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Nominations now open for SCC’s annual Distinguished Alumni Award

SYLVA – Southwestern Community College is now accepting nominations for the SCC Foundation’s fourth-annual Distinguished Alumni Award.

To be considered for the award, nominees must have graduated with either a certificate, diploma, or degree from the institution known today as Southwestern Community College and previously as Southwestern Technical College (1979-1988), Southwestern Technical Institute (1967-1979) or Jackson County Industrial Education Center, a satellite of A-B Tech (1964-67).

“We are looking for candidates who are truly exceptional in their fields,” said Brett Woods, director of the SCC Foundation. “Our distinguished alumni recipient will receive this award at our graduation ceremony in May and will serve as an inspiration of what new graduates can aspire to become.”

To nominate a Southwestern graduate, visit

Past winners include Kyle Dowling (2019), Dustin Wilson (2020) and John Mattox (2021).

Dowling was a 2013 graduate of SCC’s Emergency Medical Science program before receiving his bachelor’s degree at WCU. Within two years of graduating, he became a supervisor and training officer for Harris Regional Hospital’s EMS Department, and now he has a list of credentials under his belt.

A 2003 graduate of SCC’s Outdoor Leadership program, Wilson later earned his Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University. Now he holds the title of Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.

Mattox, who passed away last year, was a member of Southwestern’s first National Park Service – Seasonal Law Enforcement Training program in 1978. He spent 37 years in the National Park Service, starting out as a seasonal ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway and eventually rose to the role of Special Agent in Charge of the Eastern United States.

Nominations for the 2022 award are being accepted through March 15.

In addition to being recognized at graduation, this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award will be recognized on SCC’s website, social media, and receive an award plaque along with $250 from the SCC Foundation.

The SCC Foundation partnered with the SCC Foundation Faculty & Staff Advisory Council to create the award.

Nomination forms will remain on file for three years for future award consideration. After three years, nominations must be re-submitted.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award, contact Kathy Posey, SCC’s Institutional Development Associate, at 828.339.4227 or


For more than 55 years, Southwestern Community College has served Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties, and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina by providing a wide range of educational options for residents in all stages of life.

SCC has been ranked among the nation’s Top 10 community colleges six times in the last 15 years – including a No. 1 ranking in’s listing of the “Best Community Colleges & Trade Schools of 2020.”

Through a supportive learning environment, Southwestern offers more than 40 degree programs (including more than 90 credentialing options, 28 of which are offered online) in Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences/College Transfer and Career Technologies.

A variety of community resources – including the Small Business Center, Workforce Continuing Education and Career Services – are also available.

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