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Alumni Profile: The Nee Family
It’s rather common to hear about a parent and their children attending the College based on their positive experiences. This month, we feature three alumni of the Nee Family, all with different stories, but they all share a strong affinity for their time in our classrooms. Each one is unique in their own way: Thomas Nee Sr. '79 is a local police officer with more than 30 years experience protecting his community. His sons Thomas Nee Jr. '09, a probation officer and Chris Nee '15, an aspiring stand-up comedian, teamed up to start a non-profit organization to help local children battling cancer. We would like to thank the Nees for sharing their story with our alumni audience.
In sharing their story, we ask for your consideration of supporting the Alumni Legacy Scholarship program so future generations can attend the College. Visit our website (dccc.edu/makeagift) to make a donation or to learn about other ways our alumni can help support a student in need of financial assistance.
What year did you graduate from Delaware County Community College and with what degree?Thomas Sr.: “I graduated in December 1979 with an associate degree in General Education/Administration of Justice.”
Thomas Jr.: “I graduated 2009 with an associate degree in Business Administration.”
Chris: “I graduated last year with an associate degree in Communication Arts-Theatre.”
Did you pursue further academic goals?
Thomas Sr.: “After graduating, I went to Saint Joseph’s University to study secondary education as a history major. I have been teaching at local schools, colleges, universities, senior centers and various groups throughout the community as a police officer. I am also an adjunct instructor at Delaware County Community College.”
Thomas Jr.: “After graduating, I received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from West Chester University.”
Chris: “I am in the process of applying to four-year colleges and am proud to say that I earned academic honors twice.”
Where are you now?
Thomas Sr.: “For the past 35 years I have been a police officer for the Upper Darby Township Police Department, a job that I love. I never woke up one day not looking forward to going to work. For 20 years, I worked as a patrol officer and for the last 15 years, I have been the Administrator for the Community Affairs Unit. I work closely with the Superintendent of Police and have been assigned to the Mayor and Council as part of my duties as the Community Affairs Officer.”
Thomas Jr.: “I have been a Juvenile Probation Officer for the County of Delaware for the last two years. My duties include supervising juveniles in the community and also at placement facilities. In 2010, along with my brother Chris, we started a nonprofit organization called Healing Hats and Toys Inc. (facebook.com/HealingHatsandToys). We donate hats and toys to children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Edmond’s Home for Children, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, The Ronald McDonald House and children throughout the Tri-State Area.”
Chris: “In addition to working with my brother on the non-profit we started together, I continue to pursue my dream of performing on stage. I have been lucky enough to have been performing over the past year on a stand-up comedy tour called ‘The Academic Probation Tour’ that I created with other comedians from Philadelphia. We have been playing all over the area and hosted shows at the Trocadero Theater three times, two as the main act in front of a couple hundred people. Our next show is at Temple University on April 15. I recorded my first live comedy album titled ‘Birth of a Professional Moron’ which can be found on iTunes. My comedy has opened doors to perform shows with nationwide acts such as Jamie Kennedy and Preston Lacy. The tour has been featured on WMMR’s Preston and Steve show and articles in both the Delaware County Daily Times and Philadelphia Weekly.”
What is next for you professionally?
Thomas Sr.: “After I retire, I intend to teach for the Police Academy and possibly local school districts as a security consultant. My main expertise is crime prevention, terrorism prevention, community affairs, drug and alcohol education, anti-bullying, personal safety and general policing. In my spare time, I have operated a successful carpet cleaning business since 1988 that my sons and I would like to expand in the near future. Our motto has always been, service as good as gold!”
Thomas Jr.: “My main goal is to take our nonprofit, Healing Hats and Toys, to the next level. It would be my dream to be able to work full time supporting all that we do and hope to do in the future. Chris and I are working on growing by reaching out to new donors through community events and social media.”
Chris: “My main goal is to continue pursuing my stand-up comedy and one day get my tour to travel nationwide. I also will be going to school to get my bachelor’s degree in Social Work in the hopes of working for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My primary goal is to help children who are battling cancer, survivors and their families.”
What is your favorite memory of your time on campus, outside of the classroom?
Thomas Sr.: “My favorite memory was making many new friends. One of my friends I met at the College actually became my Captain/Supervisor at the police department years later. I still keep in touch with many of my friends I have made and network with other alumni regularly on Linkedln.”
Thomas Jr.: “I met a lot of people who are now some of my best friends. My fiancée and I are godparents to our best friend’s daughter whom I met during my time on campus. I also enjoyed karaoke in the cafeteria. That was always fun for a good laugh and helped ease stress during finals week.”
Chris: “My favorite memory was performing in five theater productions, which were without a doubt some of the most fun times of my life and built friendships that will last forever. I also got to work with some professors who really would go out of their way to make sure their students succeed not only in class but in life.”
Did you have a favorite professor or class during your studies?
Thomas Sr.: “All of my professors were very professional and did a great job. The one instructor I met at the College is a close friend and has been my accountant for over 25 years. My favorite class was actually an elective for elementary music. It had nothing to do with criminal justice, but taught me how to play an auto-harp.”
Thomas Jr.: “My favorite classes were management and marketing. The majority of my professors had worked in the field and would use real-life scenarios in their lectures, which I found interesting. I took two Administration of Justice courses with Professors Daniel Costa and Thomas Dowd. They mentioned real-life experiences, told stories of their time on duty and related it to their classroom instruction.”
Chris: “I had many great professors but my all-time favorite was Stephen Smith, who was my acting teacher and director all of the theater productions I participated in. He taught me so many different things about acting, performing, getting into the business and always helped me create the best character that I could be for my performances. Most importantly, he believed in me and wants to see me succeed. He continues to support my career, and we still keep in touch.”
What advice would you give to current students and Alumni to capitalize on the education they received from the College?
Thomas Sr.: “The first piece of advice I could offer is to follow your curriculum to guarantee you will take the proper prerequisites. Study hard, learn all you can and make as many friends as you can. Network as much as possible because you will never know who your boss may be in the future.”
Thomas Jr.: “I would tell current students to go in with an open mind, participate in class and have good time management. One of the best pieces of advice I can recommend to current students is to use a daily planner and map out how your week will look. This was very helpful to me as I worked up to 30 hours a week while also taking classes.”
Chris: “My advice to any current student is it is okay to not know what you want to major in or what you want your career to be. The College provides students with many opportunities to help you make a decision on a career path that is a right fit. Don’t be scared to do something that maybe your friends wouldn’t necessarily think is ‘cool’. God created us to stand out, not to fit in! And lastly you can do whatever you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
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