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Clark State to Host 59th Annual Charter Night with Virtual Celebration

Clark State to Host 59th Annual Charter Night with Virtual Celebration

February 8, 2021

Clark State College will celebrate its 59th annual Charter Night at 5 p.m., Tuesday, February 16 with a virtual gathering of Faculty, staff, students and guests.

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 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 will be 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, helps leaders align their organizations and maximize their talent so they can increase productivity and profitability. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, Government Agencies, Educational Institutions and Nonprofit Organizations.

KTownsend Consulting considers topics such as diversity, leadership and personal excellence through a lens that equips organizations in general, and women in particular, to lead confidently.

A 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.

In 2019 Townsend was recognized by the Dayton Business Journal in the category of “Woman-owned Business of The Year.” She currently serves on the board of trustees and executive committee for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, the Diversity Advisory Council for the Dayton Business Journal and the Community Advisory Board of the Dayton Daily News.

Charter Night will honor recipients of Staff Professional Excellence Awards, Faculty Professional Excellence Awards, Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence Awards and the Diversity & Inclusion Awards.

The Clark State College Board of Trustees has elevated three professors to Emeritus status; Danis Heighton, Marvin Nephew and Dr. Robert Sweet will be recognized with this honor.

“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 three individuals have made significant and measurable contributions to the institution that have impacted student success for years to come.”

To be considered for Emeritus status one must have achieved specific eligibility criteria.

“We are a family. We look out for each other,” said Danis Heighton, former professor of CyberSecurity/ Information Assurance and Computer Networking at Clark State. “Once I started at Clark State I didn’t want to leave; this was the place for me. [I am] absolutely honored – no words can express [my gratitude for the] grandest thing that I can receive.”

Charter Night will also recognize 32 individuals for their years of service at Clark State, including Clark State alumnus Jim Anderson who has taught for 30 years.

Anderson started at Clark Technical College in 1980 right out of high school and studied Electrical Engineering Technology. He graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in 1982. He decided to stay at Clark Tech another year and graduated with a second Associates in Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 1983.

“During my third year at Clark Tech, I discovered that math was my passion, and that Clark Tech was an excellent school with great instructors that truly cared about their students,” said Anderson. “I decided at that time that I wanted to teach mathematics at Clark Tech.”

Anderson graduated from Wright State with a Bachelor of Science in June of 1986 and received a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics in June 1990.

“I started at Clark Technical College as a student in September 1980 and by October 1980, I was hired as a student tutor – tutoring developmental math and algebra for the college,” said Anderson. “During Winter Quarter 1986, I taught my first class in Developmental Algebra, and I have been teaching [at Clark State] ever since. I was hired full – time in September 1990.”

Anderson has also served as Faculty Treasurer, Co-Chair of the Personnel Committee, Co-Chair of the Safety Committee, Co-Chair of the Employee Relations Committee, and Faculty President for 2 years.

During his time at Clark State, Anderson has been awarded the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award, five-time Faculty Award for Professional, the SOCHE Award for Innovations in Teaching Excellence, the NISOD Excellence Award, and the Ohio’s Top 100 Educators in Higher Education.

“My biggest academic accomplishment was getting hired full-time at Clark State and being able to make a living doing what I love most - teaching mathematics,” he said.

2021 Charter Night Service Awards Recipients


5 Years

Lesli Beavers

Jason Chilman

Joshua Foster

Sarah Hagenbuch

Kathleen Nelson

Dr. Adam Parrillo

Stephanie Thompson

Pamela Vaughn

Nathan Walters

Paul Weber

Brandon Weippert

Stephanie Weippert

Tracy Yates


10 Years

Rahme Ashour

Dr. Aimee Belanger-Haas

Karlton Clayborne

Kara Jackson

Natalie Johnson

Diana Seaman

Kristin Skiles

Antoinette Yancey


15 Years

Christopher Bays

Carin Burr

Scott Dawson

Theresa Lauricella

Diane Roux


20 Years

Lori Common

Stephanie Gaston

Patricia Shafer

Gregory Teets


30 Years

Jim Anderson

Laurie Means

Media Contact

Crystal Jones Vice President of Marketing, Diversity and Community Impact