Our Roots, Our Values, Our Community

One of the wonderful aspects about serving as Lorain County Community College’s President is having the opportunity to hear from members of our community in a variety of forums – through conversations with our community leaders, to grassroots events, to dedication ceremonies honoring philanthropic contributions intended to improve the lives of others. Well, this past week – in fact on Tuesday evening – I spoke with members of two very different families who have direct connections to Lorain County and our College.

The first family I spent time with was Dan and Mila Reaser and their two children, Danny and Shannon. Dan and Mila are from Lorain County, born and raised. They have deep-seeded roots here and have vested themselves in both our College and our community. All four of the Reasers have attended Lorain County Community College, seeking out courses that better prepare them to run their family business, a television reality show, The Outdoor Option. After launching and growing their first company, American Hood, the Reasers decided to sell it with the proceeds creating the Reaser Family Foundation in order to keep their philanthropic giving within the county lines.

The family recently took their commitment to our College a step further by making a significant donation to the Roy and Bobbi Church Visionary Leadership Institute. The LCCC Foundation honored this gift by dedicating the Reaser Grand Room on July 11, 2016. The naming of the Grand Room for the Reaser family was never about the fanfare; it was about inspiring others, now and in the future, to invest philanthropically in this college and our community.

Following the Reaser Grand Room dedication event, I traveled to the North Eaton Church for the Lorain County Farm Bureau Pork Chop Dinner Policy Development Meeting where I enjoyed a delicious dinner while meeting some local farmers. One gentleman, Ted Schriver, introduced himself and shared his family’s interesting story and multi-generational connection to Lorain County.

I learned that Ted is the son of the late Henry Haley Schriver, who was fondly known as the “Co-op Philosopher” thanks to his commitment to cooperative values. Ted shared with me that his father served in the Ohio House of Representatives 75th district working on issues near and dear to his heart – including bringing Lorain County Community College to this community.   Ted shared that his dad did all of this work while he was running his family’s dairy and fruit farm with his wife and 11 children, delivering a unique rhyme-inspired presentation to thousands across the country about leadership, and serving as the president of the Belden School Board which created Midview Schools.

As I begin my third week in my new role, I have been thinking about these two families, the Reasers and the Schrivers, realizing that one thing lies at the root of their success and their profound impact on our community – values. The Reaser family’s decision to give back and create their family foundation was driven by their family values of generosity and compassion. Henry Schriver’s legacy has crossed generational lines, instilling the values of love for your community, education, and leadership into his 40 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Values represent the core of who you are – as a person, as a family, as a community and as an institution. Our community has undergone tremendous change during the past several decades, but the values of education, hard-work, innovation and commitment have not faltered. Lorain Countians are resilient, innovative, and dedicated. I am proud to be serving as a catalyst at Lorain County Community College to achieve our vision that empowers a thriving community by leading the charge to increase educational attainment, accelerating businesses and job growth and inspiring community engagement. This important work is supported by Lorain County Community College’s core values, as defined by our campus and greater community during the creation of Vision 2020:

  • We are the community’s college
  • We are trusted by the community to educate, lead, and inspire
  • We create a better, more sustainable future for our community

Feel free to tweet about what values you see reflected within our community @Lorainccc #LorainCCCValues and consider following me on Twitter @PresBallinger.

LCCC Proud

Welcome to my first Lorain County Community College President’s blog! I’m excited to share my thoughts with you and even more excited that you’ve taken the time to read this.

Today truly is a special day – a day that marks a new beginning not only for LCCC but also for me, both personally and professionally. I am writing this as I drink my first cup of Starbuck’s this morning and preparing to walk around campus.  As I step into the role of President, my schedule is taking on a life of its own – but there is important work to be done, and I am honored to be the catalyst as we move forward and build upon our rich foundation.

Our alumni, students, faculty and staff are building blocks of LCCC’s foundation, and each has points of pride about what our great College means to them. It’s ironic that as I was writing this blog, Professor Jeff Koleno stopped by my office to welcome me on my first day, and we quickly began reminiscing about our early days at the College when we first started together in 1991.  He talked about how proud he is to be an LCCC alum as he earned his associate’s degree from LCCC in 1982 and that if we had the University Partnership at that time he would have enrolled here.  I shared with him that had it not been for the University Partnership, I doubt that I would have pursued my MBA in 2000.  We’re both LCCC Proud of our roots!

Equally proud is North Ridgeville resident Thomas Vilevac, who enrolled at LCCC in 1964 and was a member of our first graduating class! Last month marked the 50th anniversary of this graduating class, whose ceremony was held on June 9, 1966 for 105 students.  I recently talked with Tom about his LCCC experience, and he commented that had it not been for LCCC he wouldn’t have had the great career he had in computer programming and database administration working in the manufacturing and banking sectors.

LCCC’s roots run deep throughout our community. During my time here, I have witnessed the power of collaboration, determination, and innovation. But one lesson that rises above the rest is what I have learned about the value of community. Your voice matters – and I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we work to achieve the goals outlined in Vision 2020. As we all embark on a new chapter this academic year, I hope you will help me discover new ways we can collaborate and broaden our impact.

As the year unfolds, I will be offering many opportunities for us to stay connected. For now, I hope you will consider subscribing to this blog by providing your email address as well as following me on Twitter @PresBallinger.  Tweet about your LCCC points of pride @LorainCCC #pointsofpride.