Colby Community College announced the individuals who will be welcomed to the CCC Alumni Hall of Fame. The class of 2019 includes late chemistry instructor Dr. Max Pickerill, former deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration Linda Hall Daschle, and All-American wrestlers Bekzod Abdurakhmonov and Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov.

A reception will be held in their honor from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, at the Colby Community Building. A brief plaque presentation is scheduled at halftime of the CCC women’s basketball game later in the day. Because of schedule conflicts, Abdurakhmonov, Abdurakhmanov, and Daschle stated they are not able to attend the reception.

The Colby Community College Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2012. Each year a committee selects individuals or couples who have made a substantial contribution to the college through personal time, effort and interest, or have contributed in a significant way to the lives of others after being part of Colby Community College.

Dr. Max Pickerill
When asked what he taught, Dr. Pickerill was well-known for saying, “I don’t teach chemistry, I teach students.”

The instructional career of "Pick" spanned more than 60 years. He came to Colby in 1974 to fill an open chemistry faculty position. Although officially retiring in 2008, he continued teaching and tutoring part-time until his death in 2011.

Pickerill earned his graduate degree from Fort Hays State University and his doctoral degree in chemistry from Louisiana State University.

He began a life in education as he finished his undergraduate degree while teaching high school in Baxter Springs, Kansas. Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, he taught at several post-secondary institutions including Oklahoma Junior College, Northern Oklahoma Junior College, College of Emporia and Louisiana State University. He was an instructor at WaKeeney High School before landing at CCC.

Cindy England, one of Pickerill's six children, remembers her father's dedication. "He was one of a kind for sure," she said, "And we all loved him and supported him. His life was his students. He made every effort to make sure they learned the material as it applied to each person."

England said her dad gave more than just his time and energy.

"He was so kind and humble. He owned rental homes and sometimes let students live rent-free if they couldn't pay. He always left the keys in his truck if the kids needed transportation."

Throughout his life, Pickerill received numerous awards and honors. He was selected by NASA to analyze lunar material following the first moon landing and hired by the Department of Energy to work on alcohol fuel distillation. At CCC, he was selected by his peers as the recipient of the Tangeman Award for Teaching Excellence in 1988 and 2008. In 1998, the college lecture series was named the “Dr. Max Pickerill Lecture Series” in honor of his 50 years of dedication to students and the field of education.

Though he may have had more prestigious opportunities in his career, Pickerill had a passion for teaching. At a 2008 ceremony commemorating his 100th semester in education, the Parsons, Kansas, native shared a story that underscored his love of the profession.

"One year students in my class knew I was going to the Ramada to eat Christmas dinner. They combined all their pocket change—about $13 and gave it to me to pay for dinner. How can you leave students like that?”

Honorable Linda Hall Daschle
Linda (Hall) Daschle attended CCC from 1973-75. The daughter of an aircraft mechanic, she rose to become the first woman to serve as Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator. Today, she is a nationally-recognized expert on aviation public policy.

Daschle got her first aviation job in 1975, joining the FAA as a certified weather observer while attending Kansas State University. In 1980, she joined the federal Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) as deputy regional director and then regional director in their Kansas City office. She was transferred to Washington, D.C., and promoted as the director of the CAB’s office of Congressional, Community and Consumer Affairs in 1984.

In 1993, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. She was promoted to acting administrator of the FAA in 1996 before returning to the private sector in 1997 with the Washington office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman and Caldwell. In 2008, she started an aviation consulting practice, LHD & Associates, Inc., a company she led until her retirement in 2018.

Daschle has received numerous aviation honors, including the Kansas Governor’s Aviation Honor Award, the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award, and the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, which is a trophy permanently displayed in the National Air and Space Museum to recognize individuals who made a significant contribution to air traffic control.

Two aviation scholarships have been created in her name – the AAAE Linda Hall Daschle Women in Aviation scholarship and the Linda Hall Daschle Scholarship for Aviation Excellence at South Dakota State University.

Named by Elle and Washingtonian magazine as one of the most influential women in Washington, she serves on the board of Aireon and has served on numerous advisory boards, including Ford’s Theatre, N Street Village, and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

She is married to former U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle from South Dakota and has three step-children and six grandchildren.

Bekzod Abdurakhmonov
Abdurakhmonov attended CCC from 2008 to 2010. He grew up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before arriving in Colby to compete under Hall-of-Fame coach Steve Lampe. Abdurakhmonov posted an 84-8 record on his way to two NJCAA runner-up finishes. After graduating, he transferred to Clarion University and went 38-12 his senior year while placing third at 165 pounds in the 2012 NCAA Championships.

Internationally, Abdurakhmonov represented Uzbekistan in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2018, he earned bronze for Uzbekistan in the 74 kg freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

In other notable tournaments, he claimed gold at the 2014 Asian Games and bronze at the 2014 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships.

Today, Abdurakhmonov still competes and offers his services as a volunteer coach.

Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov
Abdurakhmanov was a two-time national champion for CCC in 2003 and 2004 at 157 pounds.

After graduating, he transferred to American University in Washington, D.C. The Tashkent, Uzbekistan, native wrestled at 157 pounds in his junior year and posted a 27-1 record while becoming the first Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) champion in school history. He entered the NCAA championship tournament as the fourth seed, but a knee injury slowed him down as he exited in the third round.

Abdurakhmanov returned his senior year at 165 pounds and won his second EIWA championship on the way to being named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler. As the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, he placed third to claim All-American honors.

Abdurakhmanov, brother of CCC Hall of Fame member Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, is also a three-time Uzbekistan National Champion and a Junior World runner-up. In 2004, he placed second at the Sunkist International Tournament and in 2006 placed second in the New York Athletic Club International Tournament.

After a three-year stint as an assistant coach at American University, Abdurakhmanov has been an assistant wrestling coach at Harvard University since 2008.