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Lincoln Campus's 2020 Distinguished Alumni

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Chris Hepburn is an example that it’s never too late to go back to college. He first enrolled at Southeast Community College in 1999 after graduating from Lincoln Southeast High School. However, life got in the way, and he ended up dropping out. After coming back to SCC a few years later, he had another setback, but still managed to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“Years later I was married and decided to go back,” he explained. “Not too long after that, I had a traumatic brain injury where I was lucky I lived and was able to function at a level allowing me to return back to work. I came back to SCC again and finally finished up my Associate of Applied Science degree.”

It was 2013 when Hepburn earned a degree in Computer Information Technology from SCC. He subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security from Bellevue University. He has since climbed the ranks at the Nebraska Judicial Branch and is now the Network Administrator/Security Officer/Department Manager for the IT Division. 

“Through his work over the past five years, the Nebraska statewide court and probation systems have greatly benefited,” said Jennifer Rasmussen, IT Deputy Court Administrator. “He has modernized systems, consolidated and enhanced support, brought creative solutions to IT issues, and tightened security. Through a period of great transition for the branch, Chris’s leadership, skills and experience were essential and have put us in a good place to be prepared for the next five years and beyond.”

Hepburn said his department supports around 1,750 employees, justices and judges throughout the state. He administers the network, trains on cybersecurity and implements security measures. More importantly than all of his responsibilities with very private information, he loves what he does.

“In a nutshell, I’m just a guy who loves waking up every morning, biking to work and spending my day engulfed in my passion, which is technology,” he said, “and if I can help others embrace technology, that’s just icing on the cake.”

Looking back at his time at SCC, Hepburn remembers the kindness of his instructors. In 2011, he was cross-country biking when he was in an accident and survived a traumatic brain injury. It wasn’t easy to return to school after that, but he had some help.

“When I was able to return to SCC, my instructors were so kind and accommodating,” he recalled. “They understood my issues and did what they could to help me learn. I just can’t say enough good things about the computer science instructors.”

“Chris is an alumni I can always count on,” said Jo Schuster, CIT co-director. “He has mentored several CIT students in internships, and he regularly shares his knowledge and experience with The Career Academy students.”

Hepburn recently hired his first SCC intern and is extremely proud. He was honored to receive the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award.

During our current pandemic, it was really an uplifting gesture from SCC,” he said. “I was surprised. I know a lot of alumni from SCC, people that do amazing work in their professions. To be picked as a Distinguished Alumni is a great honor from a school I certainly hold dear to my heart.”

Hepburn remembers SCC as giving him a solid foundation, not just in computer technology, but other aspects such as writing papers, giving speeches and overall real-world knowledge to apply to his career. His path took a few detours, but he never got off course. 

“Walking down the aisle to accept my A.A.S. was a moment I will never forget,” he remembered. “Just my sheer determination to complete my degree and see it all come together was worth all the struggle, pain and uncertainty. I truly felt blessed.”

Hepburn lives in Lincoln with his wife Nancy and his daughter Holly.

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Andrea Gallagher
Marketing Specialist
402-323-3395
agallagher@southeast.edu