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College Matters
June 2012
OTC Honors more than 600 Graduates at 2012 Commencement Ceremony
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. David Russell urges graduates to make their vision happen


Dr. David Russell, Missouri's commissioner of higher education, told this year's OTC graduates Thursday night to "to commit to a vision of your future and make it happen."


More than 1,000 graduates were eligible to receive degrees or certificates they earned during the current school year.  More than 600 graduates took part in the ceremony at JQH Arena, which was attended by approximately 7,000 family members and friends.


Dr. Russell commended the graduates for their hard work but reminded them there is more for them to do.


"You have demonstrated that you have the right stuff.  You have overcome challenges along the way, and discovered so much, not only about the world around you, but about yourselves," Dr. Russell said.  "I can think of no greater accomplishment to wish for you than to use today's celebration to commit to a vision of your future and make it happen.  You have the ability; the goals are within your grasp."



The Ozarks Technical Community College Distinguished Alumni award was presented at Commencement to Rick Hughlett for his accomplishments and professional success as owner of Rick's Automotive.  Hughlett is a graduate of Graff Vocational Technical School, which later became Ozarks Technical Community College.


Since the opening of Rick's Automotive in 1980, the company has grown to include 35 full-time employees who service more than 1,000 vehicles each month.  He was instrumental in the formation of an Advisory Committee of area automotive service providers to work with the OTC Transportation Department, and he offers a mentoring program for students from OTC's Automotive Repair program.  He also serves on the OTC Foundation Board of Directors, and has established a scholarship fund for students in that program through the OTC Foundation.



Pictured, from top:  Dr. Russell speaks to the graduates; Dr. Shirley Lawler, Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, congratulates a graduate; several graduating members of Phi Theta Kappa, including student speaker Dana Johnston (third from left), pose with chapter advisors Steve and Jo Fritts. 

SkillsUSA Students Bring Home 88 Medals from State Competition
29 students will go on to national contests

Students representing the technical programs of OTC recently spent two days in competition at the State SkillsUSA Skills and Leadership Conference, held at Linn State Technical College in Linn, Mo.  In the end, OTC students won 35 first place, 27 second place, and 26 third place medals, for a total of 88 medals.


The annual conference is attended by more than 2,000 students, teachers and representatives of business, industry, education and government.  Along with the competitions, the conference includes the election of state officers, opportunities for students to meet with business and industry leaders, and much more. 


To get to this point, students had to win a local contest and a southwest district contest, as well as surpass the top students representing the nine districts in the state of Missouri on the high school and adult levels.  Of the first place winners, 29 students have qualified to represent OTC and the state of Missouri at the SkillsUSA national conference, to be held in Kansas City in June.  These students are already in the top two percent in the U.S. in their chosen fields.  


SkillsUSA is a national organization serving trade, industrial, technical and health occupations students in public high schools, career and technical centers and two-year colleges.  SkillsUSA has more than 300,000 student and professional members annually, organized into more than 13,000 chapters in 50 states and three territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). 

OTC, MSSU Sign Academic Agreement
A.A.S. or A.S. students can now transfer seamlessly


Graduates and alumni of OTC can now transfer seamlessly to Missouri Southern State University to continue their education.  MSSU President Dr. Bruce Speck and Dr. Shirley Lawler, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs (representing OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon), recently signed a memorandum of understanding that allows OTC students and alumni with an Associates of Applied Science or Associate of Science to transfer to MSSU to earn their Bachelor of Applied Science degree.


"We are pleased to enter into this partnership with MSSU. It allows OTC graduates and alumni to continue their educational career at Missouri Southern State University," said Dr. Higdon.  "We are constantly looking for new educational opportunities with four-year institutions that benefit our students."


"Ultimately, these sorts of agreements come down to one thing - how our institutions can work together to maximize a student's college experience," said MSSU President Dr. Bruce Speck.  "OTC has been a wonderful partner and shares our mission of making a college degree attainable for students."


"MSSU has some programs that we want to give our students an opportunity to seamlessly transfer into.  Their Allied Health facilities are some of the best in the region and will be of great benefit to our students attending MSSU," said Dr. Lawler.



Pictured:  Dr. Lawler and Dr. Speck at the signing ceremony. 

Jared Family Recognized with Atrium Naming
Ceremony held to thank Jared family for support of OTC


OTC held a ceremony on Friday, May 4, to recognize Jerry and Linda Jared and family with the naming of the Jared Family Atrium.  The event was held in the Jared Family Atrium, located in the Information Commons at the OTC Springfield Campus.


Mr. Jared is the Chairman and CEO of Jared Enterprises, former owner of Cody's Convenience Stores, and a former member of the OTC Foundation Board.  The Jared Family presented the OTC Foundation, the fundraising arm of the College, with a lead gift in support of the Center for Workforce Development Initiative, a part of the now-completed Capital Campaign.  


