JSCC RADT lab named for pioneering program director

The state-of-the-art radiologic technology lab at Jackson State Community College was officially dedicated as the Neta McKnight Radiologic Technology (RADT) Laboratory on Wednesday, October 23.

Dr. Walter Nelms, JSCC’s first academic dean and second president, often refers to Mrs. McKnight as a pioneer in the area of education for the field of radiology. The program, when first established in 1970, was the third college-based program in the country and the first one east of the Mississippi River. Prior to this, training for radiologic technicians was done in hospitals.

Neta McKnight served 37 years as the director for the program before her retirement in 2007. She continues to serve as a board member of the JSCC Foundation, establishing her as the longest-serving member with more than 40 years of service.

During her tenure as director of and faculty member for the RADT program, Mrs. McKnight helped to train hundreds of radiologic technicians in West Tennessee. Her passion for teaching and for the profession also led her to secure funding for scholarships that have met the needs of students for decades. McKnight successfully established nine endowed radiology scholarships that total approximately $185,000. These endowments provide approximately $5,000 to $7,000 per year in scholarships for students to successfully complete the program.

Current program director Kim Benson credits McKnight with a philanthropic vision to provide RAD Tech students with scholarships. “It is a blessing that Mrs. McKnight had the foresight to prepare a way for student needs for so many years,” said Benson. “She saw and understood the financial need in RAD Tech students nearly 40 years ago and her work continues to provide for students still today.”

Benson says that the naming of the RADT lab in McKnight’s honor is a way to preserve and highlight her dedication and vision and for students to always be aware and acknowledge her immense contribution.