POWELL, Wyo. - A longtime Northwest College employee and two longtime NWC supporters were recognized Feb. 1 at the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees Legislative Reception in Cheyenne.
Each year the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees (WACCT) presents awards in six categories – faculty, professional employee, classified employee, trustee, student and foundation volunteer. Colleges across the state nominate individuals for the honors.
Two NWC nominations were recognized with awards this year.
Val Hieb, administrative secretary in the NWC Administrative Services Office, received the 2010-11 Classified Employee Award.
Cody residents Dick and Marge Wilder were presented the 2010-11 Foundation Volunteer Award.
Nominees for the Classified Employee Award must have documented excellence in their jobs plus accomplishments that improve their college and bring positive recognition to the college or the community college system.
Hieb’s recognition was due in no small part to her inspirational history at Northwest in advancing both her own education and those of the students she works with. After beginning her employment at NWC in 1985, Hieb enrolled in one or two classes each semester for many of the 20 years she worked as a custodian in the Orendorff Building. She wanted to become an administrative assistant, a goal she reached in 2005 when she was promoted to her current position, one of the highest-level secretarial positions on campus.
While serving as a role model for students who juggle work and classes, Hieb has also helped many of those students afford college. She was one of the leaders in establishing the Custodial Book Scholarship fund to support custodial student employees and others. Initially funded by collecting and recycling aluminum pop cans from the campus, Hieb later expanded the fundraising effort into employee payroll deduction, a Custodial Olympics event and a Work-Study Student Appreciation Day.
She also organized the custodial staff to volunteer for highway cleanup to collect more aluminum cans. Even after being promoted to the administrative secretary position, Hieb continued to keep financial records for the scholarship fund.
Since its inception 10 years ago, the Custodial Book Scholarship Fund has awarded almost $10,000 in scholarships.
The scope of the recycling efforts Hieb and her fellow employees mounted to support the scholarship won the NWC custodial staff a Recycler of the Year award from the Wyoming Solid Waste and Recycling Association.
Her ongoing legacy at Northwest stands as a tribute to the Northwest College vision.
NWC’s other 2011 WACCT award winners are still honoring that same vision decades after their first and most formal association with Northwest ended.
Dick and Marge Wilder were students the very first year NWC opened its doors as the University of Wyoming’s Northwest Center. Since then, their lives have been continuously intertwined with the institution.
The longtime Cody residents are best known as owners of Cody Drug for more than 40 years. Even with eight decades under each of their belts, the Wilders remain active in the business community as owners/operators of a shopping center and hotel property.
Over the years, they’ve channeled their passion and business acumen into helping the NWC Foundation succeed as a thriving resource for the college.
Most recently Dick helped spearhead the major gifts committee for the foundation’s Toward New Vistas campaign. The committee surpassed its goal by $1.3 million to help bring the total impact of the five-year campaign to $16.4 million (including matching dollars from the State of Wyoming for permanent endowment funds).
Even before Dick became a foundation board member, he and Marge helped jumpstart the foundation’s formal Annual Campaign program in the early 1990s. For nearly a decade, they both personally solicited their fellow community members on an annual basis until the Annual Campaign became sustainable through direct mail.
Dick has been a member of the NWC Foundation Board of Directors since 2000. He serves as the foundation’s vice president and is a member of the executive, nominating and investment committees.
Marge has served for the past six years as a member of the planning committee for the foundation’s Presidential Partners Ball, a dinner and dance for donors to Northwest College.
As active NWC alumni, the Wilders and their fellow classmates participated in the college’s 60th anniversary by creating a yearbook to represent the charter year’s class. The project captures memories and information that could have been lost forever.
Proclaimed history buffs, Dick and Marge are members of the Park County Historical Society and the Wyoming State Historical Society, each having served as state officers. Now they’re leading efforts to launch a local history museum in Cody.
The Wilders have maintained an active presence in the Cody community serving in leadership positions with the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, Cody School District Board, Cody Fire Department and board, Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center Board and the Trinity Lutheran Church, among others.