And now the end is not near, it is here!

The office is cleaned out and ready for a new occupant. I have relived my 34 years at St. Louis Community College but especially the 12 and a half years as Florissant Valley president. You know when you are in the middle of everything happening; it is difficult to really see the work that has been done. As I have reflected on this time, I am so proud of the Florissant Valley campus and my colleagues here.

We weathered the discussion around adding an alternative high school to our campus, a tragic incident in one of our campus ponds, faculty and staff transitions and loss of our colleagues and friends. We celebrated with peace poles, tree plantings, and parties. We built the Emerson Center for Engineering and Manufacturing, renovated and added onto our Student Center, renovated many spaces, moved the bus stop (more than once), and added an art gallery to the Administration Building. We welcomed students from around the world and learned so much from each of them. We received a wonderful gift from the Gateway Foundation – our Taurus sculpture – and then added a sculpture park of our own. Together we have made students our number one priority.

Florissant Valley is a special place – it is your place. It will rise to greatness because of each and every one of you. Take stock of yourself, of your contributions and choose – will you contribute to success for the campus and for our students?

It has truly been my honor and pleasure to serve with you in this community.
As I take my leave I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they the latitudes and the longitudes”.

Farewell Florissant Valley.

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Summer session is in full swing!

Since my last blog comments we have celebrated with the College’s commencement. St. Louis Community College had 2,500 graduates; 850 participated in the ceremony. We enjoyed having former STLCC Chancellor Dr. Henry Shannon back with us for this celebration. Congratulations to all who graduated – we are proud of your accomplishments and encourage you to continue to pursue educational opportunities.

I am also tickled to congratulate Xavier Souter as the newly elected president of the Missouri Community College Student Government group. Xavier has just finished his service leading our Flo Valley SGA and I know he will do a great job for MCCA. Way to go Xavier!

• The College leadership team met Tuesday – there was good discussion around the topic of One College. Look for a draft of this information in the future.

• I’d like to welcome Dan Kimack to the College – he will replace DeLancey Smith as Public Information and Marketing director for the District. From time to time, Dan will be visiting the campus, so say hello if you see him! And, best wishes to DeLancey on his retirement.

• During the next few weeks, television commercials featuring STLCC students and programs will air on several networks. Campus PIM staff are doing a social media push and the commercials have been posted on YouTube for more exposure. Click on the following links:

STLCC 2014 Grads – Great Start to Your Future

STLCC Criminal Justice

STLCC Interior Design

STLCC Kitchen and Bath

STLCC Where to Start your College Degree

STLCC Where to Start you College Degree2

The Pathway to your career starts here at St. Louis Community College

• Summer school is in full swing. I appreciate the welcoming environment we’re providing for our summer students.

• The Admissions and Registration department will move for a short time this summer. They will be housed in the Multipurpose Room from June 18 to July 11 while new flooring and carpeting is installed in their area.

• The Terry M. Fischer Theatre is staging “An Evening of One Acts.” Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m., June 11, 12, 13 and 14. The performance on June 15 begins at 2 p.m. The June 13 performance is sign interpreted.

Seems almost impossible but summer classes have begun and registration for fall is underway. I am getting my office cleaned out, while continuing to relive 34 years at STLCC. Joe Worth is noticing a little “spring” in my step.

I appreciate all of the kind notes, those of you who have dropped by and the various celebrations in my honor. Although I will take some time off, I am working until June 30 and will blog one last time at the end of the month.

Enjoy the summer!

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Making the most of these last few weeks

We’re now in the home stretch – winding down on finals, preparing for Commencement and celebrating the end of another successful semester.

And now, I’m in my season of “lasts.” My last governance meeting, my last graduate reception, it’s all very bittersweet, but rewarding and fun! Who would think that I would lead a conga line during the SGA banquet? I’m sure if you listen to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” you’ll do the same. Also, thanks to SGA president Xavier Souter for being my conga line partner!

