Update: Thursday 2:57 p.m.

Amarillo College officials are commenting on Thursday’s announcement that the college won the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. In a statement provided to MyHighPlains.com from Amarillo College President Russell Lowery-Hart, he said:

“What an amazing, exhilarating and truly humbling honor this is. My gratitude is so profound. This recognition validates the decisive leadership of our Board of Regents and the painstaking efforts of our faculty and staff, each of whom have ceaselessly striven to love our students to success. Community colleges are the glue that holds our communities together, and we believe that our constituents deserve the best, so it is beyond gratifying to be able to present them with the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. It is an awesome national endorsement of AC’s mission to transform our community and economy through learning, innovation, and achievement, one to be shared by all of us who make the Texas Panhandle our home.”

Update: Thursday 1:17 p.m.

Officials with the Aspen Institute announced the official winners for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in a news release, stating that Amarillo College and Imperial Valley College in California won this year’s prize.

According to a news release from the institute, each college was awarded $500,000. Officials said that the Aspen Prize “has been the nation’s signature recognition of community colleges that are achieving high, improving, and equitable outcomes for students.”

Update: Thursday, 1 p.m.

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – During the Thursday awards ceremony by the Aspen Institute, Amarillo College was one of two winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, alongside Imperial Valley College in California.

Amarillo College was recognized by the Aspen Institute, which highlighted the college’s efforts to ‘love students to success’ with what AC has described as a “Culture of Caring.” Presenters noted that the strategy has involved working to provide students with resources and organize classes and departments to lend toward increased graduation and employment rates.

Original Story:

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A group from Amarillo College, along with community leaders, will gather Thursday to find out if the college will be named the top in the nation.

According to a news release from Amarillo College, the Aspen Institute will host a ceremony in Washington D.C. on Thursday, announcing which of the Top 10 finalists will receive the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, an award given every two years. Officials with the college will watch the live stream of the ceremony at 12 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the College Union Building on the college’s Washington Street campus.

After being named a top five college in 2021, and winning the Aspen Institute’s Rising Star award, Amarillo College was named a Top 10 finalist for the prize in 2023.

“It’s both thrilling and humbling to be included among the Top 10 Aspen finalists twice in succession,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said in the release. “Just like last time, we’re up against nine incredible schools, and of course, the chips will fall where they may… But I know in my heart that the Amarillo College workforce and its leadership team strive relentlessly for excellence, not in the pursuit of awards, but in the belief that our students and this community deserve to have a College that is worthy of being considered the nation’s very best.”

The other 2023 finalists for the Aspen Prize include:

  • Broward College, FL
  • Hostos Community College (CUNY), NY
  • Imperial Valley College, CA
  • Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), NY
  • Moorpark College, CA
  • Northwest Iowa Community College, IA
  • San Jacinto College, TX
  • South Puget Sound Community College, WA
  • Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, WI

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.