The Northeastern Junior College Alumni Association recognized two individuals who have contributed a great deal, both physically and fiscally, to the success of the college and the alumni association at Saturday’s Hoops Homecoming Awards Luncheon.
Honored with this year’s President’s Award were Dr. Bruce Perryman and Chip Steger.
Dr. Bruce Perryman
Perryman was born in Laramie, Wyo., and graduated high school from Washakie County High School, in Worland, Wyo., in May of 1957. He was selected for All-State Football, was All-Conference for football and was on the 1956 State Championship team for Wyoming.
He went on to the University of Wyoming on an NCAA football scholarship and a state teacher scholarship. While there, he received two Bachelor of Arts Degrees in 1965. One was in business administration, with a minor in foreign language and the other was for business and marketing education with a minor in physical education. He then received his Master’s Degree in 1966, also from the University of Wyoming in Business Management and Education. Then in 1993, he received his Doctorate in Leadership and Administration from Colorado State University.
Perryman was in the United States Air Force Security Service. His service took him to San Antonio, Texas, Syracuse, N.Y., Zweibrucken, Germany, and then back to San Antonio again to the Goodfellow Air Force Base. He was a voice intercept specialist with top secret security clearance. While serving he was awarded the Outstanding Lineman of the Year, he was the European Commander of the Air Force Honor Guard and was honorably discharged in 1962.
He married Sharon Lungren in 1958 and last year celebrated 63 years of marriage. They have two children Kimberly and Bruce, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Perryman has had various occupations over his years, some of them included owner/operator of BCPerryman ranch, president of Hibbing Tech College in Minnesota, dean of business for the Community College of Denver and president of NJC from 1995 – 2004.
While at NJC, some say that what he accomplished here during his tenure has never since, been duplicated by any one president. A very long and impressive list follows: In 1997 NJC entered the State System of Community Colleges; in 1998 the college had its grand opening of the NJC Event Center; the new residence hall, Guenzi-Read-Breidenbach (GRB) was completed; 75 acres for the ag farm was purchased; he clock tower was constructed in the center of campus; the greenhouse was constructed for the horticulture program; the men’s baseball program was added and the field constructed on the North Campus; the women’s softball program was added; NJC purchased the Landrum apartments across from campus, to renovate for the new parking lot; the Prairie Odyssey bronze sculpture was added in front of the event center; several tree sculptures on campus were relocated and restored; the Mr. NJC bronze sculpture of Jack Annan was added; NJC renamed and dedicated space housing the Sanderson Art collection for Peter Youngers and placed a bronze bust sculpture as the center-piece of that gallery; the Honors Program house was acquired; the Comprehensive Learning Center was established at the Monahan Library; NJC’sten-year accreditation was approved in 1999; the cafeteria had a one-million-dollar renovation; he added an NJC activity bus and upgraded technology infrastructure throughout campus; he hired two full-time support staff and added wireless connectivity to all five resident halls in the fall of 2003; and he upgraded the old Fireside Lounge to the Tennant Art Gallery.
Perryman said, “All of the above noted and said, I always believed that not any one person was doing the above work. We truly had a competent, passionate, pursuit of excellence team of staff both in the classroom and in support. Our Board of Trustees (later Advisory Council) was highly involved. The community supported NJC vividly… The compatibility among the leadership and the staff was one of my personal great appreciations. My time at NJC stands out way above the rest of my career and I will always have a very special place in my heart of the opportunity I had to be the president there.”
Over the years has Perryman has also donated of his time and effort to many different organizations. He has been a member of the Rotary International, serving as president of two different clubs. He was elected to the WCSD #1 School Board and was the president there. He has been involved with the Zion Lutheran Church Consistory, Cheyenne E-Free, Elder Board, and is a Literacy Coalition Board Member. He has been involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Public Utilities while in Worland.
Throughout Perryman’s stellar career he has also been awarded quite a few honors. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Outstanding Educator in America in 1974; NYLIC Top Club 1977 – 1978; Kellog Doctoral Fellowship at Texas Tech University in 1979; Who’s Who in Finance and Industry 21st edition; Who’s Who in American Education 1988; I/D/E/A Distinguished Educator 1988; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 1994; was chosen for the Leaders in Education publication fourth edition; received the 2004 NJC Alumni Association Service Award; and was in Who’s Who in the West 12th edition.
