Harper College 50th Anniversary Annuitant Retiree Reunion Recap
Click here to view Slideshow of the event.
View Photo Collection of the Day

Cultural Arts and Contemporary Programming at Harper College from 1968 – 2015
Take a walk down memory lane! View a 50 year list of celebrities, top authors, performers, musicians and speakers who were funded through Student Activities fees. Find the entire list here.


Ralph Martire, Exec Director, Center for Budget and Tax Accountability (a non-partisan  think tank), presented an extremely informative seminar to HCAA on May 25, 2016. View his presentation here.

HCAA Member Travel Adventures – 2015 – 2016

“Itchy Feet” by Phil Troyer
Thanks for the updates, HCAA. I am still traveling much of the time. Unfortunately I will miss seeing my Harper friends at the get-togethers.

I was in Tucson, AZ and Eugene, Oregon all of September 2016, and Tucson most of October except for a quick trip to winterize my Spring Grove home mid-October. Then on to Everglades City, FL from Nov 4 to Dec 4 where I’ve rented the last 2 winters. See

My plan is to be in Tucson most of Dec-Jan-Feb’17 except for a week or two away sometime in the winter. The best to you all.

mckay_boat_2016_resize“Tasman Treasures – 2016”  by Liz McKay
When I received a brochure from the Alumni Association of The Ohio State University promoting a fifteen night cruise to Australia and New Zealand aboard Oceania Cruises, I drooled and thought, but my husband Don won’t want to go!  And then a classmate wrote, and said why don’t we do this?  And much to my surprise Don said yes.  So I booked it before he could change his mind!  It was a trip of a lifetime if you don’t count the 16 hour flight to get there.mckay_building_2016_resize

These four pictures are just a sample of the beauty that we saw.  In addition to Ohio State, there were 31 other alumni associations on board, and at a designated time they flew our banners from the upper deck.  That’s me with a big O over the red banner!

The tour began in Sydney with a visit to the famous Opera House.  It’s just as magnificent in person as it is in the pictures.  We were even lucky enough to hear the symmckay_koala_2016_resizephony practicing as we went through the seven venues in the facility.  Sydney is a lovely city, and I would have liked to have spent more time there, but it was time to board The Marina for the next two weeks of delicious food and company!  The adorable koala was found along the way when we stopped at Hobart at the Bonorong Wildlife Park with other animals such as lots of kangaroos and a wombat or two!

The other picture was taken as we cruised the fjords of Milford Sound in Newmckay_newzealand_2016_resize Zealand that competes with Norway for beautiful fjords and waterfalls.  It was incredibly gorgeous!!  We enjoyed our time catching up with old friends and making new ones. But all good things must come to an end, and we landed in Auckland, New Zealand, to board our long flight home.  Put this one on your “bucket list” if you haven’t been there already!  It was a great adventure!!

betty_hull_spotlight“Escaping the Weather, 2016 Style” by Betty Hull
Just back from a week in St. John at the luxury hotel complex Caneel Bay Resort within our  National Parks system in the U.S. Virgin Islands with my daughter Cathy, my sister Trudi and her husband Bill, I’m reflecting on things that haven’t changed and changes I hadn’t unanticipated.  One thing that hadn’t changed was that there were no telephones in our rooms (I had found that feature a peaceful respite  in Puerta Vallerta in 1965, before cell phones were even a gleam in the eyes of any electronics company).  However, one welcome change was internet access across the resort, so I could text and keep up with e-mail and news and make calls at 20 cents a minute.  Since I had just traded in our old equipment and purchased new smartphones for my daughter Cathy and me a few days before we left, we found that overall a great blessing.  All good so far.

As a travel agent fifty years ago before I became an academic, I used to book the Caribbean and envied the utter satisfaction that our clients expressed with their stay at this hard-to-reach slice of paradise.  My sister Trudi had traveled there with our mother and our other sister in the late 1990’s.  They too seemed delighted with the experience.  From the agency’s perspective, the most hazardous part seemed to be the  unpredictable, often snowy weather in the Midwest delaying departures from O’Hare.  So I was quite pleased that we left in relatively good weather (only a slight delay on the ground here) and had a smooth five-hour plus flight to St. Thomas, from where we were transported by taxi and ferry to our destination.  So far so good.

