Celebration of Achievements Banquet

The Gogebic Community College Foundation is bringing back the “Celebration of Achievements” Banquet on Thursday, October 6, 2022 in the Lindquist Student and Conference Center.

A reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with complimentary beer, wine, and soda in the student lounge of the Lindquist Center with a catered dinner of baked chicken and beef tips from the Elk and Hound to be served at 6:30 p.m. The awards program will follow. The public is invited to attend!

Tickets for the Banquet can be purchased from any Foundation Board member or by calling Kelly Marczak in the GCC Foundation Office at (906) 307-1202 or emailing kellym@gogebic.edu. Tickets are $40.00 each.


Each year, the GCC Foundation Board of Directors chooses several individuals to honor who have exemplified their commitment to the College. This year’s honorees include:

The late Charlene Newhouse,
Outstanding Foundation Board Member


Charlene Audrey Newhouse graduated from J.E. Murphy High School in Hurley, Wisconsin where she was a member of the National Honor Society. She briefly attended Gogebic Community College before she went to Northland College in Ashland. She graduated from Northland in 1971 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Physical Education. She continued her education receiving a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from the University of Wisconsin - Superior and a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from the University of Wisconsin. Later in life she returned to school to receive her Financial Broker’s License.

She began a 30-year teaching career in Hurley educating students in English, Remedial Reading, and Physical Education. Outside her school days, Charlene was a Girls’ Varsity Basketball coach, a Girls’ Varsity Track and Field coach and a tutor for many.

Her community involvement was plentiful. Charlene was very active in her church. She was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hurley. There she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was the food coordinator for special events. She also chaired the Ladies Aid Group. She was active in the Auxiliary at Aspirus Health System for over 18 years. She also spent many years on the Iron County Fair Board of Directors as a board member, Treasurer, or President.

Charlene’s most memorable service was to the Gogebic Community College Foundation Board. From the year 2000 to the time of her passing in 2020, she served on the Board. She was President for over 10 years. Through her work she oversaw major increases in scholarship funds as well as special purchases for GCC. Some of her fondest memories were the “Pine-to-Palm” gatherings with friends of GCC. 

Charlene’s life was driven by her faith, family, and a devotion to helping others. She passed away August 1, 2020 and is greatly missed by her family, friends, and anyone whose life interacted with hers.

The late Alex Marciniak,
Distinguished Faculty Member


Alex B. Marciniak attended St. Mary’s Grade School and graduated from J.E. Murphy High School in Hurley with the class of 1974. During his high school years, Alex excelled in public speaking. He was a member of the forensic team, winning honors at the state competition.  He was a gifted pianist and won awards at the district and state levels performing classical works, especially enjoying those of Mozart.

After high school, Alex attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on music and theater. He furthered his education by attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. There he enjoyed the privilege of studying under Lili Kraus, a world-famous Hungarian pianist who was one of the leading interpreters of the Mozart piano repertoire. Alex received a Master’s degree in Applied Piano in 1980.

 Alex returned to Ironwood after graduation and then began his long career of 35 years as an instructor at Gogebic Community College. There he touched the lives of many students, both young and old. Whether it was during his countless speech classes where he enjoyed encouraging his students with the most dreaded public speaking assignments, or broadening the horizons of his students during film appreciation classes, he did it all with his own personal flare and dynamic personality. 

He continued to be an integral part of the arts in Ironwood and surrounding communities. He was instrumental in founding the Gogebic Range Players, a local ensemble of theater enthusiasts. He directed many theater productions. He performed benefit piano recitals for many years, both in Hurley as well as in Ontonagon.

 Although his passing was a quiet one in December 2020 during the COVID pandemic, it sharply contrasts with his bigger-than-life personality.


Suzetta (Sue) Forbes,
Outstanding Staff Member


Sue Forbes graduated in 1975 from Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua, Wisconsin.  In 1979, Sue graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications.  She obtained her Master’s degree in Public Administration from UW-Oshkosh in 1989. 

