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Waheed retires after more than 30 years with college
The man who has devoted the majority of his professional career to the growth of Central Wyoming College has retired after more than 30 years.
Mohammed Waheed, who brought his young family to Riverton in 1981 to help CWC launch a public television station, became an important figure in positioning the college to become a leader in technology and distance learning while establishing a progressive student services program to help all students, especially those who were at-risk, to survive and thrive.
Retiring as Vice President for Student Services, Dr. Waheed came to Wyoming in search of a quality place to raise his two daughters and a son who was later born in Riverton. The community and the college have been greatly enriched by his choice.
“You have changed so many lives through your work,” Perry Hammock, the past president for the National Council of Resource Development, said in a recent email to Dr. Waheed. “You can move on to your next life journey with contentment and pride.”
CWC Psychology Professor Jewel Dirks, who worked for Dr. Waheed for many years as the director of CWC’s Student Support Services Program, estimates he brought more than $50 million into the community through various grants he prepared on behalf of CWC. The grants opened many new jobs at the college to better serve students.
“His grant writing capabilities are nationally known,” Dirks said, remembering that many institutions attempted to hire him away from Central.
Waheed is very humble and always shares success with colleagues, often saying “it takes a village” to write a grant. Many of the successful grants were developed in consultation with faculty and staff, he noted.
Though he is pleased with the work he’s accomplished in his decades at CWC, Mohammed is most proud of his staff, family and his Muslim faith.
Born and mostly educated in India, Mohammed and wife, Roxanne raised two doctors and an educator in Riverton who all began their higher education at CWC. Oldest daughter Mona is a family practice physician in Riverton and son Aziz is a Riverton Middle School teacher and coach. Daughter Sana is an internal medicine doctor in St. Louis.
“We are grateful to the community for adopting and accepting us,” he said, recalling there were colleagues who doubted he would spend more than a year in Wyoming.
After finishing his doctoral work, Waheed was hired by then CWC President Richard St. Pierre. While Wyoming’s first public broadcasting station was being launched at CWC, he prepared utilization manuals and trained faculty to offer telecourses – CWC’s first stab at distance education.
To better serve site-bound students in this geographically isolated state, he expanded into radio courses and then into computer-assisted instruction. He encouraged the faculty to tape their lectures so that students who had missed class could review the material or so that the lectures could be available for summer sessions when faculty was off campus.
CWC really jumped ahead in distance education after Dr. Waheed and then Vice President Joe Dolan were successful in obtaining a five-year Title III grant to support academic and student services programs. From there, the two were again successful in getting a $10 million Star Schools grant that allowed the college to build an instructional technology program. With the grant, CWC developed the Interactive Classroom Network, which made it possible for college lectures to be shared with other schools in the CWC service area. It also provided funds for K-12 educators to take technology courses to improve their teaching skills.
Other grants in which Dr. Waheed played an important role include several college prep programs, Gear Up, Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound as well as one of the country’s largest Student Support Services programs. Waheed also played a key role in a community-based job training grant to develop the college’s Environment, Health and Safety program as well as a physical therapist assistant program.
Student success was always the main focus of his job. “I have always had an open door policy with our students, and have assisted them in all aspects of their lives, giving them the tools necessary to overcome personal crises and challenges,” he said. “It has been such a blessing to know that I have been able to help so many of our students rise above their issues and succeed in their chosen paths.”
Waheed, who turns 62 in August, is multi-lingual and has traveled almost every inch of this country as well as in Canada. He has promised his wife to take at least one year off and they will hit the highways to visit family and friends. Part of his family will join him on another trip to Mecca as well.
“I am honored to have played a part in shaping CWC as we know it today and I hope to remain connected to the college after my retirement,” he said.