Month: October 2023


ECC Theatre’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Auditions are Nov. 13-14

October 27, 2023 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

Auditions for the East Central College Theatre’s Department’s performance of the beloved Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast” are just around the corner.

On Monday, Nov. 13, and Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center, the Theatre Department will be seeking the perfect fit for the roles of Belle, Beast, and their unforgettable friends.

This magical story will be brought to life on stage in this reimagined production running Feb. 22-25, 2024.

Tickets go on sale Monday, November 20 at

“We are excited to bring the magic of ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ back to ECC,” said Grace Austin, ECC Theatre Director. “We produced the regional premiere of this show over 15 years ago and sold out every performance.”

There will be 35-45 actors aged 15 and older who will be cast, as well as a small group of youth actors ages 9-14.

Audition selections are available at Anyone trying out is instructed to prepare one of the audition selections. A pianist will be available during auditions.

Everyone auditioning should bring a list of any scheduling conflicts up to February 2024.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our student and local talent to be a part of a truly enchanting show that has captivated audiences for generations. We encourage everyone with a passion for theater to come out and audition,” Austin added.

“Beauty and the Beast” is a tale as old as time that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. This timeless story of love and transformation features memorable characters, dazzling musical numbers, and a captivating storyline that continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.

To find additional information about auditions, including character breakdowns and rehearsal schedules, visit Stay updated on audition-related news and announcements by following ECC Theatre (@ecctheatre) on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.


ECC Recognizes Employees for Years of Service

October 27, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Each year, East Central College recognizes the commitment and hard work of its employees for their dedication to students’ needs and educational goals, and to the community ECC serves.

The Annual Service Awards Recognition banquet is an opportunity to honor those who have been with ECC for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. There were 28 employees recognized during the banquet held in October.

“These achievements symbolize a collective commitment of 335 years to both our college and the students,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, the president of East Central College. “The Board of Trustees and I extend our heartfelt gratitude to the devoted faculty and staff of this institution.”

Service Award Winners:

25 Years  — Lisa Epple, Bonnie Gardner and John Hardecke

20 Years — Sean Barton and Dr. Robyn Walter

15 Years — Aaron Bounds, Anne Estes, Leigh Kolb, Tracy Mowery and Brad Wallach

Pictured, seated from left, are Lisa Epple, Bonnie Gardner and John Hardecke, each recognized for 25 years of service. Back row, from left, are ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer, Anne Estes, 15 years; Dr. Robyn Walter, 20 years; and Tracy Mowery and Leigh Kolb, recognized for 15 years of service.

10 Years — Julie Beck, Coreen Derifield, Tim Derifield, Michelle Deuser, Shanee Haynes, Doug Houston, Dr. Richard Hudanick, Michael Palazzola, Dana Riegel, Max Schaefer and Terri Warmack

Pictured are ECC employees recently recognized for 10 years of service. Front row, from left, are Coreen Derifield, Julie Beck, Terri Warmack, Chef Mike Palazzola and Michelle Deuser. Back row, from left, are Timothy Derifield, Doug Houston, Shanee Haynes and Dr. Robert Hudanick.

5 Years — Lauren Bauer, Julie Chirban, Duane Clonts, Adam Fitts, John Luechtefeld, Dr. Michelle Smith and Adisa Velic

Pictured, from left, are ECC employees who were recognized for 5 years of service at the College, Lauren Bauer, Julie Chirban, Adam Fitts, Dr. Michelle Smith and John Luechtefeld.


Mother-Daughter Duo at ECC Pursue Shared Passion for Anatomy, Medical Careers

October 27, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College students, Donna and Emily Neulinger, share a passion for anatomy and both aspire to work in the medical field. Their mutual love for medical sciences has led them to enroll in the Allied Health programs at ECC’s Rolla location.

Donna, 43, is a graduate from Newburg High School and she has been living in the Rolla area for most her life. She has always love learning, and particularly enjoyed helping Emily with her college coursework when the 22-year-old attended Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., where she earned an Associates of Arts degree.

Donna, inspired by her daughter’s pursuit of a college degree, made a life-changing decision and enrolled as a full-time student at ECC in Rolla.

