Distinguished Alumni Award

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In recognition of our best and brightest.

Many outstanding people have come through SCC's doors, from inspiring professionals to industry leaders to leading academics. With the Distinguished Alumni Award, the SCC Foundation recognizes these stars among our alumni. Those chosen for this award have done exceptional work and shown exemplary dedication to their communities.

The SCC Foundation is always accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award.

James Wieczorek, 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

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James' life was forever altered in 1991. He was a truck driver, and when he stopped at a rest area, he was assaulted and shot.

The next 12 months were spent in and out of hospitals. James survived, but due to the spinal cord injury he was paralyzed. This father-of-four courageously chose to view this life-changing event as an opportunity to consider a new future, one that could now include college.

James came to SCC with a positive attitude, eager to prepare for a new career and never used his disability as an excuse. He earned a degree in 1996. During his time at SCC, his interest in politics and advocating for others developed into a dream to practice law.

He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and earned his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law, where he was named Student of the Year.

He works for the Law Firm of Michael T. George and has argued cases at all levels, including the Missouri Supreme Court, Missouri Court of Appeals and Illinois Appellate Court.

He makes time to give back, volunteering to assist students in doctorate programs at universities in the area.

James lives in St. Charles County and enjoys spending time with his four children and six grandchildren.

"After suffering my spinal cord injury, I didn't want to sit home and do nothing. I decided that SCC would be a perfect choice to begin my educational journey. The community college provided a social environment and great learning opportunity that set the foundation for reaching my goals."

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Rob Dixon, 2015 Recipient

15-0516-SCC-Commencement-028-768x350As president and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association, Rob Dixon is a powerful advocate for community colleges.

"When we look at issues facing our country and our economy, nothing is more important than investing in education and making sure our colleges and communities are ready to meet the needs of the 21st century economy," Dixon said. "If we don't we will be left behind."

Dixon was 23 when he completed his service to the U.S. Marine Corps and started taking classes at SCC using benefits from the GI bill.

"Returning to school after five years of being in the military was a little intimidating," Dixon said.

When he took his first class, Introduction to Business, with Joe Hartnett, SCC professor of business, it sparked his interest in political science.

"Mr. Hartnett's class was engaging and it gave me the confidence to pursue my professional interests," Dixon said.

He graduated from SCC with an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in political science. He then received a transfer scholarship to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in international and comparative politics. Dixon later took three classes during a semester of study at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and he completed an internship at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, also in Washington, D.C.

Dixon and his wife moved to the Springfield, Mo., area where he took a job with the Hollister Chamber. While there he spearheaded a ballot initiative to expand the taxing district and bring a satellite campus of Ozarks Technical Community College to the people in his community. The campus is called OTC Table Rock.

These kind of experiences caused Dixon to become more interested in seeing large projects through from beginning to end. To aid this outlook, Dixon enrolled in a master's degree in public administration from Missouri State University.

Just prior to his work with the Missouri Community College Association, Dixon worked for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, where he moved up the ranks into a vice president role and worked with the board of directors to improve workforce development in Southwest Missouri, which also included community college initiatives.

Dixon's wife Melanie is also an SCC alumna, and they have a six-year-old son. Both of his parents are U.S. Marine veterans and community college graduates, including his mother, Lea Dixon, SCC Child Development lead teacher.

"Throughout our community, state and nation, strong community colleges are preparing students for life and the workforce," Dixon said. "Their academic programs and workforce training programs will provide a tenfold return on our investment."

Contact Information

Peggy Schnardthorst,
Development and Foundation Relations Manager
636-922-8278
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4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
Cottleville, MO 63376

info_desk@stchas.edu
636-922-8000

© 2016 St. Charles Community College.