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APB Speaker Michael Sorrell Receives J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

25 Apr 2022

APB Speaker Michael Sorrell Receives J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, APB speaker and President of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, was recently honored with the J. Erik Jonsson Award. The annual award is given to individuals who epitomize the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue by Southern Methodist University’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility. 

Dr. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 150-year history of the school. During his 15 years of leadership, Paul Quinn has become a nationally regarded institution for its efforts to remake higher education in order to serve the needs of under-resourced students and their communities. 

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Not bad for someone who originally only planned to lead the college for a short time until a new president was hired. A decade-and-a-half later, Dr. Sorrell is still there and the school has been transformed, from struggling to one of the most innovative and successful small colleges in America. In fact, while other schools experienced difficulties dealing with the pandemic, Paul Quinn College continued to shine. Improvements have been made on campus, including two new buildings and a new running/walking trail through the school, and new partnerships were formed with corporations.  

Dr. Sorrell is one of the most decorated college presidents in America. In 2020, President George W. Bush and the George W. Bush Presidential Center awarded him the Bush Institute Trailblazer Citation. Other awards include being named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine; a three-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year Award (2018, 2016 and 2012); Higher Education’s President of the Year Award as named by Education Dive; and Time magazine’s “31 People Changing the South. In addition, Washington Monthly magazine identified him as one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and PUSH/Excel honored him with its Education Leadership Award. Dr. Sorrell is also the recipient of both the Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award and the City of Dallas’ Father of the Year Award. 

“My goal is to create one of America’s best small colleges, with students who come from the margins, students who have lived lives of scarcity,” Dr. Sorrell said in an interview with Texas Monthly. “I want Paul Quinn to be the place that lifts them up.” 

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