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Lake Michigan College to Present Annual Awards to Outstanding Alumni

April 26, 2013

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – Lake Michigan College will honor three alumni with awards during the 66th  annual commencement exercise being held at the LMC Mendel Center on Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. 

The Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Becky Kliss of St. Joseph. Named in honor of the first president of Lake Michigan College, the award is given to alumni who have accomplished significant personal and professional success.

The Alumni Service Award will be presented to Colleen M. Cullitan of Coloma. This award is given to alumni who have made important contributions personally or professionally to the community or Lake Michigan College.

The Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Brian Doak of Noblesville, Indiana. This award is presented to a recent alumnus who attended LMC approximately 15 years ago and has demonstrated significant achievement and distinguished themselves in their career, education, or community such that they would be role models to current LMC students. 

***Becky Kliss

Becky Kliss’ path to becoming an environmental steward started when she opened her own cleaning business, Great Lakes Cleaning, Inc., following graduation from Lake Michigan College in 1996 with an Associate in Business Administration degree.

While cleaning area office spaces, she became aware of the amount of trash businesses accumulated. As her business grew to more than 150 accounts and 180 employees, she saw how the volume of waste and cleaning methods were affecting the environment.

Kliss began providing commercial green cleaning services, recycling programs, matting solutions, and paper/dispenser upgrades. In 2008, she sold her successful cleaning business to build awareness of green and sustainability efforts through her new company, Green Connection, Inc. Green Connections provides consulting services in recycling, waste audits, facility audits, custodial services, and LEED-EB certification. As an accredited professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Kliss works with organizations to help them implement and maintain LEED standards, and establish recycling programs.

Kliss is board president of Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, which offers lunch-and-learn programs on sustainable and environmental topics. She brought the idea to southwest Michigan after seeing similar efforts in other communities. Becky was able to secure involvement from local companies like Whirlpool Corporation, Chemical Bank, AEP, as well as her own company to establish the organization locally.

Kliss serves on the board of directors for Chemical Bank, and recently completed her term on the Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce board of directors. She has been honored as Cornerstone Chamber Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Leaders under 40, and received the Cornerstone Chamber Green Business Award.  She is certified as a LEED AP O+M through U.S. Green Building Council and a Certified Building Service Executive (CBSE) through Building Service Contractors Association International.


*** Colleen Cullitan

Colleen Cullitan of Coloma is a local attorney who is an active board member of several non-profit organizations focused on the youth and residents of southwest Michigan. She currently serves on boards for the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, First Tee of Benton Harbor, the Berrien County Health Plan, and the Berrien Community Foundation. She has served on many of the boards for over a decade and has held several officer positions. 

Recently, Cullitan served as president of the board of directors when the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor opened two new facilities in Benton Harbor with generous community support:  the Fettig Youth Clubhouse and the Joel E. Smilow Teen Center. Both sites offer access to technology, academic assistance, access to the arts, and physical education opportunities to more children than was possible before. According to Cullitan, it was a five year process to keep children in the forefront and meet the growing needs of the community.

Cullitan is a member of the Berrien County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan. At the state level, she has served as a member of the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly and is a member of Probate and Estate Planning Section and Family Law Section. 

Cullitan completed her Associate in Arts degree at Lake Michigan College, received a Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude in 1972 from Western Michigan University, and earned her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1999. She is an attorney at Straub, Seaman & Allen in St. Joseph.  Her areas of practice include business planning and transactions, real estate, family law, and probate and estate planning. Colleen lives in Coloma with her husband and has three children.

***Brian Doak

Brian Doak is a partner and vice president of Legacy Wealth Group with the investment firm of David A. Noyes. As a Certified Financial PlannerTM with more than ten years of experience, Doak has risen quickly in the ranks of his company to become a shareholder, partner, and vice president. He was recognized with the David A. Noyes Broker’s Club and Financial Planner Award in 2010, and in 2011 was inducted into the Director’s Club at David A. Noyes. Doak also has earned accolades from Indianapolis Monthly magazine as their pick for FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager for several years.

As a participant in the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, Doak is pursuing his motivation to serve his community. This year-long, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce program is designed to help emerging community leaders become more informed about the issues and needs facing Central Indiana.

Doak and his wife Emily are avid fundraisers for numerous Indiana groups including St. Vincent Foundation, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, Indiana Golf Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, American Youth Foundation, and local chambers of commerce. Doak also coaches Noblesville Youth Baseball. 

Doak received an Associate in Business Administration degree from Lake Michigan College in 1999, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Sports Marketing from Duquesne University in 2001. 

While at LMC, Doak was a two-sport collegiate athlete in basketball and golf, and represented LMC at the 1999 NJCAA National Championship in golf. 

Doak and his wife live in Noblesville, Indiana, with their two children.


To nominate an individual for future LMC alumni awards, contact Greg Koroch, vice president of Institutional Advancement and Planning at (269) 927-8161, or by email at Nominations can also be made online at  Nominees must have earned at least 30 credit hours at LMC or at one of its predecessors. Upon nomination, an application will be sent to the candidate.

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