Special to Wallace State News. Reprinted with permission from The Cullman Times.

By James Haynes
The Cullman Times

As the only post-secondary school in Cullman County for the past 35 years, Wallace State Community College has attracted a large portion of Cullman area residents to continue their education on its campus in Hanceville.

WSCC is now accepting nominations for distinguished alumni among the many former Wallace students for the 2014 alumni awards. The deadline to submit a nomination is July 15.

The nominees and award winners will be recognized at the 10th annual Outstanding Alumni Recognition Ceremony on Aug. 12 at the college.

“We’re looking for people who have demonstrated philanthropy in the community,” Wallace State Alumni coordinator LaDonna Allen said. “We’ve had a lot of really outstanding people come through Wallace State.”

Five nominees will be formally recognized, including one nominee from each of the Academic, Health, and Technical divisions; the Promising Alumni winner, and an overall Outstanding alumni winner.

Kathy Wilson, the 2013 Outstanding Alumni winner, will present the awards this year.

“Last year, we had a lot … more nominations than we usually do,” Allen said. WSCC received 16 nominations for the three divisions.

Leah Patterson-Lust won the Outstanding Alumni award in 2011 during her time as the Cullman County Probate Judge.

“I just felt so honored,” she said. “I was rather surprised when I received word that I was nominated.”

“I credit WSCC with my academic success,” she said. “It is so important to have a good foundation before transferring to a major university.”

Patterson-Lust graduated from Wallace State in 1992, and then transferred to the University of Alabama, where she earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work. Patterson-Lust said she is now the director of Neurological Connections, a nonprofit with the mission of helping individuals who have multiple sclerosis (MS). She added that she has also worked in the clinic of Cullman neurologist Dr. Chris Laganke.

“All of us here in Cullman are so fortunate to have Wallace State,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend Wallace State, and it’s my hope that Wallace continues to do good work in our community.”

Nominees for the Outstanding Alumni Award should meet the following criteria for consideration:

  • Former Wallace State student with an associate degree, certificate or diploma or with a minimum of 30 semester hours of college credit;
  • Demonstrated achievement within their field of work or expertise;
  • Significant community-based service as a board member or key volunteer at community non-profit agencies, hospitals, schools, etc.; and
  • Preferred – Demonstrated commitment to Wallace State Community College. This commitment may include philanthropic contributions, volunteer service, service as an employee, or other methods of commitment to the college.

Nominees for the Promising Alumni Award must meet the following criteria for consideration:

  • Wallace State student (must have 30 semester hours or more of college level coursework) or recent graduate (within the last 5 years);
  • Demonstrated development within their major or program; and
  • Preferred – Demonstrated commitment to Wallace State Community College. This commitment may include philanthropic contributions, volunteer service, leadership as a student, or other methods of commitment to the college.

Nominations must be received or postmarked by July 15 for consideration. The preferred method of submission is via the Alumni Association website at wsccalumni.org/2014outstanding. Applications sent by mail should be returned to the Outstanding Alumni Award Committee; c/o LaDonna Allen, Alumni Coordinator, Wallace State Community College; P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077-2000.

For more information, call LaDonna Allen at 256-352-8071, or send an email to ladonna.allen@wallacestate.edu.