Fwd: JJC President Gena Proulx 1945 - 2011
- We are deeply saddened to inform you of the death of Dr. Proulx, who passed away this morning after a courageous three-year battle with fallopian tube cancer. She was 66.
She is survived by her husband, Bill, and three adult daughters. Services are pending. Remembrances and condolences may be posted on the Joliet Junior College website at http://jjc.edu/about/administration/presidents-office/Pages/default.aspx. A gathering in remembrance of Dr. Proulx is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 15 at the alumni bell tower, which is now located in front of Campus Center. The time will be announced shortly. The Monday Professional and Personal Development events scheduled have been rescheduled; we will share these details soon.
Grief counseling is also available. Please contact Human Resources at ext. 2266 for more information.
Proulx began her tenure as the seventh president of Joliet Junior College in July 2006. The first woman to hold the position, Dr. Proulx came to JJC after serving six years as president of Dundalk and Essex campuses at The Community College of Baltimore County. She brought over 20 years of teaching experience in the higher education arena and was attracted to JJC, the first public community college in the nation, because of its historical roots.
Proulx devoted the majority of her career to community colleges, holding faculty and administrative posts at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y. and Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, N.Y. before coming to JJC.
In 2008, Proulx spearheaded the college’s master plan, which came to constitute the largest physical changes to the Main Campus location in its 40-year existence. Through her vision and leadership, seven major construction projects have taken shape across the college landscape to streamline student services and provide the space for programs and training to address critical job shortages.
During her time at JJC, Proulx was also a strong supporter of the college’s chapter of the international honors society, Phi Theta Kappa. Her support of Phi Theta Kappa extended well before her years in Joliet, when she was honored with the Regional Coordinator’s Award in 2004 and the Center for Excellence Brick Recognition in 2001 while at the Community College of Baltimore County.
She also brought sustainability to the forefront at JJC, helping to make it part of the college’s strategic plan and supporting the creation of the first-ever JJC Sustainability Committee. In 2009, she signed the historic American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, an effort by institutions across the country to address global climate disruption, eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, and educate students in the process.
That year, she wrote a guest column for the American Council on Education, stating, “Signing the Presidents Climate Commitment is more than a simple act of endorsement. It is recognition of the important role higher education plays in affecting climate change. With more than 11 million students enrolled in two-year institutions throughout the country, community colleges are in an unprecedented position to reach and influence their students on the issue of climate change.”
This dynamic resume matched her active role in the community and in regional and national organizations, where she was a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Communication and Marketing, served on the Board of Directors for Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, the Will County Center for Economic Development, the Will County Workforce Investment Board, and maintained membership in the Joliet Rotary Club.
Proulx was an ardent supporter of cancer research well before her diagnosis, participating in community events like the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and after her diagnosis, making donations to the Loyola University Cancer Center where she received care. She also donated the wigs she wore during the first year she underwent chemotherapy treatment to Loyola's center.
Two years into treatment, in 2010, Proulx decided to do something she'd never done before to support the cause: she dyed pieces of hair surrounding her face teal, the color that represents ovarian cancer, in accordance with efforts by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Her drive to support the cause was documented in local newspapers, including the JJC student newspaper, The Blazer, in 2008.
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