Founding JCC Board of Trustees Awarded 2011 Jefferson Citation

The Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees and college president Carole A. McCoy have named the College’s founding Board of Trustees, as well as each of its members individually, as recipients of the 2011 Jefferson Citation.   The College’s first Board of Trustees included nine members, five appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors and four appointed by then Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.    Appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors was Carl O. Bachman, then residing in Watertown; Miller F. Moran, then a resident of Carthage; Floyd F. Peckham, then residing in Alexandria Bay; Arnold R. Shapiro, then a resident of Watertown; and Paula V. V. Wardwell of Sackets Harbor.  Governor Rockefeller appointed Margaret N. Cosgrove, then residing in Watertown; Philip R. Fortune, then a resident of Watertown; D. William O’Donnell, then residing in Black River; and Robert S. Rhodes, then a resident of Adams.  Mrs. Wardwell and Mr. Shapiro, who presently resides in Towson, Maryland, will be awarded the Jefferson Citation at the College’s forty-seventh commencement exercises on Friday, May 20.   Family members will accept the award on behalf of Mr. Bachman, Mr. Moran, Mr. Peckham, Mrs. Cosgrove, Mr. Fortune, Mr. O’Donnell and Mr. Rhodes, all of whom are honored posthumously.   

The Jefferson Citation was established by the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees to “recognize an individual or organization whose leadership and actions have demonstrated outstanding commitment to education and the vision and mission of Jefferson Community College.”   

After a 1961 voter referendum served to establish a community college in Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors appointed the first five board members in December of that year and Governor Rockefeller appointed four trustees in January of 1962.   The founding Board of Trustees was then charged with the daunting tasks of recruiting and hiring the first College President; establishing a foundation of quality educational programming; selecting a site and building a campus; and giving the College its name.   

The Board of Trustees efficiently and effectively selected Jefferson’s first president, James McVean, in September of 1962.  That same year, the land adjacent to the Jefferson County Home on Coffeen Street was selected as the physical site for the officially-named Jefferson Community College campus.  The Board appointed the inaugural faculty and established the first five degree programs to be offered by the College and, in the Fall of 1963, 119 full-time and 221 part-time students began attending classes in temporary quarters on Lansing Street in Watertown.  Phase 1 of campus construction began in 1964 and was completed ahead of schedule, allowing the College’s first commencement to be held on campus in June of 1965.    The Coffeen Street campus welcomed nearly 600 students in the Fall of 1965.

Due to the resounding leadership and vision of the members of the founding Board of Trustees during the College’s formative years, Jefferson Community College has fostered teaching and learning for five decades.   More than 85,000 students have taken a course or workshop and, after the commencement exercises to be held on May 20, more than 19,000 degrees and certificates will have been awarded to graduates of this community’s college.

"There couldn’t be a more perfect or appropriate time, during the College’s 50th anniversary year, to recognize the foresight and perseverance of our predecessors,” said Daniel J. Villa, chair of the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees. “They were truly pioneers and their ability to implement the community’s vision of creating educational opportunities accessible by everyone has transformed this community in so many ways over the last five decades.”

Previous distinguished recipients of the Jefferson Citation include John B. Johnson in 2000, Donald J. “Dutch” Grant in 2001, James W. Wright in 2002, the Car-Freshner Corporation in 2003, T. Urling and Mabel B. Walker in 2005, Aline C.J. Taylor in 2006, John W. Deans in 2007, Warren G. Fargo in 2009 and Sylvia S. Heap in 2010.