Warren County Community College (WCCC) Board of Trustee Chair Peter Schmidt has been honored by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) with the 2015 Northeast Region ACCT Trustee Leadership Award.
The ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.
“I am deeply honored to have been nominated and now recognized with this award,” said Schmidt, who had been an educator and administrator at Gil St. Bernard’s School in Gladstone for 39 years before retiring in June. “I can only say that it was one of the great surprises of my life in education.”
“We are exceedingly proud that Peter has been recognized with this honor,” said WCCC President Dr. Will Austin. “This is truly a testament to his hard work and leadership at the college. Peter’s innovative style and commitment to the community at-large is second to none.”
Schmidt garnered the attention of the selection committee for his work on the board on several fronts.
In its letter of congratulations, the ACCT Selection Committee indicated that the ACCT Trustee Leadership Award is reserved for a current or former trustee from an eligible two-year postsecondary institution who has acted on its behalf on and off the campus. Activities under the magnifying glass included active participation in special and technical committees, communication with legislators and influence in legislation, participation in the community, and leadership and innovation in developing campus programs, among others.
The ACCT Selection Committee felt that Peter Schmidt best met these criteria for the Northeast Region.
Schmidt immediately became an active participant when appointed to the WCCC Board of Trustees in 2007. He became involved in regional, state, and nationwide professional development seminars. He was elected to his first leadership role as Board Secretary in 2010, and then served as Vice Chair prior to being unanimously elected Board Chair in 2013, a role he still holds.
“As the importance of community colleges has grown, it is more important than ever to recognize the outstanding leadership of those individuals for their contributions to the sector,” said ACCT Chair and Lansing Community College Trustee Robin M. Smith.
For Schmidt, though, this recognition would not be possible without a great team to work with.
“It has been a privilege to serve the college and to work with such dedicated and principled people who make a difference,” said Schmidt. “I owe a lot to my hard working colleagues on the WCCC Board of Trustees.”
“I do believe that the best years for our college lie ahead of us and I will continue to dedicate myself to the best interests of our students for as long as I can,” he added.
Dr. Lawrence A. Nespoli, President of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, said this recognition is well-deserved.
“Since 2007, Peter has brought his visionary leadership and educational administrative experience to the Warren County Community College Board of Trustees to the benefit of the students, faculty, staff, and entire Warren County community,” he said. “We have also been fortunate that Peter has lent his wisdom to us at the state level here in New Jersey. He is certainly deserving of this award.”
The ACCT regional awards also honor contributions by faculty members, professional board staff, equity programs, and chief executive officers.
“ACCT’s member colleges and the individuals who serve them work tirelessly, often with little recognition,” said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. “We are glad to be able to shine a spotlight on those who go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Regional awardees will now contend for national-level recognition, with one winner in each category to be announced at the Annual ACCT Awards Gala in San Diego, Calif., on October 16.