Bob and Elaine Pile were honored with the Western Nebraska Community College Friend of the College award.
The couple were presented the award at WNCC’s 86th Annual Commencement on May 12.
The Friend of the College award, which is the highest honor given by WNCC, is presented to a person, couple, business, or community organization for their commitment to education and fulfilling the WNCC mission of “Fostering learning opportunities for all – enriching lives, invigorating communities, and creating futures.”
“We are truly humbled to receive the award and were very surprised to be named the recipients,” Elaine said. “Each time we look at (the trophy), we are reminded of our time there as students, and the friends we have made through the years because of our affiliation with the College.
“Most importantly, though, we think about the impact our education from NWC (Nebraska Western College), now WNCC, had on our lives, and the impact WNCC is making on the lives of so many in our communities.”
Both Cougar alumni, Bob and Elaine — who actually met in “The Pit” commons area in 1969 — found not only each other, but also a lifetime bond to their beloved college. Year after year, Bob and Elaine can be found at numerous activities including performing arts events, directing runners along the Monument Marathon course, and cheering at Cougar athletic events.
“The list goes on,” Elaine said.
Elaine is a founding member of the WNCC Alumni Committee with a passion for documenting and honoring the 90-year history of WNCC. She helps with everything from event decoration to actively sharing Alumni Association posts on social media.
Elaine was also a member of the WNCC Works Comprehensive Campaign Committee and recently joined the WNCC Foundation board of directors. The Foundation staff considers her an honorary staff member.
After working at Panhandle Cooperative Association for more than 40 years, Bob recently retired as the company’s CEO. Panhandle Cooperative generously recognized the extraordinary contributions of Bob’s tenure with a scholarship established in his name for Applied Agriculture students at WNCC, a program that Bob and Elaine both strongly advocated for due to their agricultural ties. Bob also provided important feedback as an industry partner that was important to the development of this new program.
Bob and Elaine’s deep ties to WNCC drive their unrivaled advocacy for the growth of the College, ongoing support of students and alumni, and connection to local workforce needs, especially in the agricultural field.
“There are so many people in our communities who are friends of the College,” Elaine said. “The Friend of the College award, represented by the beautiful cougar statue, really means a lot to us, and holds a very special place in our home.”
For more information on WNCC’s Friend of the College award, contact Jennifer Sibal, WNCC alumni relations director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.