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College Matters
March 2012
Capital Campaign Concludes with more than $14 Million Raised
OTC Foundation celebrates end of a successful campaign


The OTC Foundation, the fundraising arm of OTC, has officially concluded its first-ever Major Gifts Capital Campaign, which raised a total of $14,409,713 in private giving for scholarships, student support programs, the Center for Health Education and the Center for Workforce Development.  A Victory Celebration was held Friday, February 24, in the Jared Family Atrium in the Information Commons, located at the OTC Springfield Campus.


The grand total raised by the Capital Campaign, which includes several in-kind gifts such as the two buildings that have become the OTC Lebanon Center, is approximately $4.4 million more than the original goal of $10 million.   


During the Capital Campaign Celebration event, all of the members of the OTC Foundation Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees, the committees leading the Family Campaign, and other faculty, staff and community leadership were recognized for their roles in making the Capital Campaign a success.  Each person recognized was presented with a commemorative plaque in honor of their work on the Campaign. 


The OTC Foundation, now in its 14th year of operation, works to meet the ever-increasing needs of Ozarks Technical Community College through the funding of scholarships, new programs, and capital improvement projects.  


Pictured, left to right:  Stephanie Brown, director of Development; Neal Spencer, president of the OTC Foundation Board of Directors; Cliff Davis, vice chancellor for Advancement | Workforce Development and executive director of the OTC Foundation; Dr. Marshall Gordon, president of the OTC Foundation Board at the start of the Capital Campaign; and Pam Vokolek, director of Development.
Jack and Pete Herschend to receive Excellence in Business Award from OTC
Award to be presented Friday, March 9

Jack and Peter Herschend, co-founders and co-owners of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (formerly Silver Dollar City, Inc.), will be the recipients of OTC's 2012 Excellence in Business Award. The award ceremony will be held Friday, March 9, at the Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield.


Past recipients of the award include John Q. Hammons, members of the O'Reilly family, SRC's Jack Stack, Great Southern's Bill Turner, real estate icon Carol Jones, and business owner and attorney Sam Hamra.


Jack Herschend is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Herschend Family Entertainment and previously has served as chairman, president and CEO of the organization. His brother Peter served as executive vice president of the organization for 20 years and then as vice chairman of the Board until he retired from that position in 2006.  For more information on the Herschends, visit  


Recipients of the Excellence in Business Award are selected based on the following criteria: leader of an Ozarks regional business, entrepreneurial success, innovative business growth, ability to overcome challenges with integrity, supporter of educational development, customer-driven quality, and community achievement.  The 2012 event is presented in cooperation with the Springfield News-Leader, Clear Channel Radio, and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.


Pictured, left to right:  Jack and Peter Herschend. 

Mo. Commissioner of Higher Education to Speak at Commencement
Commencement to be held Thursday, May 17

Dr. David R. Russell, Missouri's Commissioner of Higher Education, will present the commencement address at OTCs annual ceremony, to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus.  In addition to all graduates and their families, the public is invited to attend the ceremony.


David R. Russell became commissioner of higher education for Missouri in July 2010, following a 19-year career with the University of Missouri System, where he served as senior associate vice president and chief of staff.  Prior to his tenure at the University of Missouri System, Russell served in the United States Army as a commissioned officer, retiring in 1991 as a lieutenant colonel after a 22-year career, including assignments in infantry, personnel management and public affairs.


Russell holds a B.S. in education from Henderson State University, an M.A. in communications from The American University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

OTC Fine Arts Gallery: Joe Arens
Mixed media neon sculptor will be in the spotlight

The OTC Fine Arts Gallery, located on the third floor of the historic Gillioz Theatre complex in downtown Springfield, will hold an opening reception during First Friday ArtWalk on Friday, March 2, from 6-10 p.m.  This month, the Gallery will feature artwork from Joe Arens, mixed media neon sculptor.  His sculpture "Luna" was voted People's Choice winner last October during the First Friday ArtWalk Council's 10th Anniversary juried art exhibition, which was held at the OTC Fine Art Gallery.


