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Alumni Association Establishes a New Tradition

June 04, 2014

Friend of College Award 2014Western Nebraska Community College establishes a new tradition to honor the Friends of WNCC.

Since its inception in 1926, WNCC has received gracious support from western Nebraska Panhandle community businesses and residents including students, teachers, and employees. They show support through scholarships and sponsoring events and athletic teams, and they advocate for WNCC programs.

This year, the Alumni Association will create an award equally as impressive as the recipients it honors. Local artist Randall May has donated his time and talent to create the WNCC Cougar sculpture. The Alumni Association will award this beautiful piece of art annually at the WNCC Commencement Ceremony as our Friend of the College Award.

“WNCC would not be able to continue without the support of our community,” WNCC President Dr. Todd Holcomb said of the award. “No award, plaque, or banquet can truly display our appreciation; however, Randall May’s sculpture is a beautiful way for us to express our gratitude.”

Randall May has explored the world of art since he was old enough to hold a pencil. “I felt the freedom to explore many mediums – painting, drawing, and later sculpture,” May tells us. He has won awards and scholarships, and traveled to Alaska with world-renowned artist John Seerey-Lester. PBS has presented him as a Highlighted Artist, a Featured Artist, and a Print Artist, and he has exhibited his work throughout the American West, Alaska, Florida, and British Columbia. His paintings and sculptures range from small to monumental in size and are collected both nationally and internationally.

The Friend of the College Award represents the highest honor given by the College to a person, business or community organization for their commitment to education and fulfilling the WNCC mission that includeds "enriching lives, invigorating communities, and creating futures.” The WNCC Alumni Association first introduced the Friend of the College Award in 2013 to Howard Olsen for his leadership and dedication to WNCC through his work with the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation. He has served on the Board since 1981 and as its president since 1989. He drove the construction of both the WNCC Child Development Center and the John N. Harms Advanced Technology Center, and he fosters support for the College throughout our community. During his tenure, the Foundation has offered millions of dollars in scholarships to students

This year, the Association will present the award retroactively to Howard Olsen and Cabela’s Inc., selected for its commitment to education, superior customer service and community involvement. For more information about the WNCC Alumni Association and the Friend of the College Award, contact Tina Dueker, WNCC Alumni Relations Director at or 308.630.6571.