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Established in 2018, the Rhodes State College Alumni Circle of Excellence recognizes Associate Degree graduates of Rhodes State College and Lima Technical College who are doing exceptional work in their career field, community and for the College.


Kenneth Blanchard, AAB, Business Managment– 1984 & Marketing - 1985     

Executive Director, Northwest Ohio Literacy Council

“Without [Ken’s] leadership, we would not be able to help individuals in our community at the lowest levels of literacy as well as individuals speaking English as a secondary language. His work directly impacts their ability to be productive members of our community and brings a rich blend of cultural diversity also. I could not think of a better representative of the values Rhodes instills within their students, and he is surely a shining example of the benefits a quality education can bring to our community.” – Robert Rose, Associate Director, Northwest Ohio Literacy Council

Kenneth started at Lima Technical College (LTC) as a 29-year-old factory worker with no prior college experience. LTC “made it possible for him to get a college career off to a good start both educationally and financially.” He finished two degrees at the College beginning with his Associate of Arts in Business Management in 1984 and then attained his Associate of Arts in Marketing in 1985. He continued on to complete his bachelor’s degree in Business from the University Findlay in 1988 and his Master of Arts in Adult Education from The Ohio State University in 1997. In 2006, he transitioned from the Ford Motor Company Lima Engine Plant to the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council, where he currently serves at Executive Director.

In 2014, Kenneth was named the State of Ohio Contributor of the Year in the Ohio Association of Adult & Continuing Education. He serves on the City of Lima Design Review Board and Historical Preservation Board, the Allen County Bike/Pedestrian Task Force, and has served as President of the Heart of Lima Neighborhood Association, as a member of the United Way, and an advisory member for Apollo Career Center.

Of his time at Lima Technical College, Kenneth said, “When I got my first job after my first associate’s degree, I clearly remember my boss telling me how impressed he was by two-year college graduates—that they were taught what was needed, not a lot of unnecessary classes. I still see that as a valuable role of community colleges, allowing students to quickly and affordably get a career off of the ground while supporting local business needs.


Cynthia S. Brandehoff, AAS Physical Therapist Assistant– 1996

Director of Clinical Education & Full-Time Faculty, Physical Therapist Assistant, Rhodes State College

“[Cindy brings] excellence to Rhodes State College, her profession and the community. The RSC PTA Program has benefited from her passion for student success. Students rank her highly and consider her an essential part of their becoming prepared to enter the workforce.” – Angie Heaton - Dean, Health Sciences & Public Service; Ann Best - Assistant Dean, Health Sciences & Public Service

Cindy daily shares her passion for the Physical Therapy profession with students as they begin their educational journey. Once asked, “What gets you up every day?” Cindy replied, “People who can’t.”

Cindy began her career in Physical Therapy after her graduation from the Rhodes State Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program as a full-time Physical Therapist Assistant at Northwest Physical Therapy. Shortly thereafter, she was sought as an adjunct instructor for the PTA Program and continued her journey with Rhodes. She was quickly promoted at Northwest Physical Therapy in Human Resources and Marketing because of her skills in these areas. In 2001, she joined Lima Technical College/Rhodes as full-time faculty and the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education. In 2003, she achieved her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from the University of Northwestern Ohio.

Of her time at Lima Technical College and now, Rhodes State, Cindy said, “When I began my career as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), I knew I would be helping individuals recover from physical injuries/deformities, surgeries, birth defects, and a plethora of other physical impairments. What I didn't expect to happen was that I would be teaching others how to help rehabilitate these same individuals. This opportunity provided by Rhodes State College, to become an educator in the very program I graduated from, would be life changing for me in so many other ways.”


Richard Kohli, AAS, Law Enforcement – 1989

Retired, Chair & Associate Professor, Criminal Justice, Rhodes State College/Lima Technical College

“[Rick] has an attitude of cooperation with all departments…throughout Allen County law enforcement. He has gone well beyond the call of duty on many occasions. He has continually taken additional training to build his skills, and, then, shares his knowledge.” – Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District Representative

Rick Kohli gave back to the profession that he loved by building into new generations of first responders, and he continues to give back to his community through his volunteer work.

Rick started his College career at age 28 and completed his Associate of Science in Law Enforcement degree at Lima Technical College in 1989. He continued to accrue additional certifications over the next decade from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, Michigan State University, and the State of Ohio Basic Corrections Academy. He began as a full-time Park Ranger for the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District in 1989, served with the American Township Police Department, moving through the ranks to Lieutenant, and was a Basic Police Academy Instructor. He went on at LTC to become an Adjunct Instructor and, finally, the Chair and Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice program.

Currently, Rick volunteers with the King George County Sheriff’s Office in King George, Virginia, helping with the annual firearms certification, serves at the Montross Food Pantry in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and helps at King George Elementary School.

Of his time with Lima Technical College/Rhodes State, Rick reflected that his degree opened up the right door at the right time to help him secure his first Park Ranger job. When he moved on to instructing other law enforcement officers, he said his duties afforded him “the opportunity to give back to the profession that I love. It also gives me the chance to pass on experience and insight gained from 16 years of service and from attending college at LTC. I enjoy providing new officers with training that not only will keep them safe, but assists them with a strong background in ethical conduct and decision making.”



