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Highland Community College Foundation recognizes distinguished alumni

FREEPORT � The Highland Community College Foundation presented its 17th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards on Thursday, October 20. The 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were Ryan Casey of Madison, WI; Brad Field of Mt. Carroll, IL; Albert Griffiths of East Dubuque, IL; Thomas Huber of Freeport, IL; Joel M. Kempel of Pearl City, IL; and Cindy Werkheiser of Freeport, IL.

During this year�s event at Freeport Country Club, the Foundation recognized the following six individuals for their achievements:

Ryan Casey, nominated by Allen Redford, graduated from Freeport High School in 1994. For two years he studied music at Highland Community College, participating in the Royal Scots, the Highland Chorale and acting on stage. In the summer of 1996, Ryan assisted with the direction of the Highland Chorale concert in Salzburg, Austria. Ryan later transferred to Western Michigan University and joined the vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company. After achieving his Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2000, he immediately began work as a school music teacher. In 2002 Ryan became the Director of Chorale Music Activities at Stoughton High School in Wisconsin. He has received multiple awards and high praise for his musical and teaching abilities. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Allyson, and their son, Liam.

Brad Field, nominated by Angie Field, started his career at Highland Community College in 2002 after an injury at his factory job. In 2004 he graduated with High Honors and received Highland�s Computer Science Award. Brad completed his bachelor�s degree in computer science at Western Governors University. Since 2006 Brad has served as Technology Coordinator for the West Carroll School District in Carroll County. In addition to previous projects that saved the district time and money, Brad is now working with school administrators on a program where each child in the district will eventually have a laptop for school use. Brad and his wife, Angie, live in Mt. Carroll along with their children. Their son is currently attending Highland and their daughter plans on enrolling next year. funny animal pictures

Albert Griffiths, nominated by Alan Wenzel, is originally from Hanover. After returning from service in Vietnam, Al attended Highland Community College and earned his associate degree in 1970. Al went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology/Physical Geography at Western Illinois University and a Master of Science degree in Soil Science/Water Resources at Iowa State University. He then spent 24 years working in government positions including Secretary of Agriculture for South Dakota, Executive Director of the South Dakota Conservation Commission and Director of Conservation for Clinton County, Iowa. As the current city manager for East Dubuque, Al has been a presenter to Highland�s Jo Daviess County Leadership Forum. Al also has the distinction of donating Highland�s first color television for the student lounge.

Thomas Huber, nominated by Erin Huber, enrolled at Highland Community College in 1970 after serving in the United States Air Force. He earned his Associate of Science degree in data processing and business administration. He later earned his Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Northern Illinois University and attended the Executive Development School in Fairfield, Connecticut. Tom was hired at Union Savings Bank in 1973. He is now President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors. He is the founder of the �Freeport Hometown Series.� His board-member service in the community includes work with Neighborhood Housing Services of Freeport, Drug Free Communities Faith United Methodist Church in Freeport, CONTACT of Northern Illinois, United Way of Northwest Illinois, Inc. and Northwest Illinois Development Alliance. Tom and his wife, Peg, have three children and three grandchildren. His daughters, Erin and Stacy, are Highland graduates. funny pictures

Joel M. Kempel, nominated by Fritz Kuhlmeier, attended Highland Community College in 1974 and then transferred to Illinois State University where he completed his bachelor�s degree in Agriculture. Joel began a banking career in 1978 with the First National Bank in Freeport (the current Fifth/Third Bank). In the early 1980�s, he left the bank and his growing book of customers for his first love of farming. In 1985 he joined Citizens State Bank of Lena as an Ag Loan Specialist and has spent over 30 years in agricultural lending, progressing to serve as Senior Lender. Joel has also remained very active in Pearl City through Little League, Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, St. John�s Lutheran Church and the Pearl City Boosters. Joel and his wife, Lori, also helped form a local subdivision, TIF District, and Yellow Creek Restaurant. funny images

Cindy Werkheiser, nominated by Diane Parkinson, graduated from Lena-Winslow High School. Shortly thereafter she enrolled at Highland Community College as a part-time student and full-time working mother. She received her Associate of Arts degree in 1995, graduating with High Honors. Cindy later completed the University of Wisconsin�s three-year graduate school of banking program in 1998. In 2003, she became Freeport�s first woman bank president. In 2006, Cindy joined the Board of Directors of Monroe Clinic and left banking to join Monroe Clinic as a director. She is currently Vice President of Service Excellence for the organization. An active community volunteer, Cindy is a board member for the United Way of Northwest Illinois and has served as chairperson for the March of Dimes and Red Cross events. Cindy and her husband of 29 years, Jeff, have three grown children and live in Freeport. funny photos

A total of 85 individuals have earned the Highland Community College Distinguished Alumni Award since nominations began in 1995. For additional information about the Highland Community College Foundation Distinguished Alumni Awards, go to or contact the Foundation at 815.599.3413.

Pictured (from left to right) are Brad Field, Ryan Casey, Thomas Huber, Albert Griffiths, Cindy Werkheiser and Joel M. Kempel.

2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

Fax 815-235-6130

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