BC3 busy and bustling   

May 17, 2022

Our college is buzzing.   

Contractors are building new facilities on our main campus and in Ford City

Visitors are envisioning their futures by attending our spring open houses. 

Alumni have read poetry at public events on campus. Our student-athletes returned to action by winning more championships.  

We celebrated academic achievements at Student Awards Day, and showcased facilities and possibilities to dozens of vocational-technical school students exploring our career programs. 

We’ve lauded our graduates of the third Western Pennsylvania Community College Leadership Institute, hosted staff members of federal legislators from Washington and visited state lawmakers in Harrisburg. 

Spring marks the end of an academic year.  

This spring feels more like a new beginning. 

Our college is buzzing.  

And I’m so Pioneer Proud. 

2021: Our journey, my applause

January 19, 2022

Welcome to 2022 at BC3!

Our journey in this new year will be filled with accomplishments, with successes, and with highlights. As we begin the start of the spring semester, please join me in looking back at our journey in 2021.

We broke ground and moved mountains. We walked “thru” and passed milestones.

And we did it again! A sixth No. 1 ranking among Pennsylvania’s community colleges. A sixth military-friendly designation.

Each an accomplishment in a year that had many challenges. Each success the result of your going above and beyond. Each highlight deserving of pomp and circumstance, and applause.

Join me in celebrating you in BC3’s 2021 Year in Review.

Celebrate and appreciate

November 18, 2021

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

A time for fellowship and food. A time for relaxation and reflection. A time for recognizing the people, places and things for which we are grateful.

I’ve offered my gratitude in this blog near this holiday for our faculty, our staff and our students. For our Pioneer Pantry, our building projects and our expansions. For our initiatives and our partnerships. And more.

I am also thankful for our success as a top-ranked institution of higher education, not possible without the outstanding professionals who served as president before me.

There was Dr. James A. Lawson, Dr. Thomas Ten Hoeve, Dr. Frederick W. Woodward, Dr. William N. Price, Dr. Thaddeus Penar, Dr. Fred Bartok and Dr. Cynthia Azari.

I am grateful for them.

I am grateful for how BC3 has improved lives for those gathered around Thanksgiving tables for nearly six decades.

I am grateful for you.

And I am, as always, so very Pioneer Proud!

Another merry go-round

September 7, 2021

It was a lazy summer day circa 1982 at our beloved Ellport playground.

My brother, Mike, best pal, Billy, and I lay on our backs, spinning on a merry-go-round and gazing at the overcast sky. We spent many hours at our hometown playground, conveniently located next to Billy’s backyard.

It was on that merry-go-round where the three of us made a pledge: to be there, in the stands, when our beloved Steelers claimed a fifth world championship. Although our means of income as teenagers consisted of umpiring Little League games and picking strawberries, we were committed to our pact.

That pact took us in 1996 to Tempe, Ariz., a trip funded not by umpiring or picking strawberries but by my hawking O.J. Simpson and Walter Payton rookie cards and by my brother trying to secure the purse of a tough-man competition. Unfortunately, my brother drew a Mike Tyson-lookalike in his opening match, and worse yet, in Super Bowl XXX that Sunday, the Steelers suffered a knockout punch, losing to the dreaded Cowboys.

That pact next took us in 2006 to Detroit for Super Bowl XL. Mike, Billy and I were there, in the stands, when our beloved Steelers claimed that fifth world championship and ring, the “one for the thumb” we all coveted.

The wait was over, our childhood pledge to one another fulfilled.

I know I use football clichés and comparisons. But that’s what growing up in western Pennsylvania does to a person, especially one shaped by the rise and fall of the steel industry and the thrill of cheering for an NFL dynasty.

Butler County Community College claimed our own “one for the thumb” for 2020. BC3’s ranking as the No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania by BestColleges.com added to four previous No. 1 rankings by either BestColleges.com or Schools.com since 2015.

Now I have learned of yet another No. 1 ranking for BC3. This one from Niche.com. That’s six for our college and matches the current six world championships won by the Steelers.

Being No. 1 six times in six years – it can leave one’s mind spinning, much like being on a merry-go-round.

Like those Super Steelers of the 1970s and 2000s, our college is filled with All-Pros and Hall of Famers.

We have an exceptional faculty that delivers quality instruction much like Terry Bradshaw delivered long passes to John Stallworth and to Lynn Swann. We have a dedicated and talented staff that paves the way for our students much like Dermontti Dawson paved the way for Jerome Bettis. And we have an amazing Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors that provide integrity, wisdom and values much like that of the Steelers’ Rooney family.

Here’s to another great Steelers season and to an even better academic year at BC3 … and a Stairway to Seven for both organizations in 2022.

I’ll be watching this one from the President’s Office.

A date to reflect

June 2, 2021

We did it.

Our college successfully navigated a spring semester, a walk-thru commencement and the start of summer sessions as the clouds of COVID-19 may be lifting.

I was happy to see the calendar reach June 1, 2021, and to reflect on our recent milestones.

Yet June 1, 2021, has far greater significance than reviewing the strides BC3 has taken during the pandemic.

This date marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. The Oklahoma Historical Society writes that it believes those 18 hours constituted “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.”

Some estimate the number of people killed to be as many as 300, and the number of homes and businesses destroyed to be at least 1,000.

A century later, this is cause for reflection.

It is through education, through “teachable moments” — a line sometimes used in our industry – that the clouds of racism may one day lift.

Our college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, launched in August, 2020, and college as a whole will continue to look for those “teachable moments.”

As we do, my thoughts, and my heart, remain with the descendants of those who lost their lives June 1, 1921. You will never be forgotten.

To learn more about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, please visit the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum website: https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/1921-tulsa-race-massacre/