Dear Ms. Smith: How your alma mater has grown!

June 8, 2020

This blog post is in response to a handwritten letter the College recently received from an alumni.

Letter from Jean H. Smith, BC3 Alumnus from Kittanning, dated May 18, 2020.

Dear Ms. Smith, 

Thank you so much for the kind letter you wrote May 18, 2020. I always enjoy hearing from our 24,500 alumni. I am also pleased that you believe your educational experience at BC3 from the 1970s has served you well over the years. 

Our college has changed quite a bit since you took classes here. Our 330-acre main campus in Butler Township is still as beautiful, especially this time of year, but has far more buildings than the original four dating to our opening in 1966. A one-mile Shaffer Walking Trail now encompasses nearly all of our buildings, and will also pass by a proposed state-of-the-art Victor K. Phillips Nursing and Allied Health building planned for the south end of our main campus – not far from those original four buildings. 

You asked about our library. That, too, has changed. We opened the Heaton Family Learning Commons in 2016. Our ultramodern academic and community library was even featured in a November 2017 issue of Library Journal, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to libraries. Martin Miller, our dean of library sciences, leads an incredible staff in the Heaton.

Yes, we have expanded quite a bit since your time at BC3. We deliver our quality, affordable and accessible education throughout northwestern Pennsylvania. Our additional locations are in Brockway in Jefferson County; Cranberry Township in Butler County; Ford City in Armstrong County; Hermitage in Mercer County; and New Castle in Lawrence County.

The Heaton Family Learning Commons even links those additional locations to our main campus through technology. We also have a thriving distance education program! 

Would you believe we serve 25,000 students annually? Not only have we received accolades for excellence in our 56 associate degree credit programs, we serve up to 20,000 individuals in noncredit continuing education, workforce development, public safety and other important trainings. 

Margo Pitts and her love of the arts and of students like you are still discussed decades after her retirement. Professor Pitts is symbolic of our excellent faculty and staff over the years. It’s one of the many reasons I just love BC3 — a place I have called home since 1999 and have served as president since 2007. 

There’s little question higher education will change as a result of COVID-19. But I am confident BC3 will continue to thrive. Our “all in” for nursing with the Shaffer School of Nursing and Allied Health and the Victor K. Phillips Nursing and Allied Health building could not come at a more important time. 

I am so pleased you reached out to the college with your touching letter. You are always welcome for a visit. 

Pioneer Proud!

President Neupauer


BC3 flourishes in a changing world

May 1, 2020

It’s been seven weeks since our college responded to the COVID-19 situation. We did so keeping the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our BC3 locations at the forefront of our decisions.  

Since March 11, not only has the college changed, but so has the world around us. Work-from-home, remote instruction, social distancing and mitigation strategies have become regular parts of our vocabulary. An eagerness to return to normal – a new normal – is on everyone’s mind.  

Each day, I connect with statewide leaders. Safety, of course, is paramount in these discussions. But strategies to lead institutions of higher education forward are also shared, critiqued and evaluated.  

BC3 has moved to remote instruction for the summer. Our work-from-home model is still intact for the immediate future. We are exploring options for a creative 2020 Commencement. Faculty and administration are sharing ideas on how to shape the fall of 2020 for our students.  

While there are still many unknowns for the future, one constant each and every day is the fact BC3 still shines – regardless of COVID-19 constraints.   

Our Shaffer Walking Trail has never been more popular.  

Our college’s Pioneer Pantry addresses food insecurity as referenced in our strategic plan.  

Our Presidential Scholars excelled Tuesday in a virtual poster presentation.  

Our prospective students can learn more about BC3 during an upcoming Virtual Open House.

Our current students are still the beneficiaries of quality instruction from outstanding faculty.  

Our commitment to supporting our community was exemplified through a recent donation of PPE to local healthcare providers.

And our local and statewide outreach is vast with various college representatives continuing their services on boards, through volunteer efforts and in quality of life and economic development initiatives.  

I will be sure to share plans for the future of our college. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you and your family are safe and secure. I truly hope to see you soon at one of our BC3 locations!  


BC3’s approach shines during crisis

April 2, 2020

I’ve taught public relations for many years and at many different colleges and universities – including Butler County Community College.

Crisis management is so significant to public relations that I dedicate two weeks to teaching about how to confront adversity.

Honesty, transparency and being proactive are essential to dealing with a crisis. When faced with adversity in years past, BP Oil, Domino’s Pizza and Exxon failed. Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi thrived.

An organization’s true moral compass will become clear when faced with such adversity, I tell students. This is particularly true during the period of “escalating events” in a crisis lifespan.

