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DCCCD Students Take Top Honor Society Awards

Cedar Valley College Phi Theta Kappa members
The ​Cedar Valley College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa was named Most Distinguished Chapter at the organizations annual conference.

​Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — May 22, 2014

(DALLAS) — Students and leaders from the Dallas County Community College District are the best of the best, according to the academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa. PTK, as it’s fondly known at each of the seven colleges in the DCCCD system, is the largest honor society in American education; it has chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 states in the U.S. and several foreign countries. Almost 3 million students have been inducted since PTK was founded in 1918.

Students representing their college chapters from across DCCCD recently attended PTK’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Among many honors awarded, the Cedar Valley College Alpha Zeta Omicron chapter was acknowledged as PTK’s Most Distinguished Chapter from among all 1,300 international chapters; North Lake College was fifth runner-up for that honor.

“Our Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Cedar Valley has established a well-earned reputation for excellence over the past two decades, and this prestigious award validates the tremendous work our chapter does on behalf of our students to promote academic success,” said Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president of Cedar Valley College.

North Lake College student Maria del Carmen Orduna joined 19 other recipients from across the country as a 2014 PTK Guistwhite Scholar. Guistwhite Scholars are chosen based on their academic achievement, leadership accomplishments and engagement in PTK programs. The 20 recipients this year were selected from among 1,700 applicants by a panel of independent judges. Orduna received a medallion and a $5,000 scholarship for her undergraduate studies in this highly competitive program.

Additionally, DCCCD’s former chancellor, Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., was one of 10 retiring college CEOs who received the Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to college presidents and campus CEOs at two-year institutions and to state community college system directors who are retiring and who have provided consistently outstanding support to PTK chapters and advisors during their careers. The award honors Dr. Michael Bennett, longtime president of St. Petersburg College (Fla.).

Dr. Joe May, the district’s current chancellor, was honored for his work with PTK as well. “I support PTK and the leadership skills that our students learn as they participate in their projects and help others. PTK recognizes individuals who support the organization at the state level, and I was humbled to receive the Distinguished Community College State Director Award for my work on behalf of PTK in Louisiana.” May is former chancellor of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System; he joined DCCCD in late February.

He added, “I had to laugh when I heard PTK’s conference name this year: Nerd Nation. PTK is a smart organization for people who are dedicated to learning, leadership and service. I am proud to see many students and faculty members from DCCCD involved in this worthy organization.”

For more information, contact Ann Hatch in the DCCCD office of public and governmental affairs at (214) 378-1818 or

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