The other big change was my age and my general health.  I now have vision problems,  allergies and various breathing difficulties, both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, and a knee replacement, and have survived a major heart attack (30 years ago).  In short, I got old.  All of that combined to make what back in the day was easily accessible (seven steps up to the deck outside our room and a block walk up and down the uneven path to the phone station to call for the electric shuttle carts that carried us the quarter mile to the main dining hall on the beach, the concierge, and the gift shop.

That grows old pretty quickly, especially seven days of it.  But the unspoiled scenery was spectacular, even when it rained, as it did at least part of most days.  The weather seemed cooler than I had expected also, hovering between 80 and 70, instead of the 82-72 range the internet said it was the average for the island.  The water was also shockingly cool, not quite as equatorial Galapogos (where one sees penguins) but cool enough to wish I had brought a wet suit—which in all fairness the website did warn were not available.  To indulge my sister I waded and swam a little in the  ocean; it felt like the Lake Michigan temperatures I remember at Montrose Harbor beach in late August—bearable, but just barely.  The swimming pool was even more disappointingly icy cold.  I’ve become accustomed to my swimming pool (usually 86 F. and hot tub afterward kept at 104 F.)  So I came home looking as pale as when I left.

I generally run on my stomach and taste buds, and the food was ample and expensive (but all included in our pricy package) however not always to my taste, with only a few choices of venue.  Trudi decided that we should try to get the most of the features of our package, so we ended up busy every day with at least one activity or another.  I nearly drowned on our snorkeling expedition and found climbing into the boat a challenge; I still have the bruises as evidence.  One excursion I really enjoyed was a ride to the other side of the island to have lunch at Skinny Legs (which was all on our own).  It was typical shack-on-the-beach fare with a lot of delicious seafood, the kind I remember as a kid seventy-some years ago in the Philadelphia area,  a refreshing change from the over-rich gourmet cuisine.  The mahi mahi was excellent, seasoned but not sauced, and reasonably priced, considering that almost everything on the island had to be shipped in from elsewhere.

Would I recommend it?  Maybe to young folks in excellent health, but not without caution to HCAA retirees.  A cheaper and better deal for people like me is almost any “destination cruise,” whether on the river (for folks who need something planned to do and see every day) or on the ocean for those who prefer leisurely shipboard living and don’t get seasick.  There are packages for almost every length of time and price range, with optional shore excursions.

As the global climate changes, we should expect more unusual weather, all around the world.   So I  wasn’t too surprised that the blizzard on the East Coast made my sister and her husband have to rebook two days later to the Washington, D.C. area.  But it also affected  the flights to get Cathy and me home, with a three-hour delay waiting for equipment.  Add that to the hour ferry ride, the three hours the airlines demanded for check-in, and we got home at nearly midnight, thoroughly exhausted and needing a few days to recover.  Flying in Steerage, or Cattle Class is no fun.  The food for purchase is generally processed and unappetizing.  The seats seem to get smaller and have less leg room as the traveling public grows more obese; service is minimal.  The oil glut is creating huge profits for the airlines, while baggage and meals on long flights are no longer included in the price of the ticket.  Welcome to the world of my husband’s first novel, The Space Merchants (1952).

From September 1 – October 14, 2015, retirees David Clydesdale and Sarah Stark took their Airedale Terrier rescue dogs to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There they served as camp hosts and liaisons for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at McLain State Park. Located on Lake Superior’s shoreline on the Keweenaw Peninsula, the park’s setting allowed them to experience wildlife, meet many wonderful people from across the globe and see the northern lights almost every night for two weeks!

Harper retirees continue to travel! In October, 2015, Bob and Connie Podgorski wrote:
“Bob and I recently went on a vacation to the Rocky Mountains to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We went on the Rocky Mountaineer, a train that takes tourists through some of the most scenic sections of the Western Rockies, and we were treated like first class, although our service was called the Silver Leaf service. The crew waited on us in our seats, and made it their mission to please us. We then flew to Vancouver and made a one-day visit to Whistler, a very beautiful ski resort city, following a day on the train beginning our excursion. We traveled through to Kamloop, another Valley city surrounded by mountains with a stay overnight. We boarded the train in the morning and continued our trip to Jasper, a winter Olympic site. There we hopped on a Gondola ride up the mountains with stunning views of the regions, peaks and valleys. From Jasper we picked up a tour bus which took us to Lake Louise Fairmont Hotel and resort. Here was a breathtaking view with mountains above an Emerald green lake and in the middle of the mountains, an ice shelf feeding a glacier, which we got to walk on! The hotel was plush, food was excellent and the accommodations appropriate to the Fairmont’s first class reputation. We visited the city of Banff, another ski town. Being Fall, the slight coolness in the air was refreshing, as we took in the mountains surrounding the town. Along the way, the bus stopped at scenic Emerald colored lakes, waterfalls and other points of interest for photos, food and rest stops. We ended our trip in Calgary and flew back to Chicago the following day. All in all, a spectacular 9 day trip we’d highly recommend.”

