Dr. Ethelene Jones Crockett Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Ethelene Jones Crockett attended Jackson High School and graduated from Jackson Junior College in 1934. Dr. Crockett was director of the Crittenton Hospital clinics, headed the health care committee of New Detroit, Inc. and organized neighborhood health programs. As Michigan’s first female African-American obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Crockett received the Detroit Medical Society’s “Physician of the Year” award. She served on the boards of the Michigan Cancer Foundation, United Community Services and received the “Howardite of the Year” award from Howard University, which she attended after medical studies at the University of Michigan. Dr. Crockett was the first woman to serve as president of the American Lung Association. She presented the Christmas Seal Campaign to President Jimmy Carter on behalf of the American Lung Association in November 1978.

Dr. Crockett was the keynote speaker during our 1972 commencement program. She passed away in 1979, but her achievements serve as a positive example to our College community.

Crockett Award Nomination Form

2024 Jackson College Honors Dinner


Daniel J. Mahoney

Daniel J. Mahoney, a Jackson native and Jackson High graduate, has served his community for over a decade. He became mayor in 2021 and was re-elected in 2023. Mahoney founded “The Jackson Back 2 School Bash” and launched Many Hands Community Services, which supports various community initiatives. He is active in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the NAACP, holding multiple leadership roles.

In addition to his mayoral duties, Mahoney serves on several boards and works as a Case Manager for Access for All. Previously, he was the African American Affinity Liaison at Jackson College. He and his wife, Semaj, have five daughters and are members of the United People Community Church.


Thomas Evanson ΄67 and Nancy Evanson ΄68

Tom and Nancy Evanson have served Jackson County with distinction both professionally and personally for decades. Both started their higher education journeys at Jackson College after graduating from Michigan Center High School, and they are grateful for the foundation it provided.

“We are honored to receive this award and appreciate the fact that we were given the award as a couple. Neither of us could have done what we’ve done in community or in life without the other’s help or assistance.”



Christopher Simpson

Class of 1998

Christopher Simpson brings a distinguished record with decades of service to our country and community. He served in the U.S. Army and the Michigan Army National Guard and served Jackson as a decorated police officer for 26 years. Most recently, he was appointed undersheriff of Jackson County in December 2020. Simpson has served his community in leadership roles for the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, Jackson Human Services Coordinating Alliance, Jackson YMCA, Jackson Community Foundation, Highfields, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County NAACP, and the Jackson College Foundation. Simpson is routinely honored for his dedication to service, with numerous military medals and citations, police honors, and community recognitions.  


Charles Birney

Class of 1954

Charles Birney grew up in Jackson and graduated from Jackson High School. He went on to attend and graduate from Jackson Junior College in 1954, where he ran track and enjoyed playing ping-pong at the John George Hall. He continued his educational journey at the University of Colorado (Boulder). Charles served in the Army, where he had the opportunity to attend a very intense military school and study state-of-the-art radar technology. 

Following his graduation from the University of Colorado, Charles returned to Jackson where he worked for the Republican Party until accepting a position with the City of Flint. Charles met his late wife, Helen Francis Murphy, during his career with the City of Flint and they were happily married until she passed away in 1995. He retired from the City of Flint after a successful career as the information technology department leader.  

Mr. Birney has a deep appreciation for the arts, especially opera, and is an avid golfer. He credits his start at Jackson Junior College for his lifetime achievements.  



Woodrow Wilson, Jr.

Class of 1967

Professor Emeritus of History at Jackson College, Woodrow Wilson, Jr. continues to volunteer at the College and in the community. He’s a scholarship donor who created the Woodrow Wilson, Jr. Scholarship, and the College’s Multicultural Center in Bert Walker Hall is named in his honor.  


Dr. Frederic Slete

Class of 1978

Slete has been making people smile in Jackson for more than 30 years! Whether it is his career or his community, this dentist gives his best each day. 

Serving patients in private practice since 1983, Slete has established himself at the local, state and national levels of his profession. With a personal belief that all professionals share a responsibility to be part of the success, vitality and growth of the community where they work, he is active in the local area. Slete has served the Jackson Hosts Lions Club, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Citizens for Economic Growth, Blackman Township Land Development Finance Authority (LDFA) Board, Jackson Community College Alumni Association, and the Jackson College Foundation Board of Directors. 

