Alum, AEL Director Presented with Missouri Community College Awards

Alum, AEL Director Presented with Missouri Community College Awards

December 2, 2022 | , ,

East Central College Trustee and alumni Dr. Eric Park and Adult Education Program Director Alice Whalen were selected among their peers to receive 2022 Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) awards.

Park was presented with the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award for his service to ECC, his community and growing his professional career with roots planted at ECC where he graduated with an associate degree in May 1982.

Whalen was selected as the 2022 Administrative Professional Leadership Award recipient for her work in expanding adult education services throughout the ECC service region and for her dedication to adult education at the state level.

In addition, ECC student Carly Hamlyn spoke during the closing event of the convention. Carly is an Early College Academy student attending Washington High School and ECC. She also is president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at ECC.

The MCCA Annual Convention was held in St. Louis Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. In addition to Park and Whalen, three others from ECC were nominated for awards.

  • Leigh Kolb, associate professor of English and Journalism — Excellence in Teaching Award nominee.
  •  Amy DeMiere, Division of Arts and Sciences program assistant — Classified Staff Achievement Award nominee.
  •  Jill Harrison, nursing adjunct — Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nominee.

The MCCA is a statewide organization representing the 12 Missouri community colleges and their faculty, staff, students and administrators.

MCCA provides services to its member institutions in four main areas – advocacy, education, information and networking

Dr. Eric Park

East Central College Trustee and alumni Dr. Eric Park, right, received the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Missouri Community College Association annual convention. He is pictured ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

For more than 35 years, Dr. Park has been a successful investment adviser. He is a co-founder of LPL Financial investment firm in Washington. He has received several national awards for his dedication to quality investment management.

Dr. Park was elected to the ECC board of trustees in 2016 and reelected in 2022. Dr. Park attended ECC after serving in the U.S. Army. He earned an associate degree in 1982 followed by a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He also has served as an adjunct instructor at ECC and has long been active with the ECC Foundation board.

ECC president Dr. Jon Bauer, said Dr. Park epitomizes the best of community college alumni.

“Eric used his academic foundation at East Central to earn advanced degrees in his field, become a leading professional in the investment world, yet has always made it a priority to give back to his community, his college, and those around him,” Bauer said.

Alice Whalen

East Central College Adult Education Program Director Alice Whalen, center, received the 2022 Missouri Community College Association Administrative Professional Leadership Award. She is pictured with ECC Vice President of Eternal Relations Joel Doepker, left, and ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

Whalen has been the AEL director at ECC since September 2014. Since then, she has expanded the program from offering programming in six communities to 13 communities throughout the ECC service region.

The AEL program offers day and evening HiSET classes and English Language Acquisition courses at an average of 150-200 hundred students per year.

In 2015, under her leadership and direction, Alice worked with the South Central Missouri Literacy Council in Phelps Country to add four counties, Crawford, Gasconade, Franklin, and Montgomery, to create the East Central Literacy Council. The council also has its own county committees, which include an advisory council and fundraises for the ECC AEL program to cover additional AEL student expenses.

Overall, Alice knows the importance of community involvement and understands how multiple barriers effect a student’s ability to start and complete their education. Alice’s positive energy at the college and throughout the ECC service region is contagious as she strives to make sure anyone who wants to enhance their lives through education can do so.

To read more about Dr. Park, Whalen and all of the nominees for MCCA Awards, visit