Month: August 2019

Bridgette Kelch Named East Central College Foundation Executive Director

August 27, 2019 | Campus News

At its August 26 meeting, the East Central College Board of Trustees approved Bridgette Kelch as the new Executive Director of the East Central College Foundation. Previously, Kelch served as Executive Director of Downtown Washington, Inc. and the Historic Washington Foundation.

“Community outreach is something I truly enjoy,” she said. “I’m looking forward to expanding outside of my comfort zone in Washington to the entire East Central College service region.”

During her time as Executive Director of Downtown Washington Inc., Kelch improved the quality of small business occupancy, deceasing vacancy rates from 25 to 4 percent since 1989. Since 2008, she helped increase Downtown Washington Inc. revenue by more than 35 percent and increased the Historic Washington Foundations revenues by 85 percent. As a grant administrator, Kelch managed more than $1.75 million in Community Development Blocks for the communities of Washington, Union, St. Clair and New Haven. She has been an active member in the Washington Jaycees, Washington Lions Club and Missouri Main Street Connection Board, which she helped found.

“Bridgette is bringing more than 20 years of non-profit experience to the East Central College Foundation,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, president. “She has a proven track record, and we are looking forward to her leadership on campus.”

The Executive Director is responsible for leading and strengthening a comprehensive fundraising program in support of East Central College Foundation’s mission and goals. Specific emphasis is focused on annual giving, major giving, planned giving, grants and fundraising events.

“I was a scholarship recipient at East Central College years ago,” Kelch explained. “I know the impact a scholarship can have on a student. Growing the scholarship program through more community partnerships and grant funding will be one of my priorities.”

Kelch also hopes to create a stronger alumni network.

“I believe there are so many alumni in our area who can positively impact East Central College through the Foundation,” she said. “There is so much untapped potential out there.”

The Executive Director is an ex-officio member of the East Central College Foundation Board of Directors and is also a member of the President’s Cabinet of East Central College.

The East Central College Foundation was established to support the growth and development of East Central College in whatever ways might be beneficial to its students, our staff and our facility. It solicits and receives tax deductible gifts which are managed for the benefit of the college and its students. It is chartered as a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization for educational purposes.

East Central College Alumni Invited to “Class Reunions” at 50th Anniversary Celebration

August 26, 2019 | Campus News

On September 15, East Central College will celebrate its 50th Anniversary from 12 – 4 p.m. at its Union campus, 1964 Prairie Dell Road.

“This will be a day full of fun and reminiscing,” said Jay Scherder, director of public relations. “The event is free, and we’ll have lots of activities for families – including food trucks, a petting zoo, inflatables and more.”

A big part of the day will include “Class Reunions” for alumni. Space will be set aside in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center for former East Central College athletes, Phi Theta Kappa members, Student Government Association members and other student club members.

“This will also be a time for former faculty and staff to meet with one another,” Scherder added. “We also encourage any choir, band or theatre performers to join in on the fun!”

Class Reunion Schedule: Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government Association, athletes, coaches and other student clubs – 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Performing arts alumni, faculty and staff – 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

A ceremony honoring the people who have impacted the college over the years will be held at 2 p.m. in the theater. A time capsule will also be sealed at the ceremony. Activities will be held in all campus buildings throughout the day. Shuttles will be available for patrons. In the event of rain, activities will be moved indoors.

Military Spouse Finds Perfect Fit at East Central College

August 21, 2019 | Campus News

As a military spouse, Jessica Torres has moved from place to place, time and time again.

“I have had to start over eight times in the last 15 years,” she explained.

When she moved to the Ft. Leonard Wood area in 2017, she discovered East Central College in Rolla. She reached out to the nursing program immediately.

“From that moment, I knew my goal to become a registered nurse was no longer just a thought,” she said. “ECC was the first program I had found in 15 years that worked with my schedule, accepted the classes I had already taken and allowed for clinical rotations on the weekends.”

She enrolled in the LPN to RN Bridge Program in Rolla. The program is designed to provide students who already have an LPN license the educational flexibility to complete registered nursing classes in a way that meets their needs.

“The evening and every-other-weekend format allows LPN’s to still work while taking courses,” said Nancy Mitchell, dean of health sciences. “The program also uses distance-learning technology to enhance access and flexibility.”

“Each and every person in ECC’s nursing program helped me along the way,” she said. “From the program assistants to the advisors to the instructors, they all pointed me in the right direction. They were always available and supportive.“

In December 2018, she received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. “The amount of pride that came along with finally fulfilling my dream was amazing,” she said.

Shortly after graduation, the news came – it was time for Torres to move once again. This time to Texas.

