Outstanding Alumni Award

An outstanding alumnus is selected each spring from nominations we receive from the community. Each year's award recipient is honored at the annual President's Circle Reception.

We depend on nominations to learn about RCC graduates who deserve recognition for their work. The nomination form is located at the bottom of this page; please consider nominating any person in your life who has graduated from RCC and has gone on to give back to the community. 

Please contact the RCC Foundation for any questions about this award. We look forward to receiving nominations and learning more about the outstanding alumni of RCC!

Previous Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients:

  • 2019 Recipients: Eric & Amy Walport
  • 2018  Jennifer Harlow
  • 2017  Dan Petersen
  • 2016  Shana Ogle
  • 2015  Casey Shaw
  • 2014   Nadja B. Cech
  • 2013   Dave McKeen &  Flamur Vehapi
  • 2012   Christine Mallette
  • 2011   Rene McKenzie
  • 2010   Morgan George
  • 2009   Denise Olson
  • 2008   Joan Momsen

Rogue Community College has many alumni who have gone on from RCC to contribute greatly to their communities, professions, and even back to the college. The RCC Foundation is committed to honoring these RCC graduates and in 2008 began an annual award to celebrate our outstanding alumni.

The Outstanding Alumni Award is presented to an individual alum who exemplifies at least one of the two following criteria:

  • Has achieved success in their business, profession, or other vocational endeavors.
  • Has achieved success in their community, civic and/or volunteer activities through demonstrating significant contributions to the betterment of society through involvement in their community, public school systems, charitable organizations, and other humanitarian undertakings.

2020 Recipient: Colleen Padilla, Executive Director of SOREDI

Colleen Padilla Executive Director of SOREDI wins the Outstanding Alumni Award granted by RCCFoundation every yearWhere were you in 1999? While the world partied Prince-style and braced for Y2K, Colleen Padilla was graduating from RCC as Business Student of the Year. Now two decades later, she’s receiving another distinguished honor—the 2020 RCC Outstanding Alum Award, granted by the RCC Foundation.
As executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), Colleen is a champion for launching and growing prosperous businesses in Jackson and Josephine counties.
“As a native of Medford, Colleen’s love for Southern Oregon is demonstrated in everything she does, both on the job and on the trail,” said RCC President Cathy Kemper-Pelle. “RCC is proud to name Colleen Padilla as our Outstanding Alum of the year.”
“My RCC days seem so long ago but I remember the time vividly,” Colleen said. “I was married with three children and thinking how going back to school would be impossible. But I was able to get financial assistance—part grant, part loan—and I was so grateful. I remember crying on my couch when I got the letter.”
Colleen soon discovered RCC was the ideal environment to earn a degree while balancing family and other adult life pressures. “It’s a great locally based option that is flexible, relevant and forward thinking,” she said. “My experience led me to really understand my leanings and gifts toward management, human relations and administration.”
Colleen’s success in community college led her to Southern Oregon University, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in business. She now credits RCC for her long-standing vocation in economic development.
“I cannot underscore enough the value of an internship to open up the world of prospective careers,” Colleen said. In fall of 1998 she completed an RCC-required cooperative work experience program at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Medford, which at the time was located in the same facility as SOREDI. This led to an invitation to intern with the SBDC and SOREDI, where she was eventually offered a full-time job in 2001. After a series of promotions, Colleen has now been serving as head of SOREDI for four years.
Today Colleen directs a staff of six people serving 15 jurisdictions in two counties. SOREDI also operates a business loan program for gap financing with federal partner funds. The organization makes a daily impact on the economic growth of our region, and many local businesses and families have benefited from Colleen’s outstanding work.
“Through her work at SOREDI, Colleen has emerged as an exemplary leader committed to innovation, collaboration and broad engagement across our entire region, from O’Brien to Ashland,” said Kemper-Pelle. “She has dedicated her career to improving our region’s economic conditions.”
Colleen says the feeling is mutual.
“RCC is an engaged partner with our community—not competitive, but complementary,” Colleen said. “Leadership is phenomenal, and they are not content with status quo. Our region cannot afford to stay the same; they get it. I love that RCC is engaged with businesses—because that connection is paramount today and tomorrow.”
The Foundation will present the Outstanding Alum Award at RCC’s fall in-service and President’s Circle events in September. The college is proud to recognize Colleen Padilla as this year’s honored influencer within our community and beyond.

2021-Outstanding Alumni Award Nomination Form


About Us

The Rogue Community College Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to serve the needs of Rogue Community College and RCC students. The Foundation was created to receive and administer donations to:

  • Endowment funds
  • Scholarship funds
  • Special college projects
  • Fundraising

Contact Us

RCC Foundation
Rogue Community College
3345 Redwood Highway, Building H
Grants Pass, OR 97527
Fax: 541-471-3591
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© 2020 Rogue Community College Foundation