Late June brings many things to our community and its college campus: summer (most years!), Ironman, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre and many, many other wonderful events and memories. And this year, June brings my retirement as president of North Idaho College.
Words are simply not sufficient to describe the impact that NIC has had on my life. As I have slowly begun to prepare for this day (although I am not sure one is ever fully prepared), I am given to reflect on my time and how my life has been forever changed because of NIC.
I have met wonderful students who have overcome tremendous challenges just to arrive at our front door. They have, in many ways, done the impossible just because they have come to a point in their lives at which they realize that education will indeed positively and irrevocably change their lives. Single parents trying to find training so they can provide for their children, workers displaced because of the recession, young people who want to take the path of education, be it professional-technical or traditional, people who are nearing retirement or actually have retired and who realize part of life's joy is to be consistently and vigorously engaged in lifelong learning. All these groups and many others have combined to provide me with incredible experiences and opportunities to serve the college and our community as the president of North Idaho College.
I would be remiss if I did not spend some time reflecting on the wonderful staff, faculty and administration with whom I have had the privilege of working with over these last five and a half years. I have come to rely on people who have the utmost dedication, passion and focus when it comes to the mission of educating the communities we serve. These people spend countless hours, often at the expense of their own personal relationships with family, to ensure that the programs, classes and events that are offered at North Idaho College are the absolute highest caliber possible. I simply cannot offer enough thanks and appreciation to these professionals who truly are some of the best people you'd ever want to meet.
Finally, I'd like to thank you, the members of this community. I have had the opportunity to serve on various boards, commissions and task forces; all efforts that have made me a better person and given me insight to just what a special place North Idaho is to call home.
And I will continue to have the honor of calling North Idaho home. My husband, Jim, and I love living here and are looking forward to spending many wonderful summer nights on the lake and seeing beautiful winter moons on the fresh snow in winter.
It has been said that "Life begins at retirement." I would alter that oft used quote just a bit. For me, life began at North Idaho College and will continue right here in Coeur d'Alene.
Thank you to a wonderful board of trustees for having the faith and commitment to entrust me with the leadership of this wonderful place we call NIC. Thanks to the students, staff, faculty and administrators and most of all, thanks to you; the wonderful people of North Idaho. It truly has been my honor to live and work here at North Idaho College.
Priscilla Bell will retire as president of North Idaho College on June 30.