LCC Hosts Graduating Class, Honors Arends at Alumnus of the Year


Norm Arends, Being Congratulated by LCC President John Marrin

It took a tornado and some prolonged power outages to postpone the 73rd commencement exercises for Lamar Community College late last month.  LCC President John Marrin took note of the new arrangements for the 45 graduating students, thanking all those who altered their schedules to attend the May 14 graduation ceremonies held at the LCC Wellness Center. 


Keynote Speaker, John Stulp


Keynote speaker, former Colorado Agriculture Commissioner, John Stulp noted the importance of education using his family as an example.  He addressed the gathering, stating that his father never graduated from high school, but his family supported each other in attaining various levels of college degrees in the following generations.  “Planning and passion are two keys to achieving a successful career,” he told the audience.  Stulp used Steve Jobs as a premier example of what one person can do when they are able to combine those two aspects into developing a successful and accomplished life.  Stulp referenced French author, Anatole France, and his quote which was used as this year’s class motto: “To accomplish great things, we must no only act but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”  In closing, Stulp reminded the graduates to have their elevator speech prepared and practiced for helping develop their careers and setting personal goals.  “An elevator speech,” he explained, “is a statement of belief in yourself and your passions.”  Stulp said the speech should only take the time a ride in an elevator would, from 30 to 60 seconds, if you were explaining yourself to the head of a business or corporation that would invest in you, based on your presentation. 


LCC Graduate, Maryam Dogo Addresses Fellow Students and Faculty


Maryam Dogo, an LCC student speaker from Africa who graduated Magna Cum Laude, addressed her fellow students on how LCC and her chance for an education and the support she received while in college, made a difference in her life. 

The college took the time to recognize its 2012 alumnus of the year, Norm Arends at commencement this year.  Arends’ academic and professional success and his commitment to the community makes him an outstanding example of what an LCC student can achieve.  Compassion and dedication to his community seem to have shaped his life.  

After graduating as valedictorian from a class of eight at Bethune High School in the spring of 1958, Arends enrolled at Lamar Junior College with the intention of becoming a physical education instructor.  While he was in Lamar, he played basketball and baseball for the Antelopes.  After a successful year, he transferred to Colorado State University.  He graduated with honors from CSU with a Bachelor’s of Science in Ag Engineering in 1963.  He then completed his Juris Doctorate in the top ten of his class at the University of Colorado in 1966.  A lifelong learner, he earned his Emergency Medical Technician Basic certificate in the 1970’s.  

After graduating from law school, he wanted to practice in a rural area.  Fortunately for Southeast Colorado, Carl Shinn had an opening available in this firm, and Arends started his career in Lamar.  In 1967, Norm bought Shinn’s practice in Cheyenne Wells.  He served as county judge from 1981 to 1986 and deputy district attorney for Cheyenne and Kiowa Counties for nine years.  He lived and practiced in Cheyenne Wells until he became a Colorado 15th Judicial District judge in 1986.  He held that position until his retirement in 2001.

 So-called retirement has not stopped Norm from being actively engaged in business and the community.  He has served as the chairman of the Colorado East Bank & Trust board since 1995.  Norm is a compassionate soul who quietly assists individuals and organizations who are in need.  As an example, whether it is building a handicap ramp, constructing a house while on a mission trip, or counseling individuals on legal or financial issues, he is there to serve others as an active member of the Lamar Christian Church.   Additionally, Arends has been on the Lamar Community College Foundation board since 2003. And he is also a current member of Lamar Elks and Eagles.    

Serious about his hobbies, he and a friend went to weeklong wheelwright school in Moscow, Idaho.  Now in his spare time, he has become a wheelwright – one who builds and repairs wagon and buggy wheels.  Kay, his wife of 42 years, and he have three grown children and four grandchildren.  While Kay spent her career in K-12 education, their children and their spouses all have bachelors and/or masters in their chosen occupations.  LCC congratulates Norm Arends for his career and personal achievements and celebrates its contribution to his success. 

By Russ Baldwin & Anne- Marie Crampton


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