Muskegon Community College will present its inaugural Alumni Achievement Award, an honor recognizing professional achievement by one of its graduates from the past 15 years, to Rudy Bartels, Class of 2007, for his significant accomplishments in the fields of geography and climatology.
Bartels will be honored on Monday, May 1, at the Alumni Awards Dinner on campus and will be formally recognized on Wednesday evening, May 3, at the 2017 MCC Commencement in Walker Arena.
“Our traditional Distinguished Alumni Award usually goes to an alumnus who is well established with numerous professional achievements in his or her career,” explained Julie Weller, who directs the college’s Alumni Relations program. “But there are recent graduates who are also accomplishing great things. To properly recognize them, the Alumni Association added the Alumni Achievement Award.”
Bartels’ successful climatology research has brought him grant study work at Western Michigan University, Louisiana State University, and the University of North Florida. He has also completed research for Homeland Security, as well as a stint at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Stennis, MS. He has presented his research at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C.
He is currently employed by Southern Regional Climate Center in its Climate Impacts Planning Program, and is teaching at Louisiana State University while pursuing a Ph.D in Geography and Climatology with a Doctoral Minor in Statistics.
His higher education journey started at MCC, where his interest in geography, meteorology, and climatology began with the encouragement and mentorship of his geography instructor Diana Casey. His passion translated into his becoming a founding member, secretary and treasurer of MCC’s GEO Club.
“Rudy is such a wonderful example of the beauty in developing relationships with classmates and faculty,” said Casey. “He has always come back to MCC. In his words, ‘MCC is where it all began.’ I am honored to have been one of his instructors. I treasure the friendship we have developed. Rudy Bartels has gone into the world always proud to give credit to his collegiate beginnings at MCC.”
The Bartels name is well known at MCC. His father, Rudy, attended MCC and his grandfather, also named Rudy Bartels, is one of the namesakes of the Bartels-Rode Gymnasium on the MCC campus. His grandfather was a legendary coach who led the Jayhawk cross country team to MCC’s first national championship in 1963.
“The support and encouragement from MCC has helped me achieve many of my accomplishments,” said Bartels, “and I am forever thankful of the education and support system that MCC has for its students.”