Clark State Community College will celebrate their 56th annual Charter Night on Tuesday, February 20 at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center in downtown Springfield. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6:15 p.m.
Charter Night serves to remind the college and community about the founding of Clark State, celebrated through the establishment of the charter to operate as a post-secondary institution in the region.
“Charter Night is particularly special this year because we are celebrating how we impact students outside the classroom and remove barriers to their attendance and completion at Clark State,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “We have been working this past year as a campus on how to support our students in areas of need, such as our clothing closet and food pantry – and we are asking attendees to bring donations to help these efforts.”
The theme of the 2018 Clark State Charter Night is: “Clark State Cares.”
“We care about our students, we care about our employees, we care about our workforce partners and we care about our community!” said Blondin.
Eric Mata, a certified life coach specializing in working with men, women and families who have been impacted by addiction, will be the emcee for the event.
Mata, a graduate of Clark State and a recovering addict, has been sober since February of 2010. He works with a range of clients, and coaches them to a higher quality of life. His expertise is working with members in recovery from opiate addiction and guiding them through the process of obtaining employment, career development, education and achieving goals the client has for themselves, all while building a solid foundation for a life in recovery.
“My favorite memory at Clark State was watching my younger sister graduate in 2016,” said Mata. “We share a similar background, and she felt inspired to attend college after she saw me graduate.”
Mata is currently working towards a bachelor’s in social work from Wright State University. Prior to his career as a life coach, Eric was a licensed chemical dependency counselor at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. He has worked with hundreds of recovering addicts and has been able to have a positive impact on his community.
Mata’s philosophy is that all people have strengths and need to identify their purpose and live their life based on principles and values that are meaningful to them. He teaches a process of self-discovery that is proven to work for anyone.
Charter Night will also recognize 25 individuals for their years of service at Clark State, including Brian Heaney, a professor in the Arts & Sciences division, who will celebrate 30 years with Clark State.
Heaney is a faculty professor of English with a BA from Yale and an MA from The Ohio State University. He has worked as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor at Clark State.
“I have learned a great deal about English literature and rhetoric while trying to figure out how to clearly communicate those subjects,” said Heaney. “Working with this faculty and this staff has been most rewarding for me at Clark State. I have never anywhere else been part of such a generally dedicated, respectful, unselfish and hard-working group. In that experience, I'm quite privileged.”
Charter Night will also honor recipients of Staff Professional Excellence Awards, Faculty Professional Excellence Awards, Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence Awards and the Diversity and Inclusion Awards.
Area legislators, retirees, members of the Clark State Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors will be in attendance for Charter Night festivities.