(CENTREVILLE) – Glen Oaks Community College has announced the winner of the 2021 E.J. Shaheen Chair For Teaching Excellence Award.
This year's winner is Kevin Conner, Professor of Information Technology. He was officially recognized during Friday's commencement ceremony.
Conner, a Sturgis native, had always through about studying computers. After graduating from Sturgis High School, he started doing residential and commercial painting in addition to working a part-time job at Porter Drug Store. Conner survived a life-threatening health condition affecting his mobility at age 29. Shortly after that he remembers driving out to Glen Oaks and making the decision to attend college.
Conner sold some items for $3,000 to pay for a basic computer. After earning an Associate of Applied Science in Business in 1997, he was honored with the President's Award and the Wall Street Journal Award in recognition for excellence in academics.
He continued to work part-time at the school's Media Center after he graduated, and was soon offered an opportunity to teach a data processing class on campus over the summer. He then taught the following fall semester as he pursued a Bachelor's Degree at Davenport University. After getting his Bachelor's in Applied Science, Conner obtained a Master of Science at Capella University, where he specialized in computer networking.
While teaching at Glen Oaks, Conner has been instrumental in advancing the Information Technology Department. Most recently he spearheaded the effort to bring a couple Cybersecurity programs and an Associate of Computer Science degree to campus.
The E.J. Shaheen Award was initiated in 1984, with a generous donation from E.J. Shaheen, who was one of the original Glen Oaks Board members. Shaheen, a college professor, lawyer and business owner, placed a high value on education and spent much of his later life promoting high quality education and education institutions, including Glen Oaks.