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Elizabeth Bible recollects on 50 years at PCC

27 March 2018

Elizabeth Bible began her journey at Pratt Community College as a student in the fall of 1954. She attended PCC until she graduated in 1956 with her Associate’s Degree in Art and Business. At the time, she had no idea she would dedicate the next 50 years as an employee of the college.

Bible was hired in July of 1956 as an assistant to the Dean of Pratt Community College, who at the time was also the high school principal. She served as the Administrative Assistant to the President until her first retirement in 2003. She then worked part time as an Associate Director until she retired again in 2006.
During her 50 years as an employee, Bible saw many changes throughout the college, such as the location of the campus itself.

“When I started working at PCC, the juniors and seniors in high school and the junior college were all in the same building,” said Bible. “We had a joint office. We were part of the public school system at that time.”

PCC and the public school system remained in the same building until the two entities separated and developed their own school boards. Bible recalls the moment they split, which was when the Kansas Community College Act was enforced. At that time, all of the community colleges in the state went under the State of Kansas’s Board of Education.

PCC had to move to a new location after the split.

“We moved to an old grade school building as an interim, which is where the parking lot just east of the middle school is. It has since been torn down,” said Bible.

While at the interim building, a bond issue for the new campus was passed, however not without trouble.

“They passed one bond issue, but there was a problem and there was a lawsuit brought,” said Bible. “We had to do it all over again.”

The second bond issued passed, and Bible recalls the current Benson Education Center being built in 1968. Since then, there has been a lot of changes to the current campus, including the addition of residence halls and new buildings.

Along with the move to the current campus, perhaps the biggest change Bible had witnessed through her time at PCC was the change in technology. When she first started, most of her work was done via manual typewriters and duplication machines. By the time she retired, computers and copy machines were the norm.

“I wouldn’t want to go back to doing tasks like we did with the old technology,” Bible said. “We were all eager to change as technology became more convenient to use.”

For the most part, she believes students throughout the years remained the same with their goals to better themselves by attending PCC. She does believe, however, that as the years went on, students began to mature much quicker. Students began to involve themselves in interests outside of their school and into the community.

“They do a lot of community service work we didn’t do back when I was in school,” said Bible. “I’m real proud of the young people today.”

The biggest monumental occurrence during Bible’s career was when the college obtained its dedication as a vocational school.

“In either 1984 or 1985, we went to Topeka and appeared before the Kansas State Board of Education,” said Bible. “There were two busses of people that went to testify and to support our cause. There were people from businesses and individuals in the community that went.”

Students carried petitions and took them back to their hometowns to have them signed.

“We had a huge stack of petitions and binders we took to Topeka, which was pretty impressive to the Kansas State Board of Education,” said Bible. “We were successful with that trip and everyone was really excited coming home.”

Perhaps what she remembers most though, is the support the community and the area has given the college through scholarships, the annual Foundation auction, the athletic department, and other activities throughout the years. She is also very fond of the faculty and staff she had worked with, some of which remain good friends today.

“I would not change anything about my years at PCC,” said Bible. “For the most part, it was a very good 50 years. I can honestly say I loved my job and I still miss it some days, but I am enjoying retirement, too!”

In 2002, Bible was presented with the Professional Board Staff Member Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Any board staff member, such as college or board secretaries in colleges governed by the ACCT, that showed exemplary service were eligible to receive the award. Nominees spanned across the nation making the award rather special to Bible and to the PCC board and staff at the time. When asked what made her successful in her position, she said that being informed and flexible are the main contributors.

Bible was an integral person in achieving the many triumphs and successes that make PCC the institution it is today. Pratt Community College would like to thank her for her time and effort in her 50 years of building futures.

September 6, 1938, Pratt Junior College opened its doors as the 14th junior college created in Kansas. Pratt “Juco” welcomed 150 new students to its original campus located on 401 S Hamilton St. Eighty years later, Pratt Community College, is proud to have helped build the futures of thousands of students on-campus, online, at our Winfield and Wichita learning centers and through high school concurrent enrollment.

The mission of Pratt Community College is maximum student learning, individual and workforce development, high quality instruction and service, and community enrichment. PCC is proud to be a part of the community in Pratt, Kansas. With more than 80 years of history, PCC remains humbled to serve our community and students who come to build a foundation for their lives.

This year we celebrate this grand anniversary and remember those who’ve walked through these halls. Each month during 2018 PCC is proud to feature stories and memories from alumnae, community members and faculty who have helped see our institution and mission grow. If you would like to share an experience or memory or be considered for one of our monthly features contact Jessica Sanko, 620-450-1292, jessicas@prattcc.edu.