APSCU Announces 2013 Award Winners

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2013—APSCU today announced the recipients of the 2013 annual achievement awards. The awards honor the accomplishments of students, teachers, institutions, and employers within the private sector college community.

More than 200 nominations were reviewed by APSCU's Awards Task Force, a group of individuals representing 15 member institutions. Six nominees were chosen for one of the following awards: Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame Emeritus, Employer of the Year, Educator of the Year, Most Innovative New Program, and Community Service. The winners will be honored during general sessions at APSCU's Annual Convention in Orlando.

The following are the esteemed winners of APSCU's 2013 awards:

Hall of Fame Award

Hall of Fame has been awarded to Tiffany Derry, graduate of the Art Institute of Houston.

Immediately after graduating high school, Derry enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston to hone her culinary talents. She had already discovered her flair for the food industry by working her way into a management position at her local IHOP as a high school student. In 2003, Derry graduated with an associate of applied science in culinary arts degree and worked for some of the top restaurants in the Houston area, including Pesce and Grotto Cucina Napolitano. Competing on season seven of "Top Chef," Derry was voted "fan favorite" and made it to the final four. She was invited back for "Top Chef: All Stars," where she was again a finalist.  

In 2011, she teamed up with Patrick Halbert to open a restaurant in Dallas, Private|Social, to great accolades. In fact, Private|Social and Chef Derry's cooking received a four-star review from the Dallas Morning News.  

Recently, Derry has moved on from Private|Social to focus on the development of her own company, Tiffany Derry Concepts, which supports both her business and culinary ventures. She now partners with some of the world's most recognized brands, while appearing on television shows, giving back to schools and food banks in Texas, and acting as a spokesperson for the Art Institute's culinary programs.

"The Hall of Fame Award recognizes a graduate of a private sector school who has achieved noteworthy success in his or her chosen career field," said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of APSCU. "Tiffany Derry is a terrific example of a successful graduate who also contributes to her community and her alma mater. She is clearly working to make the most of the education she received at the Art Institute of Houston."

Hall of Fame Emeritus Award

The Hall of Fame Emeritus is awarded to Carol Guzy, graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

After earning a degree in nursing, Carol Guzy decided to switch career paths and attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she earned her associate of applied science degree in photography. Guzy was hired by the Miami Herald and won her first Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for her coverage of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano eruption in Colombia. Eight years later, she became a staff photographer for the Washington Post, where she remains today. 

Guzy won three more Pulitzer Prizes for her work in Haiti and Kosovo, making her the only journalist ever to receive four Pulitzer Prizes. She has covered dozens of domestic and international stories and has been recognized every step of the way for her humanitarian coverage of the disadvantaged. Guzy has also given back to her community by serving as a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Committee member, giving presentations about photography to students and volunteering at the Washington Animal Rescue League. 

"The Hall of Fame Emeritus Award honors a graduate of an APSCU-member school who has gone on to achieve great heights in his or her field of study and has had an immense impact on the profession and surrounding community," said Gunderson. "Carol is one of the most decorated photojournalists, and we are proud of the impact she has had since her graduation from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Her commitment to her work and her community are the reasons APSCU is honored to award her with the 2013 Hall of Fame Emeritus Award."

Employer of the Year Award

Employer of the Year has been awarded to Werner Enterprises

APSCU's Employer of the Year Award honors an employer who demonstrates an active, longstanding relationship with private sector postsecondary institutions and their students.   

Werner Enterprises Inc., founded in 1956, is a premier transportation and logistics company and is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States.With a diversified portfolio of transportation services, Werner has worked closely with the New England Tractor Trailer Training School (NETTTS) for more than 20 years and views NETTTS as a critical supplier of future drivers. In the past five years alone, Werner has hired more than 800 graduates into its Newly Licensed Truck Driver Training program. Werner also offers up to $6,000 in tuition reimbursement.   

Werner has been become an essential partner to NETTTS by visiting on a bimonthly basis and participating in career fairs, as well as reporting back to NETTTS on the progress of its students.  

"We are pleased to honor Werner Enterprises with APSCU's Employer of the Year Award," said Steve Gunderson. "This is a great example of how our schools work with employers to ensure they are developing the best curriculum for their students to succeed."

