I want to begin by thanking all of our students, faculty, and staff for a wonderful spring semester. I am so grateful to our students for choosing Saint Paul College as their institution of choice.
The story of each student and how they came to Saint Paul College is always of interest to me – each is as interesting as the next. I try to take every opportunity to connect with people, so even yesterday as I was walking to a meeting in downtown St. Paul, I struck up a conversation with three young men who were heading in the same direction – they all happened to be Saint Paul College students. All were right out of high school and are seeking their Associate Degrees here. One was in the National Guard, one from Brainerd and one from Grand Marais, MN. They told me they all came to Saint Paul College because of our strong reputation, quality of instruction and diverse student body. They were very interested in my educational background and the pathways I took, and why I chose to work in higher education. It was a terrific encounter made even better by knowing they are students here at Saint Paul College. These moments, when I get to have conversations with our very bright and articulate students, continually remind me that our students are the future of Minnesota.
Here’s a short recap of a few of my activities this week:
- Meeting with Superintendent of Roseville Public Schools – the Dean of Enrollment Management and I hosted the superintendent of Roseville Public Schools and provided a tour of the College. We discussed potential partnerships to increase access to Roseville Area High School students.
- Facing Race Ambassador Award - I attended the Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Facing Race Ambassador Award hosted by The Saint Paul Foundation, which was a celebration honoring anti-racism activists in Minnesota. Six individuals working to build communities where everyone feels safe, valued and respected were honored. Their personal words of activism are very powerful and I invite you to watch the video 2016 Facing Race Ambassador Award Recipients.
- Great River Gathering - I attended the 22nd Annual Great River Gathering, presented by the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation. This year’s theme was “Design for Equity” to address the increasing economic and social disparity in our cities and how design can contribute to greater equity and opportunity for everyone.
- Neighborhood House Resource Development Meeting - Attended a resource development meeting at Neighborhood House, an intentional partner of Saint Paul College. Neighborhood House helps over 15,000 people each year with basic needs, education, multiple youth programs, and health and well-being and all of their programs are offered for free to participants.
- Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Innovation Network (MSPWin) – I attended a meeting with MSPWin Executive Leadership to discuss strategic priorities, as well as steering committee work and policy issues.
- Health and Science Alliance Center Construction - I met with the director of equity from Knutson Construction to discuss equity framework in terms of skilled trades personnel that Knutson is hiring for the construction of our new Health and Science Alliance Center.
- Minnesota State College Faculty - I met with the president of Minnesota State College Faculty union at the College to promote open and transparent communication. We discussed issues of mutual interests to better serve the needs of our students and faculty.
- Saint Paul Police Department Community Meeting - I attended the Saint Paul Police Department Community meeting to discuss child safety held on our campus on Thursday. The College is a convener of numerous community activities and initiatives that concern our neighborhood and community around us.
- Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Celebration - The College hosted Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood 5th year anniversary celebration. The College is an intentional partner of SPPN, which is a community-wide initiative. It involves a coordinated effort of ten anchor partners and more than 80 other agencies, along with elders, parents and youth.
- Meeting with Associate Vice Chancellor of the Campus Service Cooperative - I met with MnSCU Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Service Cooperative to discuss various system wide initiatives.
College Commencement Ceremony
Saint Paul College Commencement will be held on Monday, May 16, 2016. This is the most exciting time of the year for me and many of our College employees because we see so many of our students well on their way towards the completion of their goals. We are not a cookie-cutter institution and no two of our graduates are the same. Each graduate is in search of a new opportunity, whether at a new job or going on to complete a bachelor’s degree – or beyond – at another college or university. The bottom line is that our students are fantastic and will do magic. They will transform the world!
Congratulations to all graduates of 2016. See you at commencement!
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College