Nov. 5, 2012 -- In a ceremony attended by old friends and former colleagues as well as current college faculty, staff and students, Jefferson Community and Technical College today dedicated the auditorium at the Southwest Campus to former college president Dr. Ronald J. Horvath.
Horvath led the college, then known as Jefferson Community College, for 20 years, from 1975 to 1995, and oversaw its most expansive growth, including the development of the Southwest Campus in Valley Station, which opened in 1980. He also oversaw creation of the Carrollton Campus in 1990.
Jefferson opened its doors in 1968 in the former Presbyterian Seminary Building at First and Broadway in downtown Louisville. At age 36, Horvath became college's third president, then called director.
On his first day at Jefferson, he told faculty and staff the work you have done in the past to bring JCC from a dream to a reality is but a prologue to the future.
When he came to Jefferson, there was one campus and enrollment of 5,861. He would nearly double enrollment and develop two more campuses. Today the college has six campuses and routinely enrolls 14,000 to 15,000 students a year. It became Jefferson Community and Technical College in 2005.
During Horvath's tenure, Jefferson was recognized by the University of Texas Community college Leadership Program as one of the top colleges in the nation.
During today's ceremony, in which Horvath was presented with a Presidential Medallion and college officials unveiled a brass plaque in his honor, he praised the faculty and staff he served with as well as the communities who helped develop the Southwest and Carrollton campuses.
I learned a long time ago that 50 percent of the people you work with will be smarter than you. Then someone told me that 98 percent of the people where smarter than me, he said with a laugh. And I took that to heart. ... I was lucky enough to have talented faculty and staff.
Dr. Pat Lake, president emeritus of Henderson Community College, served as dean of the Southwest Campus during Horvath s tenure. He described Horvath as grace under pressure and a storm in a bottle.
I have had the privilege of knowing this fellow for about 37 years, Lake said. As a supervisor, a peer and a friend.
Dr. Diane Calhoun-French, provost and vice president of student and academic affairs, also worked with Horvath.
We are here in celebration of you and to say thank you to you for all you did to serve our students and community, she said.