“I am honored, humbled and thankful to have been chosen for this award,” he said. “To be selected is quite an honor.” 


Dr. Lewis “Keith” Yohn

Class of 1953

Yohn appreciates the support of the Jackson community in helping him become the professional he is today. He entered the Jackson Public School system in 1942 and graduated summa cum laude from Jackson High in 1951. Lady luck was looking out for him when the Jackson Women’s City Club awarded him a two-year academic scholarship to attend Jackson Junior College. 

After earning his Associate in Science in 1953, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, serving from 1953-55. After release from the Navy, Yohn continued his education, earning a Bachelor of Arts from Bowling Green State University in 1957, and a Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Science in Complete Dental Prostheses in 1963 and 1968, respectively, from the University of Michigan. He spent his career at the University of Michigan, beginning as a clinical instructor in 1963, promoted to assistant professor in 1968 and associate professor with tenure with 1975. He also operated a part-time private practice in Ann Arbor. 

“Dr. Yohn distinguished himself in his career at the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan. Jackson Junior College helped give him his start. He will be remembered by both the generations of students he taught, and the patients the dental school helped,” said Jason Valente. 


Dr. Jon Lake

Class of 1972

An alumnus of Jackson Community College, Albion College and Mercy College, he served as a physician’s assistant for 15 years before returning to medical school at age 39 to become a doctor. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine and then completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Michigan. He has worked in family practice, served as chief of medical staff at W.A. Foote Memorial Hospital, and also works part-time at the Henry Ford Allegiance Health Hyperbaric Center. He is active both in his profession and in the community, serving on multiple boards and organizations. He has helped to promote the welfare of others both through his career and through service and philanthropy. A mentor early in his career urged him to serve his community. “I think we need to give. Especially as a physician, I feel it’s important to give back to the community for what they’ve given you,” Lake said. 


Laura M. Stanton

Class of 1974

Laura M. Stanton has spent her lifetime helping children and youth, first as a teacher, and later, with her husband, David, as the head of the Stanton Foundation.

Stanton is an alumna of what was Jackson Community College, attending in the 1970s. She continued her studies at Eastern Michigan University to become a teacher, and taught for 20 years with Jackson Public Schools. She completed her master’s degree in reading, and served as a reading and instructional specialist. She is author of the bilingual children’s book “Animals/ Animales.” She retired from teaching in 1997, and in 1999 she and David finalized creation of the Stanton Foundation, dedicated to two very personal causes – education and adoption. 

During those years, Stanton became friends with Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, who had been adopted and himself formed the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Laura helped coordinate an “Only in America” presentation in 1999 at Hillsdale College, modeled after one Thomas had presented in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It invited 400 Jackson County high school students to listen to people who had overcome challenges to become successful, and Thomas himself flew in as keynote speaker. 

The Stanton Foundation started a scholarship at Jackson College benefitting non-adopted foster care children continuing their education. This year the recipient is student Justin Ealy, who hopes to someday work in social work. The foundation also sponsors a Teacher of the Year Award in Hillsdale County. 


John Crist headshotJohn Crist

Class of 1966

Mr. Crist has served as president and chief executive officer of CP Federal Credit Union for 17 years, and before that worked for 29 years for Consumers Energy in various accounting and benefits roles. He is an alumnus of Jackson Community College, graduating in 1966, and he earned his bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University in business and accounting.

He is an active community advocate, serving numerous service organizations. He has served on the Jackson College Board of Trustees since 2006, and is the current vice chairperson. He serves on the Jackson College Foundation Board of Directors, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, the Enterprise Group board, and the Allegiance Hospice board. He is a past campaign chair and president of the board of United Way, and served on the board for the March of Dimes District Office in Lansing. He served on the board of Western Schools for 11 years.


Dr. George E. Potter

Class of 1956

Retired local attorney George Potter served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 44 years. He stepped down from the board in 2006, having served longer than any community college trustee in the nation.  

Potter was just 25 years old when he was elected to the first-ever Board of Trustees of the new Jackson Community College in 1962. He served not only Jackson but community colleges across the state and nation during his service. 

Dr. Potter has written several articles and spoken in more than two dozen states on subjects of interests to community college trustees and presidents. He authored the “Handbook for Community College and Technical Institute Trustees” which has become a standard manual for governing at two-year institutions. 


