May is an exciting time of year at every college, but it is an especially rewarding time for those of us in the community college world. Almost every evening for three weeks we have had the pleasure of celebrating student achievements from scholarship to athletic prowess to those honored for leadership. While many colleges use phrases such as “student success,” here at CCBC we live it, and we revel in it. Student success is the premise that drives our commitment to scholarship, fellowship, leadership and service. It is the foundation upon which we have built our culture of care so that we celebrate our students who make this institution the strong and dynamic college it is today.
From liberal arts to social sciences, to technology to leadership roles in clubs and organizations, there is much to celebrate. This month alone we celebrated six CCBC All Maryland Phi Theta Kappa recipients, six finalists for the President’s Distinguished Graduate Award, as well as a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship recipient. We honored several hundred students at CCBC’s official Student Awards banquet and another several hundred graduates of CCBC’s Nursing and Allied Health programs through a series of formal pinnings. These newly minted “Heroes of the Heart” are well trained and ready to take their place beside the faculty who mentored them. Each has mastered a curriculum that requires the precision of a scientist, the compassion of a poet and a firm commitment to medical ethics.
I often say that the only reason any of us has a job is because we have students to serve. Without students there is no need for a faculty member, an advisor or a college president. Their success is our success, and gauging success by that measure, we can look back at this time of year and know we have done well. Our graduates show a wealth of intelligence, a commitment to excellence, a strong work ethic and an impressive strength of character. The future looks bright in their hands.
It may be the president’s portrait that we hang in the hallways, but few students will remember the president’s name. Instead, each will remember a faculty member, a coach, an advisor, a mentor, or a dance instructor. We know that education is the “great leveler and lifter!” While our jobs have never been more challenging, they have never been more important. Thanks to the amazing confluence of talented faculty and staff hard at work— in and outside of our classrooms— our students are able to meet and surpass the challenges that face the 21st century workforce, so needed by our country, our region and our state.
As we approach Commencement, I encourage our students to savor the days leading up to the moment each walks across that stage, to thank those who made it possible and to celebrate the hard work that has led to reaching this educational milestone. If ever there was a time to celebrate, it is now!