Distinguished Alumni

Lane's Distinguished Alumni

Call for NominationsLane's Distinquished Alumni Award Presented

The Lane Community College Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The nomination period for the 2014 awards has closed.

At Lane Community College, we are proud of every student. The Distinguished Alumni Awards give us an opportunity to profile students who have gone on to make a difference in their communities, and who have remembered the college along the way.

Each year, we recognize four alumni who completed 30 credit hours at Lane or earned an associate's degree. Nominees have demonstrated achievement in their chosen profession, service to the community, or outstanding contribution to the college.

The 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at Lane Community College's 50th Anniversary Celebration in October 2014.

Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form

Nominations for consideration for 2015 are due by June 30, 2015

Thank You!

Congratulations to Lane's Distinguished Alumni for 2013!

These four, like thousands of other Lane alumni, have achieved their dreams and made contributions to assisting other students and programs at Lane Community College while bettering our community. They are shining examples of the power of education and philanthropy.

SallyLou BonzerSallylou Bonzer

Retired Army Captain and nurse, believes in the value of education and the importance of public service and volunteerism. "Sign me up!" has always been her motto. When the army came calling during WW2, she enlisted immediately; leaving her nursing position at St.Luke's Episcopal Hospital and joined the frontline nurses at the battle of Normandy. For her service, she received numerous medals and honors, including The American Society of the French Legion of Honor, and multiple bronze stars. During her tour of service, Sallylou met her future husband, John Bonzer, although they didn't start a courtship until meeting again in 1946 at a New Jersey hospital, "Sign me up" she said and they were and married in 1947.

Sallylou's nursing career was featured in various publications including The Chicago Tribune and a five-page pictorial spread in the 1948 April Fools edition of the Saturday Evening Post, "I think it was perfect for me, it matched my feisty personality" Sallylou, says.

Friends describe Sallylou as having a sparkling quick-witted personality, strength of character, and filled with a love of learning. Sallylou and John moved to Eugene in 1949. He practiced Internal Medicine while Sallylou kept busy raising four children, serving as a member of the D.A.R, Junior League, teaching local students, and volunteering at a post-polio school. Sallylou always planned to return to school and once her children were grown she realized that dream by enrolling at Lane Community College in the late 1960's to earn a transfer degree. Sallylou, says, "Lane offered me a chance to start a new chapter in my life."

After finishing up at Lane she went to work for Sacred Heart while earning a bachelor's degree in Special Education at the University of Oregon. She truly is a lifelong learner. Today, Sallylou stays active by swimming daily, sewing for the Teddy Bear Club and volunteering on the Alzheimer's floor at Cascade Manor, a job she says is hard but very rewarding. She is looking forward to becoming more involved with Lane Community College. "Sign me up", she says.

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Julie Daniel

Julie Daniel

Executive Director of BRING Recycling, sees Lane Community College as a pragmatic, practical institution meeting students wherever they are in life, guiding them, encouraging them, and giving them confidence to succeed.

Julie first came to Lane as a 21-year-old single mother and recent immigrant, trying to find career training to support her family. Julie found Lane to be open and welcoming. She earned a certificate in Landscape Maintenance and Management and after graduation was immediately offered a job that paid double minimum wage.

In her mid-40's she returned to Lane. She lived 40 miles from the Florence campus and signed up for distance learning classes, which at that time were delivered on VHS tapes. The flexibility of the classes and the helpful faculty and staff made it possible for Julie to work full time and care for her children while working towards her associate's degree. Julie says, "I attribute much of my success and ability to manage life to the skills I learned at Lane."

Julie went on to complete the Non-Profit Management certificate through Lane's Business Development Center and took over as director of BRING Recycling. At BRING she has presided over nothing short of a revolution. She's transformed a grass-roots group into a self-sustaining, entrepreneurial non-profit organization dedicated to promoting earth-friendly practices to help people live well without waste and make the best use of natural resources.

Julie encourages students from Lane's Environmental Science and Energy Management programs to use BRING's Planet Improvement Center campus to see firsthand practical applications for their fields of study.

Julie says, "Lane is so good at helping people realize new possibilities. That is what Lane means to me, a place that makes new opportunities possible; it's why it is such a neat school. It is accessible to everyone, and it is a community treasure."

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Dr. Helen Lester

Dr. Helen Lester

She grew up in a home where volunteerism and community service were highly valued. Her mother, Dee, taught her to be aware of community needs and to respond to them, and she actively pursues this practice daily. She says, "I have an obligation to give back to the community and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be able to help in so many ways."

Helen attended the Dental Hygiene program at Lane Community College before pursuing a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon. She then attended Creighton University where she received her doctoral degree. Her time at Lane gave her a strong foundation in the dental field and helped her achieve her career goals. Helen says, "It was an amazing education. My teachers were exceptional and committed to producing well-qualified dental hygienists primed for success."

Helen invites prospective dental program students into her practice, providing them the opportunity to shadow her and her staff. She works with the dental assisting program offering internships and holds "mock interviews" to prepare students for graduation. She volunteers at the Lane Sealant Clinic, frequently offers guest lectures at Lane and has instructed students in the Dental Hygiene 2 program.

Helen also finds time to volunteer with Medical Teams International, bringing dental services and supplies to remote villages in Guatemala. Locally provides dental screenings for schools and offers dental care for low-income Lane students at no-charge. Helen gets as much out of her service as she gives, "I continue to be encouraged to improve myself, to find ways to help more people, and to enhance upon the foundation I learned at Lane." she, says.

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Mike Wildish

Mike Wildish

Vice President and General Manager of Wildish Construction Company Eugene Operations and Assistant Secretary for Wildish Land Company, has a long history of giving back to his community and ties to Lane Community College. He remembers working on the parking lot by the baseball fields as a young teen when Wildish was constructing the main campus. He always knew that he would attend Lane and work for his family's company.

At Lane Mile learned focus, had the chance to mature as a student, and the ability to play baseball for the Titans, all while living at home and saving money to attend a four-year college. He thought about attending OSU but he just couldn't put on the orange and black. (GO Ducks!)

Mike believes in a culture of businesses supporting the local community. He encourages employee outreach and supports whatever avenues employees want to pursue in making our community a better place. Wildish is thankful for the opportunity to be involved in giving back to a community that has supported its company for over 78 years. Mike credits these learned values to his grandfather, father, and uncles for exemplifying how individuals and organizations can make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. Mike and his team at Wildish encourage employees to take classes at Lane to further their education and to be "lifelong learners" by subsidizing tuition.

"Lane is a tremendous value with a great variety of programs offered, opportunities provided, flexible class schedules and approachable faculty and staff." Mike says. He also believes that Lane provides an opportunity for almost anyone to go to college. He is proud of his affiliation with Lane and inspired by the growth that has taken place and all the individuals and families that have been helped by the continued expansion of Lane's extensive presence in the community.

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View Previous Distinguished Alumni Awardees