An online publication for the staff, faculty, students and friends of Community College of Philadelphia
Volume 18, Number 2
December 10, 2009

College News

What a Difference a Book Makes

Robert Vassallo photo
Graduate Robert Vassallo, who benefited from the College’s Emergency Book Fund.

Access to textbooks is key to a student’s ability to do well in school. For some students, the inability to pay for textbooks may mean an end to their studies. For those who need the extra financial support due to unforeseen hardship, the Emergency Book Fund is an important resource. Graduate Robert Vassallo knows firsthand the importance of the fund.

When the downturn in the economy led to a sudden job layoff, Vassallo found himself homeless and close to quitting school. Having earned 50 credits at the College with a 3.7 GPA, he knew that a college degree was crucial to his future. Receiving funds from the Emergency Book Fund helped tremendously. “Simply put, I would not have been able to complete my studies and graduate without help from the Emergency Book Fund,” said Vassallo, who graduated from the College in December 2008 and now works as an assistant manager for the seafood department at a major grocery store. “I’m now checking out four-year colleges to continue my studies, and ultimately I want to become a public interest lawyer.”

Since its inception in 2004, the Emergency Book Fund has distributed more than $21,000 to help students in extraordinary circumstances purchase the textbooks they need. To support the Emergency Book Fund and keep financial assistance available for more students, contact Louisa Wilson, associate director of Annual and Planned Giving, at 215-972-6344 or, or give a gift online at

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New Title VI Grant for International Business

The College is receiving a new Title VI Grant to fund a two-year pilot project designed to strengthen its International Business Education programs.

Ten faculty members from the College’s Division of Business and Technology will be designated as Title VI Business International Education Fellows and receive training that will help them infuse international perspectives into Business courses.

Business students will be encouraged to study foreign languages, as well as area and international studies. During the second year of the grant, six Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students will be given the opportunity to participate in an internship that will include a 10-day trip to China through partnerships with Hotel Sofitel and master chef Joseph Poon.

More than six public lectures per academic year will be offered at the College.

The goal of the project is to prepare students in Business and related programs to work in international and inter-cultural environments and to support Philadelphia’s growing international business and tourism sectors.

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Expanding Possibilities Campaign Update

The steering committee for Expanding Possibilities, the College’s first capital campaign, recently welcomed two co-chairs, James E. Nevels and Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, who will lead the campaign over the next two years. Nevels is founder and chairman of The Swarthmore Group, one of the region’s premier investment companies. Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of Citizens Bank for Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Both co-chairs are committed partners in helping continue the momentum of support for Expanding Possibilities, the College and student success. For more information about Expanding Possibilities and to make your gift, visit

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