Captain Zenneth A. Pond Soaring Young Alumni Award
“He Likes his Fellow Man”
Jackson Junior College alumni Zenneth Arthur Pond dreamed of flying. As a child of the Great Depression, that wish seemed out of reach, but JJC’s Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) helped make those dreams come true. Pond was a popular student who made life-long friends at JJC, including fellow CPTP peers, Elwood Bailey and William J. Maher. The JJC yearbook defines one part of Pond’s character by placing this quote by his photo: “He likes his fellow man.” For two years at JJC, Pond excelled in his studies and was active in sports—always with his eyes on the sky. Zenneth worked hard to be a pilot. Under the tutelage of the CPTP’s director, Frank Dove, Pond became the first student to receive his pilot’s license.
In June of 1941, Pond enlisted in the Marines, and seven months later 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. Over the next 12 days, Zenneth Pond brought down a total of six enemy fighters, thus achieving the status of “fighter ACE.” LIFE Magazine highlighted the courage of “the fighting 223,” making particular mention of Zenneth Pond. On Sept. 10, 1942, after just 17 days on the island, Pond took off in an F4F-4 to repel yet another Japanese air raid. He and three other pilots opposed 46 enemy planes; his aircraft disappeared during the dogfight, and Lt. Pond was never seen again. Pond was granted a posthumous promotion to Captain and was awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession.”
What is a hero? Jackson Junior College alumni, Dr. Douglas Benn ’55, answers this question when asked about his uncle, Captain Zenneth Arthur Pond: “You lead a life of outstanding example; you’re honest; you take on new adventures, striving to learn more. You exhibit goodwill. You have good humor. You must like people and ultimately have a desire to make things better. Uncle Zenny dedicated his short life to serving others. He was my hero.”
A lasting tribute
Jackson College has created the Captain Zenneth A. Pond Soaring Young Alumni Award in honor of this extraordinary, young Jackson (Junior) College alumni. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals who have distinguished themselves through professional accomplishments and who have demonstrated the qualities of integrity and character early in their careers. This Award honors and acknowledges excellence and leadership in a Jackson College alumni aged 35 and younger.
Recipient Selection Criteria:
- Must be an alumnus of/or have attended Jackson College.
- Must have attained exceptional accomplishments in business or professional and their professional life. (Submit a resume if available.)
- Must have demonstrated continuing outstanding voluntary service on a local, state, national or international level. (Include clubs, service organizations, and community involvement.)
- Special honors or recognition (in professional or volunteer service.)
- Must exhibit strong leadership qualities; honesty, goodwill, and lead a life of example.
- Individuals and constituent associations may make recommendations for nominees.
- One letter of recommendation is required. A strong nomination includes a recommended two letters of support.
- 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.
- Nomination forms may be submitted anytime to the Jackson College Alumni Office.
- The Awards Committee will screen the nominees and recommend finalists to the Jackson College Alumni Advisory Committee.
- 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.
Please return the nomination form and supporting documents by January 29, 2021 to the Jackson College Foundation:
Jackson College Alumni Office
Jackson College Foundation
3000 Blake Road
Jackson, MI 49201
- 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.
2018: Dr. Jonathan R. Curtis, class of 2010