Washington, DC – May 18, 2021 –The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today commended Odessa College, a finalist for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Reflecting its unwavering dedication to advancing student success, Odessa is one of only six community colleges out of the more than 1,000 nationwide to be a top 10 finalist for the Aspen Prize three or more times.

The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years since 2011, recognizes outstanding institutions that demonstrate excellence in six areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, and leadership and culture.

“Aspen Prize finalists serve as models for what community colleges can achieve,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Odessa College’s leaders, faculty, and staff have continued to demonstrate their deep dedication to improving students’ lives and serving the community. Most notably, the college is nationally known for developing concrete strategies so that faculty and staff have a deep sense of responsibility for student success, and students feel connected to the college and pass their classes at extraordinary rates.” 

The College Excellence Program thanks Odessa College for participating in this year’s Aspen Prize process, and for helping define excellence for community colleges nationwide.

The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium Education Group, Joyce Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds on American campuses. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit