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OJC Press Release ID: 3131

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Otero College Awards Emeritus Status to Three Retirees


On Nov. 8, three retired Otero employees were awarded the status of Emeritus; Almabeth Kaess, Brenda Mueller, and Guy Randall. This is not a new concept for Otero, however, there is a new process for being inducted into this group of elite Otero retirees.

To be recognized as an Emeritus Status employee, retirees must meet the minimum criteria for years of service and have an exemplary employment record. Each employee must be nominated by their supervisor or a vice president of the college. The President’s Cabinet, made up of six people in leadership positions across campus, then vote to approve the nomination and make a recommendation to the president. The president then has the final say in the approval of the nominee.

Almabeth Kaess, retired Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, began at Otero in Aug. of 2001 as the Director of Marketing and Executive Assistant to the President. In 2008, she became the Director of Marketing and Development. During that same year, she reactivated the OJC Foundation that had gone dormant several years prior. She was a strong contributor to the grant writing processes on campus, helping Otero to obtain millions of dollars in grant funding. She also sponsored the formation of the Otero College Rodeo Team, serving as the head coach for their first full year. In 2011, Kaess became the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management. She was the communications director until 2012, writing, editing, and publishing all press releases. In addition, she created, edited, and revised the Otero Catalogue for many years. She was a member of the President’s Cabinet and a respected member of campus. This is all merely a scratch on the surface of what Kaess did for Otero in her 20-year tenure.

Brenda Mueller, Psychology Faculty, has been a faculty member at Otero since 2004. She started as a part-time, or adjunct instructor, and then transitioned to full-time status in 2013. During this time, Mueller built a reputation for being a student-centered instructor who constantly had her classes overflowing with students wanting to have her as a teacher. One of many accomplishments, was developing a new course called Positive Psychology that she shared with students and employees that was very well received. Although she officially retired in the spring of 2021, she did agree to continue teaching through the current fall semester to help transition her replacement into the position.

Guy Randall, retired Webmaster/Portal Administrator, retired in June of 2021 after dedicating 15 years to Otero. He began in 2006 as an independent contractor to manage the college’s website. Randall became a part-time employee in 2008 and transitioned to full-time in 2010. As Webmaster/Portal Administrator, he was the driving force for five website re-designs. Beginning in 2014, he worked for a year and a half to remove the old website and built a brand new one from scratch. It was built upon a content management system supported by software purchased with grant funding. In early 2020 he launched the current website design. Randall also tracked Google Analytics faithfully each month and used that data to tweak and upgrade areas of the website.

“I was delighted that we were able to recognize and celebrate the contributions of these three talented individuals.” President Alvarez said. “Sadly, Otero College is losing 52 years of institutional history that is impossible to replace. We are a better institution because of their commitment and dedication to making Otero College the best rural community college in Colorado. The old axiom holds true, “once a rattler, always a rattler.””

These three have had many professional and personal achievements throughout the years and they leave behind a legacy of hard work and dedication. We wish them luck in their retirement and thank them for a combined 52 years of service to the Otero College students, faculty, and staff.

Press Release Photo
Three employees were awarded Emeritus status at a luncheon on Nov. 8. Pictured are: Almabeth Kaess, retired Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, Timothy Alvarez, Otero President, and Guy Randall, retired Webmaster/Portal Administrator. Not pictured is Brenda Mueller, Psychology Faculty member, who was unable to attend.