The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated active service to higher education and who have played a significant role in the development of Northeast Community College.
Both were members of the Northeast Board of Governors, representing District I of Antelope, Garfield, Pierce and Wheeler counties in their entirety and portions of Boone, Cedar and Madison counties.
Oelsligle served from 2000-2017. He chaired a number of board committees and was board chairperson in 2007. He also served as board vice-chairperson in 2006 and 2012. He participated in meetings of the American Association of Community College Trustees and American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Northeast.
Oelsligle also served as one of two representatives from Northeast on the Nebraska Community College Association (NCCA) Board of Directors, including a one-year term as board president in 2011. He was honored in 2012 with the NCCA’s Governor’s Award, which recognizes one community college board member annually.
With his broad range of experiences, Oelsligle brought his knowledge of education and the educational process to every board meeting. His vast experience as a researcher, educator, Peace Corps volunteer, manager, agri-businessman, and farmer prepared him to function as an outstanding contributor to the board. Don’s dedication and passion for students over the years is commendable and deeply valued.
An area of importance to Oelsligle and his wife, Jean, has been Northeast’s continued expansion in global educational opportunities, which include the development of student exchange programs, an increase in the College’s international student population, articulation agreements with institutions in other countries and a new Center for Global Engagement.
He said, “Jean and I have enjoyed seeing new opportunities develop for our students to take part in foreign educational experiences. It gives students a global perspective and a better sense of the importance of diplomacy and international relations. These are truly life changing experiences, not only for Northeast students, but for those they encounter.”
Oelsligle also said it is gratifying to see a continued emphasis on student success at Northeast.
“Northeast has changed dramatically since I first attended college. The struggles that I went through as a college freshman probably would be fewer if what is currently offered at Northeast Community College would have been available to me. The personal attention to students here by faculty and staff truly make it a successful college experience for everyone.”
Petsche served on the board of governors, representing District I, from 2010-2018. She chaired a number of board committees and served as board chairperson in 2016. Petsche was board vice-chairperson in in 2015 and secretary in 2014. She also served as one of two representatives from Northeast on the NCCA Board of Directors.
Petsche is a former licensed practical nurse who received her education at the Lincoln School of Nursing. She has served as director of the Boone County Health Center Foundation, director of the Boone County Development Agency, and as a consultant for an economic development organization in Nance County.
“Northeast Community College confirms the mantra that skills-training provides the workforce needs that retain businesses in northeast Nebraska and beyond,” Petsche said.
She has fond recollections of her time as a board member.
“My greatest memory of Northeast Community College has been the association with great leaders from across northeast Nebraska and the competence of the executive staff and our president that drive it. After I retired in 2009 as director of economic development for Boone County, I saw firsthand the correlation of skills-training in varied fields with the economic health of our area. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of our future; our students.”
The awards were presented by Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast, and Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs.