Ken Ender, Ph.D., a professor of the practice in the NC State College of Education, has been selected as one of the recipients of the American Association of Community Colleges’ 2021 Leadership Award.
The award, which was established in 1982, is presented annually to individuals who have achieved outstanding accomplishments and professional contributions to the community college field. Ender received the award during an American Association of Community Colleges virtual meeting on May 6, 2021.
“I am extremely humbled to receive this award. I have known many of the past recipients personally and admired their work tremendously. To be in their company is the honor of my career,” Ender said. “It is not only a tribute to me, but also to the many professionals I have had the honor of working with over the years in the various leadership roles. In many, many ways, this leadership award is for all of us.”
Before joining the College of Education and its Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research in 2019, Ender served as Cumberland County College in New Jersey as well as President of William Rainey Harper College in Illinois.
He said he is most proud of the work he did at both institutions to develop collective impact strategies with secondary schools and business partners to develop more coherent pathways to education and careers.
He was able to develop scholarship programs that raised millions of dollars to support students who demonstrated strong work ethic and community service in an effort to marry scholarship support with employee workforce traits that employers were seeking.
“I’m proud of these programs because they demonstrate the power of partnerships, passion and persistence. I believe we demonstrated to the field that imaginative and lofty goals that are shared by many and are in urgent need of being accomplished, can be,” he said. “Inspiration is found in lofty goals. One must be willing to lead with passion and then execute with discipline and precision.”