Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trio of Women React to Receiving JU Awards; Honors Recognize Work in Community, School

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trio of Women React to Receiving JU Awards; Honors Recognize Work in Community, School

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Times-Union staff writer

Karen Cole said the intimate atmosphere, small classes and one-on-one time with professors at Jacksonville University gave her the perfect foundation from which to launch a career.

And she's done OK.

Cole, who graduated from JU in 1978, is a circuit court judge in Jacksonville. She got her law degree from the University of Florida in 1981 and has served on the 4th Judicial Circuit since 1994.

She recently got another feather in her cap when JU named her as Community Woman of the Year.

"It's a great honor to be recognized by my alma mater," Cole said. "One of the most wonderful things about JU is the way the professors reach out to the students. I know it made a huge difference in my life and career."

She is a past member and chairwoman of the Family Court Steering Committee appointed by the Florida Supreme Court. Cole was president of the Jacksonville Bar Association in 1992-93. She has been honored as Lawyer of the Year by the Jacksonville Bar Association, Judge of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates and as an EVE Award winner in the employment category by The Florida Times-Union.

She is a passionate supporter of literacy programs for juvenile offenders.

"As a judge I see the end-stage result of illiteracy," she said. "About 85 percent of juvenile offenders have serious reading problems. Besides, literacy is so important for young people because it opens doors and new vistas that can be a real key to economic opportunity."

JU also honored Sherri Jackson as University Woman of the Year and senior Nicole Goebel as Female Student of the Year.

Jackson is a professor of psychology at JU, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1988.

"I didn't even know I was nominated for the award so I was very pleasantly surprised," Jackson said. "I've always tried to work very hard for JU, and the university and this community mean a great deal to me, so I'm very honored to be recognized. …

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