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2015 40 Under 40 Honoree: Zachary Zweigle

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Making the conscious decision to say “yes” to every opportunity in the first years after finishing graduate school at California State University-Fresno has put Zachary Zweigle on a fast track to success in higher education.

When Zweigle moved to Springfield to support his wife’s career choice, he was hired as an adjunct instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College, soon moving up to a full-time position teaching history and promptly rising to lead world history instructor. He now serves as associate department chair in social sciences. In addition to his teaching duties, student advising, departmental leadership and curriculum design, he served on several collegewide councils and committees.

“As a historian,” Zweigle says, “I look to the great generations before, and I believe this philosophy – a willingness to strive and succeed – might largely be lost on my generation. I feel we are too complacent with mediocrity.”

Zweigle’s growing list of accomplishments is proof of his pursuit of excellence. He already has completed course work toward a doctoral degree in higher education administration, earning a 4.0 GPA, all the while keeping student success as his primary focus. He recently garnered an average instructor approval rating of 95 percent.

“The leadership I demonstrate to my students comes through example,” he says. “I relate to them when I reveal that I am a student who also works full time, like so many of those taking courses at OTC.”

An additional point of pride came when Zweigle was asked to serve as interim assistant to the vice president, an upper-level administrative position, after only two years of full-time employment at OTC. This role provided a seat at the table where collegewide decisions were being made. He also had an opportunity to travel to Jefferson City to meet with legislators and advocate for the college.

“I discovered in doing the job that I was far more capable than I ever gave myself credit (for),” he says. “I now know that I ultimately want to serve as chief academic officer and college president.”

Zweigle also was selected to attend the weeklong Chancellor’s Leadership Retreat, where top college administrators discuss the major issues and opportunities higher education will confront in the future. And last year, he was elected to a three-year term on the board of the Missouri Community College Association, a statewide advocacy group that works with Missouri’s community colleges to determine their needs and speak with one voice to legislators and communities.

“Working, volunteering and my studies have been exhausting,” Zweigle says, “but I cannot imagine doing anything differently. I am thankful that the winds of fate have brought us to Springfield.”[[In-content Ad]]

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