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Sylvia S. Heap to be Awarded 2010 Jefferson Citation

The Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees and college president Carole A. McCoy have named Sylvia S. Heap of Watertown as recipient of the ninth Jefferson Citation. Mrs. Heap will be awarded the Jefferson Citation at the College’s forty-sixth commencement exercises on Friday, May 21.

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.”

Sylvia Stuber Heap moved to Watertown in 1959 and almost immediately began advocating for a community college in Jefferson County. Mrs. Heap immersed herself in the Citizens Committee for a Community College, becoming instrumental in the public relations campaign that preceded both public referendum votes, the second of which passed in 1961 and served to establish Jefferson Community College. She continued her staunch support of the College through the Watertown Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and helped recruit and retain teachers for the College by creating a welcome program in Watertown.

In 1965, Mrs. Heap was selected to serve on the first Jefferson Community College Advisory Committee, a committee of which she became Chair in 1968. The Committee served as liaison between the College and the community, surveying the need for new program development and furthering the educational needs of part-time students. To this day, Mrs. Heap continues her work on that committee, now renamed the Division of Continuing Education Advisory Committee.

In 1982, Mrs. Heap was a leader in establishing a Task Force of Community Members that investigated the community’s need for bachelor’s degree–level programming. This initiative led to the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Technology at Utica/Rome (now SUNY Institute of Technology) offering bachelor’s degrees in Watertown in professional studies and nursing. Later, Syracuse University also followed suit and offered a weekend master’s degree program on Jefferson’s campus. The work of the Task Force continued and, along with Jefferson Community College, helped establish the SUNY Colleges of the North Country Consortium in 1985 which provides baccalaureate and graduate level educational programs in the community.

Through the years, Mrs. Heap has continued her support of education and Jefferson Community College as a volunteer with the College Women’s Club, the American Association of University Women and St. Lawrence Valley Educational Television. She has been an adjunct faculty member of Jefferson and remains actively involved in the life of the campus through attendance at lectures, concerts, plays, celebrations and performances given by or for the College.

In recognition of and appreciation for her staunch advocacy for community colleges and her significant contributions to Jefferson Community College, Mrs. Heap received the prestigious “Friend of Community Colleges” award from the Association of Boards of Trustees of Community Colleges of the State University of New York in 1988.

“Without the dedication and perseverance of Sylvia and others like her, Jefferson Community College may not have come to be what it is today,” said Jody R.A. LaLone, chair of the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees. “It is amazing how one person’s vision can become a wonderful reality for so many. We are proud and extremely fortunate to have Sylvia as a friend and advocate for the College.”

Mrs. Heap is a graduate of Bates College in Maine and Syracuse University, from which she holds a master’s degree in adult education and the science of nutrition. She is a former college librarian and program director with the YWCA. In addition to advocating for educational opportunities, Mrs. Heap is widely regarded for her work with young children, youth, health and fitness. In 1975, Mrs. Heap was awarded the Israel A. Shapiro award as Citizen of the Year by the Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce.

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 and Warren G. Fargo in 2009.