Five individuals have been selected to receive the Northwest State Community College Distinguished Alumni Award for 2023. Those individuals were officially recognized during a special luncheon ceremony prior to Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at the Archbold Campus. Plaques with their likeness will also be added to the prestigious Alumni wall of award recipients, located outside the Voinovich Auditorium in the College’s E wing. 

“The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes excellence beyond Northwest State – education, professional achievement, service to the community and more,” said Robbin Wilcox, NSCC Executive Director of Development and the NSCC Foundation. “We are proud to recognize these four graduates with this prestigious award, and we congratulate them for their achievements, and for being tremendous representatives of Northwest State Community College,” Wilcox continued.


James Drewes of Napoleon is a 1983 graduate of Northwest State, with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering, and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. He continued his education at Defiance College to earn his Bachelor’s Degree of Business Management, and then earned his Master’s Degree of Educational Administration and Leadership in Adult and Higher Education through the University of South Dakota. Jim is the Vice President of Workforce Development at Northwest State. 

Tara Garza of Hicksville is a 2002 graduate who earned her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Registered Nursing. From there, she went to Indiana Wesleyan University to earn her Bachelor’s of Science Degree Nursing in 2011 as a cum laude graduate. Then she continued on to Graceland University to earn her Masters of Science in Nursing—Family Nurse Practitioner in 2014. Tara is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Community Memorial Hospital in Hicksville, Ohio.

Elizabeth Grimes of Bryan is a 1997 graduate who earned her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Registered Nursing. She then went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing from Bowling Green State University in 2001, and a Master’s of Science Degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University in 2021. Elizabeth is the Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer at Community Health and Wellness Centers in Bryan, Ohio.

Orlando (Allan) Santiago of Sylvania is a 2005 graduate who earned his Associates of Applied Business Degree in Business Management. He then went on to accomplish a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago in 2007, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Toledo in 2022. Orlando is an Operations Data Reporting Analyst III at CareSource.

Christina Switzer of Defiance is a 2010 graduate who earned her Associates of Applied Business Degree in Business Management. She furthered her education and received her Ohio Real Estate License through Hondros College, as well as her Indiana Real Estate License through the RECP (Real Estate Certification Program). Chris has been employed as a Broker/Sales Associate with the Sam Switzer Realty in Ohio since 2001 and Coldwell Banker in Indiana since 2014. She has also been the Owner/General Manager of American Custom Builders since 2004.


The Distinguished Alumni Award represents the most prestigious award presented by the Alumni Association of Northwest State. This award was established in 1998 to honor graduates of Northwest State Community College who have achieved recognized prominence in their chosen career and have made significant contributions to their profession, community and the lives of others. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award represent the ideal of a committed, industrious, and caring individual to whom Northwest State Community College may look as an example. Additional information on the NSCC Distinguished Alumni Award, including a list of previous recipients, is available online at NorthwestState.edu/distinguished-alumni-award.

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