"We are grateful to the Jared family for their support and their generosity, and we are pleased to be able to recognize them for their involvement in our Campaign," said Dr. Higdon. "Their investment in our workforce development programs is vital to the continued success of that important part of the College."


"The Jared family has been involved with our Capital Campaign from the beginning, and were among the first to give toward the Center for Workforce Development Initiative," added Cliff Davis, vice chancellor for Advancement | Workforce Development and executive director of the OTC Foundation.  "The official naming of the Jared Family Atrium is our opportunity to thank them publicly for their support."


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:  Members of the Jared family, with Dr. Higdon, Mr. Davis, and members of the OTC Board of Trustees and OTC Foundation Board of Directors. 

Seen at OTC...
A look at what's happening at OTC's campuses and centers


A Retirement Reception was held Friday, May 11, in the Jared Family Atrium.  The event celebrated the service of ten retirees:  Marge Bell, Thomas Buckley, Annette Evans, John Hess, Dr. Shirley Lawler, Bill Miller, Dr. Sue Moore, Jane Payne, Don Reeves, and Doran Woods. Congratulations to all of these retirees as they move into the next chapter of their lives!  Pictured, left to right:  Marge Bell, Dr. Sue Moore, Doran Woods, Don Reeves and Dr. Shirley Lawler at the reception. 




Dr. Shirley Lawler, Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, was surprised by a special tree dedication ceremony on Tuesday, May 8.  The tree was planted in front of the ITTC building on the Springfield Campus in recognition of Dr. Lawler's outstanding career at the College.  Dr. Lawler will be retiring in July of this year after 15 years with the College.  




Nearly 50 sixth graders from Sparta, Niangua, Verona, and Chadwick recently visited the OTC Springfield Campus for the annual Math Day, an event designed to encourage students to study math by showing them how it is used in many professions.  During the event, the Allied Health Division and Science Departments provide hands-on activities that involve math, helping the students to differentiate between physics, chemistry, and biology.  As students enter the phase of their education where they can choose the type of science to study, this event helps them to know which field is right for them.  The day also included a tour of the campus, games, and more. 

The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Sara Carlin, Secretary for Institutional Advancement


Describe what you do at OTC in 50 words or less.

I get to assist with various college events like groundbreaking, naming ceremonies, and commencement. I also help maintain the public relations budget, and get to be involved in the planning of various marketing pieces, like the OTC Profile and assorted promotional items.  


How long have you been at OTC, and where were you immediately prior?

I just completed my 8th month at OTC; prior to OTC, I worked for Fox Grape Family Dentistry.

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

I hope to offer continued support to the PR team as we grow, and to be more hands-on with some of our annual events.


What is your favorite thing about working at OTC? 

I like that every time I tell someone where I work they always have great things to say about OTC.  Not everyone can say they work some place that makes such a large and positive impact on the community.  I also really enjoy being a part of the public relations team.  There is always something exciting going on.  I get to work with a great team and you don't just find that every day.   


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

I love the various seasons we experience, fall being my favorite.  I like that Springfield still feels like a small town where the people you live and work around are so friendly.

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

My parents.  They encouraged me and showed me the value of working hard.  They always supported my career choices and pushed me to work hard no matter what I chose to do.    

What do you have on the walls of your office?

A clock...this is definitely a sign that I need to decorate!

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

Kate Middleton because I think she is fabulous.  I'd love to hear more of her story.  Damian Lewis because "Homeland" is my favorite show.  Winston Churchill because he was such an incredible leader.  I can't imagine the things I could learn from him!

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

I'd write a book on learning how to enjoy every stage of your life instead of spending so much time constantly looking back or planning ahead.  Life goes by too quickly, if you don't take time to enjoy where you are at it's gone before you know it!


What were the last three songs played on your iPod?  

"Forever Young," by Jay Z, "Dancing Away with my Heart," by Lady Antebellum,  and "We Are Young," by Fun.



Pictured:  Sara with her husband, Caleb, at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
In This Issue
2012 Commencement
SkillsUSA Succeeds at State Competition
New Academic Agreement with MSSU
Jared Family Recognized with Naming
Seen at OTC
The Same 10 Questions We Always Ask
Campus Notes
Local Happenings
Quick Links

Newsletter Archive
Campus Notes


  • The annual OTC Night at the Cardinals is scheduled for Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $6 and are available at the Cashier's Office on the Springfield Campus; the Cashier's Office can be contacted at (417) 447- 4827. There is no limit to the tickets you may purchase.  Tickets will be available for purchase until noon on June 1.  If you purchase a ticket, your name will automatically be entered to throw out the first pitch or to participate in an in-between inning promotion.  You must be an employee of OTC to participate.  Winners of the contest will be notified Friday, June 1.  If you have any questions regarding the event, contact the OTC Foundation at (417) 447-2650. 


