Chipola President Dr. Sarah Clemmons to receive Paragon Award

Jackson, Mississippi — Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) will recognize 25 college presidents with the Paragon Award for New Presidents during PTK Catalyst 2019, the Society’s annual convention, April 4-6 in Orlando.

These awards are given to new college presidents who have shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership, and service among high-achieving students at their college. Recipients were nominated for the award by the students on their campus. PTK students have a 91 percent student success rate, and research has shown that strong presidential leadership and support of PTK increases member success and the depth of their college experience.

Dr. Sarah Clemmons

More than 500 college presidents were eligible to receive this award. Dr. Clemmons was among three Florida College System presidents to win the award, along with Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti, Polk State College and Dr. Devin Stephenson, Northwest Florida State College.

Dr. Clemmons has served as president of Chipola since March, 2017. She served as Interim President of Chipola from October, 2016 to March, 2017. Previously, she held the position of Senior Vice President of Instruction.

Dr. Clemmons is the second Chipola alumnus to serve as president. She said, “I love Chipola and I am honored to serve as president. Chipola has an excellent reputation for academic and student success. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and administration to build on the great traditions established at Chipola.”

As Senior Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Clemmons was the chief academic officer for the college with responsibility over all academic and workforce programs. She also had oversight for the college’s accreditation, grants, assessment and academic support programs.

Dr. Clemmons came to Chipola in 1979 as an English instructor and became Division Chair of the Literature/Language Division rising through the ranks to eventually become the top academic officer of the college. She helped to start the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), a free tutoring program for all students, which won a Florida College System Chancellor’s Best Practice Award and was a finalist for a national Bellwether Award. She was instrumental in establishing Bachelor’s Degree programs at Chipola beginning in 2003.

Dr. Clemmons is a native of Marianna, and is an alumnus of Marianna High School, Chipola College, University of West Florida, Troy University and Florida State University.

She serves on the board of trustees of Jackson Hospital. She is active in the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and was named Citizen of the Year by the group in 2015.

She is married to Dr. Tracy Clemmons, a retired Operations Management Consultant with the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities.  The Clemmons have two children and three grandchildren. Their son, Dr. Martin Clemmons, is an internal medicine physician at Southeast Alabama Medical Center. Their daughter, Sarah Kathryn Dugan, is a prosecuting assistant state’s attorney in Tallahassee. The family is active in the First Baptist Church of Marianna.

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at