I am proud to say our college has shined over the past three weeks. We have shared information in a timely manner with our internal and external stakeholders, including the media, whether the news be good or bad.

The late, great former Steelers head coach Chuck Noll often cited a “whatever-it-takes” attitude that lifted his team to four Super Bowls in six years beginning in 1975.

As president of a community college ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania five times beginning in 2015, I can easily borrow the term from the Emperor Chas and apply it to BC3.

Our shift to remote instruction and a work-at-home model was a heavy lift, but went off flawlessly thanks to dedicated faculty, staff, trustees and students. No griping. No complaining. Just getting the job done with that “whatever-it-takes” attitude for the betterment of our most important asset – BC3’s students.

These are unique times. BC3 has been up to the challenge. I am confident that will continue, regardless of how long our country is confronted with the COVID-19 crisis. 

Pioneer Proud! 


A Message from the President

March 20, 2020

BC3 Seal - logo
Good evening.

Butler County Community College is releasing the below statement tonight.

As you know, the current COVID-19 situation is changing daily — sometimes hourly. The safety and well-being of our college community is constantly in the forefront.

I cannot stress enough how proud I am of each of you. Like true Pioneers, we are navigating this crisis and keeping our students at the center of our decisions.

Best wishes to each of you and your families.

President Neupauer

BC3 to close access tonight, begins remote instruction Monday

March 19, 2020

(Butler, PA) Access to all buildings and facilities on Butler County Community College’s main campus and at its additional locations is immediately closed to students, faculty, nonessential staff and the public until further notice in compliance with a statewide directive by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf on Thursday ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to temporarily close their physical locations by 8 this evening as a precautionary measure with regard to COVID-19.

All BC3 employees will conduct college business remotely until further notice. Employees who are deemed essential will be granted administrative approval to access to BC3’s main campus and additional locations.

BC3 will move to remote instruction Monday, March 23, a format that will continue through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

All face-to-face noncredit workforce development, public safety, lifelong learning and adult literacy courses and trainings will move to remote instruction or have been canceled.

BC3’s closure of its main campus and additional locations does not impact remote instruction.  

BC3 had previously canceled all college and public events scheduled to be held on its main campus and at its additional locations until further notice.

The college’s precautionary measures in advance of Wolf’s order were intended to protect the safety, health and well-being of BC3 students, faculty, staff and the community with regard to COVID-19.

Updates will be posted on BC3’s website at https://bc3.edu/services/coronavirus-2019.html.


A Message from the President

March 16, 2020

Good morning, 

I hope you and your families are doing well. 

By now, you know I have taken the following precautionary measures that are intended to protect the safety, health and well-being of our BC3 family with regard to COVID-19:

I have suspended all face-to-face format courses this week, and approved transitioning those courses to remote instruction starting March 23 through the end of the spring semester. I have also decided to cancel all college and public events scheduled to be held on our main campus and at our additional locations until further notice.

I want to reiterate that there are no reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our main campus or at any of our additional locations at this time.

Our emergency response team has been meeting since late January to stay atop of circumstances related to the dynamic COVID-19 situation. Our team has been incredibly active over the past several days.

Among our proactive and strategic goals are to share important, timely messages to you first – this has been a top priority for me since becoming President in 2007 – and then to our external stakeholders.

I hope you have noted the specific Cabinet member sharing these important, timely messages. Each message corresponds to the Cabinet member’s area of responsibility and allows for a level of clarity at our emergency response team table while events rapidly change.

Brian Opitz, Executive Director of Operations, and-or Tina Fleeger, Executive Director of Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Compliance Officer, have sent messages to staff, and-or pertaining to main campus and additional location facilities.

Dr. Case Willoughby, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management,has sent messages to BC3 students and-or to families whose children attend the Amy Wise Children’s Creative Learning Center.

Dr. Belinda Richardson, Vice President for Academic Affairs, has sent messages to faculty.

Jim Hrabosky, Vice President for Administration and Finance, has sent messages pertaining to travel.

Jessica Matonak, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, has worked with her staff in addressing the media and social media, and publishing updates on BC3’s website.

Ruth Purcell, Executive Director of the BC3 Education Foundation, Inc. and External Relations, has communicated directly with the BC3 Education Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors.

And I, as President, have maintained contact with our Board of Trustees, appropriate governmental agencies and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

As President, I am ultimately responsible for each of these areas. But relying on my incredible team in a carefully orchestrated and well-practiced emergency response puts our college in the best possible position to address this unique, and dynamic, situation. 

I realize these precautionary measures present a challenge for all of us. I am thankful for your cooperation as we work to protect our BC3 family.

Thank you for your continued support.