FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2018
Contact: Martha Parham
Recipients are examples of community colleges’ ability to change lives
Washington, DC—Community colleges provide a pathway to educational and career success for millions of students. This year, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is honoring three outstanding community college alumni who have made a positive impact on their communities, the nation and the world.
They will be recognized for their achievements at AACC’s 98th Annual Convention on Tuesday, May 1 in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Daryll Dykes is an alumnus of New York’s Onondaga Community College. Dykes is one of the nation’s premier spine surgeons, researchers, educators and health policy scholars. As president and CEO of Medical and Surgical Spinal Consultants of Minnesota, he specializes in complex reconstructive surgery for adult and pediatric spinal conditions.
With degrees in both medicine and law, he works to advance health care on both the patient and population levels. Dykes recently served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow. In this prestigious fellowship, he served as a key policy advisor on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health. The position gave Dykes an active voice in the most relevant health policy issues of our time.
Chad Houser grew up believing food nurtures both the body and the soul. He studied culinary arts at El Centro College, part of the Dallas County Community College District in Texas. Now, he serves as executive chef and executive director of Café Momentum. No ordinary eatery, Café Momentum provides 12-month, paid internships to youth coming out of juvenile detention. The restaurant focuses on employment, life and social skills training.
Houser previously served as president of the board of directors for Dallas Farmers Market Friends and as vice chair of the El Centro Exes Association. He is also a member of the El Centro College Food and Hospitality Institute Hall of Fame. Most recently, Houser was selected as Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” and as one of the United States Junior Chamber’s (Jaycee) 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans. He has been named to the “Top 50 Under 40” by the Social Enterprise Alliance, an “Urban Innovator to Watch” by the New Cities Foundation, and one of Good Magazine’s “Good 100,” individuals at the cutting edge of creative impact across the globe.
Patty Sheehan, an alumna of Seminole State College of Florida, was first elected to the Orlando City Council in 2000. Commissioner Sheehan is the first openly gay elected official in Central Florida. She served nationally as president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO) constituency group at the National League of Cities and has championed nondiscrimination ordinances and the domestic partner registry.
When the Pulse nightclub shooting shook Orlando on June 12, 2016, Sheehan was a first responder and gained attention from local, national and international press as a spokesperson and leader who grieved with survivors and consoled the victims’ families in the weeks and months following the tragic event.
Well known for her advocacy of pedestrian safety, neighborhoods and historic preservation and a thriving downtown, Sheehan has been recognized by many organizations for her efforts. She has consistently been voted one of Orlando’s Best Elected Officials in polls conducted by Orlando Magazine, The Watermark and Orlando Weekly.
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.