From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Thornton, Jerry Sue Owens

(born: 1947) 

Jerry Sue Owens Thornton, born in Earlington, KY, is an educator. Her career began in 1970 as a grade-school teacher; she has since taught high school and college.

In 1985 she became president of the Lakewood Community College in White Bear Lake, MN, a predominately white, two-year college. In 1991, Thornton became president of Cuyahoga Community College , founded in 1963 in Cleveland, OH,  the first  and largest community college in Ohio. It is made up of three campuses, with two corporate locations and over 50 off-campus sites, all serving more than 55,000 students per year. Thornton retired from Cuyahoga in 2013.

Jerry Sue Thornton is a two-time graduate of Murray State University and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas in 1983.

For more see J. Funk, "CCC's president to get a model contract," The Plain Dealer, 12/30/1991, Metro section, p.  1B; "Jerry Sue Owens" in Who's Who Among African Americans (22nd ed., 2008); and "Meet Higher Education Leader and College President Mentor Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton," a Barnes & Noble webpage.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Hopkins County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Earlington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Thornton, Jerry Sue Owens,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 9, 2023,

Last modified: 2020-10-30 20:07:43