Pikes Peak Community College President Lance Bolton couldn't stop smiling.

It was the evening of his first State of the College President's Dinner presented with the PPCC Foundation, Feb. 23 at Garden of the Gods Club, and there was much to announce. Yes, smile, he and Lisa DesRochers will be married in May.

But the evening was also his opportunity to personally thank many who support the college, its growth and its programs. A long list of accomplishments started with "close to 20,000 students" at PPCC.

The community asked for new programs now in place to fill critical needs: construction technology, cybersecurity, certified dietary manager and a bachelor's of applied science in emergency services administration.

Programs being developed include a bachelor's in science in nursing and degrees for physical therapy assistants and for surgical technicians.

In the audience were Colorado Rep. Paul Lundeen, a sponsor of House Bill 1086, which would let community colleges offer the bachelor's in nursing degrees, and members of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.

Jim Johnson and the GE Johnson Construction Co. Community Foundation were singled out for funding a scholarship to train construction workers here and at rural community colleges. Skilled construction workers are in short supply, said Bolton and Johnson, and the building and construction degree includes such fundamentals as interior trim, carpentry basics, and introduction to construction and hand and power tools.

Bolton gave a shout-out to longtime PPCC President Maryjane Axtell Paulsen, under whose guidance the college's growth spurt began. Students were the stars of a video about their goals and studies: Alicia Stovall, construction; Kimberly Moon, nursing; and Angle Williams, who challenges her 4.0 GPA sons with her 4.0 GPA in auto tech studies.

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