Retiree Phil Troyer sends his hellos from troyer_canadaBanff/Jasper (Canada) in mid October! Did a solo trip there for 2 weeks. Will be spending November 8 to end of March 2016 in Orlando, Everglades City, and Sarasota again this winter.

In August, 2015, retiree Jeanne Pankanin rode 3,000 miles in 12 days on her Honda Interstate 1300cc  motorcycle, joined by 3 other ladies in her “biker gang.”  Near the top of Whitefish Mtn. in NY’s Adirondacks, Jeanne’s kickstand got stuck in the hot asphalt!

HCAA Survey 2015: How Do Your Former Colleagues Volunteer?

John Muchmore:  I do a weekly shift as a greeter at Elgin’s Gail Borden Library. It is a wonderful experience. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many interesting Elgin residents and to be a part of several interesting programs. I also occasionally share a conversation with fellow Harper retirees.  Barb Njus and Rex Burwell pass by the desk now and then, and I sometimes see former students.  It is an incredibly busy library, and my shift passes quickly. It is great fun.

Elizabeth (Betty) Hull: Board Member at large of the League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area (officially includes villages of Palatine, Inverness, Schaumburg, and Hoffman Estates, and the city of Rolling Meadows, as well as unofficially welcoming members from parts of Barrington, Long Grove, Arlington Heights and other contiguous areas).   This is a non-partisan group working for good government.  We do voter registration and sponsor informational monthly programs on topics such as clean water; quality education at all levels; environmental concerns and protection; nutrition and farm practices; influence of  money in government; local, state, and federal redistricting practices; etc.  We respond to our members’ and communities’ concerns.   On a Saturday morning in February 2016 we’ll be leading a discussion of Jimmy Carter’s book (A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence and Power).  More details on this event available soon.  Most of our programs are free and open to the public. Also, member, Raising Awareness committee sponsored by WINGS, Northwest CASA, and The Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence, with additional support and exhibits from Alexian Brothers Hospitals, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the National Council of Jewish Women.   During Violence Prevention Month, this non-profit group annually organizes an all-day symposium for Court, Law Enforcement, and EMS Personnel; Faith-Based Groups; Social Service Providers; Educators; Elected Officials; Health Care Providers; and Domestic Violence Professionals. This year’s program is titled,  Not in My Neighborhood: “SART:  Building a Community Response to Sexual Assault.”  Scheduled Friday, October 23, at Harper College Wojcik Center.  Cost:  $40 including Continental Breakfast and Lunch with networking opportunities.  For further inquiries and the full program, and to register contact Grayce Gates, WINGS, P.O.Box 95615, Palatine, IL  60695 no later than October 19, 2015.

Peggy Babcock: I am a volunteer at the United Churches of Galena Food Pantry. My job is to greet our clients and verify/update their information on our computer. The clients and co-workers are a joy to work with. I also volunteer as a Religious Education assistant for my niece, Trinity’s, class. She is now in eighth grade so this will be my last year with her.

Diane Kinn: For the last four years I’ve been volunteering at JourneyCare Hospice in Barrington. They also have offices in Woodstock and Lombard. I work one day a week in the office using a computer to input volunteer progress notes on patients seen which is placed in the patient’s file. It’s heart wrenching reading the accounts of what hospice patients are going through day to day, especially the children. I’ve been give the opportunity to visit patients as a volunteer if I choose to do so, but I’ve decided not to at this time. Also at this time I’m knitting baby hats for newborns at Northwest Community Hospital. I do this in my limited spare time and enjoy giving back to my nearest hospital.  In the past I’ve made numerous quilts for hospitalized children through the Linus Program and made quilts for cocaine babies (babies born of a cocaine mother).    As you can see I’m a sewer, quilter and a knitter and use these skills for humanitarian needs. Volunteering is very rewarding to me and to the group I volunteer for.

