Polk State SALO coordinator wins prestigious service award

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

For the second year in a row, the Bob Graham Distinguished Service Award will call Polk State College its home.

Blessen Jacob, Program Coordinator for Student Activities for the Student Activities & Leadership Office (SALO), was presented with the honor for 2024. Jacob was recognized at the annual Florida College System Student Government Association (SGA) Conference held April 19 and 20.

“To be nominated is an honor in itself,” Jacob said. “I was not expecting it. It really is an honor given what the award means.”

The award annually goes to individuals who exhibit outstanding leadership and service to their campus community. Last year, SGA Advisor Chris Ly was presented with the honor. In 2023, student Joshua Starr also won the Bob Graham Distinguished Student Service Award.

“It shows there’s purpose behind everything we’re doing,” Jacob said. “For student life and student government, we’re making sure students have a voice. We have goals for our department. Winning these awards gives us confirmation that we’ve achieved our goals.”

Jacob has been a mainstay in the SALO Department – even prior to being hired. The SGA Vice President for the Lakeland Campus as a student, Jacob received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management from Polk State in May 2022. He was hired full-time by SALO two months later.

“He’s been helping us win awards since he was a student,” SALO Director Melvin Thompson said. “Blessen’s been a valuable member of our organization since he’s been here. This is well deserved.”

The College was well represented at this year’s conference, held at Seminole State College of Florida. Eight students and four staff members were in attendance.

“I appreciate the team for nominating me,” Jacob said. “I love working for SALO. Nothing can be accomplished without the team.”