Dr. A.J. Neumann Puts Dr. Bob Teaching Excellence Award to Work

Dr. A.J. Neumann, instructor of residential construction at Delta College, put his Dr. Bob Teaching Excellence Award to work when he enrolled in a train-the-trainer program at JLG University in McConnellsburg, PA. In addition to 32 hours of online coursework, Dr. Neumann traveled to the campus to get an additional 30 hours of hands-on training in construction equipment. He then brought back that knowledge to his Delta College students. As he said, “I feel very confident in my ability to teach Delta students the basics of running these machines and issuing a nationally recognized certification to completers. This certification will make these students much safer and will likely improve their employability status and improve their wage garnering ability.”

A.J. started his career as a carpenter apprentice and soon realized that job security was closely linked with professional training and certificates. Always an avid learner, A.J. earned his bachelor’s while working full time and then went on to complete a master’s in education. His decision to enroll in the doctoral program in post-secondary administration from Central Michigan University grew out of his experience serving on a state-wide committee charged with developing construction curriculum. A.J. observed, “The completion of my degree made me aware of how technical education is a subject that is gravely misunderstood as where the non-college capable kids go. This was very disheartening to me, but also very motivational and I was the only male to complete the dissertation process and receive my degree in my cohort.” Earning  his doctorate along with his vast experience in the construction field afforded A.J. the opportunity to exert his influence on key curricular decisions and policies for construction education in Michigan. Along with his degrees, A.J. has earned certifications to train students in OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) protocols, first aid, AED (automated external defibrillator) use, and SkyTrak (hydraulic and electrical system) operation.

In addition to his more than 20 years teaching at Delta College, A.J. has served as an advisor on the Associated General Contractors Workforce Development Committee, was one of 25 Michigan educators chosen to serve on the inaugural Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council, and served as the Council’s sole representative for Career and Technical Education.

As a teacher, A.J. leads by example. His classes are typically off site, where students do the actual work involved in construction. In his hands-on classroom, A.J. provides continuous informal assessment and guidance that encourage students to finish what they start and to do the job well. A.J. describes himself as an “instructor, mentor, friend,” to his students who understands their experiences as a former student in Delta’s residential construction program and professional with a long tenure in the industry.

The recent pandemic has brought with it many challenges for those in construction.  A.J.’s counseling skills and extensive knowledge of the field provide students with sound strategies and practical ideas for handling the stress that’s part of a construction worker’s life.  As A.J. noted, “Construction workers have a very high rate of suicide and students need to be aware of the pitfalls such as stress, drugs, alcohol and the negative connotations which often come with being a ‘construction worker.'”

Although Dr. Bob chose to study the human mind, pursuing degrees in psychology, he never gave up his early roots in construction and carpentry, as his many house projects revealed. In addition, he and A.J. shared a similar commitment to teaching and improving the lives of their students. There’s no doubt Dr. Bob would be gratified by Dr. A.J. Neumann’s impressive use of his teaching excellence award.

Ultimately, I love my job, which makes all of the extracurricular activities I pursue a pleasure not a chore. Students see my genuine enthusiasm and hopefully it conveys a beacon of hope that they can find a job that is although often very physically demanding, can be satisfying and rewarding. The other goal is to have my students graduate and pursue additional education to become lifelong learners as I have.

-Dr. A.J. Neumann

AY 2020-21 Dr. Bob Scholarships

We received the thank you letters from the Dr. Bob Scholarship recipients a little late this year due to the pandemic, but they were worth the wait and a wonderful birthday present for me. As you’ll read in these excerpts, the students are so like the ones my dad was dedicated to nurturing in his time at Delta College. The first is from a social work major:

Winning this scholarship made me extremely excited and humbled! The funds that I will receive will be helpful towards aiding me in my education to complete my career goals. Furthermore, choosing to attend Delta college as a social work major has given me new hope, especially giving me the knowledge to add value to women and youth. . . . Being enrolled in school has risen my confidence and influenced my children to see a positive impact on our lives.