Perryman currently lives in Wyoming and enjoys fishing, hunting, camping, rustic log furniture making and traveling.
And in his spare time, he currently is working towards founding a Hillsdale College Barney Charter School, named Cheyenne Classical Academy in Cheyenne. It is a K-12 Model Charter School with a classical education emphasis, a nonpartisan public education school that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in education, instruction and curriculum. It is an outreach program of Hillsdale College devoted to the revitalization of public education. Through this initiative, they are promoting a model of education that is rooted in the arts and sciences and that offers a firm grounding in civic virtue and cultivates moral character.
He said that his development of Cheyenne Classical Academy has been energizing and exciting. And he and his seven-member board are hoping to launch this effort as soon as possible.
Perryman and his wife Sharon also continue to keep NJC in their philanthropic sights as well. They established the Bruce C. and Sharon L. Perryman NJC Presidential Emeritus Scholarship in 2004, which is awarded annually to an NJC student majoring in business education.
At Saturday’s luncheon, the Perryman’s presented the alumni association with a desktop bronze sculpture replica of the NJC Plainsman made by local artist Bradford Rhea. Early on in his presidency at NJC, Perryman commissioned Rhea to create the sculpture and it has since resided in his office for many years. They decided to donate the sculpture to NJC as a token of their continuing interest, support, and strong feelings of attachment to NJC as an institution of higher learning.
It will reside in the Heritage Center for now until a permanent home is decided on.
Upon accepting the award he had some words of advice for NJC’s new president, Mike White, “understand it’s the people that you have working for you that makes the difference, not only one individual,” adding that “all we cab do as president is try to make a difference.”
Steger grew up in Edgewater. While in high school he worked for the Denver Broncos and also the Minnesota Twins baseball team. He graduated from Jefferson County High School in 1967 and that same year he moved to Sterling to attend NJC.
Once Chip started NJC, his interest in sports led him to meet then Athletic Director Roy Edwards. After this meeting, Chip then became the basketball athletic trainer for NJC. The 1967 – 1968 basketball season was a good one for NJC, Steger can remember going to Nationals, hosted in Hutchinson, Kan., where the team placed fourth, and he vividly remembers Cliff Meeley from that year, who went on to play professional basketball in the NBA.
After NJC, Steger continued his career in training. In 1972 he went to work for the Texas Rangers and continued on with them through 1976. He traveled with the team to Spokane, Wash., Sacramento, Calif., as well as Tucson, Ariz., as a trainer for the Triple A Baseball program. He also was a trainer for the Denver Bears baseball team.
Then in 1977 Steger decided that he was going to change directions and go the entrepreneurial route. He started his 45-year career as an embroiderer and screen-printer. He owned and operated Steger Sportswear and Graphics. Along the way, he also decided that owning one business wasn’t enough, so he started another one, Steger’s Wood Fired Pizza and he remains the owner and operator of this local business.
Steger is also an alum that likes to give of his time and service. He served for ten years on the Sterling City Council, two of those as Sterling Mayor. He is currently on the Northeastern Revolving Loan Board and is a member of the NJC Foundation Board of Directors. He has been an active member of that board since 2017.
Continuing forward, combining his love of NJC and giving, Steger and his wife Kathy helped set up the Mendez Memorial Softball Scholarship to honor Ashley Mendez, an NJC student who passed away from cancer.
Steger is well known for being a hard worker, community leader, and family man. He and Kathy have two boys Joey and Michael. Steger keeps the NJC tradition running deep in his family tree, as Joey attended NJC and has followed in his father’s footsteps by funding a few scholarships of his own to NJC. And Steger will have a grandchild attending NJC next year as well.
Steger has contributed both physically and fiscally to NJC. If anyone has a conversation with him about NJC, it is always a positive one and he is constantly being an ambassador for Northeastern while he is out and about in the community.