2016 November 24 - 06:14 am

Honors & Awards

MPCC President Ryan Purdy presents Sandy and Gayland Meyer with the 2016 Alumni of the Year.

A North Platte couple has been recognized as the 2016 Alumni of the Year for Mid-Plains Community College (Neb.). Gayland and Sandy Meyer were honored during the Nebraska Community College Association’s annual meeting. Members of MPCC’s cabinet selected the Meyers for the award because of their long history of returning gifts of time, talent and treasure to the community. The couple met at what was initially the North Platte Junior College in 1965, the year that it opened. Sandy enrolled at the college with the intentions of eventually becoming a secretary, a popular profession for women at the time. Gayland planned to pursue a career in engineering or construction. He was influenced by his brother, who had worked in the construction industry, and the fact that he already had a part-time construction job. A year later, Sandy found herself employed as a secretary with the Nebraska Department of Roads. She transferred to the roads office in Lincoln in 1967 after she and Gayland married. There, she worked her way up from the information office to the main office where she was the private secretary to the state director. Her job allowed Gayland to continue his education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering, which he graduated magna cum laude from in January of 1970 with a degree in construction management. Despite a schedule that kept him at the office about six days a week, Gayland found time to give back to the community. He served on the Golden Spike Tower construction committee as well as boards for the Golden Spike Tower, the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, the Nebraskaland Foundation, the North Platte Development Corporation, the North Platte Community Playhouse, the North Platte Optimists and NEBRASKA land Days. Together, he and Sandy were honored with the Dale Studley Award, which is the highest award NEBRASKAland Days bestows. It’s presented to individuals who selflessly give of their time, talent and money to the official state celebration.


MiraCosta College (Calif.) Superintendent/President Sunita V. Cooke has received the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Women Who Mean Business Award. Cooke received the award at a reception/luncheon held Nov. 9 in San Diego. Each year, the San Diego Business Journal recognizes dynamic women business leaders who have contributed significantly to San Diego’s businesses. Cooke’s accomplishments are many. Among Cooke’s most recent projects at MiraCosta was securing passage of Measure MM, a $455 million bond measure that was approved by North County voters. he also helped secure a $250,000 federal grant to establish Southern California’s only Veterans Business Outreach Center, a center charged with supporting service members from San Diego to Santa Barbara who are leaving the military and embarking on self-employment or entrepreneurship. Since 2012, she has represented all of the San Diego and Imperial Counties community colleges on the Workforce Investment Board and is now the liaison with the State Chancellor’s Office regarding economic and workforce development efforts at the regional and state level. She is the chair of the statewide “Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy” campaign, a community college and industry collaboration that aims to close the skills gap.


Lone Star College (Texas) received 16 District 4 Medallion Awards from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations. The NCMPR District 4 Medallion Awards recognize outstanding achievement in design and communication at community and technical colleges. “An important part of helping our students succeed is making sure we communicate with them in a meaningful way,” said Emily deMilliano, executive director, marketing. “Being honored by this organization is a testament to the incredible work of our marketing and communication departments.” Lone Star College was awarded District 4 Medallion Gold Awards in the following categories: Fundraising Campaign, Social Media or Online Marketing Campaign, Print Ad (series), Logo Design, College Promotional Brand Video, and Microsite.

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