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Donna Lake


Donna Lake doesn’t know where she’d be today without Jackson College.

Lake, a retired educator and member of the College’s Board of Trustees, attended what was Jackson Community College after high school, from 1972-74. The College was affordable and allowed her to live at home, so it made a great start for her. She transferred to Eastern Michigan University to complete her Bachelor of Science degree. She later completed a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College in Detroit.

Lake taught in the Jackson area for more than 30 years. She taught hearing impaired children for 12 years, grades K-6, then finished her career by teaching fourth-grade students for 20 years.

“Education, in general, is important to me. I was a teacher for 32 years in Jackson Public, so education has been a huge part of my life forever,” she said. “Educating our youth should be number one on the list.”

She has many fond memories from her days at the College. English literature professor Harriet Stolorow was tough, but she learned a lot. Psychology professor Dr. Michael Walraven was a great teacher and also entertaining. While she transferred after attending the College in 1974, she hadn’t completed her associate degree at that time. Upon her return and with the transfer education, she received her degree retroactively from the College. Now she encourages students who transfer to complete their reverse transfer so they can also have their associate degrees.

Coming back to the campus when she joined the Board of Trustees, Lake was in awe of all the changes. “Jackson needs to come out and see this college, particularly if they were here when I was a student because the changes are absolutely magnificent,” she said.

She and her husband Jon – also a Jackson College alumnus — have been married more than 40 years. They have two adult daughters.