President, Cuyahoga Community College
Jerry Sue Thornton is ushering in Northeast Ohio’s new economy like a Boy Scout helping an old lady cross the street. Before Thornton took over in 1992, Tri-C was a two-year pit stop for students on their way to a four-year university. Today, Tri-C is an important component in who we are as a region. It provides retraining for laid-off manufacturing workers, fosters innovation and improves productivity for area companies, and develops business and civic leaders. Thornton created Tri-C’s Corporate College — a national model for continuing workforce education — and recently announced a $447,000 grant for a Bioscience Workforce Training and Assessment Center. She has forged partnerships with Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Clinic and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. In fact, the new Rock Hall library and archives, currently under construction, will be housed at Tri-C’s Center for Creative Arts, rounding out a musical trio that also includes the Tri-C Jazz Fest and the college-accredited record label Crooked River Groove.