Online Streaming Presentations Augment Campus Events as New York State's Community Colleges Spotlight Importance of Degree Completion

PHOTO: Dan DepewMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –The State University of New York and City University of New York community colleges will celebrate NYS Completion Day tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 3, sending a message to all prospective students that completing an associate degree ensures greater opportunities for scholarship and transfer throughout their college career and generates more job prospects following graduation.

New York State Completion Day was established in proclamation by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

“New York is home to some of the strongest, most competitive public community colleges in the nation, and we want to ensure that all students who attend our colleges have the tools they need to complete their degree,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Completion Day serves as a reminder to all New Yorkers that a top-quality higher education is within reach.”

The state’s community colleges have adopted the slogan of “Commit. Complete. Compete” to emphasize that graduating puts students in a position to compete for scholarships, internships and jobs in an uncertain economy. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that individuals with an associate degree can expect to earn $400,000 more in their lifetime than a high school graduate.

Schools have each planned multiple Completion Day events at their campuses in support of a mid-day statewide program featuring a keynote address delivered via streaming video to each of the campuses. The keynote will be given by Isa Adney, author of “Community College Success: How to Finish with Friends, Scholarships, Internships, and the Career of Your Dreams,” published in March of this year. The statewide program will also include a video highlighting New York community college graduates touting how their education helped them.

At SUNY Orange, Dan Depew (above), a 2001 graduate and current Wallkill Town supervisor, will address students and faculty at 10 a.m. on the Middletown campus. At 11 a.m. on the Newburgh campus, criminal justice professor Tim Zeszutek (below left), Class of 1991, will offer insight on the impact of his community college education.

PHOTO: Tim Zeszutek and studentBoth campuses will hold concurrent Completion Day Forums at 2:15 p.m. in which faculty and staff members who are community college graduates will conduct an open discussion on the merits of degree completion.

All Middletown events will be held in the Fireplace Lounge of the George F. Shepard Student Center, while all Newburgh events are slated for the Great Room of Kaplan Hall.

In addition, students from Phi Theta Kappa and staff from selected Student Services departments will be situated at key locations on both campuses to ask students to sign a “pledge to complete” form indicating their commitment to completing their degree or certificate program. Tables in Middletown will be located in the Bio-Tech lobby, Shepard Center Cafeteria lobby, Fireplace Lounge, Harriman Hall second floor lobby and the Library porch. Newburgh pledge locations will be the Grand Street lobby of Kaplan Hall and the Tower Building Cafeteria.

For more information on SUNY Orange Completion Day events, contact Dena Whipple, coordinator of the Center for Teaching and Learning, at (845) 341-4055.

Completion Day events at other community college campuses include:

• SUNY Adirondack will participate in the statewide video and Twittercast, as well as local activities; a Completion Mind Games competition will be held; and resource tables will be set up. The college will also have a large pledge banner for students to sign and encourage faculty and staff to wear apparel from their alma maters.
• Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm will host a president’s table on campus where students can sign a pledge board and get their photos taken in graduation regalia. Additional events will be held throughout the day, including a Skype with dual degree students in Mexico.
• Cayuga Community College will host a panel featuring recent alumni who will share the struggles they faced in completing their degrees and how their decision to complete has affected their lives.
• Clinton Community College members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, will ask students to sign a pledge to complete their academic programs.
• “We're Here to Support Your Success at C-GCC!" at Columbia-Greene Community College from noon to 1:50 p.m., will include faculty demonstrations as well as videos running graduate success stories. Faculty will also discuss the importance of completion during tomorrow’s classes.
• Faculty and staff at Corning and Monroe Community Colleges will wear clothing bearing names of their alma maters and talk to students about what motivated them to graduate.
• Dutchess Community College will stream the statewide event in the James and Betty Hall Theatre, and encourage faculty and staff to reinforce the importance of degree completion. On the campus walkway Thursday, there will be a “Road to Completion” pledge signing event.
• Erie Community College alumni who transferred to Buffalo State will talk to current students about their adjustment to a four-year college.
• Fashion Institute of Technology students will visit tables to get information on honor societies, careers, internships, academic support and other topics.
• Fulton-Montgomery Community College will offer students an opportunity to pledge their commitment to complete, encouraging faculty and staff to talk about completion during class, and live stream an alumni talk on the important role community college played in their success.
• Herkimer County Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa students are encouraging their fellow students to sign a pledge banner and wristbands will be given to those who sign.
• Hudson Valley Community College students are invited to view the statewide event in the Maureen Stapleton Theatre with SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline Johanna Duncan-Poitier. Students will also be encouraged to sign a banner pledging to complete their associate's degrees, and Center for Careers and Employment will staff a display in the Campus Center and provide career and transfer information to students.
• Jamestown Community College has a full day of events and activities planned, including asking students to sign a completion pledge and asking faculty will to dress in clothes from their alma mater.
• Jefferson Community College plans include asking students to sign a banner, a carnival with completion activities, two completion day ‘cabs’ to transport students, and exhibits with posters prompting students to ask how a college degree leads to professional and financial rewards. For example, a display of a Ford Mustang prompts students to ask: “How can I buy this?” A human service display invites students to “Ask me how I saved a life.”
• Mohawk Valley Community College students can have their photos taken in graduation regalia and get a quick review of their credits to determine how close they are to completion. The MVCC Foundation will also announce its new Completion Scholarship, an initiative to help students who left before graduating return to college and complete MVCC degrees.
• Vinny Guadagnino will be the guest speaker at Niagara County Community College at Noon, in the Fine Arts Auditorium. He will discuss the importance of completing a degree and how to “control the crazy” peer pressures that tend to arise and succeed. Guadagnino is most known for his role on the reality MTV show, The Jersey Shore.
• Rockland Community College will highlight some of the careers that students can pursue with an Associate's Degree. Activities include blood pressure screening, a bomb squad demonstration, paramedics working with a simulated patient, hospitality students making fresh salsa, and performing arts students demonstrating "stage fighting."
• Schenectady County Community College President Dr. Quintin Bullock will urge students to complete their degrees and one of SCCC’s most intriguing alumni, Dr. Stacy M. Grant, an explosives expert for the Air Force, will Skype in as part of an alumni roundtable discussion. Students will also sign a large banner in the cafeteria with a completion oath.
• Suffolk County Community College will host a Completion Day event on all three campuses. On the Ammerman campus, students will sign a wall pledge and faculty and administrators will also sign, pledging their support of students. On the Brentwood campus, bracelets will be distributed to students who sign a pledge card, and faculty will share personal stories with students. The Eastern Campus will hold a BBQ, music, and T-shirt and banner signing events.
• At Sullivan County Community College, faculty who are also alumni will talk to students about the benefits of a community college education.
• SUNY Ulster will host a resource fair where students who sign pledge to complete are eligible to win one three iPads donated by the Ulster Community College Foundation.
• Westchester Community College will host a Halloween Day Fair with informational tables staffed by faculty and administrators.


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940