Trio To Receive JCC Distinguished Alumnus Award At Commencement

Three individuals will receive the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award during Jamestown Community College commencement on Saturday.

The ceremony will recognize Joshua T. Harris, Felix Muzza, and Patricia M. Phillips as well as August and December 2013 and May 2014 graduates. The event begins at 10 a.m. in the Physical Education Complex.

Presented by the JCC Alumni Association, the award recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers and/or in service to their communities.

“It is our pleasure and privilege to honor these alumni,” said Kristen Johnson, JCC’s alumni relations director. “They began their academic careers at JCC and have gone on to achieve great things. They are wonderful role models and shining examples of the heights our students can reach.”


Dr. Harris, who will also give the commencement address, is the policy director for The Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, DC based think tank advancing responsible data use and consumer privacy. A 1998 JCC alumnus, Dr. Harris graduated with honors from the State University of Geneseo and earned a juris doctor degree at the George Washington University School of Law.

As an international trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce, Dr. Harris worked to develop and implement the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Cross Border Privacy Rules System. In 2012, he received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the highest award offered by the Department, for his work in this area.

Dr. Harris also represented the U.S. Department of Commerce in international groups, including the Organization of American States and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2007, he prepared briefing papers for President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Sydney, Australia.


Muzza, who graduated from JCC in 1972, became the interim experiential learning coordinator at JCC after retiring from Jamestown Public Schools.

Muzza began his 35-year career with the school system as a work-study coordinator at Jamestown High School before becoming the dean of students at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and, later, its assistant principal. He was the principal at C.C. Ring Elementary School for 14 years before returning to Lincoln School as its principal for eight years.

In 1990, Muzza was recognized by the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council for his work in alcohol and substance abuse prevention education. In 1999, he received the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Service to Youth Award.

Muzza serves as vice president of the Babe Ruth World Series Committee, treasurer for the Holy Name Society at Holy Apostles Church, and as a member of the Community Planning Committee for Jamestown Public Schools.

After graduating from JCC, Muzza earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY New Paltz in 1975, and a master’s degree and certificate of advanced study in school administration at SUNY Fredonia.


Mrs. Phillips was vice president of the family-owned ACME Appliance Store for 25 years and is an active community volunteer.

She has served on the JCC Foundation board of directors since 1999. She was the co-chairperson of the foundation’s “Funding Excellence Campaign,” which raised nearly $12 million in support of college projects that included the Science Center.

Mrs. Phillips is a longtime member of the JCC Alumni Association board of directors for the Jamestown Campus; a member of the WCA Hospital Foundation board of directors; a member of the WCA Hospital Auxiliary; and a member of the Jamestown Concert Association board of directors.

She has also been a regular volunteer for the Arts Council of Chautauqua County and the Reg Lenna Civic Center, where she served as the chairman of the house committee for the Youth Series Educational Program. She has been an active volunteer for the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and has served on the organization’s scholarships and grants committees.

Since 1991, Mrs. Phillips has been a member of Creche, serving on its board of directors and as chairperson of its publicity, membership, hospital investigating, and community services committees.

She has also served as co-chairman of the George Bataitis Open Golf Tournament committee, which raises funds in support of athletics at JCC.

In 2001, Mrs. Phillips was honored for her devotion to the community when she was named Woman of the Year by the Interclub Council of Jamestown, a consortium of clubs and service organizations from Jamestown and Chautauqua County. She also received the John D. Hamilton Award from the JCC Foundation in 2012.