Southeast Comm. College’s Dr. Paul Illich Receives Prestigious Award


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Lincoln, NE (July 26, 2022) – Southeast Community College President Dr. Paul Illich is the recipient of the 2022 Western Regional Chief Executive Officer Leadership Award from the Association of Community College Trustees.

Southeast Community College President Dr. Paul Illich

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Illich said. “I want to thank the SCC Board of Governors, faculty, and staff for everything they have done to help SCC successfully complete its many transformative initiatives with tireless passion and dedication for the vital role of the community college.”

The award will be presented during the 53rd Annual ACCT Leadership Congress, Oct. 26-29 in New York City. As the regional award recipient, Illich will be the sole nominee from the Western Region for the Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award that will be presented at the Annual Awards Gala on Oct. 28.

“I feel very fortunate to have this tremendous opportunity to work at SCC as we continue to pursue our mission to empower and transform the diverse learners and communities of southeast Nebraska through accessible lifelong educational opportunities,” Illich added.

During his eight years as president of SCC, he has led multiple transformative initiatives, including the completion of nearly $170 million in renovation and new construction projects, the conversion from a quarter to a semester calendar, removal of accreditation monitoring for the first time in the history of the College, and the implementation of its first strategic plan.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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