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Kirtland Selects Horton as 2013 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year

Kirtland Community College will honor Clay Horton as the Outstanding Alumnus for 2013.  Horton, Director of Community Education and an instructor at Kirtland, has a long-standing affiliation with the institution and will receive his award at the college’s 44th commencement ceremony on May 3.

2013 Outstanding Alumnus Clay Horton

2013 Outstanding Alumnus Clay Horton

Horton was nominated by fellow instructor, Sinan Toprak, who prepared an in-depth and thoughtful submission summarizing Horton’s 45-year history with Kirtland.  “I discovered Kirtland when my teacher, Fay Bovee, informed our class that my father was enrolled in the very first class at Kirtland Community College in 1968,” said Horton in his commencement program biography.  “Eight years later, I enrolled at the Roscommon campus and started my education in Speech and Theater.”

After receiving an Associate Degree at Kirtland, Horton transferred to Central Michigan University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree.  He then worked in the recreation industry managing a boating and fishing business before teaching communication classes for Kirtland in 1987.  Horton also began teaching computer science classes in Roscommon and for the Corrections program in Crawford County, becoming the program contractor for the college and the State of Michigan.  Qualifying as a Weinrich Scholar, Horton received his Master of Science in Career and Technical Education from Ferris State University.

Horton considers himself a pioneer in technology at Kirtland, responsible for working with many departments in the early adoption of computers.  While Director of Technology for Community Education, he created numerous courses for adults and senior citizens.  And, in 2010, he became Director of Community Education and liaison to the district’s creative economy coordinating off-campus activities and course offerings at various locations in the Kirtland service area. While not working, Horton is an avid supporter of music, the arts, and the outdoors.

In his nomination submission, Toprak fully outlined the vast educational, employment and community involvement experience qualifying Horton for this award.  “I could think of no other person at Kirtland who deserves this appreciation and has earned the recognition of becoming the “outstanding alumnus” of the year,” said Toprak.  “I wanted everyone to know just how much Clay has given to the Kirtland community.”

Awarding the Outstanding Alumnus award is based on meeting or exceeding the selection criteria qualifications which include:  education beyond the Kirtland experience; professional accomplishments; involvement in community activities; leadership; and post-degree involvement with Kirtland or in the field of education.

Annually, more than 3,000 students attend a variety of health science, occupational, skilled trades, two-year and transfer degree programs at Kirtland’s locations near Roscommon, Kirtland-Gaylord, Kirtland-West Branch and in Tawas.  Kirtland also offers a wide range of online courses and degrees, all of which can be completed from home.

To learn more about the programs, advising, testing, financial aid and other services available to students, contact 989-275-5000, extension 258. For more information on Kirtland Community College, contact Sarah Madonna, Director of Public Information, at 989-275-5000 ext. 242, or visit our website at