Clark State Community College will hold the 55th annual Charter Night on Tuesday, February 21 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.
Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin said Charter Night serves as a reminder to the college and the 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 a mission-focused event that honors our faculty, staff and students for their hard work and recognizes campus award recipients,” she said.
The theme of this year’s Charter Night event, A College United, celebrates diversity. Student speakers Vejer Cox and Mbale Baraka will share their stories as part of the Charter Night program.
Cox started at Clark State the Fall Semester of 2015, enrolling in the Associate of Science transfer program for civil engineering. He is completing his last semester and will graduate this May. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Indiana, he was recruited from high school for Eagles baseball. He also plays basketball.
Cox is currently a student ambassador, a work-study student and has been accepted into the Honors Program. In addition to being a student-athlete, he has done well academically making the Dean’s List twice.
Mbale Baraka is a first-time, first semester student in the nursing program at Clark State’s Beavercreek campus. He arrived in the United States just one year ago. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baraka will share the story of his remarkable journey from his home country to life in America and his goal to be a US citizen.
More than 25 individuals will be honored at Charter Night for their years of service at Clark State, including Sue Bayes, who will celebrate 31 years with Clark State this July.
Bayes has filled numerous important roles for the college. She started in Sponsored Programs, a program funded through a Title III grant, then worked in Institutional Research and Development. She went on to the Starting Point Program for six years; another grant funded program to help students on ADC come to college, get a degree, a job and get off the welfare system; and then moved to Arts and Sciences as the administrative assistant to the academic dean for 16 years. Bayes also served as administrator to the director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center before taking her current position as assistant to the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
Bayes said she has always enjoyed the faculty and staff she works with and the opportunities the College has given her to move to different departments which helped her grow and learn.
“I was in Arts and Sciences for most of my time here, and I must say the faculty were phenomenal,” she said. “Now that I work for Dr. Singh and get to work with all of the faculty – I have found out that all of the faculty here at Clark State are phenomenal - not to mention the great staff we have!”
Charter Night will also honor recipients of Staff Professional Excellence Awards, Faculty Professional Excellence Awards, Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence Awards, the Diversity and Inclusion Awards, Professor Emeritus and the Champion of Clark State Award.
Area legislators, retirees, members of the Clark State Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors will be in attendance for Charter Night festivities. Trustee Emeritus Dr. Richard Umbaugh and President Emerita Dr. Karen Rafinski will also attend the celebration.