It is with great sadness we share with you that former Muscatine Community College (MCC) President Dr. Jeff Armstrong died January 11 at his home.
Dr. Armstrong served in various positions at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, officially retiring in 2014. During his 33 years with the college he also served as Community Education Specialist, Dean of Instruction (MCC), Executive Director of Resource Development & Innovation, Vice Chancellor of Facilities/President MCC (2009-2011), and then finally Vice Chancellor of Instruction in 2011-2014.
Dr. Armstrong had too much energy to actually retire. He worked for seven years (2012-2018) in Afghanistan, first as Senior Manager for Associate Degrees and as Senior Manager for Academic Leadership and most recently as Senior International Advisor to the Ministry for Higher Education, all as part of USAID cooperative agreements. (Dr. Armstrong was granted a two-year leave of absence from EICC to work in Afghanistan.)
He also served as Provost of Northeast Iowa Community College, 2014-2015, before returning to Afghanistan. He has been involved in numerous international activities supporting the development of community colleges, workforce development and market-oriented institutions of higher education, with projects in India, South Africa, Namibia, Guyana, Thailand, Ukraine, Jordan and Georgia. Dr. Armstrong traveled to India 22 times since 1995. Most recently, Dr. Armstrong spent 2019 in Erbil, Iraq working for the British Council as an International Advisor on a variety of projects.
Dr. Armstrong earned the EICC Chancellor’s Award, the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Administrator Award, the Muscatine High School Hall of Honor Award as well as being awarded an honorary doctorate by Ivan-Franko Pedagogical University (Drohobych, Ukraine).
To know Dr. Armstrong was to know the man who met the Dali Lama and Mother Teresa in India, spent time among the Buddhist ruins in Cambodia, traveled the Middle East through the Fulbright Foundation, saw the holy land through the eyes of a Palestinian friend, worked to dispel apartheid in education in South Africa, worked with the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan, and helped set up learning institutes in areas of the world most yearning for the promises that only an educated population can produce.
He is survived by his wife, Andrea, daughters, Madigan (Andy Bassman), Robin (John Welt), and Hannah (Brett Pfantz), and his grandchildren, Isadora and Oscar as well as his mother, Loretto, and brothers Pete and Chris, and his loving nieces, Sarah and Tess. A private celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
Memorials can be made in Dr. Armstrong’s name to the MCC scholarship fund in care of the Muscatine Community College Foundation, 152 Colorado Street, Muscatine, Iowa 52761.
There are likely many stories about Jeff that will help celebrate his rich life. Please feel free to post stories and memories below.