  • A message from Senior Computer Programmer Lavonna Franklin:  "Thank you so much for the flowers after my recent surgery.  I really appreciate all the support and encouragement.  Thank you for making a difficult time a little bit easier."


  • A message from Anna Marie Kulback, wife of Jeff Kulback, director of the OTC Lebanon Center:  "Thank you for the lovely peace lily you sent to my brother Danny's funeral.  Jeff and I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.  Jeff plans to take the lily to his office in Lebanon."  


  • A message from Sandy Jones, governmental liaison and retired executive secretary to the chancellor:  "I sincerely appreciate the beautiful floral arrangement sent when I was in the hospital.  I am improving each day but still have a way to go in regaining my strength.  I certainly appreciate the concern and prayers." 
Local Happenings 


  • May 5 - July 8:  Watercolor Now! at the Springfield Art Museum, 1111 E Brookside Drive.  This invitational exhibition will showcase the work of members of the Watercolor USA Honor Society.  The exhibit will feature 67 different artists from across the country.  For details, call (417) 837-5700 or see    


  • Now - June 9:  6th Annual Springfield Shakespeare Festival - "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" and "Hamlet" at Jordan Valley Park.  Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic dinners to enjoy before and during the show.  The performances in the park are FREE and donations will be taken at the shows.  All shows begin at 7:30 p.m.; for performance dates and information on other Shakespeare Festival events, visit


  • June 6-16:  Missouri State University Tent Theatre Presents "9 to 5: the Musical."  Violet, Judy and Doralee are a trio of underpaid, underappreciated office workers who dream of exacting their revenge on their despotic and lecherous boss, Franklin Hart.  Through a series of comic twists, their fantasies become reality in this delightful production.  For show schedule and ticket information, call (417) 836-7678 or visit  


  • June 9:  4th Annual Pierce City Arts Festival.  Canopy tents will cover the streets of Walnut and Main in Pierce City as local and professional fine artists and craftspeople demonstrate their work and sell their creations.  The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; admission is free.  For directions and details, visit


  • June 9:  Grizzly Industrial's Annual Tool Tent Sale, 1815 W. Battlefield, Springfield.  This gigantic tool tent sale will include hundreds of scratched, dented, as-is and one-of-a-kind woodworking and metalworking machines, tools and accessories.  For more information, call (417) 887-9191 or check out


  • June 16-17:  Titanic Branson Father's Day Boat Show, 3235 W. Highway 76 Country Boulevard, Branson.  Titanic has invited Bass Pro Shops' Tracker Boat Center to drop anchor in the parking lot for Father's Day!  The show will include some of the newest, fastest models on the market today.  Admission to the Boat Show is free; touring the Titanic museum requires regular ticket purchase.  For more information, call 1-800-381-7670 or visit


  • June 29:  16th Annual Have-A-Blast! Patriotic Celebration in J.R. Martin Park, 300 E. Hines, Republic.  The City of Republic invites you to a fun-filled evening of music, food, family entertainment and more, culminating in a spectacular fireworks show at dusk.  The event will begin at 6 p.m.  For more information, call (417) 732-3500 or visit


  • June 29-July 14:  "1776" at the Vandivort Center Theatre, Springfield.  This inspiring historical musical drama is all about the founding of our country.  Directed by Gretchen Teague with an all-female staging, the production includes music by Sherman Edwards.  For showtimes and ticket information, call (417) 831-8001 or check out






2    Dane Galloway

      Jeff Kulback

      Dennis Peters


4    Curtis Klotz


7    Guy Barrett

      Jonathan Grindstaff


8    Lavonna Franklin


9    Amy Gleason

      Kelly Greenwood-Creager


10  Jennifer Marshall


11  James Ackerman


12  Carla Bradley

      Sallee Webb


14  Hilary Nicholson


15  Lisa Hamilton

      Eric Kyle

      Jerome Ransom


19  Bettie Rowe

      Selina Taylor


20  Connie Harmon


21  Sara Bruffey


23  Kelly Everding

      John Harrell


24  Robert Brewer

      Todd Wilkinson


25  Rima Freeman

      Carol Taylor


26  Rebecca Jenkins


27  Elizabeth Ruddick


28  Linda Caldwell

      Lori Mills


29  Virgie Greer

      Tal Kroll

      Eric Lansdown

      Tracy Ponder

      David Pulley 

New Employees, Transfers and Promotions


New Full-Time Permanent Employees:

  • Chelsey Taylor, Admissions Representative

Transfers and Promotions:

  • Dr. Steve Bishop, Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (effective July 1) 
  • Jonathan Christenson, Administrator - Network Security Systems (Interim) 
Next Newsletter Deadline:  Monday, June 25


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 July newsletter is Monday, June 25.   


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!