Featured Alumni Profile October 2010: Lora Thomas
"I've always been proud of my association with Arapahoe Community College, and appreciated the foundation it provided for my other educational quests in my life. "
Name: Lora Thomas
Time Spent at ACC: 2 Years +
Area of Study: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
How has your ACC education influenced you?
In November, 1990, I was passed over for a promotion to Sergeant in the Colorado State Patrol for a person who had a college degree. I decided I needed to get a college degree so I would never hear those heart-breaking words again, and I've never looked back on that decision! After earning my Associate Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, I was hungry to learn more. I went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, and then a Master of Business Administration from Regis University. My college education taught me to think critically, and assess all options when making a decision. I saw the importance of Excellence throughout my learning experience, both from the people I read about in my studies and in the work I personally produced for my deliverables to my professors. When someone maneuvers the various requirements and earns a college degree, they have demonstrated to perspective employers determination, problem-solving, persistence, commitment and organization in addition to the actual and specific contact of his/her field of study. Earning a degree is much more than passing some tests, handing in some papers and attending some classes.
What is your fondest memory at ACC?
In December 2003, I was asked by Chief Deb Wilke to be the Keynote Speaker at the Law Enforcement Academy's Graduation, and I was so honored to be involved in that event. I absolutely enjoyed my 26 year career with the Colorado State Patrol as a law enforcement officer on Colorado. Every day I was able to work with the public, and I went home with a great deal of satisfaction, feeling that I had made a difference. Being a part of the beginning of so many law enforcement careers for those members of that graduating class was honorable for me. I often wonder what paths those young women and men are on, and I hope that they are finding satisfaction in serving the public like I did.
What have you been doing since leaving ACC to further your goals?
Being involved in my community has always been important to me. While I was assigned to Limon as the State Patrol Captain, I was involved with the schools and the Accountability Committee. I have served on the Public Issues Committee at the Highlands Ranch Community Association for six years, and am currently the Chairman of the Victim Compensation Board for the 18th Judicial District. I was the only woman to achieve a rank about sergeant in the Colorado State Patrol when I retired as a Major in 2003. I got involved in the Douglas County Republicans after my retirement because I believe in less government and lower taxes, the Rule of Law, Free Markets and the power of the Individual. After serving the Party in several leadership roles, I ran for Douglas County Coroner this year and won in a contentious Primary race, carrying 94% of the county's 147 precincts. My name appears on the ballot in the General Election (my opponent shares my last name of Thomas – I am the Republican candidate). My goal is to reduce the spending in that office while meeting the needs of families who've lost a Loved One.
As a student and faculty what are some experiences about ACC that you would want to share with the ACC community?
As a student in Constitutional Law I remember some spirited debates about search and seizure. I was already a State Trooper and wanted to do things legally; it was interesting to discuss the process with classmates and a deputy district attorney. I taught Criminal Justice classes for four years from 2003 thru 2006, and I enjoyed the students who wanted to work in the criminal justice arena so they could make a difference in their communities. We had class discussions that delved into ideas on both sides of some issues like the Death Penalty and the Legalization of Drugs. I brought in Guest Lecturers like a Judge, a District Attorney, a Probation Officer, a Dog Handler and a Victim Advocate. Each of these professionals reinforced that they made a difference in their community. They brought the Criminal Justice System to students in applications of everyday life that sparked interest.
While I was picking classes to meet the requirement for my degree, I had a choice of a Public Speaking class or a Communication class. I regularly testified in court and gave Safety talks as part of my job as a State Trooper so I wasn't convinced that at a Public Speaking class was the class I needed. I was curious about a Communication class, and was so glad I made that choice. The professor, a tall woman with blonde hair, showed us how valuable effective communication is in everything we do! The textbook we used was, "Looking Out, Looking In" and I liked it so much I didn't sell it back. I know right where this book is on my shelf because I refer to it frequently.
I've always been proud of my association with Arapahoe Community College, and appreciated the foundation it provided for my other educational quests in my life.
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