CCC Alumni Association announces 2020 Outstanding Awards



Since 1981, the Clinton Community College Alumni Association has been honoring those that have made “outstanding” contributions during the year.  In 2020, the Alumni Association is celebrating the 39th year of honoring outstanding contributions to Clinton Community College.  

The 2020 Outstanding Awards are presented to:

Outstanding Business Associate – Don Harms with Cooper Cap & Gown, Mason City, IA

Don Harms and his company have been furnishing Clinton Community College with their commencement regalia for nearly 30 years. The nomination said it well, “Don and his associates go above and beyond in the customer service department.  Don checks in with us throughout the year just to see how things are going and if there is anything that he can do for us.  His sincerity and love for Clinton Community College shows in all that he does for us.  Cooper Cap & Gown has been a part of our CCC family for many years.  Their commitment, service, and devotion to ensure that our Commencement Ceremony is a success has been outstanding.”


Outstanding Friend of the College – PurSuits

PurSuits provides appropriate interview clothing to job-ready women plus coaching to building the confidence and knowledge to empower themselves.  The nomination said it well, “PurSuits has been dressing Clinton Community College women as they prepare to interview for a new job.  Their volunteers assist to find clothing suitable for the interview process, assists with hair and makeup, and provides coaching to teach interview skills and other soft skills. The PurSuits volunteers make each woman feel confident as they prepare for this important event in their life.“

PurSuits representatives Idell Klein and Lori Freudenberg accepted the 2020 Outstanding Friend of the College award.


Eric SipesOutstanding Graduate – Eric Sipes, Class of 2020

Each year the CCC Alumni Association honors a graduate who has gone above and beyond in their pursuit of a degree.  Eric Sipes is that student.  A first generation college graduate, he is an honor student having been inducted in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society in March. Like many students, Eric is was a full-time student working part-time.  He is devoted to academics and volunteer work.  Eric is a UNITE Camp Leader, painting over 20 homes for individuals over the past 3 years.  He leads Fellowship for Christian Athletes at Morrison Jr. and Sr. High Schools, and was involved in Alpha Chi at CCC.  He leads weekly Bible Study groups and helps with the youth group at the Church of the Open Door. Eric shares his time and talents with a helping smile.

Nominations for this honor stated it well, ”Eric Sipes is an incredibly diligent student. He is a positive role model for his fellow students, and is a constant source of enthusiasm and encouragement.  Not only is he engaged in his learning, but he inspires others to be as well. In addition to his commitment to his education, Eric is an active volunteer.  He is a true CCC advocate.  When asked to help when his time allows, he is always there with a helping smile.  His smile is contagious and concern for his fellow students is genuine.  He appreciates all the doors that CCC faculty and staff have opened for him.”

Upon graduation from CCC, Eric has enrolled at St. Ambrose University.


Outstanding Alumnus – Renea Yarolim, Maquoketa High School Counseling Secretary

Renea Yarolim
Renea began working at Maquoketa High School in January of 2008 in the counseling office.  With the partnership of MHS and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges to establish the Maquoketa Center, CCC offers a more extensive array of college courses for MHS students. Renea has played an integral role in this accomplishment.

The nomination said it well, ”Here are just a few of the words that would describe Renea Yarolim: passionate, detail oriented, friendly, enthusiastic, motivated, advocate, considerate, dedicated, easy going, focused, hardworking, intuitive, persistent, remarkable, sincere, thoughtful, spectacular, vibrant, warm, wonderful, young at heart, and zestful. 

When Renea started in 2008, we had 15 PSEO students taking 29 classes compared to the 2020 term where we now have 96 students taking 172 classes.  For Concurrent classes, during 2009 we offered 15 classes where there were 295 registrations and in 2020 we offered 44 sections with 338 registrations. Along with these registrations, she assists in setting up Orientations for these students.  She works her magic to work the students’ schedules around Orientations.  This is quite a task.  Renea checks and rechecks the accuracy of our reports against the High School records to ensure that students’ information and registration is accurate.  Renea does all of this for us while also maintaining her many other duties at MHS. Renea is a key anchor for the MHS students and their successful pursuit of college courses with Clinton Community College.” 

Congratulations to Renea, a proud CCC Alum!


Outstanding Volunteer – Arboretum Mask Sewers and the Mask Taskforce of Clinton County, IA

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has forced our world population to wear masks in order to protect ourselves and others.  The demand for masks has made their availability scarce, so these two groups of avid sewers used their hobby to provide a service for our community.  Using donated supplies, the groups have made hundreds of masks for people all over Clinton County and beyond.

The nomination said it well, “The Arboretum Mask Sewers and Mask Taskforce is made up of sewers and assemblers throughout Clinton County, Iowa.  These dedicated mask makers have measured, cut, pinned, sewed, and ironed thousands of masks for people throughout our community.  In total, 550 masks have been donated to Clinton Community College from these mask makers.  Each is a piece of art that protects the wearer from the coronavirus spread.  Each mask was made with respect for the adult or child who will wear it.”

Thank you to these volunteer mask makers for their hours of service to keeping our community safe.


Outstanding Staff/ Faculty Member – Clinton Community College Staff & Faculty

Clinton Community College was preparing for Spring Break in March when the pandemic hit.  As plans were created, revised, eliminated and expanded, CCC employees keep a collective positive attitude and demonstrated much flexibility.  People moved their offices to home working remotely there, Zoom was quickly learned and mastered, faculty taught online, and the Spring semester continued barely missing a beat.  The CCC staff and faculty remained focused on our mission of serving students.  The results include excellent completion rates, 208 students applying for May graduation, and an increase of 12.1% in summer enrollment.

The CCC Administration Team nominated all CCC staff and faculty for the annual Outstanding Staff/Faculty award.  CCC President Brian Kelly stated, “It is amazing to be part of an organization that is resilient, creative, and dedicated to students in the most difficult of circumstances.  The whole team deserves this recognition.”

A traveling trophy will be shared among all employees. 

For more information about the CCC Alumni Association, contact Ann Eisenman at 563-244-7040 or