Jeanne Pankanin: As many HCAA members know, I’m the person who plans our events and writes our monthly newsletters.  At Willow Creek Church, I volunteer doing low-skill tasks with stage production as needed.  I’m also a frequent motorcycle ride leader with the church’s High Road Riders gang!  At Kane County Adult Justice Center/prison, I visit inmates and help with Bible studies every other month.  And once a month, I help keep Palatine safe by joining with other ham radio operators to verify our town’s sirens are working properly!

Marcia Litrenta: Since I retired in 2006, I have been matched with Alex Meadows, a child from the Big Brothers program.   I may have told some of you about Alex. He was 7 when we met and now he has a 16th birthday.  As he gets older, the challenges become greater.  We are like family.  He knows Louie and my kids.  He loves our dog. I hope he succeeds and becomes a working citizen and not another member of his family on public assistance.  (He comes from generations of public assistance.)  So, I am trying to change a lifestyle for one boy.  We will see what happens.  The older he gets, the temptations to the “dark side” are greater.

Michael Nejman:  I have served on the Cultural Commission for the Village of Schaumburg since 2003, and on the Board of Directors for the Prairie Center Arts Foundation for the past 2 years.  Each requires one to two meetings monthly (additional meetings for committee work).

Judy Dincher:  I am among the folks that winter in Florida.  When in Illinois, I volunteer as a Case Manager at PHD — Society for the Preservation of Human Dignity, a resource for pregnancy education and counseling, in Palatine, IL.  In Florida where I spend 6 months, I chair the Beautification Committee which raises funds and proposes projects to beautify our community, Olde Hickory Golf and Country Club.  I used to sing in the church choir in both locations, but I gave that up when Tom could not handle that activity and have not returned since he passed away last July.

Bruce Bohrer: I’ve been delivering meals for Meals on Wheels for a number of years. I am a substitute driver — I don’t have a “regular route” — I help fill in when they have a need.

Sarah Stark and David Clydesdale: We volunteer for the Airedale Terrier Rescue Association (ATRA) and serve as transporters that help newly rescued and adopted dogs get to their new forever homes. See for more information on the organization, what they do and how you can get involved too.

Meet the HCAA President, Bonnie Henry!Bonnie Henry

Bonnie Henry is the president of HCAA.  She served previously as president of HCAA and served as  President of the Executive Committee of the State Universities Annuitant Association. Bonnie believes that the greatest challenge to those in leadership roles at the local  and the state level is to convince members that they must stay vigilant about matters affecting their pensions and welfare as State retirees.

As president of HCAA, Bonnie wants to communicate effectively with Association members and to motivate them to be proactive in protecting retirement benefits. She is committed to sharing information that will be helpful in that effort.

Bonnie grew up in Michigan and moved to the Chicago area after college. She worked in four Chicago area community colleges while completing work on her doctorate. She joined the Harper community as Dean of Student Development, became Vice President of Student Affairs and worked at Harper for over twenty years. At the time of her retirement from Harper, Bonnie was Vice President of Human Resources and Internal Affairs at Harper College.

Bonnie spends part of the year with her husband in Elgin at Edgewater and the other part in Fort Myers, Florida. The Florida home allows Bonnie and her husband to spend more time with their son, his wife and three grandchildren  who live in Miami.  One of her grandchildren, Luc, has a rare disablility called Angelman Syndrome and she is committeed to doing what she can to provide assistance to him and his family as they deal with this tragedy.  “Having to deal first-hand with something I’ve viewed from afar has brought new realities to me.”

While in Illinois, she is able to spend time with her stepsons and their families and her long-time friends who live in the State.  Bonnie places a high priority on spending time with her family and friends.  “I feel so fortunate to have been able to live the live I’ve had.  And, therefore doing whatever I can to help make the lives of others better is still what is most important.”

Meet the HCAA Past-President, Pat Wenthold! Pat Wenthold

After two years, HCAA President-Elect, Pat Wenthold, finds retirement demanding as she juggles those projects, trips, and experiences she had put off, “for when I have the time.” Of course, she never imagined having to become an activist to keep our pensions and retiree health care benefits. HCAA and SUAA top the priority list nowadays as the best way to safeguard the future for retirees and still working colleagues. Most recently, Pat participated in legislative candidate interviews and joined efforts to defeat the Constitutional Amendment. She looks forward to her new leadership role with HCAA.

Pat began her Harper career in 1977 as an English tutor and adjunct instructor and pioneered the use of computers in teaching basic writing skills and the eventual development of the college wide Writing Center, becoming the coordinator in the late eighties. Prior to Harper, Pat taught at Conant High School and worked in Chicago experimental theatre and for the Lincoln Park Community Arts Foundation. As a founding member of the Professional and Technical Employees Union Chapter, Pat served her colleagues as grievance chair, chapter president, negotiator, and finally, as secretary of Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600.

