Month: May 2018

East Central Area Literacy Council Awarded National Grant

May 30, 2018 | Campus News

For the last 30 years, the East Central College Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Program has provided free adult education classes to the community. It has been possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers.  In 2017 alone, more than 30 volunteers provided 3,000 hours of tutoring.

“Literacy is a problem that very much exists in the East Central College service area,” said AEL Director Alice Whalen. “Franklin County has nearly 13,500 adults who do not have a high school education. Gasconade is close to 2,500, Phelps hovers around 5,600 and Warren has nearly 5,200 people without a high school diploma or High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate.”

To help their cause, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded the organization a $13,000 grant to support adult literacy and training volunteers to work in adult education classrooms.  The grant is being facilitated through the East Central Area Literacy Council and is a part of more than $8.3 million in grants awarded to more than 1,000 schools, nonprofits and organizations across the 44 states that Dollar General serves.

“We are honored to fund literacy and education initiatives,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO.  “We believe these programs can have a positive impact on the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to partner with organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.”

Currently, AEL classes are held in Rolla, Sullivan, Union and Washington during the day. Night classes are held Cuba, Hermann, Owensville, Pacific, Rolla, St. Clair, St. James, Sullivan, Union and Washington.  Additional English Language classes are held in Rolla, Wright City and Union.

“Volunteer recruitment and tutor training are key to providing support to students seeking to improve their academic skills,” noted Whalen. “Students who have already faced many challenges can receive the encouragement they need to complete their education with the support of the volunteers.”

AEL is currently recruiting volunteers for the 2018-2019 academic year. There are several upcoming information sessions for interested parties to attend:

  • Rolla: Tuesday, July 17, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. or Thursday, July 19, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Union: Tuesday, July 24, 9 a.m. -12 p.m. or Thursday, August 9, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

To register for a volunteer session or get more information about the AEL program, call 636-584-6915 or email

VIDEO – 2018 Spring Commencement Highlights

May 22, 2018 | Campus News

The 2018 Spring Commencement was an emotional, exciting and inspirational day at East Central College. We are proud of all of our graduates and want to thank everyone who made the day so special! Please watch the video below to see the highlights of the ceremony!

President’s List – Spring 2018

May 17, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

Each semester, East Central College recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievement.

Upon completion of at least 12 fall semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.85 or greater, students are acknowledged on the President’s List. More than 110 students made the list for the Spring 2018 semester!

Vice President’s List – Spring 2018

May 17, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

Each semester, East Central College recognizes students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement.

Upon completion of at least 12 semester credit hours with a semester grade point between 3.50 and 3.84, students are acknowledged by placement on the Vice President’s List. For the Spring 2018 semester, there were more than 160 students on the list!

Center for Workforce Development Talent Fair – June 7

May 15, 2018 | Campus News

The Center for Workforce Development (CWD) at East Central College is hosting an event to recruit talented community members to assist the department with providing workforce training programs.

A talent fair will be held Thursday, June 7, 10 a.m.-7 p.m at the Business and Industry Center, 42 Prairie Dell Plaza Drive in Union, located southeast of the main ECC Campus.

CWD is looking to hire part-time trainers to use their skills and abilities to teach short-term training programs for the region’s local business and industry. The department provides workforce training to local businesses in various time periods of days, weeks or months.

“There is a wealth of talent in our area that hasn’t been fully tapped”, says Joel Doepker, Vice President of External Relations, “In addition to current workers, there are retirees from our local manufacturers, banks, health care and other industries that have the skills, knowledge and experience to train the current workforce.”

A range of skills are needed in a variety of areas such as safety training, industrial maintenance, customer service training, Welding, Microsoft Office and other possibilities. A degree or certificate isn’t required as experience is highly desired. The CWD staff will help design the training plans and provide teaching guidelines.

For more information contact Cindy Brinker at 636-649-5803 or

Unnerstall Named 2018 Outstanding Alumni

May 14, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

Nearly 30 years ago, Ron Unnerstall helped found Washington Engineering and Architecture. Today, the company’s influence can be seen around Franklin County and beyond. Its portfolio is vast – from the Washington Public Safety Building to the new Heat and Control facility in Union.

Unnerstall has used his engineering knowledge over the years to help serve the community. His firm has donated services to help local organizations with projects big and small. Outside of work, he volunteers his personal time to help those around him. He’s an inspiration to those who know him, and it’s why he’s been chosen as the East Central College 2018 Outstanding Alumni! The award is presented annually to honor an ECC graduate who has used his or her education and been of service to the community.

“It’s a great honor to win this award,” Unnerstall explained. “I know there are thousands of other East Central College alumni who are deserving of this award as well.”

After graduating from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School in 1975, Unnerstall enrolled in East Central College’s pre-engineering program. “It was really just getting off the ground at the time,” explained Unnerstall, “but my instructors were dedicated, passionate people who helped me get to where I am today.”

In 1977, he transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1979. “At the time, we were still using punch cards to write code,” he said. “I still remember getting my first programmable calculator – which was an engineering marvel at the time!”

After college, he returned home. He began his career in engineering at a major construction company in St. Louis. The position would eventually move him to Ohio, where he spent several years.

“My wife and I got a little homesick,” he remembers. So, he returned to Missouri, working at different engineering jobs in the area. However, travel was becoming burdensome. It was at that time when Unnerstall decided to venture out on his own. In 1989, Washington Engineering and Architecture opened for business.

Since that time, the company has experienced success. They’ve used it to help others along the way. Unnerstall’s firm has offered free design services to organizations like St. Francis Borgia and the Washington Town and Country Fair. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as he was named the St. Francis Borgia High School Knight of the Year in 2013 and was named Grand Marshal of the Washington Town and Country Fair in 2012.

