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LSC-Tomball Student Named to Elite All-USA Community College Academic Team

TOMBALL, Texas – Lone Star College-Tomball student Charles Kivlehen has been selected to the elite 20-member All-USA Community College Academic Team and named as a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar as Texas’ top achieving community college student.

“The All-USA Academic Team and New Century Scholar awards are fiercely competitive,” said Kivlehen, who was one of only 20 students out of a field of 1,800 nominees named to the All-USA Academic Team. “The judges were asked to select the finest handful of students from a group of scholars who are defined by servant leadership, academic rigor, like-minded camaraderie, and commitment to excellence in all endeavors. Being chosen as a recipient is a tremendous honor and an acknowledgement of our accomplishments, but it is also a humbling call to live up to the confidence that has been shown in our potential.”

The All-USA Community College Academic Team and the Coca-Cola New Century Scholar program utilizes an independent panel of judges from foundations, national organizations, and colleges to select community college students who have demonstrated leadership and initiative in service learning, and have contributed to scholarly research, with lasting contributions to their colleges and communities.

Kivlehen, 31, will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a commemorative medallion. Additionally, as the highest-scoring student in Texas, his selection as a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar, carries with it an additional $2,000 scholarship. Kivlehen will be recognized during the American Association of Community Colleges National Convention in New Orleans on April 24.

Kivlehen noted that the recognition he is now receiving speaks volumes to the excellent program LSC-Tomball provides. He described his college experience as "a mountain worth climbing because it has been a long, hard, and strange path to get here, but it has been one of the most worthwhile endeavors of my life.”

Crediting his internal motivation as the biggest contributing factor to his academic success, Kivlehen believes that motivation is also the biggest factor for anyone's success, academic or otherwise.

“External factors will always be waiting to create challenges that we cannot prepare for, but if something is important enough, you can only be delayed not stopped,” Kivlehen stressed, before adding, “For myself, I want nothing so much as to be the man my wife and daughter believe me to be. That is what helped me persevere through all of the obstacles and hard work required to achieve my goals so far. My advice to other students is to decide what kind of person you want to become, and don't stop until you are.”

LSC-President Dr. Lee Ann Nutt, who will be standing by his side when he is recognized in New Orleans later this month, said, “We are so proud of Charles and his many accomplishments. To be recognized as a member of 2017 All-USA Community College Academic Team is a fitting and well-deserved recognition for his determination, perseverance and GRIT!”  

LSC-Tomball English Professor Dr. Rebecca Tate, Kivlehen’s mentor and former Phi Theta Kappa advisor, added, “I am so proud of Charles, but I am not surprised that he has been selected for these prestigious scholarships that focus on meaningful leadership and academic excellence. Charles’s leadership style is always collaborative; he leads by mentoring and empowering others, which effectively allows him to marshal a variety of groups to effect outstanding outcomes.”

Tate went on to add that she believes, “Charles represents the best kind of LSC-Tomball student in that he handled a multitude of pressures and obstacles with grace, focus, and maturity while still producing progress in his own life, developing his own academic interests, and extending a helping hand to others.”

LSC-Tomball Biology department chair Dr. Bill Simcik, Kivlehen’s former biology professor, noted that, “Charles is an amazing scholar, and his leadership is a by-product of his intellect, his desire to understand the world, and his ability to foster meaningful debate—on almost any subject. He is one of the strongest students I have ever taught because of his active interest in the world around him. As a result, he has incredible breadth and depth of knowledge that he brings to any endeavor.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for two-year colleges. Kivlehen, who as chapter president, led the 2015-2016 LSC-Tomball Phi Theta Kappa officer team that won 25 international, regional, district, and college awards, including being named the Most Distinguished Chapter in 2016 - out of 1,265 PTK chapters internationally - said LSC-Tomball provided an exceptional framework for his academic success.

“I benefited at many important junctures from the guidance and direction of faculty, administration, and staff members who were deeply committed to seeing me succeed,” Kivlehen stressed. “Mentors like my Phi Theta Kappa Advisors, Dr. Rebecca Tate and Dr. William Simcik, were particularly impactful in pushing me to strive for higher levels of performance as a student, a leader, and as a person. Their contributions to my success cannot be overestimated.”

Kivlehen plans to attend Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind., to complete his bachelor’s degree. He then plans to enroll into the school’s joint JD/MBA business law graduate program at the Kelley School of Business and the Maurer School of Law.

Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 35000 Tomball Parkway, at the intersection of SH 249 and Zion Road. For more information about the college, call 281.351.3300 or visit LoneStar.edu/Tomball.