Making Western Nevada College the best educational experience possible for students brings pleasure to Rob and Dorothy Ramsdell. Over the past 15 years, the Carson City couple has been instrumental in improving programs, facilities, equipment and students’ educational opportunities at WNC.
Their generosity and support of WNC recently touched the college’s Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) Construction Management program when they made a lead gift of $100,000 for the an endowed faculty chair position.
“We want to do what we can for the community and the college in particular,” Rob said. “We’re real pleased to give the support we can give.”
Rob has been instrumental in the design and development of the college’s B-Tech program, providing valuable experience from his 30-year construction career, including 28 years with Peter Kiewit Sons Inc. in Omaha, Neb. A civil engineering degree from the University of Minnesota helped create professional opportunities for Rob, so he’d like to see WNC’s B-Tech program provide students with more career options.
“I’d like to see it develop into a viable degree program,” Rob said. “There is a niche for this kind of program for kids who don’t want to become civil engineers.”
The Ramsdells’ investment is the first of its kind at WNC and allows the college to solidify the program. With the generous contribution to the Construction Management program, WNC will be able to add a faculty position or consider guest faculty.
“The college can’t thank the Ramsdells enough for their very generous donation,” said WNC President Chester Burton. “As we put the budget challenges of the past several years behind us, we will look to our partners in the community as an avenue to assist in growing programs and student services that will provide dividends for everyone in the WNC service area.”
Since 1999, the Ramsdells have contributed their time, expertise and resources to the college. They have provided scholarships to students, reconstruction of the Child Development Center playground, continued development of Jack C. Davis Observatory, creation of the Veterans Resource Center and other institutional sustainability projects. The couple has also sponsored the WNC softball team and assisted in supporting the highly acclaimed “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” exhibition tour.
“My wife has been with the foundation board for 19 years and I’ve been involved with the search committee for construction technology, and we decided to put our money where mouths were to help do something about it,” Rob said.
WNC’s Bachelor of Technology degree program in construction management provides students the means to pursue a career as a construction manager or supervisor. After earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in construction project management (there have been nearly 60 students to do so in the past 10 years), students can enter the bachelor’s degree program, which launched in the fall of 2007. To date, 40 students have earned a Bachelor of Technology degree from WNC.
Having already played a part in WNC’s first baccalaureate degree program in construction management, Rob wants to see it prosper and grow well into the future.
“It could become not just a local Northern Nevada program, but it could become viable on a regional basis or more, but for now, it’s one step at a time,” he said.