As our 25th Anniversary events draw to a close, some thoughts from my comments at the tree planting event on Saturday, June 16:
As your still relatively new President, I want to take a few moments to reflect on the present and on our future here at SCC at this 25th Anniversary celebration.
While I do that I’d ask each of you to look around and think of something or someone that you are particularly thankful for this morning as we celebrate the college’s history and look forward toward its future. This is an assignment and we will come back to it, so don’t wait to the last minute to complete it.
This is truly a remarkable institution with a remarkable story, as you’ve just heard from Professor Berry. I first stepped foot on this campus roughly ten months ago. I knew from that first visit that this is a treasure – the campus, its people, its past and its future. I continue to be humbled to be a part of this remarkable institution.
As I look at our present I see challenges and opportunities. Our challenges come in the form of reduced state funding for higher education, declining property tax revenues in recent years, and even in flat and declining enrollments. The era of explosive growth has reached a pause.
Our opportunities derive from these challenges.
As you may know, we are about to launch a long term strategic planning effort that will guide us into our future. The strong leadership of my predecessors, the Board of Trustees, and the Foundation Board has left the college in very strong shape financially and in terms of its reputation to sustain it through this period of transition to our collective future.
I see the following in our future:
- Strong and relevant academic programs in tune with the employment needs of the state and the needs of our students
- Strengthened partnerships with our 4-year partners, allowing for seamless transition to the four-year degree
- Strong and expanded workforce development partnerships
- A continued commitment to access and affordable attendance
- A continued reputation for excellence in instruction and workforce training
- New and innovative programs to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow
This is a special time in the history of St. Charles Community College. It is a time to reflect on the magnificent success and steady growth of the college through its first 25 years. And it is a time to look ahead with hope and expectancy to the next 25 years. We have much to be grateful for and much to look forward to.
Before I conclude I’d like to take just a moment in the spirit of gratitude and thanks and ask each of you to share one thought with someone else about the college and its people.
So, we plant this tree here today in recognition of this college’s storied and successful past, its strong and proud present, and its promising and exciting future. I’ll ask college Board member William Pundmann, Foundation Board member Dianne Garrison, and Professor Hal Berry to join me now in the planting of the tree.