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Clark State Celebrates 59th Annual Charter Night, Three Professors Elevated to Emeritus Status

Clark State Celebrates 59th Annual Charter Night, Three Professors Elevated to Emeritus Status

February 17, 2021

Clark State College celebrated its 59th Annual Charter Night Tuesday, February 16 with a virtual event. The annual event serves to remind the college and community about the establishment of Clark State’s charter in 1966 to operate as a post-secondary institution in the region.

“Charter Night is Clark State’s annual birthday celebration, a time when we recognize and reflect on our establishment as an institution of higher education,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State College. “The ‘OneClarkState’ theme this year reflects the cumulative work we have done for the past seven years on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the spirit in which we serve our students.  This evening is also a formal inauguration of our new name, Clark State College.” 

Author, speaker and organizational development consultant, Dr. Karen Townsend was the keynote speaker at Charter Night. President of KTownsend Consulting, an award-winning organizational development firm offering expertise in leadership development and 21st Century diversity, and recognized subject matter expert, Townsend has written articles on diversity and inclusion which have been featured in local, regional and national publications and media outlets.

The Clark State College Board of Trustees elevated three retirees to Emeritus status; Danis Heighton, Marvin Nephew and Dr. Robert Sweet were recognized with this honor. To be considered for Emeritus status one must have achieved specific eligibility criteria.

“The retirees selected as Emeriti have demonstrated dedicated service to Clark State and its students,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “The purpose of emeritus status is to acknowledge and recognize outstanding achievement among retired employees at Clark State, and these these three individuals have made significant and measurable contributions to the institution that have impacted student success for years to come.”

In honor of Emeritus status, Heighton, Nephew and Sweet will each be presented with a token of appreciation, and the Clark State Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship in their name for a Clark State student who meets the criteria selected by each.

This year, 32 employees of Clark State were recognized for their years of service to the college. Faculty and Staff Professional Excellence Awards were also presented. Area legislators, retirees, members of the Clark State Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors were in attendance for the Charter Night festivities.

Additional Charter Night awards included:


Faculty Professional Excellence Awards

Karen Benton

Lynn Geist

Jonathan Kuehnle

Tammy Watt


Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence Awards

Kalen Howell

Allante Taylor-Johnson

Jessica Shafer


Staff Professional Excellence Awards

Dan Ayars

Josh Compston

Julia Daniels

Angela Henry

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Crystal Jones Vice President of Marketing, Diversity and Community Impact