Joe Shannon Receives CSM Distinguished Service Award


The College of Southern Maryland bestowed its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to former college trustee, Joe Shannon, a longtime resident of Southern Maryland, for his exemplary and extended service to the college.

“Joe devoted innumerable hours to the college in a variety of roles, and if you know Joe, he approaches life with a smile, a joke and a kind word to share with anyone he encounters,” said CSM Board of Trustees Chair Dorothea Smith during the college's 17th Winter Commencement Ceremony where Shannon was honored.

Shannon served on CSM's Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2007, serving as vice chair from 2002-03 and chair from 2003-07. During his board service, Shannon assisted with a smooth implementation of the College of Southern Maryland, moving three separate colleges to create one regional community college as mandated through state legislation. Shannon also steered the college through another transition in 2006, the selection of the college's fourth president, Dr. Brad Gottfried.

A personal highlight for Shannon has been the college's leadership with the Charles County Unity in OUR Community forums, he said. As board chair, he strongly encouraged the development of articulation agreements with several historically black colleges and challenged the college to find ways to fund programs that would encourage students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, with the college receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and the Energetics Technology Center.

Working with Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's county boards of education, Shannon fostered programs such as early admission to the college, and free diagnostic tests in math and reading for high school students considering going to college as well as building more student interest in STEM through outreach activities such as robotic competitions. The STEM initiative has had a lasting impact within Southern Maryland and has led to a greater workforce for local defense contractors and at our local military installations.

A founding member of the Indian Head Defense Alliance, Shannon served as president of the Indian Head chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association for 13 years and he was on the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland Regional Strategy Committee, 1997-98.  

Along with his wife, Ginny, the Shannons have invested their time, talents and resources in CSM, donating more than $30,000 to the CSM Foundation, including a planned gift in the form of life insurance and an annual gift in support of STEM, athletics, the Children's Learning Center, veterans and named scholarships. 

“We have always been pleased with the caliber and quality of instruction and the dedication of the staff and faculty?they really are concerned about the individual student and how they can make a big impact in our community,” said Shannon. “After careful consideration, we chose to invest in CSM's future through a legacy gift, a whole life insurance policy that will have no impact on our current cash flow or future needs as we enjoy our retirement. Our investment for the future will help the college and its students realize their goals as the Shannon family has realized theirs.?

For information on CSM, visit For information on giving to the college through the CSM Foundation, visit