ALLEGANY COLLEGE OF MARYLAND EMPLOYEES HONORED BY THE LEAGUE FOR INNOVATION IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
CUMBERLAND, Md. (Mar. 17, 2021) – Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) President Cynthia Bambara is pleased to announce that Debra Frank, Leah Pepple and Laura Ryan received League Excellence Awards at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s virtual Innovations Conference held March 1 to March 4.
Frank, an assistant professor and program director of the college’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, joined ACM in 1986. In addition to her teaching duties, overseeing all aspects of the School’s program and its curriculum, and her committee involvement, she manages ACM’s Culinaire Café, a learning laboratory for the college’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students. She developed and leads the popular Chefs of Steel Community Fundraiser to benefit the Western Maryland Food Bank, and has quietly ensured that all leftover food from the Culinaire Café be delivered to the Union Rescue Mission for the past 20 years. Most recently she spearheaded an initiative to add “Catering by the Culinaire Café” to the School’s curriculum to enable students to more easily cater local business and campus events when college is in session. Frank is an elected member of the Allegany County Board of Education, and a member of the Legislative Committee of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. She serves on the Allegany Museum’s Board of Directors, the Allegany African American Heritage Committee, and the Carver School Restoration Committee. Her nomination included the following quote, “A true servant leader, Debra is a very active member in our local community, assisting in many capacities and volunteering her personal time to support the unmet human, social, and economic needs in our county. She is an exemplar of outstanding and compassionate community engagement working collaboratively with diverse local businesses and organizations.”
Pepple, the college’s director of Pennsylvania Advancement and Community Relations, joined ACM in 2002. A service-minded leader and an adjunct business instructor, she manages the Bedford County Regional Education Foundation (BCREF), a not-for-profit foundation that provides scholarship support and assists with facility, classroom and technology upgrades. Pepple is known for frequently making the difference in whether a student remains enrolled. In addition to raising funds for BCREF and disbursing student scholarships to ACM Bedford County Campus students, she assists and plans open house events, coordinates public activities, and represents the college at job/career fairs, community events and legislative hearings. She established an Bedford County Chamber of Commerce/ACM educational partnership and recently arranged a $1 million donation to benefit regional K-12 students enrolled in Early College courses through the Bedford County Campus. Pepple serves on numerous committees, including among others, the college’s COVID-19 Command Team, Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, and the Strategic Planning Council. Actively involved in her community, she was named one of the Bedford Gazette’s ‘Most Influential People’ in 2020, received the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce’s Athena award in 2018, and was chosen as Bedford County Rotary’s Rotarian of the Year in 2016. Her nomination include the following quote: “Leah is poised, articulate and kind, and always greets you with a smile. Her positive demeanor shines through even in her emails. She has never drawn a line to what is or is not her job responsibilities, and goes out of her way to assist students even though her position does not serve in a student services role.”
Laura Ryan, enrollment services data specialist and an ACM graduate, joined ACM in 1990. One of her primary responsibilities is a challenging task she tackles with ease and accuracy: the maintaining of the schedule of credit classes. Ryan is known for her analytical and problem-solving skills as well as her strong work ethic. She trained for and worked tirelessly to set up and troubleshoot the college’s software system, Colleague, that serves as the backbone of the Admissions and Registration Office. With her clear, concise method of conveying instructions to coworkers, she continues to serve a resource for the college’s implementation of cutting-edge technology designed to improve the student experience, including the college’s new student-facing mobile app, Navigate. Ryan serves on the college’s Curriculum Committee, among others, and is a frequent guest speaker in ACM’s Allied Health’s classes. She is active in her community, participating in fundraising efforts for the Alzheimer’s Association and supporting the local nursing home, and she is a dedicated advocate for cancer research. Her nomination included the following quote: “Laura is a true team player and does not shy away from challenges, working tirelessly to find an appropriate solution to satisfy all needs. The self-proclaimed ‘Goddess of ACM,’ Laura lives up to the title by bringing her cheerful attitude and humor to everything she does. She makes it look effortless, but we all know how hard she works behind the scenes.”
The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) established the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards in 2012 to recognize outstanding faculty, staff, and leaders in the community college field who have made a significant difference in the lives of students and in the communities their colleges serve. Building upon past practice, the League continues this tradition of celebrating excellence with the League Excellence Awards.
The League is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment. Founded in 1968 by B. Lamar Johnson and a dozen U.S. community and technical college presidents, the League has proudly served community college institutions for almost five decades.