Jackie Butler made local history last month when she became the first person in Grayson County to be awarded with the honorary title of professor emeritus by Grayson College.
“I am very honored that the faculty of Grayson College would honor me in such a way,” Butler said. “I am overwhelmed. They were my peers, my friends, my colleagues. The fact they felt like doing this overwhelms me. Grayson College has been such a great part of this community, it just surprises me we haven’t done it before. I am thinking this opens the door for others. Grayson College has excellent faculty and there will be many more to follow.”
She was humble in her recognition and when asked whether her being given the title sets the bar high, Butler laughed and responded with a “no.” She said, if anything, it sets the bar “too low” as there are too many great people in the Grayson County community that do good for the college.
During the meeting, former colleague Dwayne Barker spoke highly of Butler, as he began to choke up.
“I really don’t know where to being,” Barker said. “If I’m not careful, I am going to get chocked up. I represent the faculty at Grayson college. We have a method to recognize a professor emeritus. We believe and we know Jackie Butler is the very first one in the history of our college. We can’t think of anybody who would be better. We taught forensic science together. Her standards were so high yet she cared so much for her students. What kind of good combination is that?”
The title is an honorary title the college reserves only for individuals it feels meet the highest standards.
“I hear in the community and among the faculty the students you have had in the past, you did an excellent job in the classroom,” Grayson President Jeremy McMillan said. “We are appreciate of that. I can’t think of a more deserving person for it.”
Butler was a biology professor for 31 years. She retired in May 2012 and also serves as a member of the board of trustess for the college.
“We’ve got a lot of great students that do great things and on of the reasons they do great things is that they have great teachers,” GC Board President Ronnie Coles said. “The fact that this is the first time we’ve honored someone for 31 years of service leaves a footprint. I can’t think of anyone any better than Jackie Butler. She’s a remarkable instructor and has so many students that have gone on to do great things.”
During her tenure as a professor, Butler was also recognized as a Piper Professor Nominee. Butler has held many roles in the college over the years. Among them include chair of the science and math departments, president of the faculty association and advisor for the a local chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
“I can’t say enough about Grayson College and our students and how they go on to do great things,” Butler said. “It’s great for faculty when they remember you.”