April 5, 2011


State’s New Highway Director Member of First NACC Class

Northeast Alabama Community College will be turning 50 in 2015, and the College is planning a series of celebrations. Each year from now until 2015 the College plans to host activities for former students and friends in our community.

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, our first class, which enrolled in 1965, will be honored with a luncheon. Dr. David Campbell, president of Northeast, acknowledged the importance of remembering how the College began. “The physical, technological nature of Northeast of course has changed dramatically since the college opened some fifty years ago. However, one thing that has not changed is the quality and character of our students. In this regard our first class, the group we are honoring, set an example and tone for Northeast that still exists today. We are extremely pleased to be recognizing them.”

One member of our first class was John Cooper. He graduated from Marshall County High School in 1965 and with his wife Jean became a member of the first class of Northeast Alabama State Junior College.

Cooper graduated from the University of Alabama with a master’s degree in accounting. He worked at two national accounting firms, serving as managing partner of offices in Birmingham and Knoxville. He also served in executive positions with two of the nation’s leading hi-tech companies, both located in Huntsville. From 1996 until 2001, Cooper was the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for Adtran, a leading global provider of networking and telecommunications technology. From 2002 until his retirement in 2008, Cooper served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Avocent, a company that is a world-wide leader in assisting businesses in managing the infrastructure of information technology. In December 2010, Cooper was named by Governor Bentley as the State’s Highway Director.

John Cooper, NACC graduate and Director of
the Alabama Department of Transportation

The Coopers now live in South Sauty and operate a business with three campground and marina operations on Lake Guntersville.

John’s wife Jean serves as a member on our Northeast Alabama Community College Foundation Board. She and John have been married forty-three years and have three children and two granddaughters “who are rapidly gaining control of our lives,” said Cooper.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper are just two of the great students in our area that have attended Northeast. The College is working extremely hard to find all the members of the class who started in 1965. “We have many classmates from 1965 working with us to find everyone,” stated Heather Rice, Development Director. “People have moved off and we are working with maiden names for the ladies, but we want to make sure all of them know about the luncheon and the upcoming activities.”

If you are a member of that first class or know of someone that is, please send your information to Heather Rice at or call the college, ext. 301.