A native Chicagoan, Pat had her urban sophisticate development rudely interrupted at 14 when her parents moved the family to a new home in Mokena, some forty miles southwest of the city. Initially culture-shocked by the rural environment and the “little” high school (1,000 students), Pat soon learned that there were benefits to having friends with horses and chickens, and the school bus/Driver’s Ed teacher as a neighbor. Nevertheless, after graduation, Pat headed back to her beloved city, finding a job as an advertising sales recorder at Practical Builder magazine. Eventually switching to part time work and graduating from the University of Illinois, Pat married Roger, toured Europe, attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii and Northwestern, moved to Barrington, and worked in theatre.

As her family grew, Pat switched her work focus to teaching and soon found herself at Harper, delighted to re-discover her favorite high school English teacher, Dr. John Muchmore and many talented faculty mentors. She knew that Harper would be a good place to work.

Pat and her husband, Roger, currently live in unincorporated Barrington on the remaining four acres of one of the original homesteads in the area– complete with barn, silo, and chicken coop (minus the chickens). She most enjoys, “walking the land, gardening, traveling, renovating the farm house, reading in bed, going to plays and concerts (especially with other annuitants) visiting her two daughters and sons-in-law and other family, and playing with her Jack Russell Terriers, Zoey and Roxy, and the cat, Max.

Meet the HCAA Secretary, Frances Brantley!Frances Brantley

Frances Brantley joined the Harper faculty in 1978 as the testing director. The next year she joined the Student Development Division where she served as a full time counselor until she retired in 2002. Frances continued to work as a part-time counselor until 2006.

When Frances joined Harper, the Counseling Department was decentralized, and she was assigned to the Life Sciences and Human Services Division where she worked closely with dental hygiene and nursing students. After a reorganization of the Division, Frances focused on academic and personal counseling. She served as a liaison counselor to several universities and colleges and visited many of those institutions in order to gather detailed information that would allow Harper students to make a smooth transfer to selected universities and colleges.

Frances was active on a number of Harper committees and helped establish the Honors Program at Harper. She served as Co-chair of the Academic Standards Committee during the time when Harper’s general education program was reorganized and also played an active role in revisions in Harper’s degree and graduation requirements. She remains very proud of having been a key figure in the planning and implementation of the Distinguished Scholars Program.

Frances spent her early years in Oklahoma City and then moved to Louisiana where she lived until she graduated from high school. Her undergraduate background focused on theatre, history, education and English while she was a student at Baylor University. After teaching at the elementary level, she received a masters degree in Student Development from the University of Iowa.

She remains an avid reader, theatre and movie fan, a gardener and “foodie”. She and husband Dan have three children and five grandchildren. The two of them travel frequently.

Meet the HCAA Treasurer, Julie Hennig! Julie Hennig

Julie joined Harper as a member of the adjunct faculty in 1979 and retired in 2005 from the position of Assistant Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Over her twenty-six year career at Harper, she served as a Program Coordinator, Dean of TMPD and Dean of AE/LS. Now, Julie serves as Treasurer of HCAA.

While at Harper, Julie worked on a variety of projects. She was President of the Pro-Techs and negotiated on their behalf. As her career evolved, she became a member of management negotiating teams. She was a part of the team that planned and managed the construction of Avante.

In retirement, Julie still manages to do some part-time work in workforce development. She enjoys traveling, theater, concerts and shopping. She is an active volunteer at her church and serves on three college/community advisory boards.

Meet the HCAA President Elect and Legislative Chair, Michael Nejman! Michael Nejman

Michael Nejman is the most recent addition to the HCAA Board. Michael retired from Harper after thirty-one years of service. At the time of retirement, he was Director of Student Activities. In that role, he oversaw the production of more than two hundred events annually. Those events have drawn as many as twenty-five thousand patrons to Harper each year.  Michael also taught journalism and diversity classes at Harper.

He knows Harper College well. He entered Harper as a student in 1977 and was very active on what is now called the Campus Activities Board.  Michael received a B.S. in Journalism in 1980 from NIU. He went on to receive an M.A. in Multicultural Affairs and Student Services in 1994 from DePaul University’s School for New Learning.

While working for my Masters degree, Michael authored the first and very well received book examining diversity issues at the community college level. He has pursued his interest in diversity issues by serving as a Diversity Program Developer and Workshop Facilitator.

