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Phi Theta Kappa National Director to Address Calhoun Faculty and Staff during Fall Professional Development

11/15/2012

Rod Risley, executive director of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year college students and the largest honor society in higher education, will be the keynote speaker for Calhoun Community College’s Fall 2012 Professional Development program, scheduled for Monday, November 19, in the Health Sciences Building on the Decatur campus.

A graduate of San Jacinto College in Texas, where he was elected Phi Theta Kappa National President in 1974, Risley joined the Phi Theta Kappa staff in 1977 as Director of Alumni Affairs.  In 1985, he was elected the society’s second Executive Director since its founding in 1918; his predecessor, Margaret Mosal, served the Society for 50 years.

When Risley took the reins, Phi Theta Kappa had 500 chapters in 48 states, and 25,000 students were inducted, annually. The operating budget for the organization was $500,000, with a staff of five. Today, there are over 1,280 chapters in the United States, U.S. Territories, and eight sovereign nations inducting more than 135,000 students, annually. Nearly 2.5 million students have been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, 70% of those during Risley’s tenure. The Society’s annual budget now exceeds $16 million, with a staff of 70, operating from its International Headquarters, The Center for Excellence in Jackson, Mississippi.

Risley’s vision has led to the creation of many innovative and award-winning programs including the Leadership Development Studies Program taught in 400 colleges; CollegeFish.org, the Gates Foundation funded web-based platform to help all community college students plan for degree completion and transfer to senior colleges; and The Competitive Edge, an innovative personal and professional development program for members.

He serves on the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission for Academic and Student Development and is a recipient of AACC’s Distinguished Alumnus and National Leadership awards.  Risley earned a BBA from Sam Houston State University, an MBA from Millsaps College, and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University and has been awarded numerous honorary doctorate degrees. 

A huge proponent for college completion and graduation, Risley will speak on the topic, “Culture of Completion.”

In addition to Calhoun faculty and staff, members of several student organizations at the college, including Phi Theta Kappa, the Student Government Association, and the Warhawks (Calhoun’s official student ambassadors) are expected to attend Risley’s presentation.

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