Clark State Community College hosted the college’s 56th annual Charter Night on Tuesday, February 20. The annual event 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.
“We celebrated the accomplishments of many dedicated Clark State staff and faculty,” said Sharon Evans, chairperson of the Clark State Board of Trustees. “We recognized years of service, diversity and inclusion and professional excellence.”
“Each year Dr. Blondin and others seem to find a new and interesting way to celebrate Charter Night,” said Evans. “This year we celebrated in a casual and fun environment. We have so many talented and dedicated employees. It is wonderful to see the recognition for so much hard work. Clark State is a great place doing great things in our community!”
John Minter and Crystal Jones from the college’s Diversity Committee presented the Diversity and Inclusion Awards to Corey Holiday, success coach at Clark State, and Catherine Crosby, chief of staff for the mayor of Toledo, Ohio.
Crosby’s work and community involvement have earned her a number of recognitions including an appointment to the U.S Commission on Civil Rights Ohio Advisory Committee. She has spoken to Clark State’s faculty and staff, and Board of Trustees to identify high-level diversity goals for the campus.
Holliday has been with Clark State for 17 years. He serves as a success coach and oversees African American Male initiatives for Clark State.
“What makes this award special to my heart is that my peers/co-workers - the people that do the day to day - nominated me for the award,” he said. “They see the work that I put in and they understand the passion and drive that I have for this type of work.”
The Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence award was received by three dedicated instructors: Deborah Spencer, Russ Steele and Victoria Adams.
Deborah Spencer has been teaching at Clark State since 2009 in the Health, Human and Public Services division. She’s a teacher in the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Victoria Adams teaches math in the Arts & Sciences division. She has been with Clark State since 2000.
Russ Steele, adjunct physics instructor, has been with Clark State since 2014. He said he was surprised to receive the award.
“It is always a great honor when a student recognizes your teaching ability and takes the time to actually nominate you for an award,” he said. “That takes an extra effort on the part of the student to go the ‘extra mile’ to do the work necessary to nominate me. I appreciate being honored for my God-given gift of teaching here at Clark State.”
The Faculty Professional Excellence award was received by dedicated Clark State professors Dr. Melinda Mohler, Dr. Lawrence Everett, Crystal Jones and Kara Jackson.
Mohler, associate professor of history, has been with Clark State for five years.
“Receiving the Faculty Professional Excellence Award was a special moment for two reasons,” she said. “First, because nominations for the award are made by students and colleagues, which means a great deal to me. Secondly, because I have such great respect for the other faculty members who received the award, and I am honored to be one of them. I am proud to work at a college that recognizes and celebrates the hard work of faculty and staff.”
Dr. Larry Everett, professor and coordinator Precision Agriculture and director, Ohio Center for Precision Agriculture, has been with Clark State for 15 years.
“I am humbled,” said Everett. “Everyone at Clark State deserves an award. I truly have never met or had the pleasure of working with such a group of professionals that are so passionate and go well beyond the scope of their job description to serve our students and communities as our family here at Clark State.”
Crystal Jones serves as program coordinator and associate professor of the Management program and is faculty co-chair of the Diversity Committee. She has been with Clark State for 10 years.
“It is an honor to be acknowledged and appreciated for what you love to do,” she said. “I am thankful for this opportunity to work with the professionals at the college and our students!”
Kara Jackson is an associate professor and teaches in the Registered Nursing program. She has been with Clark State for seven years.
“I was honored just to be nominated, so I was completely surprised and thrilled to be given the Faculty Professional Excellence Award,” she said. “I feel very honored and humbled to receive this award. The recognition for my hard work is nice but to me my success is always about my students.”
Clark State awarded the Staff Professional Excellence Awards to four deserving staff members.
Susan Kelly serves as assistant to the vice president for Business Affairs. She has been with Clark State for five years.
“It was a nice surprise when Dr. Blondin called my name. I felt honored that my peers would recognize the work that I do,” she said. “I do not believe I do anything above and beyond what other staff members do on a daily basis, so to be recognized was wonderful!”
Kelly, also a Clark State alumna, said she has a great team to work with and appreciates their continued support. “Business Affairs has been through countless changes over the last year and our team has stuck together and continued to move forward,” she said.
Callie Cary-Devine, project director, TRiO, Student Support Services, has been with Clark State for 11 years.
“Everyone at Clark State works hard to help make student’s feel welcome, supported and confident that they will succeed in their academic journey,” she said. “I love and believe in the work I do here; and greatly appreciate that my colleagues recognized my contributions to what is truly a team effort.”
Project Jericho Manager Lauren Houser has been with Clark State since 2013. She said she was surprised to receive the award knowing how each member of the Project Jericho team and so many of her colleagues at Clark State are equally as deserving of this recognition.
“This is pretty humbling to me because I view waking up each day and coming to work at Project Jericho as a reward in and of itself,” she said. “I’m so grateful to work with such talented, creative and passionate people both at the college and in the community.”
Clark State alumna Melody Gast now serves as the Career Services coordinator. She has been with Clark State since August of 2014. She, too, was surprised and grateful to be chosen for an esteemed award.
“I was thrilled to receive the Professional Excellence Award. It is even more meaningful being an alumnus of Clark State,” she said. “When I was a student, the exceptional faculty and staff gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. Now as the Career Services coordinator, I have the opportunity to give back and assist current students and graduates reach their career goals.”
This year, 25 employees of Clark State were recognized for their years of service to the college, including Brian Heaney who celebrates 30 years as a professor of English.
Area legislators, retirees, members of the Clark State Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors were also in attendance for the Charter Night festivities.
Closing the event, Board of Trustees Chairperson Sharon Evans said at Clark State success motivates and moves the college forward, and that diversity is the driver of that success.
“Each of us brings a unique perspective rooted deep in our own individuality,” she said. “When we encourage and embrace different ways of thinking, we create an environment without boundaries or the limits of the status quo. We open our minds and unlock our full potential, and see that potential in others – mainly in our students. We are all making a difference, together.”
Dr. Victoria Mahan
Dr. Naureen Qasim