News & Notes

Western Nevada College fundraiser captures spirit of 1920s

The Western Nevada College Foundation’s Board of Directors and WNC officials celebrate the sixth annual Reach for the Stars Gala on Aug. 12.

The Western Nevada College Foundation’s Board of Directors and WNC officials celebrate the sixth annual Reach for the Stars Gala on Aug. 12.

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If you had wandered into Joe Dini Library at Western Nevada College on Aug. 12, you might have thought you were time traveling to the 1920s.

Women were dressed in flapper dresses, wearing long strings of pearls and feathers adorned their heads. Men wore vests, bow ties, suspenders and tweed and fedora hats.

It wasn’t a Great Gatsby party, but it could have been.

Instead, it was the sixth annual Reach for the Stars Gala, with attendees enthusiastically celebrating the 20th anniversary of WNC’s Jack C. Davis Observatory by embracing a Roaring ‘20s theme. WNC Foundation’s chief fundraiser of the year raised a record $185,350 and netted $131,902 through the generosity of 321 attendees, event sponsors and donors.

WNC Foundation works closely with the business community to invest in education, raising critical funds to meet the ever-changing needs of the students and improve campus facilities and programs.

“It was an incredible night for our college to have so many community members on campus in support of WNC and our students,” said WNC President J. Kyle Dalpe. “We are grateful to the WNC Foundation Board of Directors, Foundation staff and college staff for their work on this important fundraiser.”

“We enjoyed the enthusiasm and spirit that our guests brought to the event. We are particularly grateful for their generosity. Their kindness will make a significant difference in our students’ lives and provide them with the support necessary to make contributions to our communities in the future," said Niki Gladys, Executive Director of the WNC Foundation.

Gladys said that the memorable night wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, as well as Southwest Gas, JOIN Inc., Metcalf Builders, Quick Space, Briggs Electric, Gilbane, Greater Nevada Credit Union, America First Credit Union, Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services, CF Classic Finishes, Chase, United Federal Credit Union, Carson Tahoe Health, A Catered Affair, Rice St. Events and Baker Auction.

Attendees enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a catered dinner by Chef John Hurzel, gifts, psychic readings, tarot cards, live and silent auctions, dancing and stargazing.

To view a photo gallery from the event, visit

To learn more about opportunities to support WNC and WNC students, phone 775-445-3240 or visit

CDC earns 6th straight honor

For the sixth straight year the Child Development Center at Western Nevada College has been voted by community members as the Nevada Appeal’s Best Child/Day Care Provider.

Explaining why the CDC has been able to stay on top as the best child/day care provider in Carson City comes down to teamwork and dedication.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized as the Best of Carson City for the sixth straight year!” said CDC Director Anna Lisa Acosta-Rogers, who has been the director of the CDC since June 2017. “The reason we are able to consistently provide high quality care to the children and families we serve is the phenomenal commitment and dedication from our whole team. We take great pride in serving our college, our community, our children and our families.”

Acosta-Rogers and her team of child care providers are regularly responsible for the safety and the education foundation of 90 children.

The CDC and WNC Foundation are in the process of fundraising for new playground equipment to replace existing resources that have become outdated and worn out. To donate, visit

“We use our classrooms and outdoor environment as additional educational resources. By upgrading our outdoor playground, the hope is that children will have additional spaces to play and we learn through play,” Acosta-Rogers said.

For a complete list of Best of Carson City winners, visit

Celebrating the Child Development Center’s sixth straight Best of Carson City honor are staff members Frankie Quintana, Joyce Stroup, Sally Morgan, Linda Jacobsen (administrative assistant), Anna Lisa Acosta-Rogers (director), Ariel Kleidosty, Adrienne Keith, Debie Warnar and Asyah Williams.


Continuing Ed seeks proposals for creative classes

Do you have skills or knowledge that the Carson City community needs? A niche area of expertise that isn’t currently being taught in the area? An idea that will get people excited to learn? Are you a real-life influencer who always has folks telling you, “You should teach a class!”?

Then we’re looking for you!

The Continuing Education Department at Western Nevada College is seeking proposals for Community Education courses from January through June 2024. We’re looking for folks who can help the program meet the needs of our community for skills and knowledge in a way that inspires learning. The program loves creative ideas — maybe you can teach a Bob Ross style watercolor class, or you have the key to surviving the zombie apocalypse, or maybe you really do know how to do underwater basket weaving. Whatever is it, if you’re ready to share it with the community, Continuing Ed wants to hear from you!

