Northeast Community College has honored five individuals for career success and achievement following graduation from the institution, as well as for distinguished service to the College.
Major Wendi Sazama, originally from Bloomfield, Jeffrey Temme, Petersburg, and Shane Weidner, Madison, were inducted into Northeast’s Hall of Success during a reception and ceremony recently at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus. The Hall of Success is awarded to individuals for achieving significant professional success, exhibiting exemplary citizenship qualities or making significant contributions to their communities and/or community affairs.
Awards were presented by Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast, and Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs.
Temme graduated from Northeast Community College, then Northeast Nebraska Technical Community College, in 1974 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He began his career as a teacher and coach, serving for a combined nine years at Campbell and St. Edward public schools. He then worked for over 20 years as a sales associate for Pioneer Hi-Bred International.
Since 1980, Temme has been self-employed in agri-business and currently serves as a sales associate with Century 21 Real Estate Professionals in Norfolk. He is also a past participant in the Nebraska LEAD program - a program founded 35 years ago to develop agricultural leaders from Nebraska’s future generations.
In 2007, Temme organized the first Petersburg “Punkin Chunkin” Celebration, which went on to win Outstanding Event for a small community honors at the Nebraska Travel Industry awards. The event is now in its ninth year.
A longtime member of the Nebraska Auctioneers Association and the National Auctioneers Association, Temme has used his talent as an auctioneer and master of ceremonies at many charity and community events. He also sings and plays guitar at funerals, weddings and nursing homes throughout northeast Nebraska.
Additionally, Temme has served on a wind farm coalition that led to the Nebraska Public Power Purchase Agreement that brought 98 wind turbines to the Petersburg area.
In his nomination letter, J. Paul McIntosh, who served on the College’s Board of Governors for 20 years and is currently a member of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board, said Temme’s contributions have been diverse and impactful.
“Jeff Temme’s resume is a microcosm of the broad spectrum of interests and activities in which he continues to be involved. Using his natural ‘sales’ ability and taking advantage of many special classes at (Northeast), Mr. Temme has been a leader in 4-H, athletics, numerous civic, church and community events, entertainment and other volunteer work, as well as leadership roles in his various professions, notably auctioneering and wind generation,” McIntosh said. “Jeff has consistently demonstrated his enthusiasm, energy and commitment to enhance and improve the many groups and organizations of which he is a part.”
In accepting his Hall of Success recognition, Temme said that when he first came to Northeast, he was “a farm kid not knowing what to do.”
“I was immediately treated like a student, and I knew that I was at the right place. The hours transferred, it was affordable, and I was on my way. Forty-five years later, I’m here, and I’m so honored and humbled to receive this award.”
Temme credited his family’s support with his success, including his mother, Joyce, who passed away earlier this year. “We didn’t have a whole bunch, but she said, ‘When you go out, make sure your clothes are clean, even if they’re patched, and get your studies.’”
He also gave special credit to his brother, James, a professor of radiology at University of Nebraska Medical Center and Vietnam veteran who was the first in the Temme family to graduate college.
Temme and his wife, Jan, have one son, Jared, and his wife, Leslee, as well as three daughters, Joelle Feeney and her husband, Jimmy, of Petersburg, Jenna Temme, of Chicago, and Julia Temme, of Omaha, and six grandchildren.
Also at the ceremony, retired member of the Northeast Board of Governors and current member of the Northeast Foundation Board of Directors, Larry Poessnecker, Atkinson, was presented with the Northeast Community College Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated active service to higher education and who have played a significant role in the development of Northeast Community College.