Unnerstall not only volunteers professional services but his personal time. He’s served on various committees at St. Francis Borgia as well as the school board. He has also volunteered on the Washington Town and Country Fair Board, eventually becoming chairman of the event in 1998. Additionally, he served as president of the East Central College Alumni Association and as a board member for the East Central College Foundation. He also served on the Franklin County Building Commission as chairman and is involved in the Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge and Lions Club.

Unnerstall and his wife Donna are parents to four girls and have six grandchildren. He currently enjoys spending time with his family and playing drums in the Washington Brass Band.

The East Central College Alumni Association established the award in 2002 to recognize outstanding alumni who have set an example for ECC graduates by using their college education and serving their community.  Past recipients include: Tanya Voss, John Griesheimer, Tom Robertson, Chris Manhart, Deborah Koelling, Tammy Watz, Dr. Frank Miller, Ken Schmidt, Chris Stuckenschneider, Ann Schroeder, Ted Coburn, Linda Mahon, Joe Purschke, Amy Wildhaber, Tony Kreutz. Dave Arand and Audrey Freitag.

Outstanding Student Award Winner – Jonathon Stone

May 14, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

It’s rare to find Jonathon Stone without a smile on his face. His enthusiasm and positive attitude are contagious. It’s no surprise that he excels as an East Central College Student Ambassador – giving tours and sharing his knowledge with potential students.

“His ability to connect with prospective students and parents has been an invaluable resource to East Central College,” explained Sara Marler, East Central College Admissions Representative. “Jonathon is highly praised by those he works with and is always humble about the praise he receives. He has been an excellent representative of East Central College.”

His hard work and dedication to the college are part of the reason why he was chosen as the 2018 Outstanding Student Award winner at the 47th Annual Spring Commencement.

“Jonathon brings joy to my days,” said Shelli Allen, Vice President of Student Affairs. “The youth, energy and positivity that he brings into the workplace infects all of us.  He shows up on time each day, ready to take on whatever new or different tasks await.”

The Outstanding Student Award is the highest award given to an East Central College graduate. It is awarded to one student who embodies academic excellence and contributes to the life of the campus community. The honoree is selected by a vote of the faculty and staff who thoughtfully consider academic achievements as well as extracurricular involvement.

To be considered for the honor, an ECC student must have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Participation in campus and community activities are also considered.

In addition to his role as a Student Ambassador, the Villa Ridge native was also a member of the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa. Outside of East Central College, Jonathon is passionate about helping others. He volunteers with Franklin County Young Life, a Christian outreach program for adolescents, where he listens to the stories of young people and learns about their joys, triumphs, heartaches and setbacks.

Jonathon graduated with Highest Honors, and will continue his education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he plans to study business marketing and participate in the U.S. Air Force ROTC program.

Financial Aid Director Named Missouri Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

May 9, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

For the last three decades, Karen Griffin has been helping students figure out how to pay for college.

“I think it’s very important that the financial aid process go smoothly for students,” she said. “If they have difficulty the first time, it can lead to a barrier in pursuing higher education.”

The East Central College Director of Student Financial Aid not only helps students coming through the doors of the college but students in the community. Over the last few years, Griffin has helped coordinate and facilitate the FAFSA Frenzy event at Sullivan High School. The event, partly sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, is part of a national effort to promote FAFSA completion. It connects financial aid professionals with students in their communities.

Because of her dedication and passion, Griffin was chosen as the FAFSA Frenzy Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for 2018!

“Karen went above and beyond to help make the Sullivan event a success, even helping answer questions for students who were unable to attend,” said Jessica Duren, Missouri Department of Higher Education Communication Specialist. “She was an eager volunteer who recruited other financial aid experts and helped families navigate through complex and unique financial situations.”

She was chosen from more than 400 FAFSA Frenzy volunteers! Congrats!

ECC Foundation Announces Sandy Upchurch Memorial Nursing Scholarship

May 9, 2018 | Campus News

The East Central College Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Sandy Upchurch Memorial Nursing Scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Pacific native and East Central College alumna was known as a caring, passionate person. She spent more than 30 years as a registered nurse in labor and delivery at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield – often caring for children in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Sandy was stricken with cancer and passed away on October 12th, 2016.

Through the scholarship, the family hopes it will encourage and instill the spirit to deliver compassionate care.

Students can apply for the scholarship on the ECC Foundation website. Two awards will be given annually to deserving students.

While the first award has been endowed by the family, donations can be made for the second award. All donations are tax-deductible. Please email for more information or call 636-584-6506.

Student Named National Finalist for Scholar-Athlete Award

May 7, 2018 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

The National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) has announced the finalists for the 27th Annual NATYCAA Scholar-Athlete Awards sponsored by Relation Insurance Services.

East Central College is proud to announce Magnus Andersen made the list!

“Magnus is an outstanding soccer player and an outstanding student,” said East Central College Athletic Director Jay Mehrhoff. “He was one of only seven male scholar-athletes chosen as a finalist across the entire country.”

To be eligible, nominees must meet the following criteria: minimum 3.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale with a minimum of 36 semester hours or 45 quarter hours with a minimum of 24 semester/36 quarter hours at the nominating institution; participation in a minimum of one complete season of varsity competition at the nominating institution; outstanding athletics success; and outstanding qualities of leadership and citizenship.

The male and female Scholar-Athlete Award winners will be formally recognized at NATYCAA’s Annual Convention, which will take place June 27-29 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The NATYCAA is the professional organization of two-year college athletics administrators and membership is open to all two-year institutions throughout the country. It is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.