Last Thursday we held our 2017 Graduation Commencement ceremony, with 500 students attending with family, friends, faculty and staff of Saint Paul College. It always is a remarkable experience. The total number of graduates was over 1400!
While less momentous, this week is just as important as all of us are working diligently to finalize the last details of spring semester and register students for summer term. We are getting ready for a peak enrollment summer session. We are also excited because we will welcome our students for summer term on Tuesday May 30, 2017.
I also want to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to our Legislators and Governor Dayton for passing and signing a higher education that includes funding for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and University of Minnesota. We are so fortunate to have visionary elected officials who value higher education and see it as an investment in Minnesota’s economic prosperity and talent development.
Here’s a short recap of my activities this week
Neighborhood House Board Meeting – I attended a Neighborhood House board retreat and board meeting at Neighborhood House, an intentional partner of Saint Paul College. We discuss policies and strategies related to advocacy for immigrants and refugees.
Friends of Saint Paul College Development Committee - I along with the Interim Executive Director of Friends of Saint Paul College foundation met with the Chair of the Development Committee to discuss fund raising, donor engagement and cultivation strategies.
MN Philanthropy Partners Board Meeting - I attended a
Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Community Impact/Grants and Board of Directors meeting.
Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Workforce Investment Network (MSPWIN) – I met with the Executive Director of
MSPWIN to discuss legislative priorities, 2018 policy agenda, and Workforce System Change as well as occupational sectorial pathways.
Meeting with a Philanthropic Foundation - I along with several talented members of Saint Paul College met with a philanthropic foundation to discuss our programs and partnerships that advance and advocate for economic mobility, economic prosperity for members of our community and advances Minnesota’s challenges of meeting the talent gap and workforce trends.
Professional Development Opportunities for the Administrative Team - I met with the executive coach who is working with the administrative team to advance their professional development plan.
St. Paul Informal Club Meeting - Attended a meeting of the 133-year old Informal Club, which is comprised of a group of dedicated men and women who are passionate and tireless leaders working towards the common good and welfare of our community. The keynote was given by St. Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman.
Central Corridor Anchor Partnership - Attended a phone conference with the
Central Corridor Anchor Partnership executive team to discuss the future of health-related workforce occupations and the strategic planning process.
Meeting with a Community Leader and Employer - I met with a community leader and employer who is a passionate supporter of the College to discuss Minnesota’s current and future economic and workforce trends in the hospitality occupational sector, and the critical role that Saint Paul College plays in providing relevant and innovative programs to produce well-educated and well-trained workers who contribute to our economy and a prosperous Minnesota.
In the news
Harding Student, Out For Medical Treatment, Gets Surprise From Automotive Class – I’m so proud of our
Saint Paul College Auto Body Repair students work with Harding High students to restore a truck as a surprise for a Harding student battling a rare form of cancer:
What Community Colleges Do That Universities Don’t -
TIME Ideas (online commentary) – I wanted to share this opinion piece with you that I thought relevant as Saint Paul College puts a top priority on our partnerships with business and industry. In
What Community Colleges Do That Universities Don’t the authors end their commentary with this: “For our nation’s six million community college students – as well as our national economy - to reach their full potential, employers and community colleges must work together to provide the talent need to expand opportunity and expand our economy.”
Article in the Star Tribune -
Taste the Immigrants: Land of lutefisk? Hardly. Meet 26 immigrants who have woven their cooking into the fabric of Minnesota, changing the Twin Cities dining scene forever mentions retired Culinary Arts instructor, German-born Eberhard Werthmann, who his 32-year tenure trained an estimated 1,500 professional cooks!
Saint Paul College will be closed Monday, May 29, 2017 in honor of Memorial Day (Observed). We want to honor and remember all those men and women who have lost their lives while serving our nation in the military, and express our gratitude for safeguarding our liberty. For general information about Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance, go to
http://usafederalholidays.com/memorial-day/. There are several Minnesota War Memorials on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds near the College, including the
Minnesota Vietnam Memorial, the
Minnesota Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the
World War II Memorial.
Last, but not least, I want to say how fortunate I am to be able to listen to the personal stories of our students. After commencement, I had the opportunity to listen to a compelling story about one of our students who against all the odds (lack of stable housing, sporadic availability of transportation, experiencing food disparity, just to name a few life changing obstacles for many of us), successfully graduated from Saint Paul College and will be pursuing the next phase of higher education at a major research university in another state. What kept this student going was the unconditional care that our faculty and staff demonstrated in their interactions with this student.
I am grateful to our dedicated and committed faculty and staff who really listen to our students, get to know them and encourage them to achieve their goals and to continue on their individual journeys of success.
You often hear me say,
if we do not take care of our students and our community, who will? Our daily actions, fulfill a higher calling and purpose. Our students inspire us all.
I wish you a relaxing and safe Memorial Day weekend and holiday.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College