Dr. Kate Smith to Receive Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction


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Friday, March 1, 2024
President Smith's headshot with text: Congratulations President Smith PTK Distinguished College Administrator

Rio Salado College President Kate Smith is one of 18 community college administrators nationwide to be honored with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society’s Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction.

PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges. It is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 2 million members. The Alpha Theta Omicron chapter at Rio Salado is one of more than 1,200 chapters in all 50 states and abroad.

Recipients are nominated by students on their campus and are only eligible to receive the award once over the course of their career.

The nomination from students stated that President Smith has shown support of student success initiatives leading to stronger pathways to completion, transfer, and employment. She has taken an active interest in supporting high-achieving students and developing student leaders on campus.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction,” President Smith said. “This recognition is particularly meaningful because it comes from our students at Rio Salado College. The best part of this award is the time I get to spend with our amazing students and future leaders!”

The award  is named in honor of the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, PTK’s longest-serving Board of Directors Chair and a founder of Highline Community College in Washington. PTK recognizes and encourages scholarship while promoting leadership, service and fellowship.

“The Gordon award is special because it comes directly from your students,” said PTK President and CEO Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Dr. Kate Smith has made it a priority to support student success both inside and outside the classroom. I applaud her for taking an active and direct interest in the leadership development of PTK students.”

The award will be presented on April 5, 2024, at PTK’s annual convention in Orlando.