Inaugural Class Makes History at New Community College Convocation
The New Community College recently celebrated the opening of the first new community college at CUNY in 40 years — a school built on the premise of improving graduation rates and committing to student success.
Speakers at the convocation, which was held at the New York Public Library, told the class of 330 students that they were making history and encouraged them on their journey into higher education.
“The New Community College today opens its doors and aspires to create new opportunities and to strive for excellence. That will be our mission,” said New Community College President Scott Evenbeck.
Anthony Marx, the president and CEO of The New York Public Library, invited the NCC class to use the library and promised there would be librarians and space dedicated to them.
“We welcome you to the greatest library in the world,” he said to the students.
Marx, who is the former president of Amherst College, said that it was amazing to see NCC go from concept to reality, and he praised those who played an integral role in making that happen. He described the venture as an investment not just in the students, but also in New York City and the country as a whole.
“We will succeed as a country only if the doors of education are open,” he said, stressing that community colleges are a key link between secondary and higher education for many students in the U.S.
CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said that community colleges are the least understood and least appreciated in higher education, despite the incredible impact they have on the educational landscape. He cited two statistics that he said surprised him: 48 percent of college students are studying at community colleges, and 20 percent of doctoral degrees are granted to students who started their educational careers at community colleges.
Goldstein said that Mayor Bloomberg allowed CUNY to take the lead in reimagining what a community college education could be and what results could be achieved. NCC will be “an experiment that will change the conversation nationally about how we educate community college students,” he said.
Goldstein then introduced Mayor Michael Bloomberg and awarded him the Chancellor’s Medal in recognition of his leadership on educational reform and specifically the help and support he lent in making the dream of The New Community College come to fruition.
“I think this school has the potential to be a game-changing model for community colleges across the country,” Bloomberg said about his commitment to NCC’s mission.
Addressing the students in attendance, Bloomberg told them that it takes courage to be a pioneer, and as the inaugural class that is what they are.
Philip Alfonso Berry, the vice chairperson of the CUNY Board of Trustees and a graduate of Borough of Manhattan Community College, said that this inaugural class should think of their community college experience as a springboard to all the things they will achieve. He said his community college experience changed his life completely and opened up his world, as it will for the first NCC class.
“Suddenly the possibilities seemed much greater, the opportunities more interesting — and I learned very practical skills. That’s what community college is all about,” he said. #