Arens described his work as follows: "The noble gases neon and argon, a drop of mercury, and 25,000 volts of electricity within a vacuum sealed glass tube are the ingredients that capture my interest and desire to combine brilliant color and light into abstract geometric wall textures.  These elements of design have been influenced in large part by my late brother-in-law Bennett Singleton, a prominent artist from southern California where neon art flourished in the 90's.  The initial concept evolves over time where the application takes on a life of its own and is open to change throughout its creation.  It's only when the glass tubes are bent into shape that the design becomes fixed.  Although static, the newly created design provides flexibility to the audience allowing the artwork to be displayed in various ways."


Please join us for this "electrifying" exhibition!  Special refreshments will be served. 


The OTC Fine Arts Gallery's regular gallery hours are Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For more information contact Kat Allie at (417) 447-8977, or via email at or


Pictured:  A sample of Arens' work, titled "Humanity."  

SIFE Spring Bazaar Planned for March 10
Team also raising money via candle sales
The first OTC SIFE Spring Bazaar will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
on Saturday, March 10, in the Atrium of Information Commons on the OTC Springfield Campus. The SIFE team has worked with over 30 booth vendors to bring their home-based craft items to the target market; the event will also feature a silent auction.

The SIFE team has gained experience in event planning by holding a Holiday Bazaar in November for seven years. Funds raised support the team's project outreach to community nonprofit organizations, the Ozarks Literacy Council and the Christian County Family Crisis Center. The booth fee for OTC students/staff/faculty crafters is $20; off-campus organization booth fees start at $35. To reserve an 8' x 8' booth, contact the SIFE Spring Bazaar project team members via email at, by calling (417) 447-8981, or in Graff Hall 114A.  

Additionally, the SIFE team members are working to again help fight hunger by participating in Campbell Soup's 2012 "Let's Can Hunger" Challenge. Last year the team won second place in the "lasting hunger relief" category.  Food drive efforts will be occurring simultaneously at three OTC locations:  the OTC Branson Center, the OTC Richwood Valley Campus, and the OTC Springfield Campus.  Donations of food items go to area centers: Christian County Family Crisis Center, Least of These Food Pantry, Missouri Hotel, and the Ozarks Food Harvest.  For more information about the Let's Can Hunger Challenge, visit, or contact OTC's SIFE team through the contact information above.    
The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Gretchen Gawron, Assistant Director for Academic Advising

Describe what you do at OTC in 50 words or less.
I help students develop their educational plan through academic advising and presenting the Star Seminars, as well as serving as a resource for students and faculty.  I also oversee the Academic Advising front desk operations.


How long have you been at OTC, and where were you before this?

I began my career at OTC in the Financial Aid department in 1998.  OTC was my first professional endeavor after graduating from OTC. 


What do you hope to accomplish in your position or department in the coming year?

I hope to continue to support and empower students with the necessary tools to complete their education. 


What is your favorite thing about working at OTC?

My favorite thing about working at OTC is seeing the students achieve their golas and sharing in their excitement at commencement. 


What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Ozarks?

I enjoy living in the same community in which I was born and raised because of the friendships and connections I am able to maintain. 


Tell us about one person who had a significant impact on your professional life or career choice.

I credit one of my former OTC instructors, Patricia Boyd, for her leadership and encouragement.  She advised me of a job opportunity at OTC which became my first position here. 


What do you have on the walls of your office?

I have my diplomas and pictures of my children. 


If you could have dinner with three famous people, alive or dead, who would they be?

John F. Kennedy, Patrick Dempsey and Oprah Winfrey. 


If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

I would write a cookbook with healthy and family-friendly recipes. 


What were the last three songs played on your iPod?

"Set Fire to the Rain," by Adele, "Not Over You," by Gavin DeGraw, and "I Got a Feeling," by the Black Eyed Peas.


Pictured:  Gretchen with one of her daughters, Sophia. 