Sue worked as the Education Coordinator for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.  After working in this position for 3 years, Sue accepted a position at Suomi College (Finlandia University) as the Director of Admissions.  She went on to serve as Suomi’s Dean of Students/Enrollment Management for 5 years. This position also included directing Suomi’s financial aid department.   Sue married her wonderful husband Jeff in 1990 and needed to move back to the Minocqua area, for they had been apart for 3 years.  Gogebic Community College hired Sue in 1993 as the Financial Aid Director.  She held this position for 26 years and commuted on a daily basis from Minocqua to Ironwood until she retired in 2019.

Sue thought she retired in May of 2019, but came back to help GCC out that summer until the new financial aid director was able to come to campus.  She also agreed to assist in the financial aid department for 6 weeks in the fall of 2021. 

Sue was passionate about her work in financial aid and loved coming to GCC every day.  She was involved in many state and regional associations and enjoyed working with all of the local high schools.  To be able to assist students through the very intricate financial aid process brought an abundant amount of joy to Sue’s life.  One of Sue’s favorite times of the year was the first week of classes even though she didn’t have any hair left at the end of the week.


Mark Jurakovich,
Class of 2013 Distinguished Alumni


Mark Jurakovich graduated from Wakefield-Marenisco high school in 2005 and enlisted into the United States Air Force in 2006. He graduated from Basic Military Training in April 2006 and completed Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal in January 2007, earning him the title of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician.

Mark deployed twice in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. While in Iraq, he completed over 250 combat missions. In February of 2010 Mark transferred from active-duty Air Force to part-time service in the Minnesota Air National Guard in order to pursue his education goals. Shortly after his return home, he enrolled in Gogebic Community College. The next spring, he helped lead the Samsons basketball team to the 2010-2011 NJCAA DII Region 13 Championship.

Mark was mobilized to deploy to Afghanistan in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. After completing his third deployment, he re-enrolled in GCC and rejoined the basketball team. His team completed another strong season, once again claiming the Region 13 Championship. In May of 2013, Mark graduated from Gogebic with a 4.0 grade point average and was named an NJCAA Academic All-American.

Mark earned his Associate of Arts from GCC and transferred to the University of Michigan. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education. Subsequently, Mark returned to full-time military service as an Active Guard Reserve Airman at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Maryland.

Mark deployed again in 2018 to Kuwait and again in 2021 to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where he led combat operations in Northeast Syria in support of OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE.

In April of 2022, Mark moved to Portland, Oregon where he currently calls home. Mark currently serves as Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight Chief, 142d Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon. He is primarily responsible for training, organizing, and equipping 14 Airmen to complete the EOD mission throughout the state of Oregon, the country, and across the world.


Alan Tulppo,
Class of 1997 Distinguished Alumni


Alan Tulppo graduated from Ewen-Trout Creek High School in 1995. Alan attended Gogebic Community College from 1995 to 1997, earning an Associate of Arts degree in Secondary Education. He transferred to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education, with an emphasis in social studies and English. In 2002, Alan earned a Master’s Degree in Education and Leadership from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision from Northern Michigan University in 2022.

In 1999, Tulppo was hired by the Northland Pines School District in Eagle River, WI, as a social studies teacher and spent sixteen years employed by the district in various positions. In 2010, he was named the Wisconsin Richard T. Farrell History Teacher of the Year.

He also served on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s School Services Advisory Board.  During his time in Northern Wisconsin, Tulppo was associated with the Three Lakes Historical Society and Museum. He co-authored a book titled, “Images of America: Three Lakes” in 2014.

Alan was hired by the Ewen-Trout Creek School District to serve as its Superintendent/Principal in 2015, a position he held until 2018 when he was hired by the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District (GOISD) to serve as the Director of General Education. After serving as Director of General Education, he was hired as the GOISD Superintendent in 2019 and currently serves in that role. During his time at the GOISD, he has led the development of programs and services to support early childhood education, student mental health and wellness, and literacy, and has developed and strengthened partnerships with higher education partners and community organizations. He currently serves as a member of the Ontonagon County MDHHS Board of Directors and is a member of the Great Lakes Center for Community and Youth Development Board. One of the most rewarding aspects of his current role as GOISD Superintendent is the work GOISD has been able to accomplish in partnership with Gogebic Community College to expand opportunities for students in the region.