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May
14

Life Lessons Learned From a Valued Colleague

Below is an excerpt from my remarks to the 2018 PVCC graduates during commencement exercises held on Friday, May 11, 2018.

Several weeks ago, our PVCC colleague, Cranston Forte, adviser to our MEN’s program, unexpectedly passed away. It is at these times we tend to take pause and reflect on what life lessons are harvested from grief. Cranston’s life demonstrated three important lessons that I know you will finding meaningful.

I learned from him that of the many reasons why we are here on this earth – two of the most important are: 1) find a cause you believe in and do everything you can in a tireless, relentless manner to make it better, build it up, give it energy and life; —- and 2) conversely do not hide from an issue of concern that you believe is wrong, broken, unjust or unfair and do everything you can to challenge it, to fix it, to make it better.

While these two divergent pursuits, alone are not novel or transformative. The third, I believe is. The larger lesson gleaned from Cranston’s life is that one should pursue both courses of action – that of building up and that of challenging to fix the broken –  in the same exact fair-minded approach, to the extent that anyone observing from afar, would not know the difference in personal tone, careful reason of thought, levels of empathy and concern for others – finally with the same personal humility and courage.

So graduates with this “fair-minded” approach, challenge yourself to be more fully engaged to change your state of mind between the unknown and known; between hatred and empathy; between confusion and curiosity; between disarray and synthesis; between self and citizen; between apathy and action; and finally to change your state of mind to act and lead with personal congruence whether you are building something up or bringing the end to an unjust cause.

 

 

May
10

Commencement 2018

Today we celebrate the success of our students at the 28th Annual Commencement exercises. Commencement serves as a rewarding reminder that when “learning comes alive,” expectations are set high, and foundations of support are provided, students will excel beyond our wildest imaginations. Remarkably, their achievements, in many cases, come while working and juggling many other family roles and responsibilities.

While tonight’s celebration will be held with several thousand family and friends in attendance, throughout the past several weeks, it has been my pleasure to witness student success on display in more intimate settings including: our Student Awards and Recognition Ceremony, Honors Applauds, Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Fire Operations Completion Ceremony, cultural convocations, and the Mancini Science Symposium. These celebrations provide wonderful opportunities to learn about the varied personal stories that define students’ lives beyond PVCC, as well as their future aspirations.

My deepest thanks to all faculty and staff for making the 2017-2018 academic year, our 30th Anniversary year, an outstanding success. I look forward to a summer of engaging faculty and staff leadership in just plain hard work to address initiatives such as Guided Pathways, our Critical Thinking Academy, and the launch of several new academic programs in preparation for an even better year of student success in 2018-2019.

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