“It was sad news,” she admitted. “I had made so many great connections because of East Central College. I will forever be grateful for my education. The nursing faculty and staff are one in a million, and I will always be a proud graduate of the program.”

Torres is continuing her education at the University of Texas – El Paso to achieve her bachelors in nursing.

ECC Invites Community to 50th Anniversary Celebration in September

August 12, 2019 | Campus News

Food trucks, live music and games – all can be found at the East Central College 50th Anniversary Celebration on September 15 from 12 – 4 p.m.!

East Central College cordially invites the community to its Union campus for a day full of fun and reminiscing. The free event will feature a live petting zoo, a 1960s to 1970s vehicle display and inflatables for the kids.

A ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the theater honoring the people who were instrumental in forming the college 50 years ago. A time capsule will be also be a part of the ceremony!

“This is a wonderful opportunity for former alumni, faculty, staff and board members to reconnect with each other,” said Jay Scherder, Director of Public Relations. “We’ll have ‘mini class reunions’ throughout the day for all of our athletes, club members, faculty and staff. We also welcome members of the community to join in the celebration.”

Activities will take place in all campus buildings, including the East Central College Training Center and Business and Industry Center. Shuttles will be available during the event. Academic departments will host several interactive displays and presentations at the celebration.

On April 2, 1968, voters approved the establishment of the Junior College District of East Central Missouri. On September 15, 1969, nearly 17 months later, the first classes were held in temporary facilities at Memorial Auditorium in downtown Union.

East Central College is located at 1964 Prairie Dell Road in Union. Learn more about East Central College’s 50th Anniversary.

Welcome Back Week Activities for Students

August 11, 2019 | Campus News

The first day of Fall Semester classes is August 19, and we are thrilled to have students back on campus! Campus Life and Leadership is welcoming students to campus with a week full of activities.


  • 7:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Hungry? Grab some free breakfast outside The Learning Center – located in Buescher Hall on the first floor
  • 2 – 4 p.m. – Show your creative side! Join us for Falcon Chalkfest in the Buescher Hall Plaza as we decorate sidewalks and color away any stress the new semester may be giving you!


  • 7:30 – 10:30 a.m. – If you missed breakfast on Monday, we’re giving you another chance to get some free food. Grab some free breakfast outside The Learning Center.
  • 1 – 2 p.m. – Have questions about life on campus? Want to get involved? Stop by the Student Government Association Q&A Session in the Donald Shook Student Center Cafe Central Atrium
  • FREE MOVIE NIGHT! We’re heading to the Great Eight Cinema in Union. The first 100 ECC students to show their ID get free admission.


  • 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Take part in the Franklin Falcon Scavenger Hunt! Clues will be hidden all over campus. Find them and win a prize.
  • 12 – 2 p.m. – Cool off with some ice cream and popsicles in the Donald Shook student Center Cafe Central Atrium.
  • 3 – 6 p.m. – Need a snack break? We’ll be outside The Learning Center with some free treats.


  • 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. – More free breakfast! This time, we’re adding a little fun trivia in the mix. Join us outside The Learning Center Atrium. Get some food. Win some prizes.
  • 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Even MORE free food. The Student Government Association will have free pizza in the Donald Shook Center Cafe Central Atrium.


  • 12 – 2 p.m. – Come play some yard games and celebrate the completion of your first week in the Buescher Hall Plaza.


Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant Now Available for Area Adults

August 10, 2019 | Campus News

Earning a college certificate or degree can be a life-changing experience for any adult student. However, there can be many obstacles that often stand in the way – including financial barriers.

Thanks to the new Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant through the Missouri Department of Higher Education, a new financial aid funding stream is now available to adults beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year.

“More than a third of all East Central College students are adult learners,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, President.  “They make up an important part of our culture. This grant will give more adult students the opportunity to pursue a degree and advance their careers.”

The program addresses workforce needs by helping adults pursue a certificate, degree or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. Sixteen programs at East Central College are eligible. Adults who are 25 or older or individuals who have not been enrolled in any school within the last two years can participate.

The application and program list for the grant will be available through the State Student Financial Aid Portal beginning Aug. 5, 2019. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered. The Fast Track program is designed to ensure, when combined with other governmental financial aid, that tuition and fee costs are fully covered. For individuals for which other aid covers the full tuition and fee costs, students are eligible for an award of up to $500 to cover other education-related expenses.

Adults interested in applying for the Fast Track Workforce Initiative Grant can contact Barb Kuelker, East Central College Fast Track liaison, at or 636-584-6571.

