John S. Rothamel contributed his leadership skills, integrity, and management to Mason City Junior College and NIACC for 28 years. He taught in the business department for 18 years and served as director of institutional services and executive dean for 10 years prior to his retirement. John’s son, John A. Rothamel, established the scholarship to recognize and honor his father’s dedication to Mason City Junior College and NIACC.
The John S. Rothamel Memorial Scholarship is designed for a business major who is a graduate of Charles City, Mason City, Newman or Northwood-Kensett High School.
A North Iowa native, John was born in Wesley and educated in Kensett. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, then attended the University of Minnesota prior to returning to North Iowa to teach at Mason City and Charles City High Schools. John joined the Mason City Junior College (NIACC’s predecessor) faculty in 1958.
According to Noreen Coyan, retired NIACC Human Resource Director, “John gave his heart and soul to the College, as an instructor, division chair, and vice president. He was a true Renaissance person-he had great intelligence but was very caring and compassionate to both staff and students.”
In addition to influencing the lives of many students though his instruction, Rothamel was involved in planning the layout of the current campus. John’s son said, “Being involved with setting up the campus was a lot of fun for my father. Many of the early buildings were temporary and he appreciate seeing the permanent buildings go up.”
Bob Peterson, retired Chair of NIACC’s Industrial Technology Division, said, “John was instrumental in setting up many of the career programs. He wanted to make sure that students who did not want to pursue a four-year degree could learn a career at NIACC while gaining a well-rounded education.” Peterson said Rothamel was also involved with the creation of the Independent Study Lab (ISL) which helps students learn through more individual attention.
In addition to guiding young people though teaching, John was active in leading the Mason City High School Junior Achievement Club. He was also a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the VFW.
John’s care for the young people of North Iowa will continue through the John S. Rothamel Memorial Scholarship.