Loretta Jean Elder, a professor of nursing at Madisonville Community College (MCC), has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Acorn Award. The award was presented during the luncheon program for the Governors Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship on Monday, September 28 in Lexington.

The annual Acorn Awards recognize outstanding faculty at Kentuckys public and independent colleges and universities. The program is sponsored by the Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentuckys colleges and universities. Recipients receive a $5,000 honorarium and are selected based on information they provide about their reasons for selecting college teaching as a profession, their teaching philosophy, their professional achievements and recommendations by faculty and students.

She exemplifies excellence in teaching and learning, said MCC President Judith L. Rhoads. Loretta is an outstanding educator that has made student success her hallmark for many years.

Elder has taught nursing at MCCs integrated nursing program for nine years. She is co-chair of the Baptist Health Medical Center Nursing Education Council, president of the Hopkins County Community Clinics executive board, district president of the Kentucky Nurses Association and a member of several national organizations including the National League for Nurses, American Nurses Association, National Organization for Associate Degree Nurses and Sigma Theta Tau International.

Elder has also received several scholarships and awards through the years at MCC. Some of these accolades include: a nursing incentive scholarship in 2005 and 2014. She was recognized in 2004 as a MCC Distinguished Alumni.

Elder began her college career at MCC, obtaining an associate degree in nursing in 1987. She went on to graduate with a bachelors degree in nursing from Murray State University in 1998 and a masters degree in nursing from the University of Southern Indiana in 2006. She is currently working toward a doctorate of nursing practice in organizational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University with an anticipated graduation of May 2016.