ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown Honored With Michigan Community College Special Recognition Award

July 22, 2021

Washington — July 21, 2021 — Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) President and CEO J. Noah Brown today was honored with the Michigan Community College Special Recognition Award.

The award “is given each year to the individual or organization that has gone above and beyond in their support of the community college mission,” said Michigan Community College Association President Michael Hanson. “It is the highest honor that the MCCA can place on someone,” he said.

The award reads: "In Recognition and Appreciation of Exemplary Contributions and Commitment to Supporting the Mission of Michigan's Community Colleges." As head of ACCT, Brown is one of the leading advocates of community colleges throughout the United States.

“To be honored by colleagues from my home state is more meaningful to me than mere words can adequately express,” Brown told the MCCA during his acceptance. “My entire educational experience, from kindergarten through the University of Michigan, was here, and I hope my career has paid homage to that formative education.”

Brown applauded the Michigan Reconnect program’s work to remove financial barriers for Michiganders seeking to improve their economic prospects and the Sixty by 30 Campaign to raise the educational attainment rates among adults in Michigan. “Growing up outside of Detroit,” he said, “made me acutely aware of how important industry is in creating a strong middle class and to funding the public education system in the state.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, he offered recommendations to Michigan community college leaders going forward, including urging them to continue reform and innovation around developmental education by looking at increasing corequisite courses and programs; to develop as many guided pathways as possible; to provide intrusive, intensive advising; to urge students to enroll full time whenever possible for the best outcomes; and to remember that “when you address the total needs of your students, whether those are financial, family, work, transportation, food and/or housing, the students win and you win.”

Brown quoted famous words of Mark Twain: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ This has been particularly true for me,” he said.

The award is bestowed toward the end of Brown’s tenure as ACCT’s longest-serving president and CEO. Brown originally joined ACCT 25 years ago as director of public policy, later being asked by the association’s board to serve as president and CEO in July of 2005. Two years ago, he announced his plan to retire effective October of 2021. 

“While I will no longer lead ACCT after this October," Brown said, "know that I will be close by and remain forever committed to the cause of community colleges.”

Brown also serves as chair of the Executive Board of College Promise, and as a member of the LevelUp and Single Stop USA advisory boards, and he is former faculty for the Doctorate in Community College Leadership program at Ferris State University in Michigan. His book, First in the World: Community Colleges and America's Future, which argued the case for making community college education universally available to all Americans without tuition, won the 2013 Bellwether Book Award. 

About ACCT

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.