Distinguished Alumni

The truest measure of the success of Jefferson Community College lies in the many accomplishments of its alumni. Each year the Alumni Association celebrates the achievements of Jefferson alumni by honoring a select number of individuals who excel in their professional fields, exhibit early career successes, are positive role models for current students, demonstrate leadership and service to their communities, and bring honor and distinction to Jefferson through their professional and personal accomplishments.

The 2014 Distinguished Alumni were honored at a ceremony held at the Watertown Elks Lodge on August 14th.

Left to Right, Mr. John D. Peck, Dr. Nicole A. Heldt, and Mr. Nathan Hunter.

Mr. Nathan Hunter, Class of 2001 – “Rising Star Award”
Nathan is an exemplary member of the accounting profession and constantly seeks to learn and grow within the accounting field.  He wears many hats at Northern Credit Union where he is Vice President of Finance and Accounting/CFO, as well as VP of Investments, VP of Insurance and VP of Facilities.  He was instrumental in developing and now oversees a wide range of financial, investment, retirement, and insurance planning programs and he was a leader on the project team for NCU’s newest branch in LeRay, a state of the art, environmentally friendly facility that opened in late May.  Nate earned a BS in Accounting in 2003 and a MBA in 2004 from SUNY Oswego, and often returns to speak with undergraduate accounting students about the field.  He is a Certified Public accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, manages his third-generation family business, serves as treasurer of the JCC Foundation, and is a 2011 JLI graduate.  He and his wife, Erin, have 2 children, Natalie who is 4 and two-year-old Brandon.

Mr. John D. Peck, Class of 2003 – "Jeffersonian Award"
When graduated John from JCC in December 2002, he was already serving the public.  At 18, while still a student at Carthage High School, he was elected Councilman for the town of Champion, a position in which he served for 10 years.  In 2011, he was elected as District 7 representative of the Jefferson County Legislature where he currently serves on the Planning and Development Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee. He also serves on the County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee.  He is chairman of the Town of Champion Republican committee, member of the County Republican Committee, and a founding member of the Jefferson County Young Republicans.  John earned a BS in political science with a minor in business economics from SUNY Potsdam 2004, where he was awarded the David E. Brown Pi Sigma Alpha Award for Best Political Senior Thesis.  If all this isn’t enough, consider that John is an eighth generation, 90-head, dairy farmer and active in the North Country Fellowship Church.  He and his wife, Marie have 2 children, Silas who is 2 and John who is 5.

Dr. Nicole A. Heldt, Class of 1989 – "Professional Achievement Award"
Dr. Hedlt began her Biology teaching career at Carthage Central School District and at the Delaware Academy in Delhi, NY.  She currently is full Professor at SUNY Canton, teaching chemistry and biology. Dr. Heldt earned a BS degree with a minor in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego in 1991, a MS in Technology Secondary Education, with honors, from SUNY Potsdam in 1993, and in 2006 earned her PhD in Chemistry from Clarkson University. Dr. Heldt serves in Clarkson University’s Pipeline Program for Academic Success, has served as a coordinator and research coordinator for SUNY Canton’s National Institute of Health’s Biomedical 2+2 Bridges Program, and chaired on the development committee for a future bachelor’s program in forensic science at SUNY Canton.  Along with her direct involvement in higher education, she has authored and co-authored six journal articles and presented at several professional conferences in her field, including the 79th ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium, The Northeastern Regional Meeting ACS, and the Materials Research Society Meetings.  Last year, she secured a $10,000 research grant with BASF to conduct undergraduate research on developing green polishing slurries. Dr. Heldt is truly an expert in her field. She exemplifies dedication to professional growth and is devoted to serve others through higher learning. Dr. Heldt is married to Matthew Tessier, and has 2 step-daughters, Abigail and Allison Tessier.


Alumni honors are determined by a selection committee and are considered in the following categories:

  • The Rising Star Award recognizes a graduate of the past fifteen years who is advancing in his/her career field. 
  • The Professional Achievement Award recognizes a graduate who demonstrates ten years or more success in professional life and leadership within his/her profession. 
  • The Jeffersonian Award recognizes a graduate who demonstrates a dedication to service on a local, state, national, or international level. 
  • The Community Service Award is given to a non-alumna/us for service to Jefferson Community College.
  • On occasion, Honorary Alumni status is bestowed to acknowledge extraordinary contributions to Jefferson’s welfare, reputation, prestige, and pursuit of excellence.


Make a gift in honor of the Distinguished Alumni

View a list of past recipients of Distinguished Alumni honors

Download a nomination form