• PCC basketball starts on Wed. Nov 1. Women tip-off at 6 pm. Men tip-off at 8 pm.

PCC Alumnus Honored

17 December 2013

The American Association of Community Colleges recently selected former Pratt Community College student Joseph Searles III to receive the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award. The award is given annually to former students from community colleges who are making outstanding contributions to their chosen career fields and to their communities. Searles and the other five Outstanding Alumni Award recipients will be recognized during an awards brunch at the AACC 2014 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. next April.

Searles was nominated for the award by Dr. William Wojciechowski, President Emeritus of Pratt Community College, before he retired as President in August 2013.

“Searles is a prime example of how focus, determination and hard work can shape a young person’s future throughout his or her lifetime,” said Wojciechowski when Searles was named PCC’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus. “He was a pioneer who helped pave the road for success for minorities during those turbulent times when many others were ready to give up hope.”

Searles came to what was then Pratt Junior College from Ft. Hood, Texas in the fall 1959 on a football scholarship. He became the All American and All Conference football player at the half back position in 1960 under Coach Floyd Huggins, and was named to the PCC Hall of Fame in 2013.

After his graduation from PJC, Searles went on to Kansas State University and later attended George Washington University Law School where he obtained his Juris Doctorate degree. His accomplishments include becoming the first African-American floor member and floor broker in the New York Stock Exchange in 1970 and playing professional football for the New York Giants.

“Although much time has passed; more than fifty years in fact, I have never in all those years forgotten, dismissed or marginalized the love, support or prayers of my many friends and extended family in Pratt and Southwest Kansas in helping me achieve the many plateaus of a bountiful life,” said Searles upon receiving the award. “I remember the many instructors that applauded my efforts and my commitment to contribute an equal amount of time to my educational pursuits as I had committed to athletics. I was not looked upon as a single faceted 'jock' but a multi-talented student that made many contributions to the Pratt Community College educational system. I was a whole student that participated and took inspiration from my many instructors.

“To the many kind and loving faces of all colors of Southwestern Kansas which strongly impacted my decision to attend Kansas State University rather than Nebraska; I am forever indebted for your love, comfort, courage and friendship that you bestowed on me from 1959 to 1961. Thank you one and all.”