Thursday night Dr. Becky Paneitz will watch as students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Since Paneitz became president in 2003 she has seen students walk through the door with a lost look but leave with determination.
“You can see that confidence that the achievements that they've made. Single moms, working full-time, going to school, veterans who are coming out wanting to get skills so they can get back into the workforce,” says Dr. Paneitz. “The young kids that come out of high school and weren't quite sure what they were going to do and they end up here and realize that they’re prepared to go on to a four year institution. so, I will know many students that will across the stage tomorrow night.”
And as the students leave for the final time she realizes she has helped them achieve their goals.
“To know that the impact that this institution has had on these individuals lives and that I in a small part have also done that, that`s why I do what I do.”
Dr. Paneitz will retire from Northwest Arkansas Community College after ten years.
When she arrived in 2003, she was asked how long it would take her to develop programs, and increase the enrollment.
“I think that I could do this in ten years and move the college in the direction that they wanted to move and then be finished and it will be ten years,” adds Dr. Paneitz.
On her watch as President, she has established a National Child Protection Training Center.
“So if whether you're an police officer, nurse, a teacher, judicial, or someone going into those disciplines that are going to deal with child abuse we have a training center that provides training and education."
A center that will be one of four in the country addressing child abuse in which she says a project that is dear to her heart.
“Every day there is an incident of child abuse and we`ve got to do a better job of identifying it, investigating it and that`s what that center will do.”
But she isn't stopping there.
“A center for health professions, we have outstanding health programs, it will be finished we hope by November and that will allow us to expand our nursing and other health related programs to meet the workforce needs," explains Dr. Paneitz.
When she came to here she says not only did she have goal for the college but personal goals as well.
“The goal of making NWACC a dynamic player in this community, changing lives, thousands and thousands of lives there's nothing more meaningful than that to me,” says Dr. Paneitz.
The commencement ceremony will be Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Graduation for nursing students will have their pinning ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville on Saturday.