Alumni Plaza the center of the Dowagiac campus


Susan Coulston

Susan B. Coulston

Coulston on Dr. Mary D. Young Marcks

Susan Coulston talks about Dr. Mary D. Young-Marcks' record run of 40 1/2 years on the SMC faculty

Dr. Joe talks about his CFO, Susan Coulston

President Dr. Joe Odenwald talks about Susan Coulston's time with SMC since 2013

SMC salutes 50 at Retirement and Recognition Breakfast

Published on May 9, 2024 - 3 p.m.

In addition to Dr. Mary D. Young-Marcks’ record 40 ½ years on Southwestern Michigan College’s faculty, the retirements of Susan B. Coulston, Ron Tyler and Dave Layman were celebrated May 3 at the Employee Retirement and Recognition Breakfast  in Mathews Conference Center East.

Coulston, Senior Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, was given a personalized sendoff as a cabinet member by President Dr. Joe Odenwald.

“Over the past 13 years, Susan has provided sound fiscal oversight and vision for the college. CFOs in general, and Susan in particular, have a lot of responsibility. A $25 million budget is complex. Susan knows ours backward and forward. She can tell you what we paid for carpet cleaning in the foyer of the Lyons Building in the spring of 2013.”

“CFOs have to be competent, and it isn’t a given. Businesses large and small close every day because they can’t balance the budget. Colleges are no different. Closures we’re seeing didn’t materialize overnight. Susan leaves the college with better bond ratings than when she assumed her position.”

“CFOs have to have courage,” Odenwald added. “It’s hard to tell CEOs that one can’t afford to do A or B much less A and B. Susan has never lacked courage, personally or professionally.”

Layman retired from Building and Grounds in March after being initially hired by the college in 2017. Known for excellent mechanical skills, in retirement he helps on a family farm.

Tyler joined Building and Grounds in 1990 and worked at SMC for 33 years, excelling at painting offices.


Service awards

Mary Young-Marcks, professor, political science, 40 years.

Anthony Walker, Buildings and Grounds, 20 years.

Danielle Lucas, financial aid systems analyst, 20 years.

Michelle Gibson, Testing Center coordinator, 20 years.

Colleen Welsch, Director of Library Services, 15 years.

Yolanda Roche, professor, nursing, 15 years.

Michelle Orlaske, Director of Marketing, 15 years.

Stephanie Lyons, senior staff accountant. 15 years.

Kathie Gries, academic advising director, 15 years.

Jeffrey Dennis, professor, history, 15 years.

Lori Collins, financial aid coordinator, 15 years.

Brent Brewer, special assistant for strategic initiatives, 15 years.

Julie Zabriskie, professor, health services, 10 years.

Jeffrey Robson, professor, automotive, 10 years.

Donald Ricker, professor, criminal justice, 10 years.

Mark Pelfrey, professor, math, 10 years.

Katie Hannah, Vice President of Student Experience, 10 years.

John Eby, senior writer/media relations coordinator, 10 years.

Rachel Breden, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) administrator, 10 years.

Tyler Young, technical event coordinator, five years.

Andrew Wright, staff accountant, five years.

Keely Williamson, library assistant, five years.

  1. Angie West, library assistant, five years.

Mckechney Valeris, Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

Kyle Schrock, associate professor, automotive, five years.

Malisa Roberts, Niles coordinator, academic advisor, five years.

Megan Kupres, workforce development manager, five years.

Courtney Hemenway, First-Year Experience manager, five years.

Bethani Eichel, Educational Talent Search director, five years.

Stacey Dwyer, associate professor, nursing, five years.

Danny Cunningham, Student Activity Center supervisor, five years.

Ranee Conley, associate professor, early childhood, five years.

Steven Carlson, Registrar/Director of Records, five years.

Brad Bundy, financial aid coordinator, five years.

“We are blessed to have an incredible amount of longevity as an institution,” Odenwald said. “A tremendous amount of knowledge goes along with that.”


Professional development

Provost Dr. David Fleming highlighted faculty and staff achievements:

  • China Bendiner, COMPTIA Security + Certification.
  • Ben Evans, FITGMR Coach Development Program Certification.
  • Adam Frye, COMPTIA Cloud+ and A+ Certification and a bachelor’s degree in computer information technology from Ferris State University.
  • Mollie Grabemeyer, bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University.
  • Gatlin Holden, COMPTIA Network+ Certification.
  • Jeff Hooks, Ed.D. in community college leadership from Ferris State University.
  • Nicole Lehman, SHRM-CP Certification.
  • Branden Pompey, elected vice president of the Student Life Association.
  • Don Ricker, Ed.D. in higher education leadership and administration from Maryville University.
  • John Eby, Michelle Orlaske, Nancy Selvidge and Nina Welding, Gold Collegiate Advertising Award, college Viewbook; Silver Collegiate Advertising Award, billboard design; and Silver Collegiate Advertising Award, cost postcard.

Senior Vice President for Business and CFO Susan Coulston, Vice President of Student Experience Katie Hannah and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Mike O’Brien introduced service award recipients.

Director of Human Resources Kristin Reynolds made welcoming remarks.

“(SMC’s 57th Commencement May 4) is the ultimate conclusion to all of the work this year,” Odenwald said. “Graduating our students is why we do this.”