Commencements Set at Highland
Plans have been finalized for the 2018 Commencement exercises at the Highland Community College campus, the HCC Technical Center in Atchison, and the Western Center in Baileyvill8. The 2018 Commencement at Highland will be held outdoors on Friday evening, May 11, at 7:00 pm on Kessinger Field on the HCC campus. The Highland Commencement will be broadcast live by accessing the College’s Web site at www.highlandcc.edu. There will be a rotating banner on the College Homepage that will provide viewers with instructions.
Commencement exercises at the HCC Technical Center in Atchison will be held on May 10 at 7:00 pm in the Atchison High School gymnasium. Cathy Holthaus, who has assumed ownership of Holthaus Electric from her recently deceased husband, Chris, who was an alum of Northeast Kansas Technical College, will chronicle the development of that business. That same day, the pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will take place at 5:30 pm, also in the AHS gymnasium.
Two Commencements will be held on Friday, May 11. The College’s Western Center in Baileyville will hold its first Commencement exercises since it was established in 2015 as part of a federal Title III grant received by the College. This will be its first Commencement as previous graduates attended the ceremony at the Technical Center. Thirty-one students will received their diplomas from Highland President David Reist and Tom Smith, Chairperson of the HCC Board of Trustees. The exercises are being coordinated by Western Center Director Cara Baker and her staff.
Commencement exercises at Highland will begin with the traditional march down the hill by the HCC faculty and graduating students into the stadium, led by the Kansas City Celtic Pipes and Drums bagpipe troupe. Those assembled will join in singing the HCC Alma Mater, followed by the keynote address from Highland alum Dr. Heather (Foley) Clark (C’ 01), who will share her story about growing up in Wathena and creating a thriving dental practice in St. Joseph. After special music from the HCC music department, HCC President David Reist will announce special awards, including the annual Bruning Award for faculty development, and will present the class of 2018. Once the degrees have been conferred by Tom Smith, Chairperson of the HCC Board of Trustees, the Kansas City Celtic Pipes and Drums will lead the graduates and faculty from the stadium.
Chris and Cathy Holthaus moved home to the family farm in Seneca in 1982, and Chris set up Holthaus Electric Motor Service in his garage. He established the business literally from the ground up. He built the garage, the motor rewinding equipment, and ovens needed to repair electric motors. Chris was assisted in customer service by Cathy and their seven children, with a menagerie of animals ever present.
Eventually, Chris and Cathy moved the business to Seneca in the old Kuckelman building, and finally to the Osterhaus land west of Seneca where their crew continues the service. He served customers in all of northeast Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa, wiring grain bins, rebuilding grain driers, building phase convertors for irrigation systems, and installing electrical components into many of the industrial businesses. All of his sons had an opportunity to work with him, and learn the trade. In 2007, he and Cathy bought the old First National Bank building. Together, they completely restored it with help from their children and many others. After a valiant battle with cancer, Chris passed away in 2017; Cathy has established a scholarship fund in his name for students in the Electrical program at the Tech Center.
Heather Foley Clark grew up in Wathena where her family owns the local newspaper. A 2001 alumnae of Highland, she was a member of the Classy Lassies Dance Team. She now owns Clark Family Dentistry in St. Joseph and is assisted by her husband in running the business. Clark is an active member in the American Dental Association, Northwest Dental Society, Academy for Sports Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry, where she is working toward a Fellowship Award. She is also a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and an associate member of the Chicago Dental Society. Rightfully so, Clark is very proud to be a Founding Member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, focusing on pioneering total body health and wellness for her patients.