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Four honored at GCC Foundation banquet


October 18, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Honorees of the 24th Annual Recognition Banquet of Gogebic Community College Foundation on Thursday, from left, Friend to the College honoree representatives of Aspirus Ironwood Inc., Christopher Pogliano, M.D., chief medical officer; John Garske, Aspirus Ironwood board member, and Paula Chermside, chief administrative officer; GCC President George McNulty; Charlene Newhouse, GCC Foundation president; David Lindquist, 2019 Distinguished Alumnus; and Friend to the College honorees Stanley Servia and Jim Saari.


Ironwood — Honorees at the 24th Annual Recognition Banquet of Gogebic Community College Foundation on Thursday expressed as much praise for the school as the school had for them.

For David Lindquist, the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus, returning to GCC is always special, but to receive the honor in the building named for his father who was once the GCC Registrar and Dean of Students, made for an emotional evening.

“It’s a very special honor for me, and extremely humbling,” Lindquist said. “Gogebic has been part of my life for 56 years. I literally grew up here.”

Calling himself an average student who graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1975, Lindquist said he chose GCC because since childhood he knew that administrators, faculty and support staff cared about the students and wanted to see them succeed.

“You can’t be passionate and excited about something unless you love it,” he said. “If you love it, you can see it.”

From GCC Lindquist went on to complete a degree in Northern Michigan University and eventually worked 26 years at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities, mostly as director of licensing and athletic properties. He was recognized as the top director in his field nationally in 2010.

Lindquist continues supporting GCC through an annual scholarship in memory of his parents, David and Audrey Lindquist. He also gave the 2018 GCC commencement address.

Lindquist and his spouse, Julie, live in Monticello, Minnesota and have two grown daughters, Melissa and Kristina. In the Twin Cities he is a substitute teacher, religious educator, youth worker, coach, sports official and announcer.

There were three Friend to the College honorees on Thursday. Two individuals and one organization.

One honoree, Aspirus Ironwood Hospital and Clinic, Inc., was acknowledged for serving the Gogebic Range community for over 60 years as an essential health care provider with a critical-access hospital designation. But Aspirus was also honored for its collaborative relationship with the GCC health programs as a clinical site for students.

Paula Chermside said there are currently more than 100 graduates of GCC working at Aspirus. This includes nursing and administrative workers who found purpose and a career track through this worksite partnership, she said.

“We have really enjoyed this long history of collaboration,” Chermside said.

Aspirus Ironwood board member John Garske, and Paula Chermside, chief administrative officer, accepted the honor on behalf of their colleagues.

The second Friend to the College honoree was Jim Saari, who worked closely with GCC as the first director of the Western U.P. Manpower Consortium, later to become Michigan Works. He said GCC was the partner that never said no to a good idea that involved training initiatives and other efforts that helped provide tuition assistance to eligible local students, created training opportunities in employer-demand occupations, improved enrollment and placement goals and expanded affordable training programs.

“Whenever we had an idea they went with it,” Saari said.

The county commissioners wanted to find ways for money to have the biggest possible impact, Saari said. GCC met that challenge by working to ensure that training was available to as many people as possible and that programming was creative and flexible, he said.

GCC became a model community college and that is still true today, he said.

The third Friend to the College honoree was Stanley Servia, of Bessemer, who served in the Korean War with the U.S. Army

Servia married his wife of 60 years, Loretta, during his service with the army. Loretta passed in 2011.

Servia returned to work at the Peterson Mine with his family. But his dream was to own a grocery story and he did so in 1969 with Stan’s Big Dollar store in Bessemer.

Servia was known as a good employer who taught his workers the soft skills for good customer service that helped make his store succeed along with his employees. He started one of the first employee profit sharing programs as well.

Servia is very active in veterans organizations and civic committees that organize community events such as the annual Bessemer Fourth of July and the Pumpkin Fest. He also started a scholarship fund at GCC and is a big supporter of athletics.

“Stanley is a proven leader and focused much of his time on improving not only the environment and economy of Bessemer, but throughout the Gogebic range,” said GCC President George McNulty. “Thanks for your many contributions.”

Servia said that he couldn't add any more to what others have said for him.

“Thank you very, very much,” Servia said.

Funds from the banquet event go to support foundation activities.

“My hope is that we recognize how important these special honors are to the community, and that each one of us take that support and encouragement to help build a strong Gogebic community that grows more vibrant after each year,” Newhouse said.


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