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


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.


Springing into action

March 4, 2020

Spring break week. 

And how appropriate — the early-morning sun is beaming on this crisp day. Mike, a member of our terrific maintenance staff, is zooming around campus on a golf cart. I’m sure he’s dodging at least a few squirrels along the way.

I never traveled anywhere all that exciting during a spring break.

daffodils springing up in front of founders hall
Daffodils springing up. Founders Hall, Main Campus.

As an undergraduate student at Penn State University, I would return home to Ellwood City to spend time with family and friends. In graduate school at Clarion University, I announced many high school basketball playoff games in Tippin Gymnasium and spent time with my new girlfriend. (It was a couple of years later I married that lovely girlfriend, Tammy!) At West Virginia University, I used all three spring breaks to catch up on work or to take qualifying examinations for my doctorate.

Do you have a favorite spring break?

To our wonderful faculty and students, enjoy the rest of your week!


One for the thumb!

January 15, 2020

It’s that time of year when champions are being crowned. 

LSU won the college football national title. Soon, the Super Bowl winner will claim a Lombardi Trophy. Although I’m saddened the Super Bowl champ won’t be the Steelers, the following news certainly has me brimming with pride:

Butler County Community College is Pennsylvania’s No. 1 community college, according to BestColleges.com. Even better is the fact that this is the fifth time since 2015 that BC3 has achieved a No. 1 ranking.

Oh, where to begin. 

Great thanks to our college’s faculty and staff – you are truly second to none.

Appreciation to our boards – of trustees and of the BC3 Education Foundation Inc. Your support, guidance and wisdom have led this college to such an accolade.

And, most importantly, appreciation to our students. You are the center of everything in this student-centered institution. We exist to provide you a quality, affordable and accessible education.

To quote the rock band Queen: 

“We are the Champions!”


How we shined in 2019

January 9, 2020

Welcome to 2020 – and to the first mornings of a new decade at BC3!

Each morning such as this promises more chances to shine.

Just behind us, and below the horizon, is the afterglow of 2019, a year still glimmering with the successes of our growing BC3 family.

In 2019, we shined.

We shined as students in the classroom. As student-athletes on the courts and fields. As leaders, administrators, trustees, faculty, graduates and volunteers, on campus, at our additional locations, in boardrooms, in workplaces and in our communities.

We shined as partners with another community college, with a private college, and with businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Just ahead of us, above the horizon, are more chances to shine.

Before the afterglow of 2019 further fades into another morning of 2020, please join me in celebrating how we shined. Welcome back to 2019, and to BC3’s Year in Review.

sunrise at bc3

Giving Thanks!

November 25, 2019
autumn-leaves-bc3
Oak Trees in Autumn, BC3 Main Campus. Photo by William Foley

Hello, BC3 family!

There are so many reasons for so many of us to be thankful, and with Thanksgiving but a few days away, there’s not a better time for me to share with my BC3 family why I am grateful for you, and for what you accomplish. Here are 10 of the many reasons that come in mind in 2019:

10. The creation of our Pioneer PantryTalk about Pioneer Proud! This initiative has taken off – and the beneficiaries are our terrific students.

9. Our Workforce Development division and Public Safety and Continuing Education departments. In all, more than 20,000 people served annually. A true example of BC3 being the Community’s College.

8. “All in for Nursing.” The Victor K. Phillips Nursing and Allied Health Building. The Shaffer School of Nursing and Allied Health. A partnership with Grove City College. And I am certain there is more to come!

7. Expansion of BC3 @ Armstrong The residents of Ford City are excited. And so are we. Yet another example of our role in northwestern Pennsylvania.

6. Our downtown initiative in the City of Butler. Lunch and Learns, combating the opiate crisis, volunteerism, city beautification — and more. Incredible efforts that benefit our community.

5. President’s Cabinet. Always on my list. We are blessed to be surrounded by such intelligent, devoted professionals.

4. Our Board of Trustees and BC3 Education Foundation Board of Directors. Selfless, professional and tireless dedication that enables our college to maintain our ranking as the No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania by Schools.com in three consecutive surveys.

3. Our veterans, who are our students, our faculty or staff. We owe you so much. Thank you. You and your service are never taken for granted.

2. Our faculty Your role in our student-centered institution is crucial … and appreciated.

And the No. 1 reason I am thankful this holiday season … Our students. Many are first-generation who work while attending our college. You are our core and we are honored to offer to you our affordable, quality and accessible education.

Happy Thanksgiving!