Jackson, MS – J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation and Treasurer of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation Board of Trustees, will be named an International Honorary Member of Phi Theta Kappa during the Society’s 2011 Annual Convention in Seattle April 7-9.
This recognition is considered the highest honor provided a non-member by Phi Theta Kappa. Nomination for the award is provided by the Executive Director for consideration by the Executive Committee, comprised of five student international officers. This award is not given every year, only when an individual has been identified who has over time provided extraordinary support to Phi Theta Kappa. Over the nearly 100 years of Phi Theta Kappa’s existence, only 35 recipients have been named.
Some past recipients of the award include Tom Curly, former publisher of USA TODAY and current President of the Associated Press; Bob Dubill, former executive editor of USA TODAY; Dr. George Boggs, former president of AACC; and Dr. Douglas W. Foard, former secretary of Phi Beta Kappa.
“For more than a decade, as President of the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation, Mark Davis has demonstrated keen interest in and provided financial support to our hard-working, determined, disciplined, and outstanding members,” said Dr. Rod Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa. “First, in 2001 he supported the establishment of the Centennial Scholars program, marking the 100th anniversary of community colleges, which has continued as the New Century Scholar Program that recognizes 52 students with stipends of $2,000 each. The program is co-sponsored with the Coca−Cola Foundation. A total of $1,100,000 has been awarded to our students through this program – $550,000 coming from the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation.
“Davis also approached Phi Theta Kappa with the idea of establishing the Coca−Cola Community College Academic Team — providing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, 50 Bronze Scholars, and 150 finalists — with $337,500 annually in scholarships. In 2011 rather than awarding 150 finalists, Davis requested that the funds to be directed to Phi Theta Kappa’s Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program. This year a total of 180 Coca−Cola Leaders of Promise scholarships will be awarded — 30 funded by Phi Theta Kappa and 150 by the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation. Over the past 11 years, the Coca−Cola Scholars Foundation alone has provided more than $1.5 million in scholarship funds for outstanding community college students.
“I am truly honored by this recognition. I have great admiration for the work of Phi Theta Kappa, as it is truly focused on providing the best experiences for students at two-year institutions,” Davis said. “To be made an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa is very humbling.
“Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,270 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 125,000 students inducted annually.