Giving Thanks!

November 25, 2019
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 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!

2019 Oak Hills Dinner: Spirits High, Optimism Abounds

October 14, 2019

The sun is shining on this beautiful fall day. Spirits are high and optimism abounds. That’s what happens after a Steelers victory here in western Pennsylvania.

This weekend was a winner for another reason – BC3’s annual Oak Hills Dinner.

Linda Franiewski - John Reddick
John Reddick, left, an architect at Stantec in downtown Butler, and Linda Franiewski, executive director of the Ellen O’Brien Gaiser Center in Butler Township, are shown Oct. 12 before BC3’s Oak Hills Dinner. Franiewski and Reddick were honored at the dinner as BC3’s 2019 distinguished alumni.

Founders Hall was filled to capacity Saturday night with scholarship donors, scholarship recipients, distinguished alumni, families, friends and community members.

The college honored Linda Franiewski and John Reddick with 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards. These dedicated and talented professionals – Linda in social services and John in architecture – spoke about the significant role BC3 played in their personal and professional successes.

Their speeches were awe-inspiring.

Speaking of successes, student Greggory Miller, a President’s Scholarship recipient and the son of BC3 alumna Angela Miller, dazzled the crowd with an incredible speech that emphasized our quality education delivered by expert faculty.

Perhaps best of all, Greggory said, is that he will graduate from BC3 debt-free in May.

Yes, spirits are high and optimism abounds at the No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania in three consecutive rankings!

Welcome to the start of another exciting academic year at BC3!

August 23, 2019

I just love the buzz; made even better today with a touch of fall in the air. Main Campus is hopping this morning. Our maintenance staff is polishing the beautiful main campus grounds. I can see students and parents walking toward the Field House for our Welcome Day from my office window.

Yesterday, I was proud to give my annual “State of the College” address at Convocation. Of course, these are unique times in the higher education sector. But at BC3 – the three-time consecutive No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania – we continue to excel. 

A great staff, tremendous Board of Trustees and BC3 Education Foundation Board, and phenomenal community support are key contributors to our successes. But the biggest reason our “student-centered” institution thrives is because of what goes on in our classrooms. 

Students are taught by true experts in their fields – not graduate assistants or researchers. Faculty dedicate their lives to our most important asset – BC3’s students.

At Convocation, Dr. Belinda Richardson, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and I were able to recognize recently promoted faculty. They are:

Deborah Kruger (Assistant Professor)

Lindsay B. Lanigan (Assistant Professor)

Travis Timmons (Assistant Professor)

Stephen M. Mayfield (Associate Professor)

Jennifer Sarabok (Associate Professor)

To all, have a terrific 2019-20 academic year. #PioneerProud!!!!

2019 Tenured Faculty

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 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?


Pioneer Proud!

Remembering Sarah Kasunić

March 27, 2019


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

BC3 News Release