WNC News & Notes: Houghton, Clemens, Granahan join WNC foundation

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The Western Nevada College Foundation welcomes three new members to the board that assists students and enhances the college through fundraising and advocacy.

Joining the board of directors are financial adviser Amy Clemens, economic development manager Lisa Granahan and strategic leader/attorney Darcy Houghton. They share a desire to further education at WNC, make higher education available to more students, and stimulate economic development through locally educated students.

Clemens came to Carson City from Michigan in 1996 and made the area her permanent home. She has worked in finance for nearly 20 years, the past seven as a financial adviser at Waddell & Reed Inc.

“I want to bring more participation from the community and have the college grow and become a bigger part of the community,” Clemens said.

Clemens also believes she can make a difference through fundraising.

“One of my passions is fundraising, and I’m looking forward to using that skill set to help the college,” she said.

As the economic vitality manager for Douglas County, Granahan believes she can assist the college in meeting the hiring needs of local businesses.

“I regularly work with local businesses that need high-quality trained employees. The topic of education comes up often, not only for business-hiring needs but also as a quality-of-life factor for those considering relocation,” said Granahan, who has worked for Douglas County since 2004. “I think my background working with local businesses is useful not only to better communicate all of the opportunities at WNC but to identify potential partnerships with business to further education.”

Ultimately, Granahan believes she can make a difference in supporting and improving the local economy.

“It is apparent to me that high-quality education is one of the essential elements necessary to make forward progress in economic development,” she said. “County government has no control over education, but we can be powerful partners in helping to shape its future. I look forward to working with the WNC Foundation Board to more closely align business needs with education opportunities.”

Attorney Darcy Houghton has been serving clients and businesses for more than 25 years. The vice president and client adviser in Whittier Trust’s Nevada office is partnering with the Western Nevada College Foundation to help make higher education available to more local students.

“I believe that higher education is a key component to creating opportunities for our youth and have advocated education as the highest priority for my own children,” Houghton said. “My goal at the foundation is primarily to serve its mission. Beyond that, I mean that higher education and the means to attain it becomes clearly within the grasp of every student who wants to attend college to obtain skills and credentials to become successful at work they will love.”

Houghton said that her two post-high school degrees have been invaluable to her career development.

“I understand how much work school is and at the same time completely value the opportunities that they have provided to me,” she said.

WNC’s board of directors has developed a strategic plan that aligns with the college’s goals and redirects fundraising efforts to support the long-term needs of the college, said WNC Foundation Director Katie Leao.

The board has identified four projects that it wants to emphasize for fundraising efforts to meet current student and academic needs: the Jump Start College High School Partnership Program; increasing the number of need-based scholarships provided to students; the STEM Scholar Program; and institutional sustainability for academic and operational support.

“These priorities are designed to impact the lives of every student who has aspirations to do more, learn more and ideally, give back more to his or her community,” Leao said. “It’s important for community members to realize what a valuable resource WNC is for them.”

“Whether it is job training or to transfer to a four-year school, we know that students can start here and go anywhere,” she said. “Quite simply, a college education is an investment in a student’s future, as well as the future of our community.”

The new members join a foundation that includes officers Sean Davison, chair; Niki Gladys, vice chair; Kelly Kite, secretary and treasurer; and Jed Block, immediate past chair; trustees Shelly Aldean, Jeff Brigger, Kathy Huber, Steve Lewis, Dorothy Ramsdell, Roger Williams and Stacy Woodbury; and emeritus trustees Virgil Getto and Harold Jacobsen.


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