CLINTON — Retired Clinton Community College President Karen Vickers has been awarded Phi Theta Kappa’s Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award.
She is part of a select group of 10 retiring college presidents from across the country to receive the honor.
Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the national honor society for two-year college students. Vickers will receive her award at the organization’s annual convention, April 2-4, in Dallas. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations, with approximately 240,000 active members in the nation’s colleges.
The Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to retiring college presidents who have shown strong support of student success on their campus by recognizing academic achievement, leadership and service among high-achieving students over the course of their career. Making the award especially meaningful is that recipients are nominated by the students at their college.
Vickers served Eastern Iowa Community Colleges as president of Clinton Community College from 1996 until her retirement in 2019. She also served as EICC’s vice chancellor for student development.
“By her leadership, vision and commitment, Karen has made an indelible mark on Clinton Community College and its growth and development as an indispensable community asset,” said EICC Chancellor Don Doucette. “She has led a student-centered transformation of many of EICC’s processes and procedures that have substantially increased student success and completion. I am personally indebted to her for graciously sharing her knowledge and expertise of all things CCC and EICC not only with me but with all of the new faculty and staff we have attracted to our colleges. She will be missed.”
This is not the first time Vickers has been recognized by PTK. In 2016, she was honored with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction awarded to college presidents based on outstanding efforts given toward promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa.
In her role as vice chancellor of student development, Vickers’ efforts resulted in a districtwide advising process, a new student intake and orientation process, additional services for military and veteran students, and new policies and procedures to address changing regulations in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
She also facilitated the establishment of a variety of new scholarships including the High School Equivalency Tuition program for graduates of the HiSET program and the Opportunity Grant for students with academic promise who have exhausted all financial aid options.
As CCC president, Vickers spearheaded the local campaign for the successful passage of a $33 million capital bond referendum resulting in construction of the new CCC Maquoketa Center, as well as addition of new chemistry and physics labs, and refurbishment of the biology and microbiology labs, Student Success Center and Business Services areas at the main campus. In 2016, the CCC Library was refurbished resulting in a state-of-the-art hub for research and resources, a library available to all citizens throughout the service region.
Under Vickers’ leadership, Clinton Community College has been recognized as one of Iowa’s Top Workplaces by the Des Moines Register since 2012.