BE A HERO! Community College Challenge Winners

Winning colleges receive recognition, students receive leadership internships and community service hours

The much-anticipated results of the Secretary of State's BE A HERO! Community College Campaign were announced at an awards ceremony at Secretary of State Jesse White's Springfield office on May 28, 2014. All participating colleges did an outstanding job showcasing their individual campus activities to attract new donors. Many campuses created unique campaigns, registered staff and students and created unique ways—thinking outside the box—to promote donation throughout their campuses. From press conferences to a donor brick dedication on a walkway, from student testimonials to students dressing up as super heroes, students pulled out all the stops. Congratulations to all colleges that participated!

The three winning colleges selected regionally (one from northern Illinois, one from central Illinois and one from southern Illinois) were:

Elgin Community College First Place Winners

First Place

Elgin Community College in Elgin
(donor program regional coordinator Margaret Pearson, advisor).

Lincoln Land Community College Second Place Winners

Second Place

Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield
(donor program assistant manager Sitha Hun, advisor).

Olney Community College Third Place Winners

Third Place

Olney Community College in Olney
(donor program regional coordinator Brian Bush, advisor).


All three colleges worked very hard with teams of students collaborating together to create unique campaigns. The winning colleges were judged on the creative aspect of their campaigns, the effectiveness of their efforts and the number of individuals they registered during the course of the campaign which ran from mid-February through April 30.

Each college selected one student to receive one of the three internships offered to the winning schools. For Elgin Community College, nursing student Candice Hopman, 38, from Streamwood, and president of the college's Associated Nursing Students (ANS), has received a paid summer internship with Lifesource Blood Center in Rosemont. Married with two young sons, Candice is excited to continue her nursing career and to have the opportunity to work with Lifesource this summer. The Designated Administrator (faculty advisor) for the Elgin students was Beverly Felder, RN, BSN, and Health Professions Retention Specialist.

For Lincoln Land Community College, student Tyler Mathews, 19, from Petersburg, has received a paid summer internship with Springfield's Memorial Medical Center's Transplant Team. He is majoring in international business and political science. He will be assisting with donor events and promotions through Memorial Medical Center and Springfield's Life Goes On Committee. The Designated Administrator for the Lincoln Land students was Joanie Rogers, Alumni Services and Foundation Coordinator.

For Olney Community College, nursing student Ashlee Goss, 20, from Oblong, has received an unpaid internship with Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network's Springfield office. The Designated Administrator for the Olney students was Sharen Wolke, director of the Student Nurses Association.

Team members who logged many hours helping create their school's campaigns also received valuable community service hours as determined by their individual schools.

Illinois Community College Board Executive Director Karen Anderson's support was phenomenal in encouraging participation for the schools. She drafted a letter to all Illinois community college presidents supporting the program and encouraging all schools to consider participating. She was instrumental in the success of the campaign and anticipates the participation of all 49 community colleges in 2015.

"This campaign was one of the most exciting endeavors of the donor program in many years," said Secretary of State Jesse White. "I was so impressed to travel to so many colleges, to participate in numerous press conferences, and to see firsthand the creative campaigns designed by the students. Every school that participated is to be commended for its efforts," White added.