WHITE BEAR LAKE – Century College has selected Toby Lillibridge of White Bear Lake as its Exemplary Student for 2011-2012.
Lillibridge, 31, is a student in the Information and Telecommunications Technologies (ITT) Program. He will address Century graduates at the spring ceremony at Aldrich Arena on Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m.
Born and raised in White Bear Lake, Lillibridge graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 1999.
He first attended Century in 2000, followed by two years at St. Cloud State University. He left school at that point to work as a retail manager at Sam’s Club for several years. He returned to Century in January 2011.
Lillibridge said he didn’t really get seriously motivated to succeed in college until he married his wife, Kristin, also a Century alum, and they had two boys who are now 5 and 3 years old.
"My kids gave me the motivation to go back to college and find a career that would support a family," Lillibridge said.
Lillibridge said his drive to succeed made all the difference. He not only has earned top grades at Century, but he also has become active in student government and clubs.
"I pushed myself to get involved because I know employers are looking for people with wide-ranging experience who can work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations," Lillibridge said. "Century has so many opportunities for people to branch out from their major and meet people from all over the world who are doing some really interesting things."
Lillibridge said he made lifelong friends working with the Century College Information Technology Association and the Student Senate. Last year, the CCITA organized a two-day recycling event that drew hundreds of community members to Century and filled seven trailer trucks with 149,000 pounds of old electronics.
As an ITT student, Lillibridge has focused on network security as his major interest. He said he knew very little about this subject until he began the program.
"My professors – Scott Simenson, Luke Andresen and Tom Prescott – have been great," Lillibridge said. "They have helped me both professionally and personally. Rick Nelson, the Student Senate advisor, has also been great."
Lillibridge said it takes patience, organization and attention to detail to do well in the IT field. But the people who get jobs also learn how to communicate well, make presentations and reach out to others.
With the help of Century staff, Lillibridge landed a coveted internship with Thomson Reuters in Eagan this spring. Down the road, he said he would like to teach ITT at the college level.