Soaring Young Alumni Award

How do you define a hero? Dr. Douglas Benn ’55, answers this question regarding his Uncle Zenny, Zenneth Pond, as follows, “You lead a life of outstanding example, you’re honest, you take on new adventures striving to learn more, and you’re intelligent. You exhibit goodwill, are motivated and take on new challenges. You have good humor and smile – just look at Uncle Zenny’s photo, you can’t help but want to smile back – you want to follow an approachable leader. You must like people and ultimately have a desire to make things better. Uncle Zenny was 19 years old and right out of college, he went deer hunting and learned how to shoot a gun. He dedicated his whole life to service by transferring from the Navy to the Marines in order to quickly become a Second Lieutenant and receive his official appointment as a Marine Corps aviator.”

This appointment happened on Feb. 19, 1942, with orders to report to the Second Marine Aircraft Wing in San Diego. Once in California, he found a permanent home as a “Bulldog” of Squadron VMF-223. On Aug. 24, 1942, the Bulldogs became the first squadron to base out of Guadalcanal. During the next 12 days, Zenneth Pond brought down a total of six enemy fighters. On Sept. 10, 1942, after just 18 days on the island, Pond took off in an F4F-4 to repel yet another Japanese air raid in the morning. He and three other pilots opposed 46 enemy planes; his aircraft disappeared during the dogfight, and Lt. Pond was never seen again.

A lasting tribute

The Second Lieutenant Zenneth A. Pond Young Alumni Award, created in 2017, celebrates the memory of the Jackson Junior College Civilian Pilot Training Program alumnus. It recognizes Pond’s superior naval aviator performance and service as a member and flying ace of the Marine Attack Squadron 223 (VMA-223) in World War II. He embodied courage, goodwill, and a desire to make things better, one who became a true hero and leader when he put himself on the line and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The Pond Young Alumni Award honors and acknowledges excellence and leadership in a Jackson College alumni aged 35 and younger.

The award recognizes outstanding achievements of individuals who has distinguished themselves by reaching for a high level by reaching for a high level of professional accomplishment and who possesses quality standards of integrity and character.

Recipient Selection Criteria:

  1. Must be an alumnus of/or have attended Jackson College.
  2. Must have attained exceptional accomplishments in business or professional and their professional life. (Submit a resume if available.)
  3. Must have demonstrated continuing outstanding voluntary service on a local, state, national or international level. (Include clubs, service organizations, and community involvement.)
  4. Special honors or recognition (in professional or volunteer service.)
  5. Must exhibit strong leadership qualities; honesty, goodwill, and lead a life of example.

Selection Procedures:

  1. Individuals and constituent associations may make recommendations for nominees.
  2. One letter of recommendation is required. A strong nomination includes a recommended two letters of support.
  3. All nominations must be submitted via email or by mailing the application online form and supporting documents to the Jackson College Alumni Office. Contact the Director of Alumni Relations at 517.990.1386 with any questions.
  4. Nomination forms may be submitted anytime to the Jackson College Alumni Office.
  5. The Awards Committee will screen the nominees and recommend finalists to the Jackson College Alumni Advisory Committee.
  6. The Jackson College Alumni Advisory Committee will select the recipient(s) to recommend to the Jackson College Foundation Board of Directors, in which time the finalist will be selected and presented to the Board of Trustees for ratification.

Nomination Form

Soaring Young Alumni Nomination Form

Supporting documents

  • Additional pages (if necessary)
  • Two to four letters of support
  • Three-page resume or CV including accomplishments listed in chronological order

Please make certain all titles are accurate. Information submitted will be used to prepare news releases and other promotional materials.

Please return nomination form with the supporting documents to:

Jackson College Alumni Office
Jackson College Foundation
3000 Blake Road
Jackson, MI 49201

You may also e-mail completed forms & documents to: