Recognizing Our Retirees
Carol Salyers, May 10, 2012
Employees gathered at Centennial Campus on Thursday, May 3, for the Annual Spring Awards & Retirement Ceremony, hosted by the President’s Office. Supervisors of each retiree who attended were asked to share a few words about them and each was given a beautiful plaque. Employees celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service were also recognized and given commemorative plaques.
Following are PPCC's retirees for this year with a short biography for each:
Sharon Butler – 21 year of service
Known as a dedicated, hardworking, and much-loved College Level Math instructor, Sharon Butler is known for her strong commitment to students. In recent years, her commitment to and passion for helping multicultural students led to establishment of the Sharon Butler Award for faculty who have gone “above and beyond duty” to assist and mentor students in Eddie Hughes’ Multicultural Affairs program. She was selected by her peers as Faculty of the Year award in 1993 and again in 1997. Butler worked in Advising for many years, even advising in high school teaching. She attended a series of statistics workshops to be trained in special methods of teaching statistics, and has been a lead person in teaching this subject for many years. Butler is excited to be embarking on her first ocean cruise to celebrate her well-deserved retirement.
Nancy Crowley – 5 years of service
Nancy Crowley came to PPCC and the Child Development Center after a long career as an early childhood educator in many other settings. During her five years at PPCC, she was a teacher assistant in the infant room at the Rampart Range Campus CDC. She excelled in providing loving and nurturing care to babies as young as six weeks old. She was an inspiring mentor to the student staff she trained and supervised, helping them learn life and parenting skills. While her life’s work was caring for the infants, she was equally passionate about supporting the student parents through their challenges and helping them balance their class load and family life. Crowley will continue to service families as she volunteers with Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care in the future.
Soraiya Edressi Totakhail – 22 years of service
Soraiya Edressi was public relations staff for the PPCC Libraries for the past eight years. She developed events to promote the library and the college to the community. Some of her notable events include Banned Book Week, International Women’s Day, various documentary film and discussion programs, and International Education Week programs. Edressi represented the Library and College each year on Pikes Peak Library District’s committee for All Pikes Peak Reads, and planned/coordinated the PPCC APPR events. Prior to her work with the Library, Edressi was coordinator for the telephone system before there was an IT department and then managed the technology side of ITV courses. She also worked for the Office of International Affairs in which she liaison with the Chamber of Commerce, City Government, and the Colorado Springs Russian Sister City. Born in Afghanistan, Edressi’s own life experiences gave her the impetus to work tirelessly to promote cultural diversity and understanding. Her insights have led to a new retirement career working as a cultural advisor and translator for the military, and she is reportedly “loving every minute of it.”
Frank Delgesso – 21 years of service
Frank Delgesso just finished his last semester as a Dental Assisting Instructor. He was the Dental Assisting Department Chair for approximately nine years. He was the State Discipline chair for Dental Assisting for 10 years. Prior to working at PPCC, Delgesso was the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Peterson AFB Dental Clinic in the mid 1970’s. He trained interns from the PPCC Dental Assisting Program, became friends with the dental assisting instructors (Anne Maestas, for one) at PPCC and on retirement from the U.S. Air Force, started working here. Delgesso says, “I loved seeing the students ‘grow up’ as students and graduate. I found I could have a positive impact on the lives of my students.”
Ben Fontes – 30 years of service
Ben Fontes most recently was Site Manager at the Rampart Range Campus Bookstore. In addition to other things, he enjoyed assisting students and faculty in finding those extra items to enhance their college experience, like pins and mementos. He has held various positions in the Bookstore over a span of 15 years. After coming to Colorado Springs as an “Army Brat,” Fontes started in the Military Programs department more than 30 years ago. He worked in Facilities, Emergency Medical Services, and Radio & TV before settling in the Bookstore. Fontes is known around campus as that “Drummer Guy” who has shared his drumming talents with the dance program and Art Gallery over the years. He continues to teach drumming in the community. Fontes is anxious to start visiting family members scattered from Cheyenne, WY, to Baltimore.
Pat Mielke – 40 years of service
Pat Mielke started with Pikes Peak Community College as a work-study when it was El Paso Community College, housed in leased buildings on the west side of town (on Bott Avenue). Her first position was in the “Duplicating Center.” She became a full- time, classified employee in the Business Office and her duties expanded to accounts receivable, third party billing, restricted fund and club accounts, payroll review, and sales tax. As an employee of what is now the Financial Services office, Mielke had the pleasure of working with nine controllers (one of them, twice!). Mielke held a half-time position for 24 of her years, which allowed her more time to raise three sons. Now, Mielke looks forward to spending more time with grandchildren, and maybe even learning what Facebook is all about!
Debbie Lobdell – 16 years of service
Debbie Lobdell started at Pikes Peak Community College in 1984 as an adult hourly student in the Occupational Studies office working for Sharron Evans. Evans encouraged Lobdell to take the test and apply for an administrative clerk job. While she did not get a position here right away, in 1987, Lobdell was hired by UCCS and worked there for eight years. She then applied to PPCC’s Records Office where she became the outgoing transcript processor in 1995. A few years later, she got an upgrade in Records and began performing transcript and degree evaluations. Lobdell now brings her years of experience to a part-time job in Career Planning and Advising. Lobdell says, “I stayed here at PPCC because of the staff, students, and faculty. There is truly a sense of family here.” Lobdell is currently wrapped up in helping her daughter prepare for a wedding this summer.
Tom Kelly – 27 years of service
An English major at Boston College, a student in the Army Officer Candidate School, a potter, a carpenter, a restaurateur, Wall Street employee, father, husband, instructor and department chair of Architecture at Pikes Peak Community College. All of these describe Tom Kelly, retiring architecture faculty. Kelly was actually a student at El Paso Community College in the carpentry program and then the architecture program. Twenty-seven years ago, he joined the program as an instructor and eventually became the Department Chairperson. Both his daughters attended the PPCC CDC many years ago, and he passes the PPCC educational torch on as his older daughter graduated from PPCC and his younger daughter is ready to do the same. Kelly is known around campus as “an incredible asset to our community and students.”
Michael Stansbery – 21 years of service
If “all the world is a stage,” you have experienced Michael Stansbery, Theatre faculty and former Theatre Department Chair. Stansbery joined the PPCC family 21-years-ago after starting the theatre program at Bemis Arts School. There were two whole theatre courses when he began teaching at PPCC, so he jumped in with both feet creating and rewriting more than 30 different theatre courses over the years. He eventually became the Department Chairperson for the program. The Masquers Club was the student club that helped Stansbery produce dozens and dozens of wonderful plays and musicals over the years, with legendary sets and lighting designed by a true master of the theatre arts. When asked what is it that drives and inspires him as a teacher, Stansbery says, “The excitement of a student when the light bulb goes on and they begin to get it.” Stansbery plans to travel with his wife to visit his married children in other places and enjoy outdoor sports such as hiking, biking, rock climbing and skiing.
Mary-Ann Wermers – 17 years of service
Mary-Ann Wermers is the retiring dean of Health and Sciences, from 2007 to 2012, and Nursing Program Director for seven years prior to that. Her progression was from adjunct Nursing Instructor in the 1970’s to current position as dean. Her accolades are many, including:
-The Nursing Student Crises Fund was named for her (funding from Colorado Nurses Association) in 2012
-Was Outstanding Student Advisor from Colorado Student Nurse Association in 2002
-Was District III Nurse of the Year, selected by Colorado Nurses Association in 2002
-Outstanding Faculty Award from Colorado Student Nurse Association in 2001
-Seven-time nominee for the Nightingale Award and a Semi-Finalist in the State in 2007
-Educator Award with Colorado Nurses Association
-Circle of Excellence Leadership Award from Colorado Society of Nurse Executives
-Outstanding Faculty Award when teaching at then-named University of Southern Colorado-Pueblo (now Colorado State University-Pueblo)
Wermers says, “What still drives me is watching the transformation in a student who goes from entering a field to actually becoming an entry-level practitioner, or the student who is not sure about a course to actually saying they love the topic and want more information.” Her only complaint about her job on exiting? “Not enough hours in the day!”
Wermers plans to spend time with her family, which includes grandchildren, travel in their RV without worrying about when to return, improve her shooting skills, and do volunteer activities.
Janet Wilson – 21 years of service
Janet Wilson attended PPCC as a student graduating with honors in the Mechanical Design Technology AAS degree program. After graduation, she worked as a sub-contractor in the local manufacturing industry. She was asked to teach Area Vocational Program Mechanical CAD Drafting, and, about the same time, she also became a college adjunct instructor for the drafting department, as it was known then. Twelve years ago, Wilson was named Department Chair for drafting. It morphed into what is now Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and an AAS degree program. Within two years, the program had five certificates, three AAS degrees, and numerous completers. Wilson’s teaching included eight to 11 different subjects per semester, and these were all totally different course numbers, not sections, resulting in a huge workload for her as she was the only one full-time faculty member, who also had the duties attendant with being the department chair. However, she is very proud of what she helped build in the program.