Highland trustee receives prestigious national award from ACCT

FREEPORT — Highland Community College Trustee Diane Gallagher of East Dubuque received the 2016 M. Dale Ensign Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) on Friday, October 7, at the ACCT Leadership Congress. She was also recognized for being the recipient of the Central Region Trustee Leadership award during the Congress.

ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards that represents more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern more than 1,200 community and technical colleges across the country and beyond. ACCT is a major voice of community college trustees to the presidential administration, Congress and Departments of Education.

The ACCT Board of Directors annually honors an individual who has made a significant contribution as a lay trustee to promote the community college concept. The Association Award is named after M. Dale Ensign, one of ACCT’s pioneers and the founding chair of the Association, who served as a trustee at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming.

“When Dale Ensign, the first chairman of ACCT, handed me this national award, I felt a surge of appreciation for him and the others who founded our national trustees group. Their education and advocacy efforts continue today to help trustees and students build their skills,” Gallagher said. “Highland Community College has taught me that good leaders help others to achieve, so it is only natural to continue to extend service to this national level. I am so very grateful to receive this award as a representative of Highland Community College, Illinois, and our Central Region of ACCT.”

First elected in 2001, Gallagher has the longest tenure of the current Highland Community College Board of Trustees. At the state level, she has earned three Trustee Education Awards and served in various roles for ICCTA including regional chair and committee chair.  This past June, she was named the recipient of ICCTA’s prestigious Ray Harstein Trustee Achievement Award.

Prior to being elected to the ACCT board in 2013, she served as a member of several ACCT committees, including Member Communications, Education, and Governance & Bylaws, and later was elected to serve as ACCT’s Illinois State Coordinator.  In 2013, she won election to the ACCT board, where her peers chose her as Central Regional Chair. In that role, she spurred the development of ACCT’s Trustee Ambassador Program. She continues to serve on the national level, having been elected to ACCT’s Nominating Committee at this year’s Leadership Congress.

Gallagher has proven her leadership abilities at the local, state and national levels. She currently serves as the chair of the Board’s Audit Committee, and within Highland’s district, she is the former chair the Jo Daviess County Housing Authority board and currently serves as secretary to the East Dubuque Library Foundation. 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 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.

At the state level, Gallagher has held several leadership positions since being elected to the Highland Board. She was Highland’s ICCTA representative for a number of years, regularly attending ICCTA meetings.  She also served a two-year term as the Northwest Region ICCTA chair, planning and coordinating communication between and meetings with trustees within the Northwest Region.  As an active ICCTA representative, she chaired ICCTA’s Education, Women in Leadership, and Awards Committees.

In her spare time, Gallagher likes to garden. She has said, “There is a wonderment in nature that always gives me hope for the future, and as a trustee of Highland Community College, I have the same expectation of successful growth as you watch students on campus.”

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 ration, distance education focus and transfer rate to four-year institutions, among other factors.”

Photo Caption: With Diane Gallagher are (from left) ACCT President and CEO, J. Noah Brown; M. Dale Ensign (the founding trustee of ACCT for whom the M. Dale Ensign award is named); and 2015-16 ACCT, Chair Roberto Zarate.

Leave a Reply