Our trustees beam over grads’ bright futures

May 29, 2019

Brian McCafferty noticed the graduates’ smiles.

Jennifer Pullar? A female graduate crossing the stage in rainbow stilettoes, and a male graduate, in brightly colored yellow tennis shoes.

Nancy Staible? A longtime friend receiving her long-awaited associate degree.

And Kim Geyer? The blessings BC3 brings to its communities.

BC3 graduates were all smiles after crossing the stage in the Field House during commencement.

I could not agree more with BC3 Trustees Brian, Jennifer, Nancy and Kim, and the 11 other board members inspired by BC3’s largest graduating class of the century at 599, and its 2019 commencement exercises May 15.

Our board of trustees – which also includes Joe Kubit, Glenn Miller, Scott McDowell, Ken DeFurio, Dr. William DiCuccio, Gordon Marburger, Bruce Mazzoni, Gail Paserba, Dr. Bruce Russell, Carmine Scotece and Joe Taylor – provide direction and guidance to BC3’s president and its administration.

And they love the direction that BC3 – whose past three graduating classes have been largest since 2000 – and its graduates are headed.

Brian watched as every graduate headed toward the ramp leading to the stage inside BC3’s Field House during commencement.

“Some smiling, some nervous, some confident, some almost stoic,” he said.

When his or her name was announced to the overflow crowd, “Every student was beaming,” Brian said. “That is why we all do what we do all through the year. All of us working together.”

After Michelle Whalen’s name was announced, I handed a diploma to the grandmother Nancy has known for at least 25 years.

“I was able to catch her eye,” Nancy said, “and give her a thumbs-up.”

Graduates look to their futures following BC3 Commencement exercises on May 15th.

Joe Kubit said it is “truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of such an amazing group of people who are doing amazing things. Most importantly, shaping lives.”

Outside the Field House, blue and white stringed lights hugged oak tree after oak tree, illuminating the paths crisscrossing campus and the futures into which our graduates now walk — with or without rainbow stilettoes or brightly colored yellow tennis shoes.

“We are blessed,” Kim said, “to play a part in the journey of so many students’ lives.”

Always and forever #PioneerProud.


A Dancing Debut

May 14, 2019

As president of our No. 1 Community College (in three consecutive Schools.com rankings, I might add) I love our role as the “community’s college.” BC3 supports various community organizations and service projects, and our employees volunteer countless hours.

On Saturday, I was honored to participate in Butler County’s version of “Dancing With The Stars,” a fundraiser called “Dance with Butler County Celebrities” that benefited the Butler Symphony and its outreach program.

This was a first for me. No, not the giving of my time for such a great cause — but dancing! My professional dance partner, Cathy Kelly of Mariposa Dance Studio in Seven Fields, was incredible. Her patience was incredible. Her expertise was equally impressive.

Never, I mean, NEVER, did I imagine I would use this blog to share my dancing exploits. What’s the old adage — Never say never?

Enjoy!

Pioneer Proud!

Remembering Sarah Kasunić

March 27, 2019

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Nick Neupauer and Sarah Kasunić

It is rare that in a life of only 23 years, a person can touch so many individuals and leave a legacy among family, friends, and colleagues.  Members of Sarah Kasunić’s family at BC3 are in shock and mourning at her untimely passing.  She was an outstanding student at the College – a Presidential Scholar, President and Vice President of the Rho Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a 2016 graduate of the Nursing Program.  At the time of her passing, she was living her dream as a traveling nurse in Knoxville, Tennessee and pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

When she was President of Phi Theta Kappa, Sarah traveled to the 2016 NerdNation Conference in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the accomplishments of the chapter which she took to the next level moving it from a two-star to a four-star chapter in just one year. I had the pleasure of attending this conference with the students and could tell right away that Sarah was the catalyst behind this energy and change.

In November, she reached out to her former advisor to see if Phi Theta Kappa was going to the national conference this year and just last month made a donation to pay half of the registration fees for the four students attending.  Because she had such a wonderful experience, she wanted to “pay it forward” and do the same for others.  The Middle States Region will recognize Sarah with a moment of silence at the regional meeting and honor her as they attend the PTK Catalyst Conference next week in Orlando, FL because of her generosity.

