NICC honoring outstanding alumni; Waukon native Rhonda Seibert to be inducted into Hall of Fame November 5

Rhonda Seibert ...
Rhonda Seibert ...

This November, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) will celebrate five outstanding alumni and two retirees for their outstanding career achievements and exemplary service to their communities. The first ceremony, scheduled for November 5, celebrates three NICC Calmar campus alumni and the late William “Bill” Wermers, NICC accounting instructor. The second ceremony, to be held November 19, will honor two Peosta campus alumni and retired NICC communication instructor James L. Brimeyer.

After graduation from Northeast Iowa Community College, the alumni inductees achieved outstanding success in their careers and service to the community. Recipients of the Outstanding Retiree Award will be honored for their service to the College, leadership and advocacy in the community.

This year’s inductees from the Calmar campus include Ken Fencl, owner of Fencl Oil & LP Company of Protivin who graduated from the NICC Plumbing and Heating program in 1974, and Sean Snyder of Ossian, Winneshiek County’s Emergency Management Coordinator who graduated from NICC’s Paramedic Specialist program in 2011 and its Paramedic program in 2014.

Also included among those Alumni Hall of Fame inductees from the Calmar campus is Rhonda Seibert of Decorah, formerly of Waukon. Seibert’s induction will celebrate and recognize her many honors, devotion to higher education and the College, and leadership in the community.

The challenging, dedicated faculty and welcoming environment of Northeast Iowa Community College that Seibert encountered as a 29-year old adult learner played no small part in her decision to serve her alma mater. To Seibert, NICC is more than simply an affordable and local community college - it feels like home.

After graduating from the College’s Medical Transcriptionist program in 1990 and six months before receiving her Health Information Technology degree in 1991, Seibert became the first medical records director for Good Samaritan Center, a 100-bed long term care facility in her hometown of Waukon. The alumna worked at Good Samaritan for six years and earned a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Upper Iowa University in 1993. And when a faculty position in the College’s Health Information Technology (HIT) program opened in 1996, Seibert immediately applied.

Since her first faculty teaching assignment, Seibert has forged a 22-year career at the College. The alumna has advanced into positions as academic dean, Calmar campus provost and information security officer. While working full-time at NICC, she earned a Master of Science in Education from Capella University in 2005 and, in 2016, NICC named Seibert associate vice president for operations for the district.

“What makes Northeast Iowa Community College truly different is its responsiveness to students and the communities we serve. As an older student, it was a very humbling and scary experience to be almost 30 and starting an educational journey. It was tempting to walk away after the first week. I soon came to realize that this was the place for me,” Seibert recalled, with fondness. “The faculty and staff were amazing, and you quickly learned that hard work and effort will bring success in many ways. Faculty were constantly pushing you to be your best!”

Seibert is committed to student achievement and served as advisor of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chapter at the Calmar campus. Phi Theta Kappa has honored her with the Distinguished Advisor Award (2007), Iowa Region Horizon Award (2017) and 15-Year Advisor Service Award (2017). She was recognized with a national Distinguished Administrator Award in 2009 and has guided numerous grant-funded conservation and sustainability initiatives at the Calmar campus.

“We are fortunate to have a community college in our district, and the support of the community enables the College to continue its mission,” Seibert expressed. “My strongest desire is to see the College continue to support the needs of our district by enriching the lives of those we serve. My commitment and support of NICC is my way of paying back all that Northeast Iowa Community College has done for me.”

Voter support of the College’s $39 million bond levy continuance ballot measure September 11 is creating new challenges and an exciting future for NICC. Seibert is the current chairperson of a 20-member steering committee responsible for planning construction and renovation projects funded by the levy.

The alumna also serves in leadership positions for organizations in the community. She is a board member and past president of the Decorah Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Calmar Community Club and Eastern Iowa Development Corporation.

Seibert currently lives in Decorah. She has three sons, Ben (Melissa), Matt (Kayla) and Alec (Ellicha), and 11 grandchildren.

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