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33 locals earn degrees from Great Basin College

ELKO — Four hundred and fifteen students received degrees during Great Basin College graduation ceremonies at the Elko Convention Center last Saturday morning, including a record-high 33 Pahrump graduates.

GBC President Mark Curtis presided over the ceremonies, in which 58 bachelor degrees plus one post-baccalaureate certification were awarded along with 273 associate’s degrees and 188 certificates.

Twenty-seven graduates picked up degrees from Battle Mountain, 17 from Ely, 39 from Winnemucca, and 298 from Elko and surrounding areas, including a number from out of state.

About 250 students walked in the ceremony.

This year’s Outstanding Alumni Award went to Don Zumwalt, who earned his associate in applied science degree from GBC in 1997 and his bachelor of applied science in management technology from GBC in 2003; later in 2009, he earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Kaplan University. Zumwalt became Elko’s police chief in 2005. Although he has retired now, he attributes much of his success to the education he received at Great Basin College. He teaches a variety of law enforcement courses at Great Basin College.

The recipient of the Community Service Award was Jeanne Bleecker, educated as a mining engineer with years of work in that field, for the past 10 years. Bleecker has been co-director at the Smoky Valley Library District and the Round Mountain Library. Her dedication to her community and GBC has been remarkable. Ms. Bleecker takes care of recruiting students to GBC, taking care of everything for GBC classes delivered at the library via interactive video, without expectation of something in return.

“Without generous people like Jeanne Bleecker, many of Nevada’s rural citizens would miss out on important local post-secondary educational opportunities,” Curtis said.

Professor Emeritus John Pryor is this year’s commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary bachelor’s degree from Great Basin College. He planted the seeds for one of the most successful small college foundations in the nation with assets of $6 million and a fundraising total which now nears $40 million.

The following Pahrump students are part of the 2014 GBC graduating class:

James A. Abelar, Associate of Science

Patti Jo Biggs, Associate of Science

Samara Rose Bonsor, Associate of Arts

Misty Sue Carlo, Bachelor of Applied Science, Management in Technology

Mariana Ivonne Ceja Ceballos, Associate of Arts

Ian Blaze Lee Clark, Associate of Science

Amanda Curtis, Certificate of Achievement, Substance Abuse Counselor Training

Katie Erickson, Certificate of Achievement, Substance Abuse Counselor Training

Adam Erwin, Associate of Science

Krystle Erwin, Associate of Science

Nicole A. Falcone, Associate of Applied Science, Criminal Justice, Corrections

David Moreno Garcia, Certificate of Achievement, Diesel Technology

Miranda Gilligan, Associate of Science

Donna L. Gorman, Certificate of Achievement, Computer Technologies, Office Technology

Raequel Lee Guerra, Associate of Science

Samantha Harris, Associate of Arts

Shannon Kanani Kaiwi, Associate of Arts and Certificate of Achievement, Early Childhood Education

Tze Ching Jenny Leung, Associate of Arts

Sheri Lynn Longley, Associate of Arts

Fred Lopez, Certificate of Achievement, Substance Abuse Counselor Training

Lee Ann Luna, Associate of Applied Science and Certificate of Achievement, Human Services

Brandy E. Mendoza, Associate of Arts

Toni Marie Miles, Certificate of Achievement, Medical Coding

Mariah Mirabal, Associate of Arts

Brandi Monje, Associate of Science

Ele E. Nelson, Associate of Arts

Alexandrea Newson, Associate of Arts

Jason Ormiston, Associate of Arts

Victoria Ann Pryor, Associate of Science

Jennifer Katherine Pulju, Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education

Lisa Ann Thelaner, Bachelor of Applied Science, Management in Technology

Michael Cole Trumble, Associate of Arts and Associate of Science

Liqun Zheng, Associate of Applied Science, Business Administration, Accounting.

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