has an incredibly positive impact on our community at large. We just celebrated my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I invite all in our community to find those things and organizations doing the challenging work to better our community. Support those organizations with your time, work, and financial support as you are able. Waubonsee Community College is one of those unique community gems that Doreen and I are happy to support financially.