The pinnacle of anyone’s college experience is often commencement day. Saint Paul College’s Commencement Ceremony was last evening, May 14, 2015, and it was an extraordinary evening. Over 1300 of our students are graduating, and 450 of our graduates attended the ceremony with friends, family, faculty and staff proudly witnessing this fine event. More about the ceremony later.
Our students worked very hard to complete their spring semester finals this last week. Our dedicated faculty and staff are hard at work with the end-of-semester work, plus involved in registering students for summer and fall terms. We are never bored here!
Here is an update of all the activities that I was engaged in during the week.
On Monday, I along with Dean of Corporate and Continuing Education and our Foundation Grant Writer met with the Executive Director of Minneapolis Saint Paul Workforce Innovation Network to discuss the development of Workforce System Strategies. I met with a Saint Paul College Alumni who is currently attending University of Minnesota. We’re proud of all of our students - and grateful for the opportunity to serve them so they can reach their goals.
The College also hosted a Star Tribune reporter who met with several college students. This was an informative and engaging experience for our guest, and our students were able to provide candid and straightforward narratives about their life experience and experiences at the College.
On Tuesday I attended a Brookings Institute workgroup meeting on Poverty in the Minnesota Metro area. Two of our team members and I had lunch with a long-time, passionate and dedicated community activist/leader. We discussed issues related to retaining students from communities traditionally underserved by higher education, and the initiatives that the College can undertake. I ended my day by attending the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership meeting (http://www.funderscollaborative.org/partners/anchor-partnership).
On Wednesday, we hosted over 100 Saint Paul College retirees on campus for a special luncheon. It’s wonderful to welcome so many of our dedicated and passionate retirees back to the College. I always gain insight from these sages of our institution, and I feel re-energized and committed to what we all do as a whole community to serve our students. I also had a meeting with the Executive Leadership team of the College, where we discussed budget and college work plan. My day ended by attending the Plumbers and Gas Fitters graduation off-campus. What a fantastic partnership with this skilled trades organization.
On Thursday, the VP of Academic Affairs and I interviewed two faculty candidates for a teaching position on campus. I attended an off campus meeting with Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.
As mentioned above, Thursday evening was a glorious celebration for the Saint Paul College family as we celebrated the culmination of so many of our students’ hard work and determination in earning their certificates, diplomas and associates degrees. They are well on their way in their life’s journey, some already to start their new jobs and join the workforce in their new career; many are transferring to four-year institutions. I like to think of it as delivering on the idea that when our students start at Saint Paul College, they can go anywhere.
In my commencement remarks, I shared a quote that really resonates with me about “The Value of Service” from Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore:
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
I believe that we are a college that lives this value of service every day. I see evidence of it in our hallways, classrooms, labs, offices and the grounds of Saint Paul College, and I realize how thankful I am to be here, where our faculty and staff provide valuable service to each other and to our students each day.
On Friday, I updated the College’s Work Plan and worked on the College's Goals for 2015-2016. I also attended a Charting the Future Initiative Student Success Team meeting at Normandale Community College, and attended a WebEx meeting with the Presidents of all MnSCU institutions to discuss legislative policies and updates.
I wish all of our students a relaxing weekend and for those returning for summer term, a nice brief break! Don’t forget to register for Summer and Fall Terms!
Lastly, at semester’s end, I want to give one more heartfelt “Thank you” to all members of our Saint Paul College family who give so generously, day in and day out, to making this such a great place for our students!
I wish you a safe and relaxing weekend.