Educator of the Year Award

Educator of the Year has been awarded to Rod Fronk of WTI--Topeka Campus.

The Educator of the Year Award honors one spectacular teacher who has established a longstanding commitment to his or her field and the transformative power of teaching. Rod Fronk, an instructor at WTI--Topeka, has shown this commitment in various ways within his school and community.

Before starting his career as an instructor at WTI--Topeka, Fronk served his country for 13 years in the U.S. military. Upon his honorable discharge, he received a diploma in plumbing, heating, and air conditioning from North Central Kansas Technical College and worked for 13 years in the HVAC industry. Fronk has earned his master mechanical license, master plumber with gas fitters license, NATE certification, and the EPA universal certification. 

As an instructor, Fronk has managed to retain 99 percent of his students during his time at WTI, and this year, every one of his students passed the industry competency exam. Students note that Fronk is willing to come in early and stay late to help explain material and has helped many students significantly increase their GPAs. 

Fronk has also helped lead the HVAC program advisory committee and built important relationships with potential employers. Outside of WTI, Fronk serves his church and spends time helping underserved and underprivileged communities.

"Rod's expertise in the subject matter and his willingness to spend the time to share that expertise with his students has made him APSCU's choice for the 2013 Educator of the Year Award," said Steve Gunderson. "We are proud to have instructors like Rod at our schools helping the next generation of workers."

Most Innovative Best Practice/New Program Award

The Innovative Best Practice/New Program Award has been awarded to the Art Institute of California-Orange County

With the development of the Bachelor of Science in Designing for Tablets: Digital Publishing program of study, the Art Institute of California, Orange County, a college of Argosy University, along with other Art Institutes school locations that offer this new program, has proved its forward-thinking strategic focus and ability to remain relevant with a large and rapidly evolving industry.

The program aims to keep pace with the new wave of digital content by teaching students how to create and modify different platforms of new media. Combining instruction from graphic design, coding, and user-experience modules, the Bachelor of Science in Designing for Tablets: Digital Publishing program teaches a combination of highly sought-after skills.

The program ensures students are fluent and capable of taking full advantage of the industry-current technology by using teaching tools such as tablets, Macs and PCs, and Adobe design and creative software. In the spirit of the new program, the schools created an app to inform interested students about what the new course of study would entail.

The Most Innovative Best Practice/New Program Award recognizes a member institution or campus that has contributed to the private, postsecondary school sector through successful implementation of innovative methods benefitting the school, students, and/or the community at large.

"The Art Institute of California, Orange County, is a perfect example of how private sector schools have the flexibility to provide training in state-of-the-art programs so our students are qualified to enter the 21st century workforce," said Steve Gunderson. "APSCU proudly honors them with the 2013 Most Innovative Best Practice/New Program Award."

Community Service Award

The Community Service Award has been awarded to Chef's Academy of Morrisville, N.C.

The Community Service Award honors a campus that goes above and beyond to implement charitable community programs and engage staff and students in volunteer efforts. The Chef's Academy engaged students last year in activities that not only refined their culinary skills but also provided a great deal of community support. The campus hosted its second annual Triangle Chef Showdown, a free event to the public and a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The entire student body participated to serve 700 people and raise 101,000 meals for the food bank. 

Additionally, the campus partnered with Brier Creek Elementary School to develop a wellness initiative with primary focus on promoting healthy lifestyle choices among children. The students have continued to support this program with a seven-bed garden, curriculum development, and integration of sustainability practices. Chef's Academy also works closely with military families by offering courses to soldiers on basic cooking techniques and by providing meals to mothers whose husbands are deployed.

"Chef's Academy in Morrisville exemplifies the spirit of generosity that APSCU hoped to honor when it created the Community Service Award," said Gunderson. "The students participate in all of these projects while attending school, and APSCU couldn't be happier to present the 2013 Community Service Award to the students and faculty at the Chef's Academy for all the work they have done to give back to their local community."


Honorable Mentions

Employer of the Year
Chef Ouita Michel, nominated by Sullivan University, Lexington

Educator of the Year
Charles "Chuck" Eltringham, instructor at Pittsburgh Technical Institute

Most Innovative Best Practice/New Program
DeVry University, Chicago, recycled computer initiative

Community Service
Fortis College, Atlanta, Give Kids a Smile Day



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PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.