MVCC board uses final meeting of school year for happy talk

  • Written by Joan Hadac

In a meeting long on congratulation and short on deliberation, Moraine Valley Community College trustees sat back and watched a parade of accolades at their May 14 meeting, held at the school, 9000 W. College Parkway, in Palos Hills.
  “We have quite a few students that we are recognizing tonight, and this is always the time of year that we do that [at Governing Board meetings],” said Sylvia M. Jenkins, MVCC president. “It is important to recognize their hard work and achievements.”
  Like a commencement exercise, the meeting was long and included awards for dozens of students, a live performance demonstrating student excellence in forensics, and reminiscences and other observations from faculty and staff as they accepted praise from their colleagues upon their retirement.
  Health Sciences Department Chair Susan Phelan offered an anecdote about the reach of MVCC’s positive impact. She recalled a time when she was asked to share her phlebotomy training expertise with a group in Bangor, Maine.
  “So I went, and it was great,” she told the board. “Two or three years later, they called me and asked me to come again. So I said, ‘Sure, what would you like me to speak about this time?’ and they said, ‘Well, the same stuff you talked about last time.’ I thought, ‘Well, that’s a little redundant, but it’s your dime and I’ll talk about whatever you want.’
  “So when I got there, I quickly realized that they didn’t really want me to go over the same ground again,” she continued. “They wanted to let me know that they had implemented some of the [phlebotomy training techniques] we had talked about the last time, and all of their quality indicators didn’t just rise, they skyrocketed. And it may sound silly, but for the first time I realized the impact of quality training and education on health care in a region.
  “I realized that what we do here [at the college] is bigger than all of us, and I have been very proud to be a part of this,” she concluded, as board members and the audience of several dozen burst into applause.
  David Deitemyer, Dean of Academic Services, echoed the sentiment.
  “I’ve been in education my whole career—as a teacher for many years, as an administrator for many years, and now in higher education,” he said. “This is my fifth stop, and I’ve been here for 11 years.
  “All school districts of all kinds have a mission statement,” he continued. “I want to tell you, though, that this place, in my experience, comes the closest, every day, to manifesting its mission statement. I’ve worked in school districts that were fun places to work, but the gap between what they say they value and what we did every day was huge. Here, there’s not much of a gap—and I have benefitted from being able to spend, really, a pivotal part of my career here.”
  A lighter moment was provided by Joyce Mufich, the retiring grants and scholarship clerk at the school.
  “I just want to say that I’ve handled more of the college’s money over the years than [MVCC Chief Financial Officer] Bob Sterkowitz will ever know,” she began as the room broke up in laughter, including Sterkowitz himself. “And that’s the truth.”
  She described a list of duties and programs that took her “all over the community and all over the college community.” It was a dizzying array of programs, and Mufich stopped short, saying it was getting boring, but the point was made about the challenges to keep it all straight. “And they’re good sports over in Accounting,” she deadpanned, triggering another wave of laughter and applause from her peers.
  “Seriously, though, it’s been great, and I’m happy I’ve had the chance to work with so many wonderful people,” she added, as she headed into a retirement expected to include her antiquing hobby. “But I am happy that I’m leaving in 10 days.”
  After the procession, the meeting shifted into hyperdrive, with trustees approving a 34-part consent agenda in mere seconds, without a whisper of discussion or debate.
  A rumored discussion of an employee pay raise was nowhere to be found.

A visit to NIU

St. Louis de Montfort’s students visitedPAGE-8-st-louis-de 2 Northern Illinois University’s School of Engineering recently. Pictured is Juliana Rehnquist testing her engineering skills at Northern Illinois University. Juliana worked with a group of students to develop an object to cushion its descent. She was selected to drop the object and observe the fall.

— Submitted photo.

Campus Leaders from 5-22-14

Maura Slattery of Oak Lawn, a first-year student at Ripon College in Ripon, Wis., received the 2014 J. T. Lewis Prize during the College’s annual awards convocation, held recently.
  A one-year subscription to Scientific American is awarded to the student who shows outstanding initiative and performance in the introductory biology courses. Slattery is the child of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Slattery of Oak Lawn.
  Jessica Cap of Palos Heights has made the dean’s list for Franklin & Marshall College’s fall 2013 semester. Dean’s list status is awarded to students who have successfully completed their course work with a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 score at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
  Cap is the child of James T. Cap and Rose M. Cap, and a graduate of Marist High School.

Campus Leaders from 5-15-14

  Local residents were recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. All three students were initiated at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  Neda Khudeira of Bridgeview, Kelly Peterson of Palos Heights, and Sylwia Szmigiel of Palos Hills became members of Phi Kappa Phi.
  These residents are among approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation, and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors, and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership.
  Nearly 2,000 students received degrees at the University of Dayton’s spring commencement, held at the University of Dayton Arena on May 4, including more than 1,400 undergraduates.
  Local students earning degrees included:
  • Alexandra Loperena of Burbank who graduated with a bachelor of science in Education and Health Sciences degree in Early Childhood Education; and
  • Kimberly Murray of Oak Lawn who graduated magna cum laude with university honors with a bachelor of science in Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship.
  The University of Dayton is a national, Catholic, research institution, which was founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary (the Marianists).

Bulletin Board from 5-15-14

Moraine Valley
  The Moraine Valley Community College Foundation is seeking notable alumni, who have achieved success in their careers or through work in the community, for its new Hall of Fame. Between five to eight inductees will be honored at the inaugural Hall of Fame reception in November.
  Candidates must have completed any amount of credit or noncredit coursework at Moraine Valley, achieved success in their chosen field and made a positive impact on the community through volunteering or leadership. They also must agree to attend the reception to accept the award, and return to campus at least once within the year to be a guest speaker and/or participate in a student engagement activity.
  Nominees can self-nominate (must include a letter of recommendation) or be nominated by someone else. All nominees are encouraged to submit up to three letters of recommendation and a maximum of three pages of supplementary materials such as news articles, brochures or photos highlighting the applicant’s accomplishments and contributions.
  Nominations, which must be accompanied by a current resume or bio, are due by midnight Sunday, June 1. Application forms are online at
  For more information, contact Kari Pantol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (708) 974-5551.

Oak Lawn Community H.S.
  Oak Lawn Community High School will host its Relay for Life for the 12th year in a row. Relay for Life is an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research. This year’s Relay for Life will take place Saturday, May 17. Per Relay tradition, the faculty, staff and students painted the gym purple on Feb. 7 by wearing purple T-shirts during the varsity basketball game. Relay for Life coordinator Thaddeus Zuzga said that OLCHS raised more than $1,500. These funds will be used to cover all of the extracurricular activities at this year’s Relay For Life Event on May 17. It is not too late to register teams or participants for the event. For more information, call 424-5200.

St. Laurence
  St. Laurence students participated in Viking Quest Week, which included a variety of speakers and culminated in a Team of Teams competition called Igor’s Challenge.
  Rich Panico ’69 kicked off the week reminding everyone of the importance of vision and knowing where you’re going. Nathan Kipnis talked about his experience in the architecture industry as it relates to problem solving, and Mark Wollschlaeger highlighted the positive aspects of a STEM curriculum.
  During the Igor Challenge, each team of students created a ship from limited materials and then tested it in a competition, which gave them the opportunity to use creativity and problem-solving skills they have learned through the St. Laurence STEM curriculum.
  The final assembly also recognized students, faculty, and staff who are emblematic leaders at St. Laurence.