In retirement, Mike hopes to utilize his diverse career and life experiences to develop and stage cultural events that will help build community and enhance people’s lives. He also looks forward to engaging in workshop facilitation and freelance writing.

Meet the HCAA Membership Committee Chair, Hazel Rilki!Hazel Rilki

Hazel Rilki is a current employee at Harper College and is an active member of HCAA. She serves as Campus Liaison for HCAA and as such provides a very important link between current annuitants and those who will become annuitants upon retirement. Hazel emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of issues related to retirement well before one takes that step.

She is a member of the Information Technology staff. As a member of the IT staff, Hazel has focused on matters relating primarily to student records. She has had responsibilities in the areas of registration, curriculum, grades, transcripts, degree audits, and state and federal reporting.

In addition to her IT work, Hazel has served on a number of committees and has volunteered for graduation and Welcome Week tables. Hazel is co-chair of HCAA’s membership committee and is in charge of insuring that the HCAA membership list reflects current mailing and email addresses of members.

Hazel, a native of Indiana, studied horticulture at Purdue University where she met her husband. After moving to Illinois with her husband, Hazel became a Harper student and took computer classes. Those classes eventually led to her joining the Computer Services department at Harper in 1984.

Hazel’s husband Ernie was a member of the Harper faculty teaching information technology classes and mathematics classes. He died in 2004. The Ernie and Hazel Rilki Scholarship for life long learners honors Ernie.

Meet the HCAA Social Committee Co-Chair, Diane Kinn! Diane Kinn

Diane Kinn is another HCAA Board member who has seen Harper from both the perspective of a student and a staff member. Born in New York, Diane came to Chicago when she was three years old. She lived in Chicago’s Italian neighborhood until she and her family were displaced by the construction of the Eisenhower Expressway and moved to the Northwest side of Chicago. Diane married when she was twenty-one and put college on hold until her youngest child entered school. At that time, Diane enrolled in Harper’s Early Childhood Education Program. She graduated from the program with an AS degree and enjoyed an eight year career at a nursery school. She subsequently took a job at Harper where she remained until her retirement. While at Harper, Diane continued to pursue her interest in learning by taking classes at NIU.

Prior to retirement, Diane spent sixteen years as a full-time member of the Harper staff. She began her work at Harper as an Administrative Secretary in the LRC. When she retired in 2001, she was an Administrative Assistant in the IT department. She has fond memories of early involvement with the development of the college’s computer systems.

Diane didn’t remain retired long. She soon returned to Harper in a part-time capacity and worked eight additional years as a Registration Assistant in Continuing Education.

At Harper, Diane proved to be particularly skillful at organizing dinners and planning social occasions and excursions. She was tagged with the nickname “Harper’s Perle Mesta,” in a reference to the noted Washington D.C. hostess. Diane continues to employ those talents in her current role as co-chair of HCAA’s social committee.

In addition to her involvement in HCAA, Diane is an avid quilter and machine embroiderer as well as an active member of her Widows/Widowers group. She enjoys family, life and learning. Diane loves being with others and always looks forward to meeting new people. She is quick to extend a helping hand to those in need. Currently, Diane volunteers at a local hospice center where she shares her secretarial skills.

Meet the HCAA Social Committee Co-Chair, Jeanne Pankanin! Jeanne Pankanin

Jeanne retired from Harper in 2006 after a career that included a variety of assignments. Jeanne began that Harper career as Assistant Director of Student Activities, became Director of Student Activities and then served as the Dean of Wellness and Campus Activities.

Jeanne is known to be a good organizer, an excellent listener and conscious of the need to empower others.

She grew up in Palatine and graduated from Palatine High School. She continued her education at Knox College where she was a math major and worked with the Student Activities program at Knox. With a Masters from NIU in Adult Education, the combination served her well at Harper.

Jeanne is an active retiree. She and Diane Kinn serve as co-chairs of the HCAA Social Committee and in that role, plan and coordinate a broad program of Social Activities for annuitants.

She travels the U.S. in her motor home, and is, among other things, an active member of the Willow Creek Church, a book club member, active skier, dog owner, motorcyclist and now harmonica enthusiast. Jeanne continues to organize the Harper Friends Ski Club’s annual trip.

Meet the HCAA Site Webmaster, Sarah Stark!

Sarah Stark retired from Harper in 2011. She is currently serving as the webmaster of the HCAA website.

