Tyler Junior College

Phi Theta Kappa executive director to speak at TJC

Published Tuesday, 31st July 2012

Phi Theta Kappa executive director to speak at TJC

Nationally recognized community college advocate Dr. Rod Risley will be the keynote speaker for Tyler Junior College’s upcoming faculty/staff development day on Friday, Oct. 21.

Risley is a strong advocate for community colleges and their students, particularly on issues related to student engagement, college completion and transfer to senior colleges.

He currently serves as executive director of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest honor society in higher education. He is a graduate of San Jacinto College, where he was elected Phi Theta Kappa national president in 1974. He joined the Phi Theta Kappa staff in Canton, Miss., in 1977 as director of alumni affairs.

Risley is only the second executive director since the organization’s founding in 1918. When he took the reins in 1985, Phi Theta Kappa had 500 chapters in 48 states, and 25,000 students were inducted annually. The operating budget for the organization was $500,000, with a staff of five.

Today, there are more than 1,270 chapters in the United States, U.S. territories, and seven sovereign nations. More than 125,000 students are inducted annually and the Society’s budget exceeds $14 million, and 2.5 million students have been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa.

Risley forged partnerships with USA Today to establish the All-USA Community College Academic Teams, the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation to establish the Coca- Cola Community College Academic Team and Leaders of Promise program, providing $400,000 in stipends to community college students, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to increase from 10 to 50 $30,000 to community college transfer students, 735 senior colleges to designate transfer scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa members valued at $37 million, and the Hites Family Community College Scholarship Foundation to establish a $2 million scholarship endowment for awarding 12 $7,500 Phi Theta Kappa transfer scholarships. Phi Theta Kappa awards more than $1 million in scholarships and stipends to students and faculty each year.

He has developed a national reputation as a skilled leader in strategic planning. He serves on numerous national education commissions and boards concentrating on public policy issues related to education and advancement of the humanities. He completed his baccalaureate degree at Sam Houston State University in Texas, MBA from Millsaps College (Miss.), and Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in community college leadership.

Elise Mullinix


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