So many hearts are heavy, from Sarah’s former faculty, the administration, to current and former students; we are overwhelmed by this incredible loss. We can’t imagine what her family is going through and extend our deepest condolences. However, we are grateful that she graced the BC3 campus with her warmth and friendship – a shining star that burned so brightly.  She will always be remembered.


The Rewards of Volunteerism

March 18, 2019

Higher education in the 21st century is about the impact a college or university has in its own backyard. At BC3, we understand the value and effect of community service.

I’m proud to say that since January 2018, 53 BC3 employees have volunteered 328 hours at Light of Life Community Outreach. In October, nearly 20 BC3 employees volunteered during the United Way of Butler County’s Day of Caring.

The college also benefits from community members who serve on its boards, committees and advisory councils. Their wisdom, time and energy have undoubtedly contributed to our success.

As the community’s college, we continue to promote a “culture of thanks” to recognize those who give back. We also want to support our community partners in their efforts to do the same.

For that reason, please consider nominating someone for this year’s Distinguished Service Awards, which honor junior and senior recipients for outstanding volunteerism in Butler County.

I am also proud to say that 15 recipients have either worked for BC3, offering their time and expertise elsewhere, or are Butler County residents who have volunteered their wisdom, time and energy directly to our college.

Read about them here.

Volunteering is not only about doing the right thing. It can change the world in your own backyard.

See the attached flyer to learn how you can nominate a volunteer who has made a difference.


Distinguished Service Award Flyer
https://bc3blog.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/distinguished_service_award.pdf

BC3 News Release https://www.bc3.edu/news/pdf/BC3-volunteers.pdf


Three consecutive #1 rankings for BC3!

March 14, 2019

Well, it happened again!

BC3-0010-editedOur wonderful college achieved something neither the Steelers nor the Penguins could do.

Butler County Community College has claimed a third consecutive No. 1 ranking as the commonwealth’s top community college, according to Schools.com.

We were complemented by Schools.com officials last week. As someone recently told me, the accomplishment represents a BC3-peat.” I love the phrase!

Congratulations extend to our students, faculty, staff, board of trustees, BC3 Education Foundation and Alumni Association. Cliché, I know, but this third recognition in a row represents a total team effort.

Enjoy our official news release. And please, join me in celebrating this terrific honor.

Always and forever #PioneerProud.

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Remembering Ray Steffler

February 18, 2019

It is with a heavy heart that I state the following:

Longtime Butler County Community College Board Chair Ray D. Steffler passed away Feb. 16, 2019.

Ray’s life was dedicated to his dear alma mater, BC3. He served on the board of trustees since 1985, the final 20 as its chair. The only thing he loved more than the college was his family.

Ray witnessed a near-closing of the college in the early 1990s to our recent success as Pennsylvania’s two-time No. 1 community college. His wisdom, confidence and support never wavered, in good times or in bad.

His quotes were legendary – words to live by. They included:

“This ain’t my first rodeo.”

“Take the high road.”

“Pioneer Proud.”

I was proud when Ray led a board of trustees that unanimously appointed me as the eighth president of BC3 in 2007. I beamed with pride when we announced the Ray D. Steffler Board Room in the Science & Technology Building in 2013, and was even more proud when our Alumni Association named Ray, along with Lucille Shapiro, who passed away in October 2018, as Distinguished Alumni in 2017.

The legacy of Ray will outlast us all – as well it should.

No one dedicated his or her life to BC3 like Ray did.

Rest in peace, Mr. Chairman.

Job well done.

Read more about Ray’s legacy here: http://www.butlereagle.com/article/20190217/NEWS12/702179999


Watch now: The Changing Role of Community Colleges

January 14, 2019

Yesterday, PCN broadcast its “Inside Boroughs” TV show.  I was honored to join Victor Rodgers of Harrisburg Area Community College to discuss the strength our commonwealth’s 14 community colleges. Of course, I used the opportunity to highlight various initiatives from our no. 1 ranked institution.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Video courtesy of PCN-TV, originally posted here: https://vimeo.com/303566151