Antelope Intros: Michael Kolle and Nedra Clark
Job title: University counselor, Military Division
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? Purple — just kidding. I was attracted to the opportunity to work with students. When I retired from the military without a degree and had to compete in the civilian job market, that experience was a major eye opener. I believe that our military — active, guard, reserve, veterans and retirees — have such a wealth of experience, and they possess all of the intangibles to be successful leaders in our civilian workforce and within corporate America. I really do not want them to leave the service and then struggle to find employment. Even though I was placed in charge of more than $36 million worth of ammunition accounts at the age of 24 and retired at the age of 38, even though I had been in charge of an entire Army recruiting company that tasked me with leading nine different recruiting centers covering over half of Arizona with almost 60 soldiers, I struggled to find employment.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I am an assistant scoutmaster for the Litchfield Boy Scout Troop, so I love any scouting activities and also enjoy high school sports. My sons Michael, 14, and Matthew, 13, are a big reason for my active lifestyle. I got them to play almost every sport they could get into at a very young age. We really enjoy going to watch any NFL (49ers), MLB (Dodgers) and NCAA (Ohio State) games. Michael is in his first year of high school football this year. I also have an older son, Dustin, 20, and daughter Jade, 21.
What are you passionate about? Being able to wake up every morning knowing that I can go to work and provide for my family and give my sons the things I didn’t have the luxury of getting when I was a kid.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Any athletic events and restaurants available in the area. We usually go to Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, Angry Crab and any BBQ. The wife and I love a small spot in Sedona called Elote Café. It’s a bit pricey but well worth the trip. I normally don’t like to spend money eating out, but you can’t really put a price on quality family time. My grandfather used to tell us growing up, “A family that eats together, succeeds together!”
Job title: University counselor/doctoral specialist
Job location: Tempe
What attracted you to GCU? Honestly, it all began with New Employee Orientation. That day, I sat at the very back of the classroom, filled with 120+ people, and listened intently to what was being shared. As the trainers and guest speakers shared their passion for GCU, I began to identify with the company, the brand, the process and the University, and I felt as if I wanted to go back and get my undergraduate degree just to experience what President Brian Mueller was so passionately declaring to our class about community involvement. By the time day one was over, I realized my desire for GCU went from a paycheck to a sincere passion and enthusiasm to be involved with a community and an organization that truly impacts lives and changes them for the better. To be involved on the doctoral level was just icing on the cake. I walked out and realized I didn’t just want to be an Antelope, I already had become one.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Karaoke. Yes, I do sing a little, usually under threat of peer pressure, and only with a group where I can try to hide off on the side. I sing for fun, nothing professional — just a great way to belt out the blues or sing a happy tune and try to make others smile. It’s a great way to relax and get to know others at the same time.
What are you passionate about? Education is apt here. I think it is important for others to explore learning however they are able, to find what makes the world go round, as it were. It’s imperative for cultural, economic, even political change that we, as a society, provide an education to everyone. In both quality and quantity, I’m hungry to learn and am filled with a true desire to learn something new no matter how big or small every day; I’m also thrilled to share my passion with others. Engaging today’s world in education is how we will move forward and better not only ourselves but future generations.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Tempe Town Lake is one my favorite hang-out spots. I like the water and the activities that are there. One of the first experiences I had was a music festival where I got to experience a wide range, from Ben Harper to the B52s.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I don’t like social media. I try my best to avoid it and only post to Facebook and sites of that nature when absolutely necessary — mostly to keep my mother happy and aware that I am alive and well.
What are you most proud of? My commitment to my education. I have earned two bachelor’s degrees (double major) and a master’s degree and am working on enrolling in the doctoral program here with GCU. Ask me in three to five years what I’m most proud of and it will be a similar answer, but it will have a lot of exclamation marks at the end because I will have finished my Ph.D. at GCU. Go, Lopes!