PAGE, Ariz. - Val Gleave was on the Page City Council when officials from Coconino Community College first came to a council meeting to ask about the city donating some land.
That donation of land is where CCC's Page campus now resides.
"I was always a big supporter of the college," Gleave said recently. After she was off the city council, Gleave, a long-time resident of Page, decided to run for the CCC District Governing Board and won.
Sixteen years later, Gleave is retiring from the College's board at the end of the year. She was honored Sept. 25 at the District Governing Board's meeting in Page.
"As a board member, Val has been invaluable to CCC," said Patrick Hurley, the current CCC District Governing Board Chairman. "Her dedication to her community and CCC is unmatched. She is one of our strongest advocates for higher learning and accessible, affordable education."
The road to watching the college grow wasn't always easy. In November 1997, CCC held a bond election to build the Lone Tree campus and bring distance learning to the more remote parts of Coconino County, including finishing the Page campus. The controversial issue narrowly passed by 53 votes. A few months later, county residents tried to get several board members recalled, included Gleave.
"Two board members resigned, while three of us decided to stay and we were re-elected," Gleave said.
She was re-elected two additional times, starting in 2000, for a six-year term each time. Gleave said she's enjoyed watching the college and especially Page, grow into its own over the years.
"In Page, we're in such a remote area and a community college is the gateway to go on and get a four-year degree," Gleave said. "I attended community college before my bachelor's degree. I understood how important it is to have an affordable education option."
The Page campus has also served the business community, she said. Gleave and her husband recently sold their insurance company that they ran for almost three decades.
"For myself as a business person, I would go to the college to get additional skills for my employees," she said. Many times, she would call a professor and ask if he or she could recommend someone with certain skills.
"The College serves as a great opportunity to access people and help the community as a whole," she said.
Gleave was also on the board when the College hired its last two presidents, including current President Dr. Leah L. Bornstein.
"Watching Dr. Bornstein and her whole collaborative effort with Northern Arizona University has been great," she said. "I'm really proud to be part of watching that process take place."
Now with retirement, Gleave said she looks forward to handing over the reins on her board seat to Lloyd Hammonds, who retires as the Page campus dean in October.
"He is going to be a new board member as of Jan. 1," Gleave said. "He can walk in and understand the funding issues. That's going to be exciting to watch him. Page will be so well represented."