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Contact: Ann Hatch214-378-1918;
For immediate release — Oct. 23, 2015
(DALLAS) — Dr. Suryakant Desai, professor of accounting at Cedar Valley College, wanted to be a physician when he grew up. A native of India who was raised in Kenya, he finished high school in East Africa and returned to his native land to earn a college degree and take that first step to become a doctor. However, Desai quickly discovered that he didn’t like dissecting frogs and rabbits, so he instead earned a degree in chemistry and then turned his sights on a master’s degree in business.
The future Cedar Valley faculty member moved to the United States and decided on an MBA because he thought “the credential was a ticket to a good job in the fiercely competitive employment market in India.” Desai, who was the first member of his family to graduate with a college degree, chose to stay in the United States and fell in love with the field of accounting as he pursued his MBA.
Last weekend, after more than 31 years of teaching at Cedar Valley College, he received the 2015 William H. Meardy Faculty Member Award from the Association of Community College Trustees during ACCT’s annual conference in San Diego. Desai and four other regional finalists from across the country were considered for the honor. Desai is the first Dallas County Community College District faculty member to win the award since it began in 1982 and the first faculty member to win from the state of Texas as well. A reception was held to honor Dr. Desai on Thursday, Oct. 22, at Cedar Valley.
Desai said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this award on behalf of Cedar Valley College. I was hired in 1982 as an adjunct instructor at Cedar Valley after I entered the academic world at two historically black institutions, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, and Bishop College in Dallas. In 1984, I was hired as a full-time instructor at Cedar Valley, which was my first exposure to community colleges. I realized the tremendous benefits of community colleges for the masses. I’m still here after more than 31 years.”
Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president of Cedar Valley College, said, “We are very proud of Dr. Desai for receiving this well-deserved recognition, which is also a reflection of the high standards we set for faculty in our college and across DCCCD.”
ACCT recognizes that the central purpose of community colleges across the country is teaching and learning; achieving excellence in those two areas is directly related to the quality of faculty members. As a result, ACCCT presents its annual faculty award to say “thank you” to all faculty members. The award is named in honor of ACCT’s founding executive director, William H. Meardy, who championed the concept of faculty excellence as the foundation of success for the community college movement.
Desai added, “I love teaching and helping my students, preparing them for work and for what they will face in the real world. It’s a pleasure to be working at Cedar Valley College and to represent our faculty.”
During more than three decades of service and teaching at Cedar Valley, Desai has taught as both an adjunct and full-time instructor for credit and continuing education courses in all types of classes: face-to-face, telecourse, online, hybrid, Open Entry Open Exit, day, night, weekend and fast-track, both on- and off-campus.
He has taught dual credit courses at Townview Magnet High School and likely was the first person at CVC to teach dual credit. He started or developed innovative programs: Open Entry Open Exit, certificates leading to an associate degree, financial literacy across the curriculum and open education. A Minnie Stevens Piper Professor at Cedar Valley, Desai has received a number of awards and honors throughout his teaching career.
He holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, a Certified Public Accountant’s license from the state of Texas, and a doctorate in secondary and higher education from Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University when Desai was awarded his doctorate in education).
Desai and his wife, Suvarna, who earned her associate degree from Cedar Valley and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, became naturalized citizens in 1984 and have been married for 39 years. She also was the first member of her family to attend college and earn a bachelor’s degree, and she is employed by DCCCD as well.
Desai joins several other ACCT award-winning DCCCD recipients previously honored for their work in higher education: former chancellors Bill J. Priest (1980) and R. Jan LeCroy (1999), recipients of the Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer Award; former DCCCD trustees Pattie Powell (1984) and Kitty Boyle (2009), recognized with the M. Dale Ensign Trustee Award; and the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees who received the Charles Kennedy Equity Award (2008).
For more information, contact Ann Hatch in the DCCCD office of public and governmental affairs at 214-378-1819 or
email@example.com; or Henry Martinez, director of marketing at Cedar Valley College, at 972-860-8142 or
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