Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, who guided Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) to unprecedented institutional growth and development during 21 years as president, will be honored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) on Saturday, April 5.
She will receive the AACC’s national Leadership Award during the opening session of the organization’s 94th annual convention. The award is presented to individuals for outstanding accomplishments and professional contributions to the community college field.
Thornton served as Tri-C’s president from 1992 to 2013, and during her tenure acted as an advocate for community colleges across the country. She co-chaired the AACC’s 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, which worked to realign the community college mission to reflect national needs and changing times.
Upon retiring, Thornton was named president emeritus of Tri-C. She remains involved with the College in a special advisory role supporting the work of the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation and engaging in governmental affairs and community relations.
“Dr. Thornton’s recognition by AACC is a proud reflection on the College and honors her contributions to two-year colleges nationally,” said current Tri-C President Alex Johnson.
She will be recognized by the AACC along with Larry Ebbers, described as the face of community college development in Iowa, and Gunder Myran, regarded as the “father” of continuing education programs at community colleges for his transformative programs in Michigan.
“The word ‘legend’ is not too big to describe these three giants in the world of higher education,” said Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. “We owe Larry, Gunder and Jerry Sue a debt of gratitude for the pathways they’ve created for future students and leaders.”