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Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) President Dr. Jeff Hale and NEO Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Bethene Fahnestock were recently honored at the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Hale was honored alongside eighteen other college presidents with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction and Dr. Fahnestock was awarded the Distinguished College Administrator Award. College presidents and campus CEOs are selected for the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction based on outstanding efforts toward promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa.

The award is named for the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, Phi Theta Kappa’s longest-serving Board of Directors Chair and President Emeritus of Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash. Gordon was named Phi Theta Kappa’s Most Distinguished College President in 1984. “President Hale is very deserving and we thank Phi Theta Kappa for recognizing the success of both Dr. Hale and NEO A&M,” said Jason Ramsey, CEO of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges Board of Regents. “The Board of Regents is proud of the leadership that Dr. Hale provides to NEO and the State of Oklahoma. While this award certainly recognizes Dr. Hale for a job well done, it also represents the great success of our students, faculty, and staff. We look forward to continued excellence at NEO under the leadership of Dr. Hale.”

The Distinguished College Administrator Award is presented to vice presidents, deans, or directors who have served at their institution for more than three years. They must also demonstrate a strong level of support to PTK. PTK only awards a maximum of 25 Distinguished College Administrator Awards per year. “It is a great honor to be nominated by NEO’s Phi Theta Kappa Officers for this award,” said Dr. Fahnestock. “Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is an outstanding student organization and NEO’s Mu Chapter is one of the oldest active chapters in existence. I am proud to be a part of this tradition and to be able to support students as they develop their leadership skills, serve the campus and their communities, and form life-long relationships.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society for two-year colleges and it was founded in Missouri in 1926. NEO’s Mu Chapter was the first chapter established outside of Missouri and one of the oldest active chapters in existence. PTK is an international organization that has over 1400 chapters in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan. The NEO Mu Chapter of PTK was recently honored for receiving a five-star chapter designation over several years and the Chapter also earned Top Five Honors-in-Action Projects, Top Five Distinguished Officer Teams, and Top Five Distinguished Chapters, as well as the Reach Reward for exceeding membership acceptance goals. For more information about the PTK program at NEO, contact Co-sponsors Rob Rea at rob.rea@neo.edu or LaShawna Powers at Lashawna.powers@neo.edu.

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