Sarah completed her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University and received a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Telecommunications from Western Illinois University.

She came to Harper after a twenty-year career at the elementary school level. During her ten-years of service at Harper, she was the Director of the Center for Innovative Instruction. In her role as Director, she facilitated the providing of technology resources, services and professional development opportunities to faculty and instructional staff. She also provided distance communication development and instructional design services.

Prior to her retirement, Sarah was an active member of Harper’s institutional Instructional Technology Committee. She participated in the statewide Illinois Community Colleges On-Line and the Illinois On-Line Networks steering committees. Sarah was a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences.

Sarah balances her interest in technology with an appreciation of the out-of-doors. Sarah is a gardener, and she and her husband are avid campers. They are serving as campground hosts at McLain State Park in Michigan’s upper peninsula and are planning a trek across the southwestern United States prior to the winter snowfall.

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Bruce
Bohrer! Bruce Bohrer

Bruce Bohrer has been on the HCAA Board for several years and currently serves as a member at large. Bruce began his career at Harper in 1976 as a counselor.  He turned his focus to admissions a few years later and ultimately became Harper’s Director of Admissions.  In that position, he directed both the admissions operation and the Student Outreach program. Prior to his retirement, he was heavily involved in the College’s marketing activities.

Bruce is a Chicago native. He attended the University of Illinois-Champaign for both undergraduate and graduate studies. After completing his degree work, he remained in the central Illinois area and began his career at Parkland College.  His desire to return to the Chicago area led him to Harper College and a twenty-seven year tenure at Harper.

Bruce has maintained an active retirement that includes an eight-year stint at Wrigley Field as an usher.  He recently authored a book entitled  Best Seat in the House:  Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher. which has been selling quite well.  He has retired from his ushering career  and now works part-time in the world of video production.   In addition to the production work, Bruce is the business manager and a member of Encore!, an adult vocal ensemble that performs throughout the Chicago area to much applause.

Bruce is a the proud grandfather of two granddaughters–Lucy and Ruby.  He spends as much time as possible with them and loves every minute of it.

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Steve Catlin!

Bio coming soon…

Meet HCAA Board Member, George Evans!George Evans

Hello from your HCAA president. In this column we intend to tell you a bit about ourselves, the HCAA Board as well as highlight some of our members.

As many of you know, I am a long time employee and, now retiree of Harper. I started at Harper in 1974 and continued working in the Criminal Justice Program (now Law Enforcement and Justice Administration) until my retirement in 2002. While teaching, my emphasis was in the areas of corrections, juvenile delinquency/justice and criminology following my work in the Illinois Department of Corrections. I also served as Program Coordinator for many years.

I was active in the Faculty Senate, serving on numerous shared governance committees as well as serving on the executive committee. That service eventually led to my serving as president of the Faculty Senate for four years.

I grew up in Wyoming, graduated from Baylor University (go Bears) and SIU before starting my career in the justice system. I am sure that many of my life and educational experiences had a profound influence on my activities while at Harper and during my retirement. However, it is my association with many wonderful colleagues at Harper that has led to my interest in assisting Harper and HCAA to reach our goals.

In addition to my HCAA activities I am active in my local church and seem to spend more time than I sometimes like to admit working on church projects. I also enjoy reading, especially historical mystery novels. I find this ironic, as I never liked history much while I was in school; I missed the wonderful history teachers that bring the past alive while teaching at Harper.

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Sally Griffith!

Sally grew up in very Southern Illinois where she lived in a small town and spent weekends and summers working on the family farm.  She received a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and then spent a year living in Mexico and running a canoe outpost in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota.   From there she moved to Austin, Texas where she pursued a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Texas.  She was quite busy in Texas for the next twenty years – living in six different towns, raising a son and a daughter,   working in various kinds social work settings ranging from adoption/foster care to geriatric mentally ill, and returning to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a second Masters degree.  This second masters was an MBA.

She began working in a community college setting in 1988 when she taught as an adjunct at Clarendon College in the panhandle of Texas.  In 1990 she began working full time at Lee College, a community college in a suburb of Houston Texas.  There she was the Assistant Dean for Occupational Studies. Three of her greatest challenges at Lee College were (1) creating Leeway, an award winning program which is still operating to assist low income women in pursuing College Degrees, (2) managing the largest college program in a correctional institution in America, and (3) working with NASA to create training programs for personnel to run the space station.