East Central College Receives Grant to Support Disabled Veterans

August 10, 2019 | Campus News

East Central College is excited to be a recipient of a $47,000 grant from Cornell University as part of the Combat2Careers program! Supported by the Kessler Foundation, the goal of the program is to honor student veterans by helping them gain employment and increase their financial independence.

Lorrie Baird, ECC’s Veterans Services and Financial Aid Advisor, will serve as the Combat2Careers Coordinator. “I have a son in the military, and I know it can be a challenge for veterans who are returning to their civilian lives. This program provides career and academic counseling services and helps veterans sharpen their resumes and improve their interviewing skills.”

The two-year program is designed to help any disabled veteran find a job that matches his or her occupational preference. Additionally, Combat2Careers develops employment methods specifically tailored to the needs of female disabled veterans, allowing them to overcome academic and employment challenges.

“This project gives our student veterans the chance to strengthen their identity, pride, growth and a sense of well-being,” said Baird. “At the same time, it allows East Central College to discover more innovative ways of serving our student veterans with disabilities.”

Veterans in the Combat2Careers program will have access to all of ECC’s programs and services, including the Veterans Lounge, which opened in 2017.

For more information about the program, contact Lorrie Baird or 636.584.6570.

ECC Awarded National Endowment for the Arts Grant

August 9, 2019 | Campus News Performing Arts

East Central College is proud to announce it has received an Arts Engagement in American Communities (AEAC) grant for second year in a row!

The $10,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help support the annual concert series for the 2019-2020 school year.

“We are proud to host world-renowned acts like the Arianna String Quartet and St. Louis Symphony every year,” said Dr. Jennifer Judd, Concert Series Coordinator and East Central College Professor of Music. “It couldn’t happen without the support of the community, the college and amazing organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts.”

The AEAC grant supports arts projects in all artistic disciplines, extending the National Endowment for the Arts’ reach to communities across the United States. These grants engage the public in diverse and excellent art in underrepresented geographic areas.

“All Americans should have access to the arts,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Grants such as this one to East Central College are an important part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ work to ensure people in communities both large and small across the nation have the opportunity to experience the arts.”

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities.

Information about upcoming concerts can be found at

High School Equivalency Test Now Free for Area Students

August 8, 2019 | Campus News

For years, the Adult Education and Literacy program at East Central College has provided free classes to improve a students’ skills in math, reading, writing, social studies and science. The goal of the program is to prepare students to pass the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), formerly the GED.

For the first time, students in the program will no longer have to pay for the actual test. It’s all thanks to recent legislation passed in Missouri.

“The cost of the test is around 100 dollars,” said Alice Whalen, East Central College Adult Education and Literacy Director. “For some people, it is a real barrier. Now that the test is free, we hope more adults pursue their goals of finishing their high school education.”

The Adult Education and Literacy program hosts High School Equivalency classes in several locations. They include Cuba, Hermann, Montgomery City, Owensville, Pacific, Rolla, St. Clair, Sullivan, Union and Washington. Day and evening classes are available.

Students interested in obtaining their HiSET must attend an orientation, which are held in Union, Rolla and Hermann. To see a list of orientation dates, please visit or call 844-322-4235.

Students who have earned their HiSET through the AEL program at East Central College are eligible to receive a tuition waiver for a three hour college credit class at East Central College!

East Central College Strategic Plan Unveiling – August 14

August 7, 2019 | Campus News

East Central College invites area community members to campus on Wednesday, August 14 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. as it unveils its new strategic plan, SOAR to 2024. The event will be held in Buescher Hall, room 238. East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer will be on hand to discuss its new mission statement, vision statement and strategies for the next five years.

“I am grateful for the countless hours of work that have gone into the development of the plan,” said. Dr. Bauer. “As the plan approaches final form, and we turn attention to implementation, I am excited and incredibly optimistic about what’s in store for East Central over the next five years.”

In 2018, East Central College partnered with CampusWorks to help design a strategic plan. Since that time, the company has worked closely with East Central College administration, faculty, staff and the strategic planning committee to ensure that all stakeholders had a voice in the process. In January 2019, ECC hosted a region-wide Future Summit. All of the college’s constituents were invited and encouraged to participate. More than 200 people, from healthcare, manufacturing, education and more, engaged in discussions about East Central College’s future challenges and how to address them.

“Community input has been invaluable throughout this process,” said Dr. Bauer. “It has allowed us to create a plan that truly reflects who we want to be as an institution and how we are going to get there.”

East Central College is located at 1964 Prairie Dell Road in Union. RSVP’s for the event are not required. Learn more about SOAR to 2024!