This nontraditional student has decided to major in counseling:

Your gift brightened my day and it will help brighten my future! . . . I decided it was time to go back to school so I can help support my family and change the trajectory of our lives. . . . After speaking with an academic advisor, I decided to pursue a degree in counseling. I am hoping to help other people navigate life by making the best decisions possible. Your financial gift is helping to make that dream a reality.

The last note is from student majoring in applied science with an emphasis in surgical technology:

I plan to pursue a career as a certified surgical technologist and will also be working on my sterile processing certificate. . . . Thanks to  you, I am one step closer to my ultimate goal. . . . You are a real role model to me and many others, and I thank  you! I  hope that I can give back one day to help young students, the same way you have helped me!

These students, who are committed to their studies and their communities, remind Ted and me of why my dad loved teaching at Delta College. The Dr. Bob Scholarship is part of his legacy at Delta College, along with the thousands of students whose lives are that much richer from taking his classes.

2020 Dr. Bob Endowed Teaching Chair Award

Two years ago the Delta College Foundation Board of Trustees officially recognized the Dr. Robert R. “Dr. Bob” Zimmermann Endowed Teaching Chair Award that Ted and I established. Imagine our excitement when we found out this week that the 2020 award was given to Andrew “AJ” Neumann, Instructor of Residential Construction, for his project “Residential Construction Equipment Training.” AJ will use the funds to become certified as a Telehandler and Mobile Elevating Work Platform Trainer. Congratulations to AJ! My dad would be thrilled. As an undergraduate, he worked as a carpenter on home construction in the summers. He put those skills to work on many home projects and always had some sort of carpentry work to do around the house. Ted and I look forward to the many professional development ventures my dad’s award will fund in the future.

Fall 2019 Scholarship Thank Yous

Four of the 574 scholarships Delta College awarded for Fall 2019 went to students who qualified for the Dr. Bob award. Ted and I recently received the thoughtful thank you notes from the students, who each received $1000. Not a large amount, but enough to make going to Delta a little easier. Here’s what the students had to say.

I would like to express my gratitude for offering me the Dr. Robert R. Zimmermann “Dr. Bob” Scholarship. I am going to be doing my general studies at Delta. I have always loved animals and hope some day to work in the animal rehabilitation field.


I am currently working my degree in applied science. After graduation, I plan to follow my dreams of being an OB nurse, working with pregnant women and newborns. . . . Your generosity  will help be get one step closer to achieving my goals in life.


I am pursuing a career in the health care field. . . . I will  put this scholarship money to use by furthering my education at Delta College. I can’t thank you enough for opening your hearts to people whom you have never met. I too would love to one day help others. . . . You are the  real role models.


I plan to pursue a career as an early childhood educator and I will be finishing my course work at Delta College and then transfer to Ferris State University. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to my ultimate goal. . . . Again, my thanks to you for your trust and consideration of my academic abilities.

We are grateful for the opportunity to help out these students and look forward to their fantastic achievements in the future.

Dr. Bob funds top $120k!

Ted and I established two funds at Delta College in my dad’s name, one for student scholarships and the other for faculty professional development. As of June 2019 both passed the $120,000 mark, which means larger distributions and higher awards. Many thanks to Delta College Foundation’s Pamela Clark and Mary Harding (who recently retired) for helping us set up the endowments. We also appreciate the Foundation’s effective stewardship of all the college’s endowments. The Foundation will award more than $600,000 in scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year. Impressive for a community college!

Spring 2018 scholarship thank yous

My dad would have been 89 today, so it seems fitting to post about the scholarships his fund has made possible. And yes you read that right, Spring 2018 scholarships. I’m a little late in reporting on the thank you notes from the students who were funded.