“I thought to myself, what is holding me back? I enjoyed helping Emily so much with her classes, I wanted that for myself,” Donna said.

“In high school, I wasn’t a good student,” she added. “I lacked focus and motivation, but life gave me wisdom and experience and that motivates me to discover and pursue my real passion.”

That passion, Donna said, is anatomy.

“Anatomy is my baby,” she added. “I’m absolutely fascinated with it and how the human body works.”

Donna’s initial goal was to become a nurse, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed her perspective due to the critical need for nurses.

She had initially planned to enroll in the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program at ECC in Rolla. However, she made a shift toward the Registered Nurse (RN) program while taking the required Intro to Anatomy & Physiology class. This allowed her to explore a more extensive range of human anatomy and science courses.

Tracy Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology, played a critical role in Donna’s academic journey.

“Donna has an admirable zest for learning and as a student always went above and beyond to learn about the human body,” she commented. “As an educator, it is refreshing to the spirit when you have a student who desires knowledge for its sake alone. ”

Mowery also encouraged Donna to apply for ECC’s Student Success Specialist position, where she now tutors other students in anatomy, biology, and chemistry. Donna enjoys helping her fellow students and hopes her passion for science is contagious.

Daughter and Returning Student

Emily, 22, also has a love of anatomy and plans to apply to either ECC’s Radiologic or Surgical Technology programs. Right now she is enrolled in Introduction to Human Anatomy & Physiology, a prerequisite to the College’s  Allied Health programs.

Emily’s interest in anatomy developed into an extensive animal bone collection that she has learned to clean, preserve and display.

“It started with just a walk in the woods when I found some pieces of bones,” she said.

The collection has grown to the point that Emily is preparing to assemble a complete feline skeleton.

“Seeing my mom succeed has given me motivation to find my own successes through ECC,” Emily said.

That’s why she returned to college after her AA degree and is pursuing training in the medical field.

“Living at home, working a job part-time, and going to school part-time allows me to have a social atmosphere that enables success,” Emily said, adding that attending ECC with her mother has its perks.

“I love seeing her after classes to say, ‘Hi.’ “

Emily’s love for learning extends to her eagerness to travel across the country with her mom to visit museums.

During their fall break in October, they explored the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. They’ve also visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., and the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Bethesda, Md.

Their Dream Jobs

When asked about her dream job, Donna said she’d be a school nurse.

“I would be able to have an impact on a child, not only physically but also psychologically.” Donna said, remembering the vital role of a school nurse from her childhood. “For me, it gave me the time to take a breath and reset before going back to class. In this job, I feel I can really make a difference in a child’s life and guide them in the right direction.”

When asked what her dream job would be, Emily, without hesitation, answered, “To be an owner of a cat café – but I know that is only a dream.”

For more information on the LPN, RN, Radiologic Technology or Surgical Technology programs, visit or contact Nancy Mitchell, dean of health science, at or 636-584-6619.


ECC Receives $2.1 Million Federal Grant to Support Student Success

October 25, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College has been awarded a $2.1 million grant to boost its graduation and retention rates among rural and low-income students.

The highly competitive federal Title III grant was awarded through the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, with a focus on rural, low-income students, said Dr. Robyn Walter, Vice President of Academic Affairs at ECC.

“The primary objective of this project is to elevate the graduation rates of all of our students, with a particular focus on rural, low-income students,” she said. “The grant builds on our track record of effective retention strategies, and it will enhance advising and academic support to foster student completion.”

The grant funds are restricted to programs and initiatives that directly help students succeed.

Walter noted that low-income students, especially those eligible for Pell grants, often face unique challenges and hardships. More than one-third of ECC’s students qualify for Pell grants.

Over the next five years, ECC will implement grant initiatives designed to enhance and strengthen the institution’s academic quality, support services, fiscal stability, and capacity to serve its student population. ECC stands out as one of only two colleges in Missouri to receive the Title III grant, and it’s the sole community college to do so.