In This Issue
Capital Campaign Concludes
Excellence in Business Award
Commencement Speaker Announced
OTC Fine Arts Gallery
SIFE Spring Bazaar Planned
The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Campus Notes
Local Happenings
Quick Links

Newsletter Archive
Campus Notes


  • Do you know of an OTC alum who has gone on to a successful career?  We are looking for outstanding graduates to use in future OTC publications.  Submit names and contact information to


  • A message from Internal Auditor Peter Edwards following the loss of his stepfather:  "Thank you all for the beautiful plant. I appreciate your thoughts and am thankful to have such a caring workplace."


  • A message from Ann Wessel Madsen, daughter of Don Wessel:  "Please extend my sincere thanks to all concerned... After the dealership, OTC was my dad's greatest accomplishment.  He was very proud of it and loved to talk to the students and hear their stories.  I wish you continued success."


  • A message from A+ Program Coordinator Linda Johns following the loss of her father:  "Thank you so much for the lovely peace lily plant in remembrance of my father.  It has a special place in my office and reminds me daily of the importance of those we love.  It also reminds me of the many wonderful friends I have here at OTC that care so deeply for one another.  I am thankful for each of you and consider myself blessed.  Once again, thank you!" 
Local Happenings 


  • Now - March 31:  Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  Celebrate this event with fishing enthusiasts of all ages.  Come out for huge savings on fishing merchandise, seminars hosted by professional anglers, and much more.  For more information, call (417) 887-7334 or visit


  • March 3:  Drury University Jazz Festival Concert, Clara Thompson Hall on the Drury University Campus.  The Drury University Jazz Ensembles host an all-day jazz festival, which culminates with a concert featuring the university jazz ensembles and distinguished guest artists.  For details, call (417) 873-7276 or visit


  • March 10:  Robot Workshop, Discovery Center.  Both parent and child will work closely with Discovery Center staff to build a functional Hyper Peppy robot (recommended for age 8 and up). Learn about following technical directions, plus how gears, circuits, and other mechanical parts work together. For details, call (417) 862-9910, ext. 713, or visit


  • March 16-31:  "Evita," Vandivort Center Theatre.  Winner of the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical, Broadway's hit rock opera of sweeping grandeur and romantic passion features such memorable songs as "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," "Oh, What a Circus," and "You Must Love Me."  For show times and ticket information, call (417) 831-8001 or visit


  • March 17:  32nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Celebration, downtown Springfield.  Food booths and vendors open at the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge.  Parade runs throughout downtown, and the Celebration continues with the Awards Ceremony at Patton Alley Pub. For details, check out


  • March 20:  B.B. King at the Gillioz Theatre.  One of the most influential figures in music for more than six decades, King and his famous guitar, Lucille, will perform for Springfield in the historic Gillioz Theatre.  Call (417) 863-7843 or visit for more information.


  • March 22-31:  "King Lear," Evangel University.  William Shakespeare's "King Lear" marks the first time Evangel's Barnett Fine Arts Theatre will be set up to allow the cast to perform in the round.  For more information, call (417) 865-2811 or check out




1    Cheryl Vaughan

      Deborah Weatherly


2    Daniel Templeton


4    Michael Pena


5    Charlotte Choate

      Gene Hogue

      Joe Millsap


6    Jonathan Christenson


7    Lisa Hunter

      Holly Hurshman


8    Jane Harmon


9    Susan Forte


10  Carole Atkins

      Jenna Reeves


12  Dennis Brown


13  John Hess

      Ethel Peterson


15  Carolyn Brockman

      Craig Schutt


17  Lori Minor


18  Katherine Craft

      Ida Guynn

      John Trogdon


19  Anita Beeler


20  Joseph Woods


21  Carolyn Lee


22  Cathy Clemens

      Toni Marchese

      Deborah Thompson


23  Melissa Freres


25  Tracy Livingston


26  Jill Cox


30  Chip Broemmer

      Jason Monroe

      Michael Pulley


31  Marge Bell 

Next Newsletter Deadline:  Friday, March 23


The employee newsletter is sent out on the first of each month.  The deadline is one week prior, so mark your calendars if you have news you would like us to include.  The deadline for the March newsletter is Friday, March 23.  


In the meantime, be sure you are putting your events on the campus calendar for inclusion in the weekly "Upcoming Events" emails.


Send your newsletter submissions to either of the following email addresses, and we'll get the word out!