Ninth Week of Spring Semester
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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Ninth Week of Spring Semester
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This has been a busy week for all of us. Students are busy with finishing up their assignments before our spring break (March 13–18, 2017), and planning for some much deserved relaxation and recreation.​

I attended the College’s Charlotte’s Web matinee last weekend. What a terrific performance by our students! It also was a great opportunity for many families to enjoy a free live theatrical performance. It was a pleasure for me to see many of our students, staff and faculty sharing this delightful play experience with their children, many of whom seemed to be enthralled with the characters and eager to meet them after the play! What a wonderful gathering for our whole Saint Paul College family. Thanks to the talented cast, crew and director, and everyone who attended the play.

Here’s a short recap of my activities this week:

Hennepin County Workforce and Career Pathways Mapping - I met with the Hennepin County Workforce/Career Pathways Manager to discuss the intentional and engaged role that Saint Paul College can play in devising career pathways in Construction, IT, Business/Finance, Health, Service, Manufacturing, Transportation, and Skilled Trades.

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Pictured: Alumna Mary Jo Schifsky and President Rassoul Dastmozd

Successful Alumna - I had the pleasure of meeting with Mary Jo Schifsky, a Saint Paul College aluma of the legal secretary program, from the Class of ’69. Part of her journey has included graduating from the University of Minnesota, and she is now currently pursuing a doctorate degree from U of M. She has worked for a major fortune 500 corporation in Minnesota, is an entrepreneur, community activist, and also a highly regarded community leader who is trying to promote workforce training for citizens of our community who are 50+ years of age. That our graduates stay connected to our college and value the skills and education they receive here adds incredible value to our institution, as well as the surrounding community.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Leadership Council - I attended a two-day meeting at the system office with Minnesota State presidents from two-year colleges and four-year universities, discussing several issues related to strategic operation of each our respective institutions.

Meeting with a Community Leader - I met with a community leader who is a passionate supporter of Saint Paul College to discuss philanthropy and Minnesota’s current and future economic and workforce trends.

Weekly Legislative Web Ex - I attended the Governmental Relations Weekly Web Ex meetings where we discussed the Legislative Priorities of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Meeting with Minnesota State Chancellor and Presidents of Color - attended a meeting with my peers to discuss status update about our professional journeys as presidents of each of our respective institutions.

St. Paul Youth Services - I had the opportunity to meet with the executive director of St. Paul Youth Services. The College is pursuing partnerships with St. Paul Youth Services to promote opportunities for youth leadership at the College during summer.

District Energy Legacy Day - As a member of St. Paul District Energy Board, I attended the Annual District Energy Legacy Day.

Ramsey County Video Tour Interview - I was interviewed about education issues by two freelance journalists and producers who are developing a Ramsey County video tour, a narrated story about Ramsey County.

Major Minnesota High Technology Firm - I along with Dean of Workforce Training and Continuing Education met with the CEO and several executives of a major multifaceted medical device manufacturing company to discuss workforce, expertise, and talent shortage that this company is facing like many of our firms in Minnesota. Minnesota State, and especially Saint Paul College, is the solution to this complex problem of recruiting quality employee shortage. More reasons for the state legislators to invest in higher education, especially, Minnesota State.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Student and Faculty Advisory - I had the opportunity to meet with a Saint Paul College Phi Theta Kappa honor society student leader about their work and projects in promoting honest, engaging, civic, and deliberative dialogue about democracy at the College. I am very fortunate to be able to have such open dialogues with our students.

International Women’s Day Tea - I along with several members of our college community attended the International Women’s Tea at the International Institute of Minnesota​. The keynote speaker was a Saint Paul College alumnae who is currently pursuing a nurse practitioner degree at St. Catherine University. What a wonderful beginning and now what a remarkable accomplishment for our students and graduates.

I will end this week’s blog by quoting a portion of the sonnet The New Colossus written by Emma Lazarus, which is on an engraved plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty ( As an immigrant myself, I have always found it to be such a powerful and touching message of hope that I know still resonates with people around the entire world:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
- Emma Lazarus, 1883

At Saint Paul College, we lift our lamp of knowledge to welcome all who come through our doors. We are one community, joined together in our common mission of Education for Employment…Education for Life. Saint Paul College promotes and recognizes the principles of equity, inclusion and social justice. By appreciating and respecting the importance of equity and inclusion, we acknowledge that the collective membership and community of Saint Paul College will continue to foster a culture and atmosphere of belonging, collaboration and mutual respect, which makes us a stronger institution.

I wish you all a relaxing weekend and a splendid Spring Break for any of you enjoying time off next week!

Rassoul Dastmozd

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