Dr. Lori Ludwig, AAS, Nursing– 2002

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Rhodes State College

“I hold a respect for [Dr. Ludwig’s] desire to teach not only students but also fellow instructors, based on her education and life experience. I believe that Rhodes State College should be proud of her accomplishments as well as her continued contributions to Rhodes State College.” – Rene Huffman, RN, MSN, Nursing Instructor, Rhodes State College

Dr. Ludwig expressed that her experience at Rhodes State College prepared her “well to enter into the nursing profession with both feet planted solid on the ground.” She took her career from LPN on to a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, achieving her Associates of Science in Nursing at Rhodes State in 2002, her Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Nursing from Urbana University in 2009 & 2011, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Capella University in 2019. She has committed her career to serving in community colleges, leading at Upper Valley Career Center as the Director of Nursing, Clark State Community College as Nursing Faculty, Urbana University as Adjunct Nursing Faculty, and at Rhodes State College as Nursing Faculty.

Of her time at Rhodes State, Dr. Ludwig said, “My nursing career is without doubt due to the talents of my nursing instructors. Because of their dedication to seeing me succeed, I was able to successfully transition from LPN to RN to BSN to MSN, and finally earn a Doctorate degree in nursing. I feel that the experiences I received throughout my nursing education journey prepared me well to work with patients which resulted in positive outcomes. All of these experiences led me to my next journey of teaching. Teaching is a true passion for me and I enjoy sharing my skills and experiences with our future nurses in the classroom and in the clinical setting. Lastly, not only do I get to help students succeed in the classroom, but I also get the opportunity to increase student success outside the classroom by making visits to main campus and the Borra Center with my therapy dog Sam.”



Nicole R. Scott, AAB, Business Managment– 2012

Vice President, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce

“Nicole has contributed to much success in the Lima area since graduating from RSC. She is involved in many activities that help small business grow in our area through Chamber activities and beyond.” – Kathy Keller - Project Director, Rhodes State Small Business Development Center

Nicole has amplified community and economic development through collaboration with regional community leaders in order to enhance “livability” for all citizens and to assist in the development of Small Businesses. After achieving her Associates Degree in Business Management from Rhodes State in 2012, she went on to attain her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Franklin University in 2013. She has continued her lifelong education journey by completing the Certificate of Non-Profit Organized Management from the US Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organized Management.

Nicole began her career as the Director of Communications for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce in 2014, was named Vice President of Communications & Investor Relations in 2016, and was promoted to Vice President of the Chamber in 2018. In 2015, she was an Apollo Career Center Hall of Fame Inductee, has served as secretary of the Lima Noon Optimist Club, is an Advisory Board Member for Apollo Career Center-Multimedia Technology, the Board Secretary for Walter C Potts Entrepreneur Center, an Advisory Board Member for Rhodes State College-Marketing/Management/HR, and was a 2015 graduate of the Allen Lima Leadership program.

Of her time at Rhodes State, Nicole said, “Rhodes State College has impacted my life in a very positive manner by enhancing my knowledge in my field and allowing me to provide a better quality of life for my family. When I attended Rhodes State, I went through a lot of life changes including a divorce and was a single parent; Rhodes State College kept me focused and provided me with the confidence and courage I needed to achieve my personal goals. Rhodes also provided me with the education I needed to succeed through multiple economic changes in business world. The professors became my friends and mentors, providing me with the support I needed to achieve my degree and move forward.”

Circle of Excellence Archive

Award Year Alum Degree Graduation Year
2018 Daniel Fultz Technical Studies 1978
2018 Christine Joseph Nursing 1978
2018 J. Kathryn Lukey Nursing 1978
2018 Nancy Rhinock Law Enforcement 1994
2018 Nancy Shuffle Dental Hygiene 1995
2019 Jill Hay Dental Hygiene 1992
2019 Robert A. Shappell Radiographic Imaging 1980
2019 Russell L. Martin Law Enforcement 1978
2019 Benjamin B. Stobbe Nursing 1987
2020 Linda A. Dodge Respiratory Care 1999
2020 Aaron M. McLaurine Electrical Engineering Technology 1995
2020 Katy I. Murphy Human Service 2006
2020 Dr. Lee Anne Sorto Nursing 2008
2020 Tracy K. Smith Respiratory Care 1990
2021 Trina D. Carter Nursing 2013
2021 Robert M. Fischnich Quality Engineering Technology 1999
2021 Nicholas J. Pratt Nursing 2014
2022 Wes R. Barnt Radiologic Technolgoy 1985
2022 Joy D. Bischoff Nursing 1995
2022 Josette R. Brinkman Computer and Media Technology 1999
2022 Jennifer J. Truman Nursing 2017
2023 Kenneth J. Blanchard Business Management, Marketing 1984, 1985
2023 Cynthia S. Brandehoff Physical Therapist Assistant 1996
2023 Richard L. Kohli Law Enforcement 1989
2023 Dr. Lori A. Ludwig Nursing 2002
2023 Nicole R. Scott Business Management 2012