Phi Theta Kappa, an international community college honor society, has named Dr. Lisa Rhine a Paragon President in recognition of her "outstanding support of student success" in the first years of her presidency at Yavapai college. Rhine became YC’s 10th president in February of 2019 and within about a year on the job she was leading the college’s academic program, career-training and lifelong learning delivery through a pandemic-driven sea of change.

In a congratulatory letter to Dr. Rhine, PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner underscored the significance of the award nomination originating from YC student members of YC’s PTK chapter. "While you were nominated for this award by the highest-achieving students on your campus, this award is really about your commitment to the success of all students… This year you worked to mentor and develop student leaders in completely unfamiliar circumstances. Racial and political unrest and a global pandemic made 2020 the most challenging year in recent history—one that you have worked exceptionally hard to overcome."

The student-initiated award surprised and humbled Rhine. "It really means a lot to me to be coming from them. Our students continue to amaze me with their persistence and drive toward their intellectual and personal pursuits in the midst of a pandemic. While the college is doing its best to support our students while keeping them safe, it is our students who deserve recognition for their grit and determination," Rhine said.

Autumn Re, one of the YC PTK members who nominated Dr. Rhine for the Paragon President award, said she was thrilled but not surprised to hear she had won. "I first met Dr. Rhine at the 2019 College Honors Reception and was immediately struck by how remarkable it was to have a college president so actively involved with students on the ground. This was just a few weeks into my first semester and experiencing her genuine consideration filled me with confidence that I had chosen a school which truly listened to and cared about its students. That belief has only grown stronger as Dr. Rhine continued to keep channels of communication open with all of us, even as she stepped up to address unprecedented times of unrest. Throughout last year's political upheaval and pandemic, it was Dr. Rhine's ongoing video updates and various student support campaigns that made me feel secure in my educational journey," Re said. "As a student, I don't think I could imagine a better college president than Dr. Rhine."

PTK will fete Dr. Rhine during the general session of its virtual international convention on April 9.