NWTC President Rafn wins national 'Giving Back' award

Monday February 22, 2016
Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, has been nationally recognized for his commitment to helping all students and employees succeed and for encouraging the college community to serve community needs. Dr. Rafn has received the 2016 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Giving Back Award honors presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities who go above and beyond President Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, portrait in his officetheir everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. Dr. Rafn will be featured, along with 26 other recipients, in the April 2016 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 
Dr. Rafn was nominated by a team of NWTC employees and selected based on his outstanding demonstration of social responsibility, a commitment to charitable services, and involvement with students, faculty, and staff to serve underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and philanthropic achievements.
"Dr. Rafn ... brought to NWTC the certain knowledge that if we find a problem we are uniquely qualified to solve or an opportunity to benefit our community that we are uniquely positioned to act on, we have a responsibility to do so," staff wrote in his nomination. "He makes a difference, and he makes sure the rest of us do so as well."
INSIGHT Into Diversity judges selected Dr. Rafn because of his commitment to making the College more welcoming, accessible.
  • He led increases in access by expanding staff who solicit scholarship donations, supporting the creation of on-campus food pantry and second-hand career clothing shop for students, and creating a Financial Coaching office which has been recognized by Wisconsin's governor.
  • To support inclusion, he oversaw new strategic goals and measurements related to closing achievement gaps, hiring more diverse employees, and building pathways and partnerships with diverse high schools.
  • He encourages students and staff to provide community service by creating a college-wide Service-Learning program and giving employees professional development credit for service. He serves on more than a dozen nonprofit boards, advisory councils and committees at the local, state and national levels. Dr. Rafn also created new health care resources to help the region’s working poor by rallying hospitals and donors to create a public health and dental clinic on campus. 
"The Giving Back Award is being given to leaders of institutions of higher education who exemplify what it truly means to ‘give back’ to others," said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “These presidents and chancellors are role models, and we honor their efforts to give back to everyone on their campuses and in their communities.”
Other recipients of the 2016 Giving Back Award include: 
Stephen C. Ainlay, PhD, president, Union College in New York
Daniel M. Asquino, PhD, president, Mount Wachusett Community College
Eric J. Barron, PhD, president, Penn State University
Lee C. Bollinger, JD, president, Columbia University
David L. Boren, JD, president, University of Oklahoma
Robin E. Bowen, EdD, president, Arkansas Tech University
William W. Destler, PhD, president, Rochester Institute of Technology
John M. Dunn, EdD, president, Western Michigan University
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, EdD, president, DePaul University
Jackie Jenkins-Scott, PhD, president, Wheelock College
Vicki Hawsey Karolewics, EdD, president, Wallace State Community College–Hanceville
Linda Katehi, PhD, chancellor, University of California, Davis
Thomas L. Keon, PhD, chancellor, Purdue University Calumet
Harvey Kesselman, EdD, president, Stockton University
Leo M. Lambert, PhD, president, Elon University
Carolyn W. Meyers, PhD, president, Jackson State University
Jacqueline F. Moloney, EdD, chancellor, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Jere W. Morehead, JD, president, University of Georgia
Richard J. Pappas, EdD, president, Davenport University
Jay A. Perman, MD, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore
H. Jeffrey Rafn, PhD, president, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
John J. Rainone, EdD, president, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
Elizabeth “Beth” J. Stroble, PhD, president, Webster University
Jerry L. Steward, JD, president, Oklahoma City Community College
M. Roy Wilson, MD, president, Wayne State University
Terri L. Winfree, PhD, president, Prairie State College
Nicholas S. Zeppos, JD, chancellor, Vanderbilt University

A call for nominations for the award was announced in October 2015. Award recipients include presidents and chancellors of both community colleges and baccalaureate-granting institutions.
For more information about the 2016 Giving Back Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit

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