Jackson, MS – Carolinas Regional Coordinator Emeritus Joan (Joanie) Keller, who serves as an adjunct professor at Trident Technical College, has been chosen as Phi Theta Kappa’s 2014 Board of Directors Alumni Achievement Award winner. Keller will receive her award during Phi Theta Kappa's Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, April 24-26, where she will also serve as keynote speaker at the Gratitude Banquet for Alumni and Friends.
The Board of Directors Alumni Achievement Award is presented annually to an alumnus in recognition of his or her service contributions in support of Phi Theta Kappa on the local, regional, national or international levels. Phi Theta Kappa’s Board of Directors established this award to encourage and recognize continued support provided to the Society by outstanding alumni.
“Of Phi Theta Kappa’s more than 2 million alumni, only 19 have been selected as recipients of this honor,” said Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley. “Joanie Keller has served Phi Theta Kappa at every level for more than 30 years, and even though battling cancer recently has been a real challenge for her, she continues to put Phi Theta Kappa first.”
Keller was inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Omicron Chapter of Trident Technical College on April 1, 1981. She has served as a chapter advisor, alumni advisor and Regional Coordinator of the Carolinas Region from 1991 to 2001, when she was named Regional Coordinator Emeritus.
“As an alumna, Joanie has continually given back to the chapters and the region with the same passion she displayed for Phi Theta Kappa as a member, chapter advisor and regional coordinator,” said Carolinas Regional Coordinator John Sharpe, who serves as an advisor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. “She is a friend and mentor to everyone in Phi Theta Kappa and a consummate servant leader – encouraging others to strive for more and helping them in their quest to succeed.”
Under Keller’s leadership the Alpha Epsilon Omicron Chapter developed a reputation for excellence, from producing International Officers and candidates to being perennially among the top chapters in Hallmark Awards. She has been recognized as a Mosal Scholar and Distinguished Advisor and has served as both a Faculty Scholar and a certified instructor in Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Program.
According to fellow Alpha Epsilon Omicron advisor Dr. Chris Solomon, Keller continues to be actively involved as a leader and mentor for the members, alumni and advisors in the Carolinas Region. As an adjunct professor at Trident Technical College, she is the first to encourage eligible students to accept their membership invitations to Phi Theta Kappa and is frequently seen providing encouragement and advice to members and alumni.
“Joanie lives and breathes for her students, friends and family,” Dr. Solomon said. “She not only believes in the four Hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa, she lives the four Hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa. She truly has been the wind beneath the wings of hundreds of students.”
A committed alumna, Keller is also a charter member of the Carolinas Region Alumni Association and the chapter-based Gamma of South Carolina Alumni Association.
“Joanie serves as an inspiration to members of the Carolinas Region," said Beth Boyles Carraway, a former National Officer and advisor to the chapter at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. "She demonstrates continued involvement with Phi Theta Kappa, from serving as an alumni chapter advisor, to being a guest speaker at regional events, to offering advice to those who are struggling. This region wouldn't be the same without Joanie's influence!”
Before beginning her teaching career, Keller worked as a certified public accountant. After graduating from Trident Technical College, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the College of Charleston and an MBA from The Citadel.
“I am overwhelmed and humbled by this award. I have always felt that no matter how hard I worked for the organization, I was always getting more out of it,” Keller said. “I think the sense of scholarly fellowship and the opportunity to use Phi Theta Kappa as an empowerment tool for my students and fellow advisors was what I enjoyed most about the organization.
“The network I built, all the professional development, which led to my personal growth – being involved in Phi Theta Kappa is an amazing journey. And then getting the students involved and watching them grow - I was always telling them to be all that you can be, and Phi Theta Kappa was an amazing conduit in making this happen.”
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.