Highland Trustee Diane Gallagher Receives Prestigious Award

FREEPORT — Highland Community College Trustee Diane Gallagher of East Dubuque has received the 2016 Ray Harstein Trustee Achievement Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) at a banquet held Friday, June 3, at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre in Springfield. The Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award recognizes exemplary service by a currently serving community college board member.

“I have always respected the collaboration and solidarity between community college trustees to champion for the needs of students,” said Gallagher. “Illinois trustees have humbled me with this award. It is an honor to become a part of the legacy set by previous recipients. I am also thankful to the College for encouraging participation in these leadership opportunities.”

Gallagher was nominated in February by the Highland Board of Trustees. She was elected to the Highland Community College Board in 2001.

“I have found Diane’s commitment to the community college system and the students it serves is tireless,” said Doug Block, chair of the Highland Board of Trustees. “She has proven herself as an energetic and active servant leader who can be counted on to bring new ideas to our discussions. This makes the Board of Trustees stronger. She can always be counted on to represent the College at meetings throughout the Highland district and to report pertinent information back to the appropriate administrators or trustees.”

Gallagher has proven her leadership abilities at the local, state, and national levels. Within Highland’s district, she currently serves as chair of the Jo Daviess County Housing Authority board. She is a zoning officer for Hanover, Illinois, and has been active with the Galena 20/20 Vision for Education group and the Jo Daviess County League of Women Voters.  She has also taken on leadership roles as a local school board member, where she served for 14 years, and as a mentor for East Dubuque High School students who participated in Highland’s High School Servant Leadership Program.

On the state level, Gallagher has held several leadership positions since being elected to the Highland Board. She currently serves as the chair of the Board’s Audit Committee. She also held the position of chair of ICCTA’s Education, Women in Leadership, and Awards Committees. In addition, she completed a two-year term as the Northwest Region ICCTA chair, planning and coordinating communication between and meetings with trustees within the Northwest Region. She regularly attended ICCTA meetings as Highland’s ICCTA representative, presenting a written report on her activities to Highland’s Board at each monthly meeting following the ICCTA meeting.

Highland was ranked number three in “The 10 best community colleges in Illinois,” recently published by USA Today College. The ranking was conducted by schools.com and was based on “total attendance cost, student-faculty ratio, distance education focus and transfer rate to four-year institutions, among other factors.”

The Ray Harstein Trustee Achievement Award was established in 1992, by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. The award is named for Ray Harstein, who was the founding chair of Oakton Community College. ICCTA is an organization that provides legislative advocacy and educational opportunities for community college boards.

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