South Puget Sound Community College celebrates Trustee Barbara Clarkson, a 13-year member of the College’s Board of Trustees, after she received the 2017 ACT Equity Award at a ceremony on May 25. The Equity Award, presented by the Washington State Association of College Trustees, recognizes exemplary commitment to achieve equity in the development, administration, and delivery of educational programs and services in the community and technical college system.
The Board was compelled to nominate Trustee Clarkson because of her lifelong dedication to equity in education and impact at SPSCC and throughout Thurston County. In their recommendation letter to the ACT, the Board named just a few of the local impacts that have been driven by Trustee Clarkson.
The Thurston Group of Washington State
Clarkson co-founded the Thurston Group of Washington State in the early 1990s with the primary purpose of supporting underrepresented youth by providing them with educational options to achieve their goals, primarily by encouraging and assisting students to attend school beyond high school. The Thurston Group developed relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the U.S. to recruit underrepresented students in our region.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet
In her dual roles as Trustee and Board member of the Thurston Group, Clarkson has partnered with the College to plan and host the Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet on the college campus. Each year, the event features a notable speaker and the Thurston Group provides awards to students to fund higher education and leadership awards to individuals and organizations in the region that actively support the success of Thurston County's African American community.
Core Theme: Advance Equity and Embrace Diversity
As a result of Clarkson’s leadership on the Board, the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center was established in 2015, and has been an anchor space for community building, diversity appreciation, and respectful learning. It is a critical component of the College’s five core themes and brings focus to cultivating an inclusive environment.
In a letter of recommendation to the ACT, the Board of Trustees acknowledged that with every decision they make, “She is always the first voice to ask, ‘Is it inclusive?’ and ‘Do we know how this affects all of our students?’”
The College celebrates and thanks Trustee Clarkson for her continued service to students and our community.