The week saw me bouncing between governance meetings and attending the end-of-year celebration for American Association of Women in Community Colleges, where Dr. Cindy Hess and I were honored for our years of service to the College. I’ve been saying this a lot lately – it was an honor to be honored, but one thing I would like to pass along: please support the AAWCC. When I joined the College, there wasn’t a forum for women’s voices to be heard or a place for us to be encouraged. The AAWCC serves as that vehicle and does a wonderful job – again, please support them.

We had a wonderful Graduate reception yesterday – I was glad to see plenty of faculty and staff there to greet students and their families. Thanks to Campus Life for putting the event together and for the lovely decorations. Also, thanks to Matthew Crook and Treat America for providing such wonderful treats!


  • I mentioned governance meetings earlier — the campus governance councils had their final meetings of the year.  A big thank you goes to Heather Allen and Paul Higdon for serving as the leaders of the FVIAC and the FVAC respectively.
  • Tonight, we’ll finish the week by honoring our nursing students during the annual Nursing Pinning event. Congratulations to all of our students!

I’ll be away from the blog for a while – look for me to return June 6. Until then, take care and have a great weekend!

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As the semester winds down …

I glance at the calendar each morning to remind myself that it is spring yet when I walk out the door I have to stop and reconsider what that means for a jacket or coat! Summer may be right around the corner.

The final academic affairs reorganization roundtable discussion was on Wednesday of this week at the Wildwood campus.  Now all of the information shared will be compiled to determine what suggestions and comments provide direction for the future.  As Dr. Michaelis indicated, there are to be follow-up sessions in the fall with an anticipated January 2015 organizational structure implementation.

Celebration season is in full force at Florissant Valley.  Sabrina Reitmeyer was named the Phillip Grogg Award winner in a ceremony on Thursday afternoon.  Other students recognized for their outstanding work were Apryl Russell and James Wilkinson. Congratulations to our talented students!

I had a delightful time at the retirement reception at CWI on Thursday evening.  Thanks to all of you who were able to stop by and provide your sendoff advice.  The video, with all of Mary Caldwell’s talents on display, was real trip down memory lane – the League invitation video with Henry Shannon is one that I thought had been long since buried.  Wasn’t it nice of the Cabinet to provide upgraded beverage service – thanks to each of them.

Tonight we will end the year with our Annual Student Government Association Awards Banquet.  The students have chosen “Empowerment Transforms Great Leaders” and I think we see evidence of that every day on campus as we work with student clubs and organizations.  Congratulations to our SGA officers on an outstanding year.

Next week are the year-end governance council meetings and I want to offer a special note of gratitude to Dr. Paul Higdon and Heather Allen who have served as the chairpersons of our local councils.  They, together with their council members, have worked on behalf of the campus community all year long.

Please mark your  calendars for our campus Graduate Reception for next Thursday, May 8 at 2 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room  This is the opportunity for students to have one on one time with faculty and staff so please stop by to wish our grads success in the future.


  • The FV English department recently recognized the winners of their annual student writing competition. I’m told there were many impressive entries.  Here are the pieces chosen as the best of their genre:

Best Short Story – Kat Jenning, “Redemption: A Story of the Damned”

Best Poem – William Heimerdinger, “Because it’s not God, James Joyce”

Best Essay – Barbara Elmgren, “My Father’s Eyes”

Best One-Act Play – Travonte Harris, “You Said You Loved Me”

 Congratulations to not only the winners of the awards, but to all who entered. 

  • More English department news – congratulations go to the first-place winners of our annual district writing competition.  We received entries from talented writers across the St. Louis area, and the following works were judged the best in their category:

 Best Short Story: “Wretched” by Mary Loggia (Wildwood)

Best Poem: “Because It’s Not God, James Joyce” by William Heimerdinger (Florissant Valley)

Best Essay: “The Benefits of Early Reading” by Kendra Hefner (Wildwood)

Best One-Act Play:  “You Said You Loved Me” by Travonte Harris (Florissant Valley)

Each of these students will receive a $100 prize for their accomplishment.  They exhibit the talent and potential we see every day here at St. Louis Community College, so please congratulate them and celebrate their achievements.

