Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented to college presidents/campus chief executive officers at two-year or senior institutions and to state community college directors who are retiring and provided consistently outstanding support to Phi Theta Kappa chapters and advisers during their careers. They are named in honor of the late Dr. Michael Bennett, longtime president of St. Petersburg College in Florida.
“Having been involved with PTK most of my professional career, I cannot think of another organization that does so much for students, college and communities,” stated Dr. Carl Hite, former CSCC president. “I had the privilege of working with some of the best faculty and staff, as well as some of the best students, in higher education. To be considered for this award is a real honor for me. PTK is one of the best organizations I have ever been associated with, so this award means a lot to me.”
Guest speakers at the convention included Alison Levine and Dr. Robert Ballard. Levine is a history-making polar explorer and mountaineer. She not only served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, but also climbed the highest peak on each continent and skied to both the North Pole and South Pole — a feat fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved.
Ballard is an oceanographer best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, “The Unsinkable Ship,” in the Atlantic Ocean.
He has also successfully tracked down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown (which was sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy’s boat PT-109.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., 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.