Courtyard Named after Former College President

NORFOLK - A new courtyard at Northeast Community College was officially named “Paradise Courtyard” this morning, honoring a man referred to by one state senator as the “godfather of community colleges.” Senator John Harms of Scottsbluff, president emeritus of Western Community College, says Dr. Michael Paradise, a former president of Norfolk Junior College and Northeastern Nebraska College, was his mentor. Harms told those at this morning’s dedication ceremony that Paradise had a vision for the community college system. Paradise is a native of the Greek island of Crete who came to the United States in 1951 He says he was just one of many people involved in the legislation that created the community college system, which was signed into law by then-Governor Jim Exon in 1971 and took effect in 1973. Paradise thanked the current Northeast Community College Board of Governors for the honor, saying that as the sun sets on his life, they had made his day.