Mark Sorrells, president Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) in North Carolina, has been named the NC TECH Association’s Tech Difference Maker of the Year. NC TECH is a not-for-profit, membership-driven technology trade association with a membership of more than 600 companies, organizations and institutions employing more than 200,000 workers in North Carolina. The association’s individual awards recognize executives and stakeholders in North Carolina for their accomplishments and impact in the tech industry.

Sorrells was recognized for his work as FTCC president, which includes his role in helping to found and launch the Carolina Cyber Network (CCN), a collaborative workforce development initiative through several of North Carolina’s cybersecurity educational institutions designed to meet the growing talent needs of the state’s public agencies and private businesses.

FTCC and the Carolina Cyber Center of Montreat College, both of which hold designations as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, joined to establish CCN, according to a release. Since then, 16 other higher education institutions have joined the initiative.

Jerry Sue Thornton, president emeritus of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Ohio, has received Tri-C’s inaugural Presidential Legacy Award, which honors transformational leaders. It was Thorton’s focus on student success and, in particular, the creation of the renowned Presidential Scholarship Luncheon, that the college says makes her the ideal first recipient of the award. Tri-C’s annual scholarships event was started as part of Thornton’s goal to raise scholarship contributions as part of her inauguration festivities. During its 30-year history, the event has raised $24 million to benefit student scholarships at Tri-C, becoming one of the region’s premier events, according to the college.

Under Thorton’s leadership as president from 1992 to 2013, Tri-C’s enrollment grew 40%. She also oversaw $300 million worth of renovation and construction projects, and the college’s scholarship endowment grew from $1.3 million to $40 million.

“Thornton’s vision has helped the Tri-C Foundation gain national recognition, and we are so honored to continue her work to ensure all students have the resources to succeed at Tri-C,” said current Tri-C President Michael A. Baston.


Cameron Buck was recently named executive director of Grand Rapids Community College’s Lakeshore Campus in Michigan. He most recently worked for the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, the past three years as executive director of career and technical education.

Nadira McDonald is the new assistant dean of postsecondary transition programs at North Shore Community College. Previously, she was the Massachusett college’s executive director of K-12 partnerships.

Jessica Pickel is now dean of students at Heartland Community College in Illinois. She previously was executive dean of academics and liberal arts at Richland Community College.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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