I write from Washington, D.C. I have spent the last three days with Ray Steffler, Chair of the BC3 Board of Trustees, attending the Community College National Legislative Summit. We are here with representatives from the country’s 1, 180 community colleges. Our purpose is to meet with federal elected officials and advocate for support.
Today, February 15th, we met with Pennsylvania Congressman Altmire and Senator Casey. In these meetings, we focused on our discussion on maintaining the current level of Pell Grants for our students, The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act among other issues.
Both are supporters of community college education. But overall, the news coming out of our national capitol is similar to that back home – these are unique economic times. Every last dollar will be difficult to come by.
Sadly, in between visits, I received word that the College has lost a dear friend. Today, Doris Lyon Rose passed away at age 88.
For those of you who do not know Doris, she was the matriarch of the Rose family and their five children. Her husband, Gail, a Public Relations Executive with ARMCO, was instrumental in the creation of Butler County Community College in the mid-1960’s. When a Butler County citizen protested that taxpayer money go toward local sponsorship of the proposed college, the Rose’s and other members of the Board of Trustees pledged their personal assets as collateral so the creation of the College would not be put on hold.
The Rose’s loved BC3. Doris and her children even told me that Gail’s passing in 1981 could be traced back to stress associated with an emotional and financial commitment he pledged to BC3. In other words, he may have shortened his life in support of the College.
Doris graduated from BC3 in 1983 at age 63 and earned her baccalaureate at Slippery Rock University nine years later. Not only is she a graduate of the College, she served on BC3’s Board of Trustees from 1983-1992.
During her first year as a BC3 student, she wrote a history chronicling the creation of the College entitled, “The Establishment of the Butler County Community College: A Race with Time.” I often reference the piece, which highlighted the trials and tribulations of opening the doors of Western Pennsylvania’s first community college.
When I read Doris’ work, it makes me realize the sacrifices made from the Rose’s and others. It puts current obstacles and road blocks in the proper perspective.
I couldn’t help but think of that today. Our dear friend Doris will certainly be missed.