Searles Named 2012 Outstanding Alumnus
Joseph (Joe) Searles III, came to Pratt Junior College from Ft. Hood, Texas in the fall 1959 on a football scholarship. PJC didn’t have a successful season in 1959, but Searles returned the following year, and became the All American and All Conference football player at the half back position in 1960, under Coach Floyd Huggins.
“Joe was a sharp dresser, a friend to many and was integrated into the Pratt community during his time here,” Gary Eppler stated in his nomination form. “He was much more than a football player. As a student he excelled and was the sports editor of the 1961 PJC Annual.”
He was also on the debate team and a member of the Student Commission.
After his graduation from PJC, Searles went on to Kansas State University, where he had received a football scholarship. He later attended George Washington University Law School, Washington D.C. and obtained his Juris Doctorate degree and worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Searles played professional football for the New York Giants for one year and left in 1967.
He has remained associated with the NFL and Kansas State University in various positions of responsibility. Searles has lived in New York City most of his adult life and still resides there. While in New York he became involved in many activities. One of his greatest accomplishments came on February 13, 1970, when he became the first African-American floor member and floor broker in the New York Stock Exchange.
Searles has worked for New York City Mayor John Lindsey. His career also includes serving two gubernatorial appointments as chairman and director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency, where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than $600 million.
“Searles is a prime example of how focus, determination and hard work can shape a young person’s future throughout his or her lifetime,” said William Wojciechowski, PCC President. “He was a talented and devoted athlete, a good student and keenly focused on his life after and outside of athletics. In addition he was a pioneer who helped pave the road for success for minorities during those turbulent times when many others were ready to give up hope. Pratt Community College takes extreme pride in naming him our 2012 Outstanding Alumnus. He is the kind of role model we want our students to emulate.”
The Pratt Community College Foundation was established in 1968 and its mission is to promote access to higher education in south central Kansas and to advance institutional excellence through financial support. For more information about the PCC Foundation, or to learn how you can become involved, contact the Foundation office at (620) 450-2179 or go to the Alumni and Friends page.