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More than 500 students graduate from Paris Junior College

Published or Revised January 12, 2017

2016 spring graduation

During the 2016 spring graduation ceremony at PJC, the Master Teacher award went to Dr. Jack Brown (top, shown with Ed McCraw and Dr. Pam Anglin), and the Distinguished Service Award went to sophomore Joel Mutchler of Paris.

In the Paris Junior College class of 2016, 553 students graduated from Paris Junior College with certificates and associate degrees. Over 200 students chose to walk in the graduation ceremony held at Noyes Stadium Friday evening. The ceremony opened with an invocation from Phi Theta Kappa president Joel Mutchler, and PJC alumnus Trenton Little followed with the song, “You Raise Me Up.”

Among the graduates were students who had received state and national honors in their degree fields and ranged in age from 16 to 63 years. The graduates represent 29 different Texas counties and 9 different states.

“In this year’s graduating class, we have 21 students who will be receiving their associate degrees and will graduate from high school in the next two to three weeks,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin. “Of these 21, two are from Sulphur Springs High School and 12 are from Quinlan Ford High School. The other seven come from high schools across our service area.”

The 2016 Master Teacher Award was then presented by Ed McCraw, Vice President of Academic Studies, who said he was honored and privileged to present the award. He explained that nominations are made by peers and then reviewed for final selection.

“It is usually during this process that we realize how many excellent instructors we have,” said McCraw. “Based on this information, I can truly say that I am honored, privileged, and also very proud to announce the 2016 Master Teacher, Biology Instructor and Science Division Chair Jack Brown.”

Nominator comments on Brown cited his excellence as an instructor, advocacy for students, respect from faculty and students alike, and staying current in a field where technology and new discoveries bring daily change. He works tirelessly on behalf of PJC to promote and advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

“I can add to this that he has grown professionally while at PJC by completing his doctorate degree and taking on additional administrative responsibilities, all while maintaining a level of departmental instruction unsurpassed across the state,” said McCraw. “This is proven by the fact that PJC has established several 2+2 articulation agreements with Texas universities offering guaranteed program acceptance if the requirements are completed while students are here. PJC is one of the few community colleges to have such an agreement for biomedical sciences with the Texas A&M University - College Station and also TAMUs Health Science Center. We are the only community college in Texas to have agreements with the University of Texas MD Anderson School of Health Professionals.”

The Distinguished Service Award, PJC’s highest student honor, was next announced by Dr. Anglin. This award has been presented annually to a PJC graduate since 1935, when it was first given to Louis B. Williams, who later served as president of Paris Junior College. The Award recognizes academic achievement and service to PJC and the community and is given to an outstanding graduating student. PJC faculty and professional staff determine the winner.

Joel Mutchler of Paris was announced as the 2016 Distinguished Service Award winner. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, he was named to the President’s List in multiple semesters, named to the All Texas Academic Team, participated in the PJC campus beautification project, worked with the Honors in Action leadership team helping them obtain the Texas Region Merit Award, involved in the Paris Community Theater and United Way, president of Phi Theta Kappa and was recently named a Coca-Cola Gold Scholar. He will continue his education at Texas A&M University to pursue his degree in chemical engineering.

Other nominees for the honor included Cameron Copeland of Longview, Cynthia Johnson of Greenville, Ariannah Kemp of Gainesville, and Ashlynn Kennedy of Bogata.

“Community colleges enroll 72 percent of all freshman in the State of Texas and 78 percent of all students graduating with bachelor degrees have community college hours on their transcript,” said Dr. Anglin at the conclusion of the ceremony. “Again, thank you for allowing PJC to be a part of your journey and we wish you the very best as you continue with your education or go to work.”

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