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Past Distinguished Graduates

Alpena Community College Distinguished Graduate

The Distinguished Graduate Award was established by the ACC Foundation and Development Office in 1998 to honor and recognize ACC graduates who have contributed to society through successful careers. The accomplishments of these individuals exemplify how a solid educational foundation from ACC can launch a lifetime of achievement.

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Thomas Sobeck is presented the 2020 Alpena Community College Distinguished Graduate Award.
Thomas Sobeck is presented the 2020 Alpena Community College Distinguished Graduate Award. 
L-R: Mary Eagan, Director of Alumni Relations, Thomas Sobeck, Brenda Herman, ACC Foundation Executive Director

The Alpena Community College Foundation is pleased to announce Thomas Sobeck as its 2020 Distinguished Graduate.

Established in 1998 by the ACC Foundation, the distinguished graduates program honors ACC graduates who have contributed to society through building successful careers. The productive, meaningful lives honorees have led demonstrate how an ACC education provides the foundation for a lifetime of achievement.

A native of Rogers City, Tom Sobeck enrolled at Alpena Community College several times, starting and stopping as he tried to find what career path he wanted to follow. Unlike most four-year institutions of higher learning, ACC faculty and support staff were able to provide the specialized, one-on-one attention that eventually helped guide Tom to the business program at the college. There, Tom discovered his love of accounting—and a solid career path to follow.

After graduating from ACC in 1988, Tom transferred to Northern Michigan University, where he discovered that the education he received at ACC had prepared him well to compete with his classmates.

“I was impressed with the level of knowledge I had compared with my peers,” Tom noted.

In 1990, Tom graduated cum laude with a B.S. in business administration from NMU. He went on to become an educator himself, taking a position as an adjunct faculty member at both North Central Michigan College in Petoskey and Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. But education isn’t Tom’s only area of expertise.

In 2001, Tom took a position at Presque Isle Electric & Gas Cooperative in Onaway, where he started as the director of supply chain management before being promoted to the chief financial officer position in 2003. In 2017, Tom was named the president and chief executive officer of Presque Isle Electric and Gas Cooperative, responsible for the successful operation of a utility company that provides electricity and natural gas service to approximately 36,000 electric and 13,000 natural gas customers in Northeast Michigan.

Like many ACC alumni, Tom felt the need to give back to his community upon returning to Northeast Michigan and has devoted what little spare time he has to public service. In addition to serving as the mayor of Rogers City from 2013 to 2017, Tom also spent time as a city councilman of Rogers City, trustee and chairman of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, board member for Target Alpena, board member and chairman for Presque Isle County Development, director of Huron National Bank, and a member of the dean’s advisory board of the Walker L. Cisler School of Business at Northern Michigan University.

Tom Sobeck’s evolution from a twenty-something who was unsure about what path to take in life to a respected community leader forging new ground started at Alpena Community College.

Reflecting on the significance ACC played in shaping his career, Tom said, “ACC truly prepared me to be successful in pursuit of my BS in Business Administration at Northern Michigan University and beyond that helped to prepare me to be successful in my professional career.  I still remember fondly all the courses and instructors and the genuine pride and care they exercised in delivering a high-quality education at an affordable cost.”

Brenda Herman, Executive Director of the ACC Foundation said, “The ACC Foundation is proud to award the 2020 Distinguished Graduate Award to Tom and we congratulate him on his many educational and professional accomplishments since his graduation from Alpena Community College.”

In being named the 2020 Alpena Community College Distinguished Graduate, Tom joins a prestigious fraternity of 25 other alumni upon whom the college has bestowed its highest honor.

Brenda Herman, Executive Director
Alpena Community College Foundation
(989) 358-7297

Past Distinguished Graduates
2019 - Keith Wallace (1962)
2018 - Dr. James E. Stoddard (1960)
2017 - Frank McCourt (1962)
2016 - Roger Bauer (1962)
2015 - Kurt Golder (1974)
2014 - Susan A. Petrisin (1982)
2013 - Jerry Murrell (1964)
2012 - Roy W. Smith (1991)
2011 - Teresa A. Szymanski (1982)
2010 – Matthew P. Linke (1978)
2009 – Michael G. Mack (Class of 1974)
2008 – Lisa M. Dietlin (Class of 1983)
2007 – Jodi L. Radke (Class of 1993)
2006 – Mark L. Barnard (Class of 1977)
2005 – Alhasan S. Ceesay, MD (Class of 1969)
2004 – Jeffery Kieliszewski, PhD (Class of 1989)
In 2003, as part of Alpena Community College’s 50th Anniversary a graduate representing each decade of the College’s existence was named a Distinguished Graduate.
2003 – David McNeil (Class of 1957)
2003 – Carol Schmidt Shafto (Class of 1965)
2003 – Andrea “Andi” (Timrick) Ball (Class of 1972)
2003 – Raymond Reynolds (Class of 1983)
2003 – Dr. Becky (Dragiewicz) Ashley (Class of 1992)
2002 – William H. Gaasch, MD (Class of 1957)
2001 – Douglas R. Schmidt (Class of 1966)
2000 – Susan M. (Schmitz) Pierce (Class of 1971)
1999 – Carol (Manning) Lewis (Class of 1962)
1998 – Dennis Schultz (Class of 1962)