ACTC Presents Awards at Graduation
The Ashland Community and Technical College Commencement Ceremony on May 8 included awards for alumni achievement, college service and teaching excellence.
“Graduation is a time to recognize student achievement, and it is also an opportunity to recognize individuals and institutions for their accomplishments,” said Dr. Kay Adkins, ACTC President and CEO. The Distinguished Alumna, Distinguished Services Gussler Fellow Award recipients are listed below.
Distinguished Alumna Award
Ann Brown Perkins, Executive Director of Safe Harbor and an Ashland business owner, received the 2015 Distinguished Alumna Award for her achievements and community service.
Perkins graduated from Holy Family High School in Ashland and attended Ashland Community College, an ACTC predecessor, from 1970 to 1971. She transferred to the University of Kentucky for a Bachelor in Arts Degree. She returned to Ashland to run successful businesses with her husband Sam and to develop her own career as a service agency manager.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to be selected for this award,” she said. “I credit my success very strongly with my time at ACC and the tremendous caring staff who provided mentoring and life-long learning opportunities.”
“ACTC has been a huge part of our family. My father attended as a local business owner that operated six days a week. He attended classes at ACC and became the Executive Director of KEDC after graduating. My husband Sam is an ACC alumnus. Our second son, Michael, attended on an academic scholarship. To date, we have had three generations of our family as alumni. I am extremely proud of that fact.”
Perkins was Field Director for the Wilderness Road Girl Scout Council, Executive Director of the YWCA, and an insurance account executive before she began serving on the founding board of Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky in 1998. Safe Harbor is a women’s shelter and service agency serving domestic violence victims in the FIVCO area. During this time, Perkins and her husband owned and operated McClure’s Restaurant for 10 years and now own and operate Second Hand Rose Consignment Shop.
As Executive Director of Safe Harbor, Perkins has overseen development of a multi-million dollar grant-funded project to renovate the former Ashland T. B. Hospital into a shelter with 34 furnished apartments and a variety of services.
Perkins is on the Advisory Boards for Community Trust Bank, River Cities Harvest, and the Paramount Arts Center. She is the founder and past chairman of the Board of CareS and founder of the Boyd/Greenup Alliance’s Youth Leadership Board. She is past president of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Altrusa, Pilot and Rotary Clubs of Ashland. She was appointed to the ACTC Board of Directors in 2008.
She has received awards for outstanding service and accomplishments from Rotary, Jaycees, YWCA, the United Way of Northeast Kentucky, the United Way of Kentucky and Federal Home Loan Bank, among others.
“As a small business owner and a non-profit Executive Director, I know the role ACTC has played in people’s lives,” Perkins said. “Most of my staff have attended ACTC and were able to stay in Ashland to work and live. Safe Harbor has been able to send many women to ACTC for a once in a lifetime opportunity to get higher education.”
“ACTC is a gem that has catapulted many people into making their dreams become a reality by providing affordable, accessible, quality education in our own hometown,” she concluded.
Distinguished Service Award
Kentucky Power received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the company’s long history of providing the college with scholarships, financial and program support.
For many decades, the Kentucky Power has provided support for the college’s technical programs. They have provided curriculum advice and equipment to help technical programs stay on the leading edge of industry advancements and requirements. Their representatives have served on program advisory boards and helped secure grants for programs and support services.
In 2006, the company joined the college in securing an Appalachian Regional Commission Grant to develop Power Plant Operator and Linemen Technology options in the Applied Process Technologies Program. Those options were designed to prepare students for jobs in power generation plants and power line maintenance.
Kentucky Power has regularly helped the college with equipment donations that provide technical programs with industry standard equipment. Recent examples are a Big Sandy Plant donation of electrical control equipment to the Electrical Technology Program in 2013 and this year’s AEP donation of a bucket truck to the Lineman Program.
Over the years, the company has donated thousands of dollars for general scholarships and has supported the college’s greatest needs fund, theatre improvements, the Young Woman Lead program and a joint alternative energy project for sustainable energy.
“Partnerships with the industries that employ our graduates benefit us all,” said Dr. Kay Adkins, ACTC President and CEO. “Kentucky Power has been a valuable partner in helping us provide education relevant to workforce needs and in helping our students prepare for the good jobs and careers of today and tomorrow.”
Greg Pauley, President and Chief Operating Officer of Kentucky Power, accepted the award on behalf of AEP.
Gussler Fellow Award
Professor Hossein Mohebbian received the prestigious Gussler Fellow Award in Mathematics and Science for 2015. The award was announced at ACTC’s Graduation Ceremony.
“I feel honored to be selected for such an important award and greatly appreciate the support of my students and collogues,” Hossein said.
He has taught mathematics for more than 30 years. Originally from Tehran, Iran, he came to the United States at age 18 to continue his education. “In 1990, I proudly became a United States citizen and a few months later was hired as an Assistant Professor at ACTC,” he said.
Mohebbian earned a Master of Art Degree in Mathematics at Marshall University in 1983 and completed 37 hours of work toward a Ph.D. at Ohio University in Athens. He has computer certifications in A+ and Microsoft Windows (MCSE). He taught at Marshall University and West Virginia Institute of Technology before starting at ACTC. He became a full Professor in 2000.
At ACTC he has served on the Graduation, Student Support, Technology and Distance Learning Committees. He is a currently on the Professional & Organizational Development and General Education Assessment Committees. He received an Exceptional Merit Rating in 1999 and has received numerous Teaching Excellence Awards.
“To inspire success in students is my greatest passion and enabling them to find the importance of being life-long learners has always been my goal,” Mohebbian said. “I am grateful for the opportunity at ACTC to improve student abilities and motivate them for success in their future careers.”
Inspiring students is what the Gussler Fellow Award is designed to recognize and encourage. The award was established in 2007 by Dr. C. Gordon Gussler and his wife, Dixie Gussler as a way to honor two teachers who inspired Dr. Gussler when he was a student at Ashland Junior College in 1944.
Their endowment of more than a million dollars to the Community and Technical College Foundation of Ashland, Inc. was established to reward and encourage outstanding math and science faculty who inspire and motivate students to exceed their own expectations. Each award recipient receives a financial stipend equal to two percent of the value of the endowment fund for two years.
In addition to receiving the award, Mohebbian has another reason to feel proud about graduation this year. His son Eric graduated from ACTC with high distinction and has transferred to Marshall University with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in Psychology.
“I am extremely proud of my son in achieving graduation status at ACTC,” Mohebbian said. “ACTC was the perfect starting point for him to adjust to college, learn successful study skills, learn how to better manage his time and discover his major.”