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Keynote Speaker


President, Stark State College

Para M. Jones, Ph.D. has been President of Stark State College since 2012. She also served as President of Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina. The majority of Dr. Jones’s 30-year community college career has been in Northeast Ohio and at Stark State, where she led advancement, marketing, legislative relations, fundraising, grants, student services, admissions, career development and institutional research and planning. She has taught online and on-the-ground business classes at Stark State and in Ashland University’s MBA program.

Prior to academe, she worked in corporate marketing and communications for Roadway Express and as a technical editor for Goodyear Aerospace.

Dr. Jones’s passion for the community college mission is driven by her belief that students are best served by affordable, quality education that leads to rewarding careers.

Dr. Jones holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska, an MBA with honors from Ashland University and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Mount Union.

Among the many professional and community-based organizations she serves, Dr. Jones chairs the Presidents’ Council of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce and several regional boards, including Akron Urban League, Conxus, MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network), NOCHE (Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education), Stark Development Board and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She also is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Education Council in Washington, DC and TeamNEO’s Business Development Council.

She is an ATHENA award recipient.

Dr. Jones and her husband Greg live in Canton, where they raised their twin sons, Christopher, who practices law in Cincinnati; and Kyle, who is in the MBA program in the Stern School of Business at NYU. They are grandparents of twin girls, Charlotte and Madeline.


2018 Women in History Luncheon Honorees

  • Denise Scala
    Denise Scala

    Denise Scala's many achievements include the American Red Cross Stark County Chapter, Stark County Library Foundation, Shared Blessings, Canton Central Catholic High School, St. Michael's Church, Massillon Lincoln Theatre, and Akron Children's Hospital Doggie Brigade. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Akron and has practiced in the areas of labor and delivery, cardio-thorasic surgery and school health. Denise is married to husband Christopher. They have two children, Celina who is a clinical dietician in the NICU at Akron Children's Hospital and Nick, who is an attorney in Washington DC, practicing in the area of labor law. She has served on the Women in History Committee since 2012 and finds the work JRC is doing, to care for and teach the children and support their families, inspiring.

  • Kathy Strong
    Kathy Strong

    Kathy Strong started her career association with Father Coleman in 1974 at St. Paul's Catholic church in Canton. She served in administrative and management roles until 1987 when she was named Executive Director following Father Coleman's death and served in that role until her retirement in 2010. Kathy initiated a wide variety of community revitalization projects resulting in more than $10 million in investments in the northeast Canton community. She has served as president of the Plain Township Rotary, Stark County Legal Aid, and Community Services of Stark County. She chaired the first strategic plan for Leadership Stark County and in 2011 chaired the SARTA levy campaign. Kathy is a graduate of Malone College. She is married to husband Glen and has a son, Erin.

2018 Women in History Luncheon Grand Raffle Prizes

You won't want to miss the JRC 22nd Annual Women in History Luncheon, "Laying the Foundation, Building a Future, Celebrating the Generations," on March 8, 2018 at the Cultural Center for the Arts! Door open at 10:30 am and the program will begin at noon. The silent auction will have lots of fabulous items on which to bid within the following categories: Home; Women; Men; Jewelry and Children.