Strength in loving what you do
by Donna Parker
As a Trinity student, Jacqueline “Jackie” Claunch ’66 had no idea what she would do professionally. She did know that she would not take on a traditional female role. Fast forward three decades and not only did she reach that goal, she is now President of Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.
In 1966, she defied tradition by becoming an IBM systems analyst. Along the way, she learned programming and accounting; talents she called upon for contract work following marriage. She also earned a master’s degree at Texas A&I and Ph. D in Higher Education from the University of North Texas; all this while raising two young children, who have blessed her with three grandchildren.
Jackie says her peers would tell you her key strength is bringing people together around a vision and set of values. Now in her 8th year as President of Northwest Vista College, she’s proven that to be true. The college was a recent winner of the Outstanding Programs in English Award and was selected for a $3 million grant to help create a dynamic first year for students.
Jackie is active in the community as well. She is a member of the Trinity National Alumni Board, the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of the San Antonio Area, and holds leadership positions with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and serves as president of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio.
She has warm memories of Trinity, including her days as a senior residence hall counselor, when she eased the transition for female students away from home for the first time. Always the studious type, calculus was her favorite subject, even with a demanding professor.
“For me, I felt like my whole life has been about learning. How can you reach your own full potential without learning and helping others reach theirs?” she explains. “You hear of people with a goal in life. I knew some things I didn’t want to be. I’ve been fortunate that by finding my way into the community college system, I’ve had 30 years of loving what I do!