An online publication for the staff, faculty, students and friends of Community College of Philadelphia

President's Perspective

Stephen Curtis

Within our annual academic cycle, this time of year is filled with celebratory scenes and emotions. Chief among these were the College’s 44th Commencement exercises, a gala occasion celebrating the graduation and achievement of more than 2,000 members of the Class of 2010—the largest graduating class in the history of Community College of Philadelphia. Tracey Betters, our student speaker, provided an eloquent reminder of the difference a Community College of Philadelphia educational experience can make for our students. 

Nine years ago, Tracey walked through the doors of the College, then turned around and exited the building without enrolling—still unsure whether he could “make it” in a college environment. Some years later, he returned with determination, a determination that helped him to graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and a significant scholarship to Chestnut Hill College, where he will complete his baccalaureate degree.

The month of May is filled with similar stories of student achievement and also filled with mini-graduation events across the College. These mini-ceremonies are focused on individual programs or curricula, all of which remind us of the multiple goals that students bring to our institution and the multiple paths they take to achieve those goals.

The Nursing pinning ceremony, which filled the Gymnasium with friends, family and supporters of the graduates, recognized 130 Nursing graduates eager to assume their roles as health care professionals in our city and region. The Clinical Laboratory Technician ceremony, held in the College’s beautiful Rotunda, honored 20 CLT graduates hailing from a half dozen countries around the world.

In mid-May, the Center for Business and Industry was the setting for our first-ever Kick Off Your Career graduation ceremony. Kick Off Your Career is a federal stimulus-funded training program designed to prepare participants for careers in medical insurance, computer technology or human/social services. All of the students are taking credit courses that lead to one of our new proficiency certificates. All credits can be applied to a full associate degree. Eleven of the 75 students have now completed their coursework and attained their certificates. Some have already found employment; others are choosing to return in the fall to pursue the full degree.

Our most recent graduation activity honored the latest graduates of our Gateway to College program. Gateway enrolls students aged 16-20 who have dropped out of high school. Our 23 new graduates leave Gateway with both a high school diploma in hand and numerous College credits already earned, credits that can be applied to a degree at the College or transferred elsewhere.

Each of these special moments at our College is a tangible expression of our mission and a testament to the resolve of our students. We wish them every success as they move on to their next path and their next possibility.