Phi Theta Kappa Students Receive Historic Honor at International Conference

Eight people in professional dress and medals pose in front of a blue backdrop

Redlands Community College Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisors Dr. Julie Flegal-Smallwood (left) and Kevin Hawk (right) celebrate the chapter’s historic win at the Phi Theta Kappa international awards ceremony. The college’s Alpha Beta Upsilon chapter was selected the Most Distinguished Chapter among over 1,200 chapters internationally and won several chapter and individual honors. Representing Redlands are (l-r) Flegal-Smallwood, Caroline Boysen, Alvin, Texas; Riley Pearce, Enola, Ark.; Kaitlynn Runnels, Cache; Madison Adams, Mustang; Carlie Golden, Calumet; McKenzie Simon, Elk City; and Kevin Hawk.

In a remarkable achievement, the Alpha Beta Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) at Redlands Community College was selected the Most Distinguished Chapter among over 1,200 chapters internationally. This prestigious recognition, announced at the recent annual conference of the international honor society for two-year colleges, marks a significant milestone for Redlands’ historically strong PTK program and is the result of dedication, exemplary leadership, and commitment to excellence exhibited by the members of the Redlands chapter. 

“We were ecstatic and totally shocked when our name was called as the Most Distinguished Chapter. Top 10 was our dream, and to be selected as #1 was exhilarating,” said Julie Flegal-Smallwood, Redlands PTK advisor.

“It just goes to show what a few dedicated individuals can accomplish, as our chapter is small compared to many others who have won this award previously. I can’t contain the pride I feel at our students’ accomplishment.”

In addition to this distinguished honor, individual members and advisors of the chapter also received several awards, further highlighting their exceptional contributions and commitment to the hallmarks of scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship upheld by Phi Theta Kappa.

Chyann Emerson, Tuttle was one of 20 students named a Distinguished Chapter Member. This award goes to PTK members who do not hold a leadership role but who exhibits the four hallmarks of PTK with strong consideration given to volunteerism and leadership in other campus organizations and activities.

Redlands instructor and PTK co-advisor Kevin Hawk was also recognized as a Distinguished Advisor for his many years of service to the organization, and Flegal-Smallwood was named a Continued Excellence Advisor.

The Redlands PTK chapter also spends time on projects that uphold the ideals of the organization. The chapter was named the overall top project for Honors in Action Theme 6 for its project titled “Nostalgia as Play.” Redlands was also recognized as one of the top 50 chapters for its College Project, which focused on transfer readiness, and Action Project, which was a research-based effort to study the use of play and activity in senior citizens. To support the Action Project, the chapter donated exercise and play equipment to the Redlands Community College Silver Sneakers, a program designed to help senior adults stay active and fit.

“We are immensely proud of our Phi Theta Kappa students for their outstanding academic achievements and unwavering dedication to service, both within our college and our community,” said Redlands President Jean Marr.

“The designation of Most Distinguished Chapter and the many individual and chapter awards are a testament to the exceptional leadership and commitment of our chapter's leaders in building such a robust program. Their tireless efforts have not only elevated the reputation of our institution but also enriched the lives of countless individuals through their exemplary service and academic excellence." 

Flegal-Smallwood said,

“We are blessed to have tremendous institutional support from President Marr and our faculty, all of which contributes to our success."