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            North Central Michigan College alumna, Kelly Suter (2008), will be honored by the American Association of Community Colleges as an Outstanding Community College Alumni. She and her two co-recipients are being recognized for the positive impact they have made on their communities, the nation and the world. They will be honored for their achievements at AACC’s 99th Annual Convention on Tuesday, April 16, in Orlando, FL.

            “Community colleges shape the lives of millions of students, no matter their background, helping them reach their educational and career goals. The AACC Outstanding Alumni Awards honor just a few of those students who left our institutions and went on to make an impact on the world,” said AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus. “This year’s Outstanding Alumni are as diverse as community colleges. From a successful businessman, to a selfless health care worker, to an immigrant sharing his culture with the Midwest, these alumni are truly deserving of the term ‘outstanding.’”

            “With nearly 1,500 community colleges in our nation, we are thrilled that a North Central alumna has been selected as one of just three AACC Outstanding Alumni honorees for 2019,” said NCMC President David Roland Finley.  “Kelly Suter’s resilient spirit, caring nature, and first-rate education have enabled her to improve our world by responding to some of the most onerous diseases and disasters of our time.  Kelly is a true champion for those in need.”

            Kelly Suter is a 2008 graduate of the North Central Michigan College nursing program—one of 15 nurses in her immediate family to have attended the college. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree in 2017. She’s also earned considerable experience as an emergency department nurse and has also worked as an emergency response nurse for International Medical Corps for the past eight years. 

            Suter functioned as a nurse team leader and emergency staff nurse in a field hospital during the 2010 earthquake response in Haiti and a regional cholera treatment site manager in Northern Haiti during the 2011 cholera response. In 2014, she was the primary health care coordinator and clinical staff educator in the Malakal refugee camp at the height of the civil war in South Sudan. Most recently, she has worked as a nurse team leader and clinical Ebola educator in Bong, Liberia, and interim training director in Lunsar and Makeni, Sierra Leone during their Ebola epidemic. She received the Silver Medal, Special Ebola Award from the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in 2015. She’s also worked as an emergency health manager of mobile medical units following the earthquake in Nepal and as the program manager of the Ebola preparedness program in Guinea Bissau. Closer to home, Suter worked at the International Medical Corps’ corporate office in Washington, D.C., as the senior nurse for the medical planning and preparedness unit and has volunteered with other humanitarian organizations in the Amazon, Mexico, East Timor and Haiti, as well as providing hurricane relief for flooding in Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

            Suter has garnered significant national attention. She was featured in the 60 Minutes report, “The Ebola Hot Zone” (November 9, 2014), in the cover story “Journey to West Africa” to the January 2015 issue of magazine and as the subject of “Brave New Girl” in the September 2015 issue of Vogue.

            Kelly is joined by Hubert “Charles” Ahovissi of Benin, Africa, dancer, drummer and founder of the non-profit African Culture Connection, and a graduate of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, and George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL and a graduate of Polk State College.

North Central Michigan College is an open-door community college based in Petoskey, with additional locations offering classes and services in Cheboygan and Gaylord. North Central’s mission is to provide educational, economic and cultural opportunities for student learning, personal growth and community improvement.  North Central is an Achieving the Dream Leader College, a Military Friendly® and a Veteran Friendly School. North Central was recently named #1 Community College in Michigan by

            As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all. 

For more information:

Kathy Bardins

Communications and Events Specialist