Council on Postsecondary Education
CPE's Sherron Jackson honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by Murray State's Office of MultiCultural Affairs
Note to Media: Photo is available at http://apps.cpe.ky.gov/photogalleries/sjacksonphoto.jpg
‘Tireless advocate and champion for equal opportunities’
Growing up on a farm in rural Mississippi with 11 brothers and sisters, Sherron Jackson never imagined that his life’s work would be spent in part championing equal opportunities in higher education for Kentuckians.
While Jackson likes to say he came to Kentucky “by accident,” it was, however, no accident that he was recently honored for advancing equal opportunities in higher education. Murray State University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs bestowed Jackson with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which Jackson described as the “icing on the cake.” The award honors African Americans for contributions to their communities and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
“To have someone say that the work that I did somehow touched the lives of others in a positive way is a humbling experience,” said Jackson, who served as the associate vice president for budget, policy, and planning until he retired in December after 34 years of service to the Council.
Council President Bob King said, “Sherron Jackson has been a tireless advocate and champion for equal opportunities for all Kentuckians, especially underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students.
“We are indeed grateful for his dedicated service and exemplary leadership, and he is most deserving of this award,” added King.
While neither of Jackson’s parents attended high school, they stressed the importance of education and were determined that their children would have more career opportunities, and that all would get an education. Jackson credits his parents with guiding a dozen children through high school graduation and on to college, which by any measure and for any parent, is quite an achievement. He readily admits, however, that while all attended college not all received a degree.
A 1976 graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in business management, Jackson came to Kentucky to visit a friend, and decided to enroll in the master’s in public administration program at Kentucky State University.
Shortly after graduation from KSU, Jackson was hired in 1979 to work in the Council’s finance unit to oversee the capital recommendation and facilities management. Those duties would expand in 1995 when he assumed an additional role to provide staff support to the Committee on Equal Opportunities.
Over the course of 17 years, and in addition to his capital and facilities role, Jackson oversaw the Kentucky Plans and the Office of Civil Rights’ Partnership Agreement, both of which were in place due to a 1981 finding that the Commonwealth of Kentucky, In violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had failed to eliminate the vestiges of its former de jure racially dual system of public higher education.
In 2009, Jackson’s most significant accomplishment in equal opportunities occurred when Kentucky was released from the Partnership Agreement with the Office of Civil Rights.
More recently, Jackson managed the implementation of the statewide strategic plan for equal opportunity and the development of a statewide policy on diversity for public postsecondary institutions.
“The driving force of Kentucky’s efforts to improve educational opportunities for diverse student populations has been Sherron Jackson. His knowledge of the law, strong work ethic and his stellar communications skills were the key to Kentucky’s progress,” said Wendell Thomas, a long-time member of the former Committee on Higher Education and the Committee on Equal Opportunities.
In his finance role, Jackson has been involved in the development of capital recommendations and six-year capital plans. He was appointed multiple times to the Commonwealth’s Capital Planning Advisory Board, and oversaw a significant facilities study in 2007, the recommendations of which continue to guide planning efforts.
"For many years, Sherron has been very instrumental in providing leadership in working through the sometimes complex facilities planning and capital project financing process. I can count on him to provide reliable information along with the Frankfort political events of the day," said Tom Denton, vice president for finance and administrative services at Murray State University.
Jackson is a resident of Frankfort where he has also served in a variety of community and civic roles. During a transitional period, he has returned to the Council on a part-time basis. He is married to Daphne Winters, and they have two daughters Clarissa Jackson Wilson and Jillian P. Jackson.
We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s colleges and universities and adult basic education, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit http://cpe.ky.gov/strongerbydegrees.