  •  Our students succeed! Check out this link from the Washington Post – one of FV’s former art students, Travis Wagner, is featured in an article about Corcoran College of Art and Design’s senior thesis exhibition.


  • The Florissant Valley College Chorus put on a wonderful concert last night. Kudos to Dr. Paul Higdon and all the talented students who make these concerts a treat!
  • The annual Kids for Komen Walk was held at the Child Development Center on Wednesday.  Donations this year totaled $317.  Since the walk began in 2010, we have raised $1,906.10.  Kim Ghrist and Donna Dixon donated a Cardinal baseball themed wreath and two gift baskets were donated by Mary Krogmeier for the raffle.  The winners were Riley Schoene, Lilly Williams and Brayden Priest.The walk is sponsored by the Florissant Valley Child Development Center, CDC Parent Advisory Council and the Campus Community Building Team.  Special thanks to those that helped make this event a success.

Thanks for reading the blog!

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Another busy, but fun week

This has been a busy week and I suspect I will say that several more times before the end of May!

Monday, Florissant Valley celebrated its annual Service Awards. This is the time each year that we stop, as a campus community to say thank you to faculty and staff for their years of service, recognize some who have been identified as “outstanding” in their work and congratulate those who are retiring. I certainly appreciated the participation of our honored employees as well as their office and department support teams. I was honored to be recognized with the retirees group and was surprised with a beautiful vase that will always remind me of the natural beauty and people of the Florissant Valley campus.

Tuesday evening, 44 students were inducted into the FV chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Ruby Curry stepped in to provide welcome greetings for me and I understand the ceremony was terrific. Congrats to Jeanne Florini, PTK faculty advisor, and the PTK officer team for this event.

I had some fun this week being interviewed by Renee Thomas Woods in one of her Mass Communications classes. Students had their hand at operating the TV cameras and running the control board while Renee and other students invited me to talk about my tenure at Florissant Valley.

Conversations about the organizational structure of Academic Affairs for the College started this week. I attended the discussions at Meramec, Forest Park and Florissant Valley and can report that there were many opinions and perspectives shared. One more gathering will occur this spring at the Wildwood campus on April 30. After that, all of the notes will be reviewed to prepare for continuing discussion in the fall semester. Thank you for your thoughtful participation in this process.

Thursday, we hosted the Board of Trustees meeting at Flo Valley. There were several BIG things that happened there. From a campus view, we now know that Ruby Curry will be serving as the Interim President beginning July 1. Congratulations to Ruby; I look forward to this transitioning period with her and supporting her in this new role. Furthermore two board members were seated for their six year terms – congratulations to Theodis Brown, Sr. and Libby Fitzgerald. Our SGA students were recognized for their recent MCCA award. Our student reporters at the Forum newspaper were recognized as well for their seven Missouri College Media Association Honors.

Today, Friday, I am hosting Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for a campus visit and discussion about community colleges. Say hello if you see us this afternoon.


Grogg Awards – This week marks the beginning of our student award season.  At 2 p.m. on Thursday, we’ll honor the outstanding student in our broadcasting program during the Grogg Awards. This recognition is an annual tradition in the spring semester at Florissant Valley and was established in memory of Philip Grogg, who had been a KCFV/communications student here.

SGA Banquet – On May 2, the Student Government Association Awards Banquet will showcase the academic, athletic and service achievements of our students. It takes place at 6 p.m. at the Hilton St. Louis Airport Hotel. I hope to see you there!

The international FIRST Robotics competition is an exciting happening in downtown St. Louis this weekend. The event is free and so much fun to visit. If you have children, grandchildren, are young at heart, or have a fascination with science and technology, visit the competition at America’s Center. STLCC plays a big role in putting on this event. You might even run into Ashok Agrawal – if you do, say congratulations – he has completed his doctoral dissertation. Congrats Dr. Agrawal!