What’s in it for you? WNC Continuing Ed provides you with space on the college’s beautiful campus (including state-of-the-art teaching tech), handles the logistics of getting people registered for the course, shares your course with our network, and provides support in refining your class so Continuing Ed can be sure that you deliver a great product. (And yes, you are paid!)

What’s in it for the Continuing Education program? Continuing Ed gets to include the very best our community has to offer —  you — in providing innovative educational pathways for the students and communities of Nevada!

To learn more about what WNC Continuing Ed looking for, visit, call (775) 445- 4210, or email Proposals are due on Oct. 2.

Employees of the year announced

As is tradition at Western Nevada College, the new academic year begins with a Welcome Back Convocation to rally employees before students return for fall semester.

Dalpe led a kickoff to fall semester Aug. 23, providing college updates, recognizing outstanding employees, celebrating college accomplishments, welcoming new employees and outlining strategic planning for the 2023-24 academic year.

The gathering of faculty and staff was an opportunity to acknowledge three award-winning employees, as well as recognize Facilities as the President’s Team Award winner. Receiving the 2023 employee of the year awards were Desirae Blunt-Lamkey, Classified Rachelle Bassen, Faculty; and Heather Rikalo, Administrative Faculty.

Professor Rachelle Bassen, who became a tenured faculty member in 2021, has been a biology instructor at WNC since 2017. She completed both of her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology at New Mexico State University. Bassen enjoys helping students succeed and prepare for their varied professional careers.

“Teaching at WNC is a special opportunity because I have the flexibility of being creative and innovative in helping students succeed in STEM classes as they prepare for their dream careers,” Bassen said. “I also value the amount of growth I've experienced as an educator in the last six years because of all the support I get from WNC faculty and staff. I strive to make a positive difference for both students and colleagues, and this award was a great encouragement that I am on the right track.”

For the new academic year, Bassen has assumed the role of faculty senate chair.

Rikalo has been at WNC for more than nine years and became one of few employees to receive the award in different employee classifications. She won the Classified Employee of the Year Award in 2017.

During the past decade, Rikalo has worn many hats at WNC. She has made a tremendous impact with students as the Student Life coordinator and Associated Students of Western Nevada (student government) adviser since 2019. Her mission of late has been to transform the Student Center into a more engaging and welcoming venue for students. In addition, she has grown ASWN and made it more of presence on campus.

“The transformation of the Student Center, ASWN, and Student Life over the past couple of years has been a labor of love for me. Seeing the positive impact these changes have had on our students and the overall campus community fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction and pride,” she said. “This award serves as a reminder that hard work and dedication can truly make a difference, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the growth and improvement of our institution.”

Rikalo thanked the Administrative Faculty Employee of the Year Committee for selecting her for the award and for the college community for its contributions in strengthening the student experience at WNC.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award, and it means a great deal to me,” she said. “I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported and collaborated with me throughout this journey. None of this would have been possible without the incredible teamwork and shared commitment to enhancing the student experience. I look forward to continuing our efforts to create an even more vibrant and engaging campus environment in the future.”

Blunt-Lamkey’s accolades as a WNC student have continued into her professional career. The administrative assistant on the Fallon campus was recognized as the Student Worker of the Year in 2019. As a mother of three, Blunt-Lamkey graduated from WNC with a Bachelor’s degree in Organization and Project Management last spring. Previously, she earned her GED and associate degree from WNC.

"I am grateful to be recognized as Classified Employee of the Year, especially when we have so many amazing Classified employees that work hard every day to help WNC students be successful,” Blunt-Lamkey said.

Facilities received the President’s Team Award for their crucial efforts in removing snow and keeping the campus safe for students, faculty and staff during the harsh winter of 2022-23.

Facilities employees include Deborah Alves, Steve Aurand, Allison DeCampos, Margaret Densford, Anjolie Fajayan, Christopher Fillmore, Linda Gasaway, Robert Martinez, Christopher Meitzner, James Muchmore, Jesse Pacheco, Alex Quintero, Rodney Ricks and Daniel Smith.


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