Four named Outstanding Alumni

TRAVERSE CITY — Four diverse Northwestern Michigan College alumni were named winners of of the annual Outstanding Alumni award at the 2016 commencement ceremonies held April 30.

The award recognize alumni with significant professional achievements and/or exemplary leadership in the local or global community. The 2016 winners are:

  • Kory HansenKorvyn Hansen, 1985–1987: Hansen went on to earn a bachelor's in business administration from Western Michigan University. He began his career at the Grand Traverse Pavilions 24 years ago, rising to become CEO of one of the region's largest employers in 2008. He oversees an organization that provides services for more than 300 residents and 100 daily program participants. Also under his leadership and collaborative approach, Grand Traverse Pavilions has become a teaching facility for healthcare students from NMC.
  • Therese RenisTherese Renis, pre-engineering, 1977–1978: Renis went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, respectively. Since 2001 she has served as a nuclear safeguards engineer for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. Notably, she was a member of the IAEA's Nobel Peace Prize-winning team in 2005, a prize shared with IAEA director Mohamed El Baradei. In 2015 she was promoted to a directorship, reporting to the IAEA Deputy Director General.
  • Michelle WitkopMichelle Witkop, nursing class of 1977: After earning her associate degree in nursing, Witkop went on to earn multiple degrees, most recently her doctorate in Nursing Practice from Oakland University. In 2015 she was named by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as Nurse of the Year for transformational leadership, for her ground breaking research related to pain management in hemophilia patients. Witkop is the lead clinician in Munson Medical Center's Northern Regional Bleeding Disorder Center, the only facility of its kind in the United States that is medically managed by nurse practitioners.
  • Dean HobbsCapt. Dean Hobbs, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, 1976 (posthumously): Hobbs was senior captain of the car ferry SS Badger; senior trial master for the Marinette Marine Corporation, and assisted in the sea trials and delivery of many of its new vessels, including more than 25 U.S. Coast Guard cutters and U.S. Navy Littoral combat ships. Former GLMA superintendent John Tanner said Hobbs "probably helped the academy more than any other graduate," from taking cadets to breakfast to organizing cadet-instructor hockey games.

NMC established the Outstanding Alumni award in 1988. See a list of past recipients.

Release date: May 7, 2016

For more information:

Betsy Coffia
Director of Alumni Relations
231) 995-2825


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.