IRSC wins nation’s top prize for community colleges
TREASURE COAST BUSINESS STAFF REPORT
Indian River State College has been named the 2019 winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.
The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years since 2011, recognizes outstanding institutions selected from an original pool of more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide. With a singular focus on student success, the Aspen Prize assesses institutional performance in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, success after graduation in the labor market and in transfer to four-year institutions, and equity in access and success for students of color and low-income students.
“Excellent community colleges like these are dedicated to finding the best ways to foster social mobility for their students and develop talent for their communities,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program and an Aspen Institute vice president. “Indian River has among the strongest graduation rates for both associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees in the nation.”
The institute also named Miami Dade College as a 2019 winner. In addition, Aspen awarded three colleges with the Rising Star Award for their strong record of improvement: Odessa College in Odessa, Texas; Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas; and Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood, Washington. All three “Rising Stars” will be awarded $100,000, while the two winners, Indian River State College and Miami Dade College, will receive $350,000 each.
The winners, Rising Stars and finalists were announced at an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., by Aspen Prize jury co-chairs Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, and Kathy Warden, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman. Cabrera and Warden led a distinguished jury of education, business and civil rights experts to select the top colleges, part of a rigorous review process that included the examination of extensive data on performance and improvements in learning, graduation, workforce and equitable outcomes, along with multi-day site visits to each of the 10 finalist colleges.
IRSC celebrated the award May 16 at the college’s Kight Center on the main campus in Fort Pierce with a gathering of trustees, employees, members of the Treasure Coast legislative delegation, program partners and community members.
“The 2019 Aspen Prize is a credit to the people of Indian River State College and the outstanding communities we serve,” said Dr. Edwin Massey, president of IRSC. “From our trustees to our community partners to our employees to our dedicated students, IRSC is enriched with some of the most incredible people supporting our college mission, and this distinct honor validates their commitment on a national level. Bringing home the Aspen Prize is truly a celebration of their hard work.”
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