December, 2016: All-College Meeting | Naugatuck Valley Community College > About NVCC > NVCC Going Strong > President’s message > President’s remarks | Naugatuck Valley Community College
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December, 2016: All-College Meeting


My Dear Colleagues and Students:

    I begin with a heartfelt thank you for the humanity and generosity evidenced these past few months by our college community as we supported colleagues and students who became ill, and came together to mourn the death of two young men whose lives were cut short.  Let us begin by one moment of silence, reflection and prayer.

I am comforted by your presence as I join you this afternoon to mark the end of another academic semester and give thanks for the talent of so many who work hard and share generously with the NVCC family.  Another year comes to a close; a year when all of us continued to work hard, to see significant additions to our facilities in the renovation of Founders and creation of the Center for Health Sciences, a campus-wide improvement project and new facilities to accommodate our growing Danbury Campus. Our academic programs continued the thoughtful process of program review and conversations with industry partners, resulting in some revisions and the creation and implementation of a new Cybersecurity associate degree program this fall.  We welcomed the presence in our classrooms, on our campus and in the larger community of Felipe Karam, our third Fulbright-Scholar-in Residence, a talented colleague whose beautiful music is a gift to us all. We celebrated continued and tangible achievements for our students in the form of the number of total awards at graduation and continued success in our licensure and credentialing exams.  NVCC received national distinction for our efforts to support outcomes for our low-income students.   We were ranked among the top 25 community colleges in the nation to produce graduates who were employed and able to pay off student debt within three years of graduation, as indicated by the U.S. Department of Education.  It was a year when we engaged in a Capital Campaign, with the support of many on campus and the leadership of our Campaign Champion, Dr. Peter Jacoby.  We have done well in this regard as you just heard.  How lucky we are to have his generous leadership and the support of so many in our communities!

     This fall semester we began the implementation of our Strategic Plan 2016-2026 and a lot of work in preparation for the NEASC interim report due this summer.  Planning and assessment, as you know by now, are part of the fabric of life in higher education, and it is here to stay.  I am so grateful to so many of you who engage generously in the process of planning, implementing and supporting our students.  The College continues to be the only community college in Connecticut to award more than a thousand associate degrees and certificates in a year, and we have done it five years in a row.  This past May, 1371 total awards were granted.  Joan Arbusto reports that applications for August and December conferments are at about the same level, so I am hoping that with all of your help, this year we will continue that tradition.  Colleagues, I am counting on you to continue to advise and guide our students to ensure that your mentees take the courses they need to complete program requirements, both in the winter and the spring semester.  I know that as we have done in the past, the College community, faculty and staff will rise generously to the occasion.

As I consider our accomplishments, there is much to report but in deference to the very busy agenda before us, if you have done so already, mil gracias from the bottom of my heart for your significant contributions.  I urge you to pick a copy of our Success Highlights for 2016, available on the registration table.  I would like to thank Beth Monchun and Jessica Hernandez in my office and Susan Chase in the Provost’s office for their efforts to make this a beautiful occasion. A big thank you to Felipe Karam, Lindsay Hollister and John Tuohy for their gift of music at the reception, our Horticulture program for the beautiful plants.  Jamie Hammond and Yolanda Crowder are to be commended for their efforts in putting together another wonderful talent show and all of you who volunteered to share your talents with us, mil gracias.  I also offer a reminder that an update on our WIGS (Wildly Important Goals) for academic year 2016-2017 will appear in this week’s Weekly Bulletin.  Please read it carefully and send your comments to the Provost or to the Dean in your respective area.

      The rest of this afternoon will focus on celebrating community and our achievements, an update on our Capital Campaign efforts, thanking colleagues who have retired for their service, applauding other colleagues’ artistic sensibilities, recognizing outstanding and meritorious service and celebrating milestones of commitment to State service.

     I conclude these brief remarks by quoting my beloved Pablo Neruda in the by now familiar words from his Nobel laureate speech:

All paths lead to the same goal; to convey to others what

we are…but in this dance or in this song, there are fulfilled

the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of

being human and of believing in a common destiny.                 

Mil gracias y bendiciones.   Feliz Navidad, Próspero Año Nuevo. Peace, joy and generosity to you and yours during the holiday season and in the New Year.

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