Here is what one student wrote:

“Thank you very much for awarding me with this scholarship . . . . I have a learning disability . . . and am completely wheelchair bound due to being born with spina bifida. . . . I am proud to say that I have a 3.6 GPA. I am working towards an Associate’s Degree in Arts. . . . With this money I will be able to finish the classes needed for my degree and graduate in April of 2019.”

I am thrilled the Dr. Bob Scholarship is helping this Delta College student graduate. As the many friends and colleagues of Dr. Bob know, he was the director of the Program for Parents of Disabled Children at Delta College from 1980 to 1982. He would be so pleased that his scholarship is helping out this student.

Another wrote:

“I would like to thank you for  awarding me this scholarship. It means so much to me and it will help out tremendously. With the financial assistance from this scholarship, I will be able to focus more on my classes instead of how I am going to play for them.”

College is challenging enough without having to worry about finances, too. So many students just need a small helping hand.

In a similar vein, the third student said:

“I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of this scholarship. I appreciate your recognition of all my hard work and efforts. . . . By awarding me this scholarship you have lightened my financial burden and have given me the opportunity to focus more on my education.”

Especially as students who put ourselves through college, Ted and I understand the struggles of students who are working and going to school. We’re grateful we’re able to help out through the Dr. Bob scholarship fund and grateful to Delta College for giving Dr. Bob a second chance.

Spring 2017 scholarship recipient thank yous

Once again Dr. Bob is helping students at Delta College fulfill their dreams. Here are what the three Spring 2017 scholarship recipients had to say:

“I would like to express my appreciation for choosing me for your scholarship. The scholarship money will help me a lot throughout the next year.”

“I will use this generous gift to further my education . . . . I am proud to inform you that I made the Dean’s List for Winter 2017.”

“I am honored to receive this scholarship to help achieve my education goals. . . . My overall intention of starting my own business is because I know it is important to provide certain services as well as employment opportunities for others. I really feel it is imperative to serve others and improve the world as best I can in the process.”

Congratulations to these three amazing Delta College students! The Dr. Bob Scholarship Fund is proud to support these students in the excellent programs offered at Delta College. Interested in giving to Delta College? Contact the Delta College Foundation.

Fall 2016 scholarship recipients thank yous

Here’s what Delta College student recipients of the Fall 2016 Dr. Bob scholarships had to say:

“I am very appreciative of this gift to help me further my education.”

“I look forward to using this scholarship towards my fourth and final semester of clinical nursing at Delta College.”

“Words cannot properly describe how truly thankful and appreciative I am of your generous scholarship gift that will allow me to continue on my path to become a registered nurse.”

Many thanks to the staff at the Delta College Foundation, especially Pam Clark and Mary Harding, for their stewardship of the Dr. Bob Endowment Fund.

Dr. Bob Scholarship endowment tops $80K

The Delta College Robert R. Zimmermann “Dr. Bob” Scholarship Endowment fund’s value reached nearly $85,000 on June 30, 2016. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the endowment will give $2000 to students who meet the scholarship’s criteria: 25 years or older, demonstrate financial need, and have a minimum 2.5 grade point average.

Why a Dr. Bob scholarship at Delta College? Although he taught at several different universities, including Cornell University, University of Montana, and Central Michigan University, Bob considered Delta College his professional home Bob started at Delta College in 1981 as director of a developmental disability program. Then in 1989 he accepted a full-time teaching position in psychology. He often said his years teaching at Delta College were the finest of his professional career. He retired from the College in 1995. The scholarship was created to give students a second chance, like the second chance Delta College gave Bob.


Robert R. Zimmermann, or “Dr. Bob” as his students called him, died seven years ago today. Shortly before his death, he wondered what the world would do without him. The world has muddled on, but has not forgotten him. Dr. Bob lives on in a scholarship fund at Delta College. Three students earned Dr. Bob scholarships in 2015-16. In addition, an endowed teaching fund has been established in his name, also at Delta College. That fund should reach full endowment status in three years.