In 1994, Sally moved to Illinois and began working at Harper College, first working with the foundation as a grants writer and then serving six years as the Executive Director of the Career Partnership.  The Career Partnership joined Harper College with its feeder high schools and middle schools to provide
career development to all students and to help students move easily from high school to Harper College.

In 2002, Sally became Dean of Technology, Math, and Physical Science.  Until her retirement in 2013 she served as Dean to many of the academic departments at Harper including math, sciences, career and technical programs, and health career programs.  She launched many of the newer career programs at Harper College including Maintenance, Graphic Arts, Human Services, Manufacturing, and Welding.  She worked on the design and transition into Buildings D, H, and Avante.

Sally lives in Hoffman Estates, but spends much of her time in Austin, Texas where her two children and three grandchildren live and in Marco Island, Florida where she has a condo.  She and her brother still own and run the family farm in Southern Illinois.  Her greatest passion is traveling and retirement has allowed her the needed time to pursue this passion.  Since her retirement, she has traveled to Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia, and PEI), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Loas), Turkey, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Alaska, Great Britain, and France.  Within the next few months she will be visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and India.

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Linda Kolbusz-Kosan! Linda Kolbusz-Kosan

Linda Kolbusz-Kosan is a newcomer to HCAA having just moved back to Illinois from Georgia. She brings a wealth of expertise from her years in education.

At the time of her retirement from Harper, Linda was Associate Vice President, Development and Governmental Relations.  Prior to that, she was Special Assistant to the President. In that position, Linda directed community outreach, governmental relations, was the chief spokesperson for the college, and was the President’s liaison to the Board of Trustees.  She also worked closely with student and faculty leaders.

After beginning her career as a classroom teacher, Linda became Coordinator for Multilingual/Multicultural Programs in Schaumburg School District #54.

She spent seven years as a central office administrator in Elgin’s School District U-46 for where she initially directed professional development for all levels of employees, focusing on English Learners and then became the Director of Assessment and Grants.

Subsequently, Linda served as Assistant Superintendent, Program Development in School District 300 Carpentersville/Dundee.

Linda received her undergraduate and masters degrees from Northern Illinois University, and she has completed the coursework required for a Doctorate in Public Policy Analysis.

In addition, Linda has held Fellowships in Education Policy, Bilingual Education and Special Education. She was an exchange student at the Instituto Cultural in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Linda is a busy retiree. In addition to working with HCAA, Linda continues to consult nationally with non-profits, businesses and educational institutions focusing on strategic planning, leadership, resource development, program evaluation, English Learners and Early Childhood Education.

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Judy Longmore!

Bio coming soon…

Meet HCAA Board Member at Large, Sharon Martin!

Born and raised in north central Ohio, Sharon received her B.S.Ed. from Bowling Green State University.  Her first teaching position followed her student teaching at Longfellow Junior High School. She moved to Illinois in 1967 when she accepted a position in the English Department at Conant High School.  Over the next eight years, she taught various courses at all four levels and completed her coursework for her M.S.Ed. from Northern Illinois University.

In the spring of 1975, Sharon left Conant to start her family.   After the birth of one son and a few years later a second son, Sharon became a stay-at-home mom until the early eighties when she took a position as a home-bound tutor for District 211.  Working a few hours a week on a mutually-convenient day was an ideal job at this time in her life.

In 1985, Sharon’s sons were old enough for her to work more hours.  A friend told her about an open position in the Harper Adult Educational Development Department and encouraged her to apply.  She was hired originally as a part-time classroom aide and later as an adjunct English instructor.  When the Department needed someone to organize and order classroom materials, Sharon moved to a Pro-tech permanent part-time position as AED Materials Specialist.

In 1992, the AED Department was reorganized, and Sharon’s position was made full-time when assessment and placement responsibilities were added.  As a Pro-Tech Union member, Sharon served for several years as Treasurer and Chairperson of the Scholarship Committee as well as on the college wellness and assembly committees. On May 31, 2012, Sharon retired from her Assessment/Resource Specialist position.

As a retiree, Sharon enjoys being involved in HCAA and the CCCTU retiree chapter where she is an alternate delegate.  She especially enjoys the social activities of the two groups.  She feels a great interest in knowing what is going on in Springfield regarding our pensions. Being so informed helps her keep others informed.

Sharon lives in Mount Prospect with her husband, Dick.  She feel greatly blessed to have her two sons and their families live close-by, one in Chicago and one in Joliet.  Spending time with her three granddaughters and one grandson is her best retirement benefit.