2017 GRCC Emeritus Award

Joseph Hesse, Ph.D.

Professor Joe Hesse taught chemistry at GRCC for 28 years before retiring in 2015. He set high expectations for his classes -- and helped students meet them with his infectious enthusiasm for his subject. Colleagues say he was always ready to embrace new methods -- from creating a series of "Dr. Science" videos to being the first at GRCC to teach an online science course.

"For Dr. Hesse, teaching is a calling," said President Dr. Steven C. Ender. "He absolutely believes that all students can learn under the right conditions, and he continuously worked to create the right conditions for all students."

Hesse also worked outside the classroom to support GRCC students, especially those who wanted to follow him by going into teaching. A faculty representative to the GRCC Foundation board for 15 years, he approached the Wege Foundation to request support in starting the Teachers of Tomorrow Scholarship.

"Joe saw a need for our students, and he went out into the community to seek funding to meet those needs," said Kathryn Mullins, foundation executive director and vice president for College Advancement. "This scholarship is now permanently endowed, and Joe's work and dedication to his students will continue in perpetuity."

Dr. Hesse was honored as part of GRCC’s commencement ceremony, which took place on April 28, 2017.