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Archives of Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC): Home

Archives of college history. From Area One Vocational Technical School, Northeast Iowa Technical Institute (NITI), Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC)

Dates in History at Area One, NITI, NICC

Dates of Grand Opening of Buildings

Manchester Center Opening -- 1999
Dairy Center Grand Opening - October 2000
Town Clock Center Open House - September 2003

Norma Bullerman Retires After 47 Years at NICC

It's Time to Retire: NICC Staff Member Concludes Nearly 47 Years of Service to College

April 30, 2015

CALMAR—Pencil and paper. Mimeograph machines and stencils. Manual typewriters and purple master sheets to type instructors’ tests.

That’s the secretarial world Norma Bullerman encountered in July 1968 at Area I Vocational-Technical School in Calmar. At that time, she had just graduated from the Secretarial program in May, 20 years before the new school would become known as Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) in 1988. After graduation, she started her career at her alma mater, and on May 1, 2015, the NICC alumna and veteran staff member will retire, just two months short of her 47th anniversary of dedicated service to the College.

Bullerman has witnessed, learned from and struggled at times with the tremendous technological advancements ushered in with each decade of service at NICC. However, the College’s mission to serve students and meet their needs in an ever-evolving employment and technological landscape is one aspect that maintained its clear sense of vision and purpose since the very beginning, according to Bullerman.

“At NICC, I worked under the leadership of every College president and through every name change to the school. I feel proud to be a part of it for so many years,” she said. “I can say that we have the best community college in the state and see nothing but growth in the future. We have great facilities, faculty and staff. Students are our number one priority.”

Her Secretarial program at NICC from 1967-68 prepared Bullerman for a lifelong career as instructors made sure students did their best and learned every lesson taught in the classroom. She is also a member of the first graduating class at the College.

“We didn’t have a campus at the time NICC opened. Students attended classes in rented buildings in Calmar, Ossian and Fort Atkinson. Tuition was $50 per quarter so my entire program cost $150,” Bullerman recalled. “The Secretarial program was housed in the Fort Atkinson gym. We were on one side of the gym and the Accounting program was on the other side with a partition between us. Joy Schmidt was the first Secretarial program instructor. She was a great teacher.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I learned a lot from her.”

A major reason Bullerman enrolled at NICC in 1967 was the school’s affordability, and this is the appeal that still influences many students’ decisions to attend the College to the present day, Bullerman explained.

“My parents were not able to send me to a business school,” she said. “This is true today; NICC is a college that students, or their parents, can afford. As a community college, I think it’s great that our graduates can transfer their credits to a four-year university.”

As a new employee at NICC, Bullerman worked as the only secretary for the Agriculture and Trade and Industry departments in an office off-campus in Ossian. Bullerman finally found a home on campus when construction of Max Clark Hall was completed in 1972, where she worked in the Business and Agriculture departments.

In 1981, she transitioned to the Financial Aid Office. Today, more federal regulations and security measures govern financial aid processes and technological improvements make everyday tasks easier and more efficient, she noted.

“Everything was so manual back then. Today, things are done so much more quickly with computers. We are moving in the direction of going paperless,” she emphasized.

NICC Financial Aid colleagues have made her journey a memorable and meaningful one.

“I work with an awesome Financial Aid team with Kim Baumler as the Director. I cannot say enough about my co-workers. We work together well and find it very rewarding helping our students. I’m having a hard time letting go of my NICC family, but it’s time,” Bullerman said.

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About the NICC Archives project

The NICC Library Staff are interested in collecting materials relating to the history of the college. If you have items of historical interest to the college, please contact Germaine Kuhn at the Library in the Student Center on the Calmar Campus.

If you notice any errors please let us know.

NICC Calmar Campus
P.O. Box 400
1625 Hwy 150 S
Calmar, Iowa 52132
844-642-2338 Ext. 1395

Yearbooks to view located at Calmar Campus Library

Yearbooks from 1968-1999

Ask Library Staff in the Student Center to view Yearbooks.  May not be checked out, must stay in the Library.

NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (NICC) Iowa Community Colleges: A Collective History 50th Anniversary Book Project

Written by: Julie G. Huiskamp, Ph.D., SPHR
Executive Director of Human Resources (Retired)



In 1966, the State Board of Education approved the formation of the six-county Area I – Vocational-Technical School with Calmar as its administrative headquarters. On September 5, 1967, career education programs in Calmar began with 170 students enrolled in 12 programs. The school also broke ground on construction of college facilities on the 210-acre Calmar campus, which now include Darwin L. Schrage Administration Building; Max Clark Hall; Wilder Business Center; Industrial Technologies Center; Student Center; Agricultural Technologies Center; Child Development Center; and Iowa’s Dairy Center, a $4.1 million dairy education center and applied research laboratory built in 2000.

The merged Area I Vocational-Technical School was enlarged in 1970 to include the public school districts in Dubuque and Delaware counties and sections of Jones and Jackson counties. In 1971, career education programs in Dubuque began at several locations throughout the city.

In April 1979, the Area I Vocational-Technical School changed its name to Northeast Iowa Technical Institute. This same year, the Peosta campus was established. The Peosta campus currently includes the main building, the Gas Utilities and Construction building, a child development center, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, and most recently the Industrial Technologies building, which opened in August 2010.

In 1988, the College was authorized by the Iowa Board of Education to award the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as diplomas and certificates. The College also changed its name from Northeast Iowa Technical Institute to Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC).

The eight-county service region currently serves a population of 204,436 with a school district enrollment of 5,905. NICC enjoys considerable support from its service region as evidenced, in part, by the recent passage of a recent $39M bond levy with over 80% of votes in favor. Currently, in addition to the main campus in Calmar and a campus in Peosta, NICC operates centers in Cresco, Waukon, New Hampton, Oelwein, Manchester, and Dubuque, which includes the Town Clock Business Center.


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Germaine Kuhn
844-642-2338 Ext. 1253