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WATERLOO — Hawkeye Community College’s board of trustees Tuesday made presentations to retiring president Linda Allen and the family of their late colleague Ron McGregor.

The board room was filled with former trustees and members of McGregor’s family.

One of the medallions trustees don for graduation ceremonies was presented to McGregor’s wife, Grace, in a frame with a plaque. McGregor died May 15 at age 88.

He was a Nashua farmer who had represented the Director District 1 seat on the board since 1999. His niece, Barbara McGregor, was appointed to finish the term, which is up for election in November.

“Ron was a great trustee,” said board chairman Jay Nardini. “Ron didn’t often speak, but when he spoke you listened because he had something insightful to say.”

As she accepted the gift, Grace McGregor talked about her husband’s appreciation for Hawkeye’s programs, especially agriculture.

“I know Ron enjoyed being here,” she said. “An education was important to him.” She was accompanied by a son and a daughter and their spouses.

Allen, who is retiring at the end of this week, was commended and thanked for her “exemplary service” as the college’s seventh president in a resolution approved unanimously by the board. She has been in the position for eight years. Trustees in April hired Todd Holcomb, president of Western Nebraska Community College, to take her place starting Monday.

Trustees presented Allen with a framed copy of the resolution and a painting by faculty member Kim Behm.

“We commissioned this to be done, which is an excellent portrait of you and the Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center,” said Nardini. The three-story $12.96 million downtown center opened in January. The audience gave Allen a standing ovation as she tearfully accepted the gift.

Earlier, Allen had spoken about her time leading the institution. She came to Hawkeye in 2006 to be vice president of academic affairs and was named president in Mach 2011.

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“I’m very grateful for the opportunity eight years ago to become the president of Hawkeye Community College,” she said.

Bond issue updates

Allen also gave her final update on projects related to a $25 million bond issue approved in February 2015 by voters in Hawkeye’s 10-county service area.

The adult learning center, at 120 Jefferson St., was the first of those projects, with about $8 million of the cost covered by bond revenues. It is complete except for signage on the front, which has been ordered, that will include the Hawkeye and Miller names. The Van G. Miller Charitable Foundation was a major financial donor to the project.

“It’s in process and will be installed as soon as possible,” Allen said of the signs. “It will only enhance a beautiful building that is doing amazing things.”

She said an expansion of Hawkeye’s high school career academies is also in process. The academies provide concurrent credit college courses for students at their high schools or other sites off the Hawkeye campus. The expansion is expected to cost $1.5 million with $500,000 coming from bond funds.

A health sciences building planned for the main campus with an estimated $15 million cost “is in design,” said Allen. “The final version is going to be pending Hawkeye’s new president.”

Once constructed, all health science programs would move to the facility, freeing up space those programs now occupy in Grundy Hall. Allen noted that hall will then be remodeled “to accommodate the changeover to a liberal arts building.”

Hawkeye’s board has been a “good steward of the resources entrusted to the college,” she said.

“The college is well positioned for the future,” Allen added. “We are financially sound. As the college moves forward, I believe it’s a good time for the new president to come in.”

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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