“This is excellent news for the institution and for our students,” said ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer. “The grant is highly competitive, and I appreciate Dr. Walter’s hard work and everyone who contributed. It will have long-lasting benefits.”


Through this grant, the college will focus on its Guided Pathway model, a holistic approach to student success, and strengthen its Success Coach program to support and engage with students. Additionally, there will be increased emphasis on supplemental instruction in courses, utilizing students who have previously excelled in class to assist those who may need assistance.

ECC will establish the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), an evidence-based structured path to success that helps low-income students earn an associate degree swiftly through financial, academic, and personal support.

Furthermore, the college will increase the provision of equipment, such as laptops and hotspots, to students who lack the resources or technology for sufficient internet access.

ECC will also become a member of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) network, a comprehensive organization that provides a network of institutions focused on student success at community colleges. This network offers peer support and expertise on a national scale. Becoming a member of the ATD network is a distinction of quality for a community college, Walter added.

Among various methods to support students, the college will expand professional development opportunities for faculty and introduce more HyFlex courses, enhancing online course design.

The HyFlex model provides students with three learning options during one class: in-person, remote live video streaming at the regular class time, or online viewing of recorded video when convenient, often referred to as “asynchronously.”

The HyFlex modality allows for flexibility to help meet students where they are in their educational and personal life journey,” Walter said.

To learn more about East Central College, its programs and pathways, visit


Trustees Approve Partnership to Provide Virtual Health Care to Students

October 24, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College will partner with a virtual health company to offer students free access to medical care and mental health support.

At its October meeting, the ECC Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to enter into a contract with The Virtual Care Group, Los Angeles, Calif., to provide medical and mental telehealth to all students.

ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer stated that the primary objective of offering telehealth care is to ensure students receive rapid responses for both physical and mental health concerns, with a focus on directing them to appropriate long-term care providers when needed. For instance, a student may use the psychiatric component for a short-term issue, and then the telehealth professional can refer the student to long-term care.

“We are very pleased that we can offer this to our students,” Bauer said. “This will help make it possible for students to stay enrolled, persist toward their goals, and have a resource for care that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

He explained the challenges faced by many community college students when accessing healthcare services, placing particular emphasis on the need for mental health support. He added that telehealth technology will empower students to access care at their convenience and according to their own schedules.

“Throughout the country, students face mounting challenges that impact their mental health, including finances, balancing work and school, caring for children, on top of studying and attending class,” Bauer said. “We have recognized that these added stressors have greatly increased the need for mental and health care among our students.”

The telehealth services are an extension of the role of ECC counselors who are already available to ECC students. Vice President of Student Services Sarah Leassner said the services could begin as early as this semester or, at the latest, in the Spring 2024. The College will closely monitor the initiative to ensure it benefits students.

“This is going to be an excellent resource for our students,” Leassner commented. “I can’t wait to see how this can help our students.”

She added that The Virtual Care Group platform provides additional services, like life coaching and writing wills, that also will be beneficial to students.

The telehealth services are available to all part-time and full-time students. Dual credit students are not eligible.

The package will be funded through student fees already collected by the college. The cost of the service is $2.98 per student, per month, with an estimated annual cost of $84,020. Included in the agreement is a 50-visit block of psychiatric sessions, which will address mental issues.

The College anticipated offering virtual health services to students and increased student fees in February to fund it. Top of Form

Once the infrastructure for the service is in place, the College will provide students with details and instructions on how to use the platform.


Rolla Nursing Students Sell Breast Cancer Awareness Shirts

October 17, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

The East Central College Rolla Student Nurse Organization is hosting a fundraiser for Breast Cancer awareness.

Throughout October, the nursing students are selling Breast Cancer awareness T-shirts. All proceeds from the T-shirt sales will be donated to the Phelps Health Foundation. These funds will go toward covering medical expenses associated with breast cancer awareness, including screenings and other medical needs for those who cannot afford these services.

To buy a shirt or make a donation to support Rolla Nursing students in their efforts to raise funds for this worthy cause, please visit this link.

This community project has the potential to assist many individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford breast cancer screenings. Please consider buying a T-shirt or making a donation to this exceptional cause.