Trident Technical College wins national equity award

Trident Technical College officials accept the 2017 Charles Kennedy Equity Award during the Association of Community College Trustees’ annual awards gala in Las Vegas Sept. 27. Pictured (from left) are ACCT Chair Bakari Lee, Trident Tech President Mary Thornley, Trident Tech Area Commissioners Yvonne Barnes and Rudd Smith, and ACCT President Noah Brown.

Trident Technical College has been named the 2017 Charles Kennedy Equity Award winner by the Association of Community College Trustees. College officials received the award during the association’s 48th Annual Leadership Congress held in Las Vegas Sept. 25-28. The college won both state and regional equity awards before receiving the national award.

Founded in 1972, the Association of Community College Trustees is a nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees of community, technical and junior colleges in the United States and beyond. ACCT’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity of community, technical and junior colleges and to foster the realization of their missions through effective board leadership at local, state and national levels.

The Charles Kennedy Equity Award recognizes exemplary commitment by an ACCT member college to achieve equity in educational programs and services and in the administration and delivery of those programs and services. The award honors the late Charles Kennedy, a trustee of Joliet Junior College in Illinois, who was a founder of the ACCT Minority Affairs Assembly, which became the ACCT Diversity Committee.

Trident Technical College is governed by a nine-member area commission comprised of three members each from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. With the support of the college’s area commission, Trident Tech President Mary Thornley has made equity in enrollment, program completion, campus environment and employment and promotion a priority during her 26-year tenure. Evidence of this success can be found in the diversity of the college’s student population and in the diversity of its faculty and staff. Minorities made up 41 percent of the college’s total enrollment in fall 2016. The college ranks No. 1 among all state institutions of higher education in Equal Employment Opportunity goal attainment, and it has exceeded the S.C. Commission on Higher Education performance funding benchmark for minority faculty for 13 years in a row.

“The economic vitality of our region is due in large part to the efforts made by Dr. Thornley and her staff to remove barriers to higher education and to support student success, especially for those students who must overcome obstacles to achieve their academic and personal goals,” said TTC Area Commission Chair Rudd Smith.