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RANGELY I For the last few years, Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) has been holding an annual joint “fall retreat” for its four boards—the Rangely Junior College District Board of Trustees, which oversees allocation of the Rangely District funds, chaired by Teri Striegel Wilczek; the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control, which oversees allocation of the Moffat County college mill levy revenue and associated funds, chaired by Mike Anson; the CNCC Advisory Council, an entity required by state law, chaired by David Fleming of Craig; and the CNCC Foundation Board of Directors, the college’s fundraising arm, chaired by Ann Brady, former Rangely mayor and current town trustee. This year’s confab began with an informal dinner hosted Friday evening by newly appointed CNCC President Ron Granger and his wife, Alisa, at their Rangely campus residence.
Saturday morning began with a talk by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (portrayed by Susan Marie Frontczak from Colorado Humanities). Mrs. Roosevelt enthralled the group, talking primarily about the leadership role she took in developing the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She chaired the U.N. Human Rights Commission and was the driving force in creating this 1948 charter of civil liberties which became her legacy.
Since before she and Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived at the White House in 1933 as First Lady and President, she was deeply involved in human rights and social justice. President Harry Truman appointed her delegate to the U.N. in 1946. When she presented the Universal Declaration to the U.N. General Assembly, after months of work, Mrs. Roosevelt said, “We stand together today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the U.N. and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.”
Until her death in 1962, Roosevelt worked to gain acceptance and implementation of the rights set forth in the Declaration. She urged the CNCC group to find the Declaration online (now) and study it carefully. One of her often quoted statements is “Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
Other presentations given by CNCC leadership staff included a review of the school’s economic picture, the revised organizational structure initiated by the new president, reports from each of the vice presidents including reviews of recruitment, retention and concurrent enrollment strategies, special updates on the Craig campus nursing program and the Rangely campus aviation maintenance and technology programs.
Granger told participants that his new college cabinet structure included the smaller group of three vice-presidents: for administration, Roger Ficken; for Craig campus/enrollment, Janell Oberlander; and for instruction, Holly Boomer; and himself.
Granger further explained that he had also formed a 13-member leadership team which he hoped would communicate freely with all college employees, students and their communities. These 13 are, from the Rangely campus: director of human resources Kim Bense; chief information officer Jeff Devere; dean of instruction Jeff Grubbs; faculty member Ray Gregg, aviation maintenance; staff at large Lisa Krueger, administrative assistant to VP of instruction; facilities and finance Calista Mackay, administrative assistant to VP of administration; and Scott Rust, controller. From the Craig campus: dean of instruction Donna Theimer; director of marketing Brian MacKenzie; faculty member at large Liz Johnson; director of student support Jennifer Holloway; staff at large Denise Mosher, administrative assistant to Craig VP; and director of institutional research (to be hired).
Adam Cermak, executive director of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Foundation, from Denver, presented his well-received “Ingredients for Success in Fundraising” to help CNCC further focus, prioritize and cultivate a culture of independent fundraising. The CCCS Foundation runs on an endowment of approximately $700,000.
Last year, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the country’s 32nd president, spoke at the retreat. From his wheelchair, FDR talked about the first 100 days of his initial term, establishing through 15 pieces of Congressional legislation and numerous executive orders his “New Deal” programs. He said he was most proud of the Civilian Conservation Corps that employed so many Americans and built needed infrastructure across the country.
Of his wife, Eleanor, FDR said she was the most interesting person he ever knew, and that she was the conscience of his Administration. FDR said he considered himself a “better conductor than a composer,” meaning that he was better at positioning people who could do and did great things more than doing those things himself. He specifically cited Frances Perkins who was the Secretary of Labor for his entire presidency. She was almost solely responsible, he said, for initiating and getting legislation passed that established the social security system. FDR told the group that there was a lot of negative pushback on having a woman as the head of the Labor Department.
Republicans, by and large, cried foul on the social security idea, calling it socialism and communism! Interestingly, FDR mentioned that the original social security legislation had a section that would have established universal healthcare for the American public, but that the concept had to be dropped because the American Medical Association (doctors) “just exploded” in opposition to such a plan.
FDR also mentioned Harry Hopkins and Louis Howe as key members of his administration— aides that got things done. He described Howe as being very short and one of the five ugliest men in New York, but always told FDR the way he saw things regardless of how FDR would feel about it. Roosevelt was very happy to be rather easily re-elected in 1936.
Roosevelt offered that Endicott Peabody, the headmaster of his Groton Preparatory School in Massachusetts, had great influence on his philosophies. FDR died in office in 1945, so he did not know that his eldest son, Elliott Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt’s favorite, lived in Rio Blanco County for a decade due to he and his fourth wife, Minnewa Bell, loving her father’s ranch, the Bar Bell, upriver from Meeker. Nor did FDR know that Elliott had been a member of the school board who was, in fact, the keynote speaker at the official dedication of the new Rio Blanco County High School in 1955.
FDR was portrayed by Richard Marold of the Colorado Humanities Chautauqua Program. Begun in 1874 and remaining popular into the early 1930s, the original form of Chautauqua brought culture in the form of concerts, orations, classes, and uplifting entertainment to isolated communities across the United States. Carried forward into modern times, Chautauqua now features humanities scholars who take to the stage and breathe life into the words of historical and literary figures.
Richard Marold of the Colorado Humanities Chautauqua Program portrayed former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the four-board combined retreat at CNCC in 2015.
Becky Dubbert, executive assistant to the president, CNCC, Rangely, contributed to this report.