1985 graduate of SCC receives alumni award from NCCA

(L-R) Greg Adams, NCCA Executive Director, Morteza Fatemi, Dr. Paul Illich, SCC President.

Morteza Fatemi is the recipient of the 2017 Nebraska Community College Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award from Southeast Community College. Each of the five Nebraska community colleges who are members of the NCCA selects one graduate who is worthy of the award.

Originally from Iran, Fatemi came to the United States in the late 1970’s. He enrolled in Southeast Community College because of its affordable price tag and small class size.

“I did a little search before enrollment and decided to attend SCC because it was affordable, small class sizes, individual attention from staff, hands-on experience and the most important part was the job placement service,” he said.

Fatemi graduated from SCC’s Environmental Laboratory Technology program in 1985. He is a senior qualification engineer for Novartis Consumer Health/GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare in Lincoln.

“What I have here today, it all came from SCC,” he said. “I am proud of it and I wouldn’t do what I’m doing today without my education from SCC.”

Fatemi said the small class sizes and availability of the instructors was priceless.

“I got to know all the instructors, and we were never afraid to ask questions,” he said. “A lot of kids graduate from the University (of Nebraska-Lincoln) and don’t have the hands-on experience. Once I walked into this job, I knew I had done things like that at SCC.”

Following his graduation from SCC, Fatemi worked as a lab assistant at SmithKline Beecham Animal Health and worked his way up to a research associate. He worked there for 13 years and then worked at Pfizer Global Manufacturing for 10 years as a quality assurance specialist.

In 2009 he commuted to Elkhorn, where he worked as a quality assurance specialist at Merck Animal Health. Two years later he returned to Lincoln to work at Novartis Consumer Health as a QAS, and now as a senior qualification engineer.

Fatemi says he is able to use his experiences at SCC every day in his job.

“I love the science field; I learn every day,” he said. “I can always go there and relate to what I learned at SCC.”

Morteza and his wife Teresa have three children: April, Heidi and Javada, as well as two grandchildren. He enjoys biking, hiking and spending time with his family in his spare time. He also loves going to work every day.

“I love my job, and they say if you love your job it becomes your hobby.”


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