Dr. M. Richard Shaink

Class of 1962

Shaink attended Jackson Junior College in the early 1960s, earning his Associate of Arts degree in 1962. He then went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Michigan State University. He possesses a unique blend of business, community, economic development and education experience, having served as a college campus president, multi-campus vice president, instructional dean, college business/industry director, shopping center general manager, industrial sales representative, production line supervisor, full-time high school vocational teacher, and an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University, Ferris State University and Lansing Community College. He has served as president of Mott Community College, a multi-campus institution serving Flint and Genesee County, Michigan, since 2000. He has received several honors, including being recognized by the Association of Community College Trustees as the top Community College Chief Executive in the country.


Leland Bassett

Class of 1964

After graduating from Jackson High, Bassett attended Jackson Community College from 1963-’64, then continued at Michigan State University. 

“My sister had had a life-threatening brain injury back at a time when there was no health insurance. Our family pulled together, we all did what we had to do, and for me it was to work my way through school,”  Bassett recalls. “Going to Jackson College allowed me to be able to work night and day, all the time, and go to college. I had four jobs that summer out of Jackson High. I went to College and they all worked with me, nurtured me and encouraged me.” 

Bassett has been a pioneer in the application of communication psychology and strategic planning to public relations, corporate communication and integrated strategic communication management. In the 1970s, Bassett introduced the nation’s first corporate Strategic Communication Management Department. In the 1980s, he designed and taught the nation’s first graduate strategic communication management curriculum at the MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences. He co-founded the nation’s first commercial communication arts and sciences-based professional services firm in 1986, the Detroit-based Bassett Business Group, Communications Managers and Counselors, where he serves as chairman and chief executive officer. 

Believing in generational responsibility, he is active in programs that nurture future generations. Leland and Tina Bassett established the Vera Bassett Nursing Scholarship in honor of his mother, who was instrumental in the establishment of the college nursing program. The Bassetts enjoy the opportunity to give back and keep Vera’s memory alive through future generations. He was a founding member of the MSU CCAS Alumni Association, a past president, and recipient of its Outstanding Alumni Award. 


William J. Maher

Class of 1941

William “Bill” Maher spent a lifetime committed to aviation, with more than 70 years as a pilot. He flew as a civilian pilot in World War II, was an alumnus of Jackson Junior College, and served as chair of the College Flight Center Advisory Board for more than 20 years. He also served two terms on the Jackson College Foundation Board of Directors and founded the William and Mary Lee Maher Aviation Scholarship.


Lawrence L. Bullen

Class of 1949

Larry Bullen has served on countless boards and agencies, receiving numerous recognitions – including the 2017 Jackson Citizen Patriot Citizen of the Year – a record that speaks for itself of his commitment for Jackson County. A Jackson-area attorney since 1956, he served as trustee of the Weatherwax Foundation. Bullen taught at Jackson Junior College and was active in the committees that resulted in the formation of Jackson Community College.


Thomas R. Draper

Class of 1966


Leonard H. Griehs

Class of 1967


Davis S. Richmond

Class of 1992


Richard L. Davies

Class of 1966


Brian C. Walker

Class of 1992


Robert D. Thomson

Class of 1947


Dr. G. Richard Watterson

Class of 1965


Dr. Pearl Lee Walker McNeil

Class of 1935


Carl L. English

Class of 1966


Victor Cuiss

Class of 1939


Anton Streiff

Class of 1934


Diana L. Midgley

Class of 1984


Jack C. Curtis

Class of 1949


Michael Johnson

Class of 1973


Arthur E. Ellis

Class of 1952


Dr. Edward A. Mathein

Class of 1961


Howard C. Woods, Sr.

Class of 1940


James A. McDivitt

Class of 1950


Dr. Wilbur L. Dungy

Class of 1948


Shirley E. Zeller

Class of 1981


Richard B. Firestone


Carole J. Schwinn

Class of 1975


Maxwell E. Brail

Class of 1965


 Jeannette R. Hatt

Class of 1936


Robert A. Whiting

Class of 1930


Dr. F. I. Van Wagnen, Jr.

Class of 1935


Dr. F. Jane Cotton

Class of 1946


Mary E. Clark

Class of 1937


James Ward Preston


Dr. Victory E. Linden

Class of 1929


Captain Robert F. Freitag

Class of 1937