JCJC President among eight nationally receiving PTK honor

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-05-12 11:09:13

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College President, Dr. Jesse Smith was recently recognized as one of eight college presidents nationally, for a Phi Theta Kappa award. The two-year international honor society’s executive director, Dr. Rod Risley presented Smith with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in Seattle, WA in April. As the keynote speaker for graduation, Risley was able to present the award to Smith following graduation ceremonies in Ellisville.
“This is a special honor for me to be able to present this to Dr. Smith because Shirley B. Gordon was my mentor,” said Risley. “Dr. Smith was only one of eight college presidents in the nation selected for this honor. Phi Theta Kappa receives over 100 nominations annually for the award of distinction, and we can recognize 25 presidents, but the committee chose to recognize only eight this year.” 
This Award of Distinction is named after the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, who served as Chair of Phi Theta Kappa's Board of Directors for 20 years. She was President Emeritus of Highline Community College in Washington and the first female college president of the community college.
“Leadership starts at the top with presidents raising the vision of what can be accomplished. I’m proud to recognize Dr. Smith for the outstanding leadership you’re providing,” said Risley.
Smith humbly received the medallion embellished with a picture of Gordon at a post-graduation luncheon with JCJC Board of Trustees members, faculty, staff and friends of the college in attendance. He noted, “This honor was a real surprise but a pleasant surprise,” said Smith. “PTK is very important because they recognize the best and the brightest and they help our students get university transfer scholarships. I’m proud to be a part of an organization like Phi Theta Kappa.” 

Nominations for the Gordon award begin in the fall and are submitted by the student officers and Phi Theta Kappa advisors. Each nominee must have provided extensive support and a variety of resources for their colleges' Phi Theta Kappa chapter, including faculty advisor release time, a line-item budget for the chapter, financial support for their chapter to participate in regional and international events, and scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members. Many of these presidents and CEOs speak at their chapter inductions, serve as statewide Phi Theta Kappa presidential ambassadors and coordinate All-State Academic Team programs.
“Dr. Smith has been very supportive of our Phi Theta Kappa, Rho Sigma chapter at Jones,” said PTK Advisor, Carol Bergin. “One of the best opportunities our students have is to give back and they are able to tutor students in our new Student Success Center which was part of Dr. Smith’s vision to ensure all of our students have the resources to succeed.” 
Bergin added Smith has been an avid supporter of Phi Theta Kappa for 13 years from the time he was academic dean and dean of the college to now as president. “He would help us set up for special events, luncheons, clean stages and whatever it took. He has helped the organization in every way possible,” said Bergin.
Stacey Nix, a Jones ’94 alumna, PTK member and sister of Smith shared, “I’m very proud of my brother. He’s been very successful with lots of good changes at the campus.”
The recipients of the Shirley B. Gordon Awards of Distinction for 2011 are:

Dr. Karen Bleeker                                                                   Dr. Jesse Smith
President                                                                                President 
Community College of Denver                                               Jones County Junior College
Colorado                                                                                 Mississippi

Ms. Carol Churchill                                                                 Dr. Gregory Williams
President                                                                                President
Mid Michigan Community College                                            Odessa College
Michigan                                                                                 Texas

Dr. Fred Grogan                                                                     Dr. Paul Young
President                                                                                President
Metropolitan Community College-Longview                             Northern Wyoming Community College District Missouri                                          Gillette College & Sheridan College - Wyoming
Mr. Tom Lee                                                               Dr. Adena Loston                                          
Provost                                                                                    President
Des Moines Area Community College-Boone Campus         St. Philip's College
Iowa                                                                                        Texas

Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,270 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 125,000 students inducted annually.


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