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading the blog!

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Recognition is in the air!

One of the things that I love the most about this time of year is recognizing the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students. Recognition season started yesterday as Sharon Fox was named the 39th David L. Underwood Memorial Lecturer. What a wonderful honor for her! It was also nice to see past Underwood honorees and retirees while they were on campus for the announcement and luncheon.

I had a great time at the Institute for Interdisciplinary and Global Studies student symposium! Several students and staff came out to sample Italian cuisine and celebrate learning! It’s always inspiring for me to hear students discuss what they learn from traveling abroad and service learning projects. I would like to thank Jen Medeiros, Jeanne Florini and Chris Stephens for pulling this fascinating showcase together for the student and campus community.


  • Have you noticed the new trees on campus? If you look along the main campus road, you’ll see saplings being planted along the way. These new trees come to us from Forest ReLeaf of Missouri. They aim to provide trees for public and nonprofit plantings and present educational programs to increase stewardship of the trees and forests in Missouri and surrounding regions. So far, we have River Birch, Roughleaf Dogwood, Kentucky Coffeetree and Tulip trees planted on the campus.
  • This is the last weekend for “Our Town” at the Terry M. Fischer Theatre. Performances will run at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday. The play is directed by our own Donna Nelson!
  • Service Awards – On Monday, we’ll celebrate the Service Awards. I hope to see you at 2 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. We’ll take time to honor faculty, staff and retirees for their years of service.
  • SGA Banquet – On May 2nd, the Student Government Association Awards Banquet will showcase the academic, athletic and service achievements of our students. It takes place at 6 p.m. at the Hilton St. Louis Airport Hotel. I hope to see you there!


  • A few weeks ago, we honored our campus Innovation of the Year, the SOAR project. “The First Four Weeks” was picked as the College’s Innovation of the Year. This innovative strategy is part of our Achieving the Dream initiative and is simply a list tips/strategies that faculty can use to connect with students. Congratulations go to Teresa Huether and all faculty who chose to participate and give students a great start to their semester.

Thanks for reading the blog this week – I hope you have a nice and relaxing holiday weekend – maybe you’ll get a visit from the Easter bunny!

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A brief note

Welcome Spring – flowers petals unfolding, trees bursting out with color, the geese are nesting and allergies are kicking in! While we attempt to stop the building of nests when we can, we are not always successful. Please give the geese a wide berth as they become very aggressive during this nesting time.

Wednesday, we were honored to host Native American singer and Grammy winning artist, Joanne Shenandoah, for a performance. Shenandoah’s gentle yet powerful rhythms and message of peace were weaved through stories of her Iroquois heritage. This Global Gatherings event, focused on Indians of North America, is part of the series sponsored by the FV Global Education Committee which included other programs during the week.

This afternoon is the annual Bowling for Scholars event at Tropicana Bowling Lanes. While this is a scholarship fundraiser, it is also an afternoon of fun and camaraderie. Join us if you can.

This weekend is the opening of “Our Town” in the Terry M. Fischer Theater. This is the 300th production in our theater and a repeat of the very first one! There are performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. The play will also be performed next weekend on Friday and Saturday evening at 8 p.m. I hope to see you there for this historic celebration!

Next week is a very important moment in the life of the Florissant Valley campus. The 2014 Underwood announcement will be made on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. near the circulation desk in our Library. Underwood lecturers exhibit excellence in instruction and a genuine, humanistic concern for students, faculty, and staff – and all of education. Please make an effort to attend and celebrate with one of our colleagues.


  • Bianca Fountain, Arts & Humanities student, was awarded the E. G. Danforth Scholarship at Washington University in St. Louis. As you know, this scholarship provides full tuition for two years. In addition, she also received an Eliot Scholarship, which means that she will have the financial resources to get her books and other supplies without the need to take out loans.

As always, thanks for reading the blog – we’ll chat again next week

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