Tennessee Celebrates Excellence in Higher Education with SOAR Awards

The SOAR Awards honored Tennessee's top community and technical college individuals and institutions.

The Tennessee Board of Regents recognized the achievements of students, faculty, staff, and supporters of the state’s community and technical colleges at the Sixth Annual Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) celebration on March 28 in Nashville. This year’s event highlighted the exceptional contributions within the College System of Tennessee, reinforcing the state’s commitment to excellence in higher education.

Northeast State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Northwest were distinguished as the Community College of the Year and Technical College of the Year, respectively. The awards were presented by TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings to Northeast President Jeff McCord and TCAT Northwest President Youlanda Jones, in recognition of their institutions’ outstanding achievements.

The 2024 SOAR Awards also celebrated individuals for their remarkable contributions. Among the awardees were Jaxen Waggoner from Motlow State Community College, named the Community College Student of the Year, and Amanda Sovago-Royal from TCAT Chattanooga, who received the Technical College Student of the Year award. Additionally, Gregory S. Johnson from Columbia State Community College and Lexy Baker from TCAT Nashville were honored as the Faculty Members of the Year for community and technical colleges, respectively.

The event further acknowledged the efforts of Cathi Roberts and Lewis Wohlman as the Staff Members of the Year for community and technical colleges, along with Kathy Coleman who was celebrated as the Advisor of the Year. The student art contest, themed “Celebrating Tennessee’s Heritage,” awarded first place to Brooke Grisham from Volunteer State Community College.

Special awards were given to the Collision Repair Education Foundation for philanthropy, the Gleghorn-Dempsey families, the Bank of Lincoln County and Motlow State Community College for partnership, Erik Clinite for volunteer work, and the TBR Facilities Development staff for the Soaring Eagle Award.

Governor Bill Lee, in a video message, commended the finalists for their leadership and dedication, highlighting the significance of community and technical colleges in providing opportunities for Tennesseans. The SOAR Awards, supported by numerous benefactors including the Ayers Foundation, Amazon, and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, underscored the collective effort to advance higher education in Tennessee.

For more information about the SOAR Awards and the College System of Tennessee, visit the SOAR 2024 webpage at https://sites.tbr.edu/soar.


Richard Locker


Published: 03/28/2024

Follow on Twitter @CollegeSystemTN.

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