SCC Press Release

SCC Alumni Association Honors Chatfield, Canella as 2011 Distinguished Alumni

The Southeastern Community College Alumni Association will recognize Mary Sue Megchelsen Chatfield, retired Central Lee Elementary School teacher, and retired Sheaffer Pen Company Vice President and Chairman of Fort Madison Community Hospital Board Richard P. Canella as distinguished alumni at graduation events in May. Chatfield will be recognized at a reception at the Holiday Inn Express in Keokuk, just prior to the commencement exercises at the Grand Theater to be held on Wednesday, May 11. Canella will be honored at a 5 p.m. reception just prior to 7 p.m. graduation at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium on Thursday, May 12. SCC Distinguished Alumni also provide the keynote addresses during graduation.

The awards are given annually to alumni of SCC or one of its predecessor institutions, including Burlington Junior College and Keokuk Community College, who have achieved substantial public recognition for their accomplishments or success. A Distinguished Alumni Award recipient must have made substantial contributions to the good of his or her fellow human beings, been recognized as an outstanding practitioner of his or her profession or vocation, or served as a motivational force for others in a positive manner.

Mary Sue graduated from Montrose High School (1958), Keokuk Community College (1960), and earned a BA from Iowa Wesleyan College (1966). A lifelong educator, she retired in 2004 with 42 years of teaching at Central Lee Elementary. While teaching, she held numerous offices in CLEA, was a presenter at Iowa reading and social studies conferences, and was on the steering committee of the Geographic Alliance of Iowa following training with National Geographic.

As a charter member of Montrose Riverfront, Inc. (MRI), Mary Sue has coordinated fundraising efforts for the purchase of streetscape Welcome banners, numerous community beautification projects, the dedication of a plaque commemorating Revolutionary War Veteran Cato Mead, and the renovation of buildings on the grounds of MRI. She has spearheaded efforts towards the recording of three music CDs and the design and production of annual Christmas ornaments depicting an aspect of Montrose history.

She is coeditor of the monthly New Montrose Journal and is a correspondent for the Keokuk Daily Gate City and the Fort Madison Daily Democrat, writing weekly local news and historical articles. Mary Sue also helps write grant proposals and researches local history. She was the grand marshal of the Annual Watermelon Festival parade and Central Lee High School Homecoming Parade, both in 2003. She is historian and choir member of the Trinity United Methodist church and sings with St. Barnabas Choir.

Mary Sue and her husband, Roger, reside in rural Montrose, Iowa. They are the parents of Joan Ealy and Alan Chatfield.

Richard P. (Dick) Canella was born in Burlington, Iowa. He graduated from Burlington Junior College in 1940 and earned a Business Administration and Accounting degree from the University of Iowa. For 39 years he was employed by the Sheaffer Pen Company, a world-wide manufacturer of writing instruments, based in Fort Madison, Iowa. He became Vice President of Operations and saw the company grow to become the city’s largest employer with over 1200 employees, and another 1200 overseas. His employees named him “Boss of the Year.”

Dick was instrumental in the start-up of Fort Madison Community Hospital. He served as a visionary Chairman of the Board for 32 years and guided the building of a new, state-of-the-art 50-bed hospital in 1986. He also established the FMCH Foundation, and as President, he created the Kathleen Canella Family Scholarship fund, in memory of his wife, to assist local students pursuing healthcare careers. In recognition of his traits as a strategic thinker, diplomat and leader, he received the Iowa Hospital Association Excellence in Governance award in 2001.

During his eight years on the Iowa Gaming Commission and four years as Chairman, Mr. Canella participated in the development of State gaming regulations and oversight of gaming, as well as issuing gaming licenses. Gaming is now one of the dominant industries in the State in the areas of employment and state revenue.

Dick is active in Rotary and the Tri-State Rodeo, where his wife served tirelessly as Ticket Chairman. Their daughter Kathy Packard is a nurse at FMCH and lives near Wever. Their son Richard lives in Texas.

His advice: “Stay active, be involved. Living in a big city is not always the answer, sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a little pond where you can make things happen.”

Persons wishing to attend the hors d’oeuvres reception honoring Mary Sue Megchelsen Chatfield at the Holiday Inn Express at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 or the hors d’oeuvres reception at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 honoring Dick Canella may make reservations by calling Julie Glasgow at the SCC Alumni Association at (319) 208-5062 by Monday, May 9. Price is $15 per person.

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