Winner of Aspen Prize to be announced May 18 during virtual ceremony

By Joe Wyatt

Published May 11, 2021

The Amarillo College community will converge on the Washington Street Campus on Tuesday, May 18 for the long-awaited announcement of which community college is the best in the land – and AC is definitely in the running.


AC is one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the preeminent, biennial recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.


The Aspen Institute will reveal the winner and the runners-up – those that will share in the $1 million Aspen Prize – during an hour-long virtual webcast which begins at noon and originates from Washington, D.C.


Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education, will deliver the keynote address, and the AC audience will view the webcast on a pair of big screens strategically placed on the Oeschger Family Mall. Joining the AC family for the big announcement will be Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson.


For the first time ever, the ceremony will be open to the public. Register here for the May 18 webcast:

The virtual event also will showcase each of the finalist institutions, and viewers will hear from students about how community college has changed their lives.


Finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, selected from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide, are:

Amarillo College, Amarillo, TX

Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, NY

Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Odessa College, Odessa, TX

Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA

Pierce College, Pierce County, WA

San Antonio College, San Antonio, TX

San Jacinto College, Pasadena, TX

Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, FL

West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah, KY


Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions that achieve high and improving student outcomes. Focused solely on student access and success, the Prize recognizes community colleges with exceptional achievements in four areas:

  • Student learning;
  • Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  • Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  • Access for and success of minority and low-income students.

Learn more about the #AspenPrize by visiting

The 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is generously funded by the Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation.