Chesapeake College honors Pride of the Peake
WYE MILLS — Two new stars at Chesapeake College were honored Thursday, May 11, in the Pride of the Peake ceremony, a special evening of dinner and awards in the college’s Caroline College Center.
Jenny Rhodes and Dr. Ruth Ann Jones are Chesapeake College alumni who have served the community in fields that are near and dear to those on the Eastern Shore — agriculture and health care.
Pride of the Peake was established to recognize those individuals who not only made a difference to Chesapeake College but also in the local community. It’s sort of an unofficial hall of fame, not to be confused with Chesapeake College’s athletic hall of fame.
The agriculture major at the college is a fairly recent thing, and it has taken many hands to shape it. A pair of the those hands belong to Rhodes.
Rhodes’ penchant for community service began at an early age, when she was in 4-H and in farm bureau activities.
After she attended Chesapeake College, Rhodes went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland Easton Shore.
These days, she is senior agent and extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Queen Anne’s County, and she teaches at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
A Queen Anne’s County native, she helps run her family farm, and owns grain and poultry operations.
When Chesapeake College began to develop its agriculture program, Rhodes was invaluable, said Nicole Fiorellino, who coordinates the program and is an instructor.
Fiorellino said Rhodes acted as a sounding board and gave ideas for activities and objectives.
Rhodes was able to connect Fiorellino with farming organizations and potential guest speakers.
Jones also was inducted into Pride of the Peake. Jones is one of the original graduates of the Macqueen Gibbs Willis School of Nursing, which is now the Chesapeake College MGW School of Nursing.
After nursing school, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesley College, a master’s degree from Catholic University of America and a doctorate from Wilmington University.
These days, she is senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer with University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. She is also a member of the advisory board for the nursing school.
Jones was praised for being a “wonderful advocate” for Chesapeake College’s health professions programs.
Among her favorite accomplishments, she helped set up community service hours in health care centers for students and served as an advisor and mentor for nurses who wished to go back to school and get more advanced degrees.
She has served on the Talbot Multicultural Committee, Talbot Partnership, the Chesapeake Nursing Advisory Board, Talbot County Public Schools’ health advisory board, a pediatric asthma and diabetes day camp, and various community agencies.
Her work in the field of health care spans 43 years.
Besides being graduates of Chesapeake College, both Jones and Rhodes also have Chesapeake graduates in their immediate families.
They both said community service had enriched their lives above and beyond what it did for others.
“I have gained personal satisfaction and pride through the community work, in knowing I have helped others. This has enriched me beyond belief,” Jones said.
“It’s important to remember that community service can fit into any stage of your life,” Rhodes said. “Our level of involvement may have to adjust as we change or face life challenges, but there is always something we can do to make a difference,” Rhodes said.
Pride of the Peake is sponsored by the Chesapeake College Alumni and Friends Association.
As of Thursday evening, more than $60,000 had been raised for the Alumni Scholarship Fund.
A new feature of Pride of the Peake is that the recipients will have a scholarship named after them.
The Ruth Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to any student who is a resident of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s or Talbot counties, and is enrolled in a health profession program, such as registered nurse, EMT, certified nursing assistant, surgical technician or radiologic technician.
The Jenny Rhodes Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to any Eastern Shore resident who is enrolled in the Chesapeake College Agriculture Program.
A short video about each honoree was part of Thursday evening’s festivities. Comments during the evening included those by college president Dr. Barbara Viniar, Ann Ryan, Dr. Nicole Fiorellino and Crystel Farina.
State Sen. Adelaide Eckardt, R-37B-Mid-Shore, made presentations to the honorees. Also present was Denise Lovelady from the office of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st-Md., and Kim Kratovil from the office of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Peake-level sponsors for this year’s Pride of the Peake are Allen Harim, Montaire Farms, Perdue and University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. Gold level sponsors are CarmpusWorks and Dixon Valve.
For more information about Pride of the Peake or to donate to one of the scholarship funds, contact Director of Advancement Elizabeth Devlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcie Alvarado Molloy contributed to this story.
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Chesapeake College’s Caroline Center was packed for the Pride of the Peake event on Thursday, May 11.
Jenny Rhodes speaks during the Pride of the Peake event at Chesapeake College Thursday evening.
Dr. Ruth Ann Jones speaks during the Pride of the Peake event at Chesapeake College Thursday evening.