The Texas Association of Community Colleges has named Dr. Juan E. Mejia, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Tyler Junior College, as the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Nelson Administrative Leadership Award, publicity officials announced.
Mejia received the award during the TACC Conference held recently in San Antonio.
TACC includes all 50 public community college districts in Texas and is the backbone organization for advocacy, policy, legislation, and collaboration among the colleges, the legislature, state agencies, and the public.
"I am very grateful and humbled by the recognition, and I consider this honor a celebration for our entire college community," said Mejia. "I consider TJC a powerhouse institution of higher learning with community support, a great Board of Trustees, a strong administration, faculty and staff who are focused on serving our students and communities, and students who are heroes," he added.
The award was established in 2003 in memory of Carl M. Nelson, who served as president of Texarkana College and helped many others assume leadership positions across Texas.
According to TACC, the honor celebrates the importance of administrative leadership at Texas community colleges by recognizing demonstrated qualities/traits which are generally associated with successful college presidents.
Mejia began his higher education journey at Texas State Technical Institute and was instrumental in the transition of the institution to what is now Texas State Technical College.
He served as a founding member of South Texas Community College and was instrumental in the transition to what is now South Texas College. In addition, Mejia taught in a doctoral program for the University of Texas -- Pan American and has served on numerous national, state and local boards.
Some of his accomplishments include being recognized by the International Chair Academy and through the 84th Texas Legislature through House Resolution 689, celebrating his work in higher education.
He earned his B.S. in Education at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and M.Ed. in Adult Education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
"The Association fully recognizes that leadership matters, particularly as we look to the future of community colleges,’’ said TACC President and CEO Jason Fraire. “In that spirit we know we have an incredible leader in Dr. Mejia and we look forward to his many contributions to TJC, East Texas, and our great state."
“Dr. Mejia has been an essential contributor to the community college mission since 1988,” said Dr. Michael Metke, president of TJC. “Dr. Mejia promotes leadership that includes empowerment, legacy and accountability through ethical behavior, and I have grown to admire his tremendous talent, intelligence, critical thinking and personal traits that make him a fine leader.’’
Dr. Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College, added her praise to the others.
“Dr. Mejia is among the few who I would trust to continue the legacy I have established for South Texas College,’’ she said. “Dr. Mejia is a treasure who symbolizes the immense contributions community colleges make toward transforming lives."
In Texas, 47 percent of college students are enrolled in community colleges with 11,500 enrolled at TJC each semester. Students in community colleges receive postsecondary credentials necessary for economic development and social mobility. TJC was named one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges in America by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.