A crowd of approximately 250 JJC employees, students, community members and elected officials gathered at Joliet Junior College on Feb. 1 to celebrate the official inauguration of the college’s ninth president, Dr. Judy Mitchell.
While Mitchell was appointed to the position of college president by a unanimous Board of Trustees vote in September 2016 and had served in an interim role since March 2016, the event provided an opportunity to publicly confirm and celebrate her appointment, and allow her to share her vision for the future of the institution, which is based on four pillars of success: financial stability, academic programming, student success, and community and philanthropic engagement.
“It is imperative we have a strong foundation to lead us into the future,” she said. “We have a proud history at this institution as the first public community college in the nation. It is through this lens of unparalleled innovation and our history of revolutionizing local higher education, that I consider the future of Joliet Junior College.”
Mitchell also shared that her beginnings at JJC as an adult student more than 20 years ago are a key influence on her choices now as the college’s president.
“This institution, from the start, took good care of me as a returning adult student,” she said. “At that point, I hadn’t been inside a classroom for over 10 years, let alone a college classroom. When I walk the halls of our campus today, and spend time with our students in those same classrooms, my collective thoughts are this: ‘What can I do, each and every day, to give back to the institution that gave so much to me?'”
Speakers included JJC Board Chairman Bob Wunderlich, JJC President Emeritus J.D. Ross, JJC Alumni Board Interim President Ericka Williams, and Dr. Mitchell.
In his remarks, Chairman Wunderlich shared his support for Dr. Mitchell and his optimism for the college under her leadership.
“Dr. Mitchell has a long history at the college,” he said. “She has greatly contributed to the JJC’s overall growth and success. I know firsthand that her loyalty to the college, its students, its employees, its stakeholders, and to this community, is unwavering. Dr. Mitchell is a true visionary and devoted to student success. She is a servant leader who will always do what is best for this institution.”
Mitchell has worked at the college for 20 years, having started as an administrative assistant in the CIOS department in 1996. In 2001, she served as the program management specialist in Adult and Family Services, followed by the assistant to the director of administrative services in 2002. In 2004 she became interim director of administrative services, and then the director of business and auxiliary services in 2005. In September 2012, she was appointed to the role of VP of administrative services.
Mitchell received her doctorate in community college leadership from National-Louis University in June 2012. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business and technology from Governors State University. She earned an associate degree in microcomputers for business and computer programming from JJC in 1998.