With Jessica Treece
For the College, May is a month to showcase and celebrate our students’ success. Students, faculty, staff, administrators and the Governing Board have worked hard in 2017-2018, and the result of their efforts during the academic year deserves recognition.
I have had the privilege of participating in several ceremonies. At Multicultural Convocation, our annual celebration of diversity, equity and inclusion, I shared my story of coming to America from my birthplace in South Korea. I stressed the things we have in common, so that we can build bridges and bring back our humanity.
That same night, I joined more than 1,000 Tucsonans for the Fashionarte 2018 fashion event that showcased the amazing work of the students in our Fashion Design program. The event, held at the Fox Theatre Tucson with the support of several community sponsors, is an example of how public-private partnerships can benefit the College and the community.
I also had the opportunity to attend a ceremony honoring more than 75 graduates of our Nursing program. These women and men have completed a rigorous program that is deservedly recognized for the quality of their graduates.
On Friday, I broke bread with about 25 of the 295 student-veterans who will graduate from PCC this year. Those who attended heard the powerful story of Jessica Treece, who has fought back from severe injuries suffered in a mortar attack when serving in the Army in Iraq. Jessica will graduate from PCC with a certificate in Emergency Medical Technology and an Associate degree in Fire Science.
I congratulate all our graduates and thank the PCC teams that made each event memorable, and look forward to our Graduation May 17 and our High School Equivalency Graduation May 31.
L-R: Bruce Hamilton of ESGR, Chancellor Lee D. Lambert, PCC’s Dr. Daniel Kester
At the May 13 Governing Board meeting, I was recognized by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for service to the College’s student-veterans. It is a great honor, and I thank ESGR’s Bruce Hamilton, but the reality is that I was accepting the award in the name of our employees in the office of Veterans and Military Affiliated Services. Each day, they do phenomenal work under the leadership of Director Dr. Daniel Kester. I also want to thank the faculty, staff and administrators who went above and beyond in our successful effort to regain the fullest confidence of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
For 2014-15, PCC has a total enrolled veteran population of more than 2,700 students, including 1,190 using Veteran Educational Benefits. Our staff in Veterans Services and on our campuses assists Veterans Benefit Recipients keep up to date with Veterans Administration requirements. We work closely with student-veterans groups, and last year expanded our Veterans Center. I also should note that our Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Education Center offers quality instruction and services, and that the College currently is training active-duty Air Force personnel to become paramedics.
As veterans ourselves, Dr. Kester and I, along with the rest of the College, understand the importance of helping those who served make the transition to productive lives as civilians. It is my hope that we transform our veterans’ office into a Center of Excellence at the College. Veterans and active-duty military keep us free and secure, and we owe them our very best.
I am extremely pleased to report the College has received notice reinstating our ability to certify enrollment of new-to-PCC Veterans Benefits Recipients.
Over the past several weeks, the College has been reviewing approximately 3,100 files of student-veterans who attend PCC. The review was mandated after U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs auditors earlier this year found that, in a significant number of cases, PCC failed to accurately and promptly report to the VA information about changes in enrollment, applicability of credits to a student’s program of study, and out-of-state tuition and fees for Veterans Benefit Recipients.
After the state re-examined our updated files, the College passed with flying colors.
With receipt today of a formal confirmation letter from the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, PCC will be able to certify new students for the Summer and Fall semesters. As the department’s April R. Monthie put it, we are now “fully in compliance.”
This significant achievement could not have been possible without a focused, all-hands effort involving staff and administrators from our campuses and District Office. (In her letter, April called our staff “remarkable.”) The men and women named below put in long hours during the week and on weekends to get the job done. I am honored to call them my colleagues and the College owes them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
- Anne Marie Aguilar, Student Services Specialist, District
- Amanda Aldecoa, Student Services Specialist, District
- Ana Maria Angulo, Advanced Student Services Specialist, West
- Annette Armenta, Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Susana Armenta, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Terra Benson, Executive Director Financial Aid, District
- Paul Brown, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Community
- Dee Burns, Student Services Specialist, Community
- Cheryl Carpenter, Fiscal Analyst, District
- Aurie Clifford, Fiscal Advanced Analyst, District
- Dorcas Daly, Advanced Student Services Specialist, West
- David Donderewicz, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Adelita Duarte, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Downtown
- Debra Felix, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Maria Foster, Student Services Specialist, District
- Cynthia Gomez, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Marilyn Harper, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Northwest
- Tanya Hawks, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Nelva Nicole Hayes, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Keri Hill, Program Assistant, District
- Vanessa Holmes, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Northwest
- Katherine Jackson, Student Services Technician, District
- Viviana Laguna, Support Coordinator, Community
- Jennifer Madrid, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Desiree Maultsby, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Francisco Mendoza, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Brian Miller, Advanced Program Manager, Northwest
- Gary Parker, Student Services Coordinator, District
- Patrice Peterson, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Northwest
- Daniel Rodriguez, Student Services Specialist, District
- Dorothy Roque, Student Services Technician, District
- Guadalupe Serrano-Villela, Advanced Student Services Specialist, West
- Natalie Shue, Advanced Student Services Specialist, West
- Diana Silva-Nidez, Advanced Student Services Specialist, West
- Lori Tidaback, Support Coordinator, Northwest
- Michael Tulino, Vice President of Student Development, Northwest
- Denise Turner, Advanced Student Services Specialist, East
- Anna Vasquez, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Downtown
- Luis Vega, Advanced Student Services Specialist, District
- Frances Vidal, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
- Rosa Whaley, Advanced Student Services Specialist, Desert Vista
Campus presidents, as well as campus and District Office administrators, also should be recognized for encouraging staff to participate, and for covering the campuses during business hours while members of their teams worked on this important project.
The College owes its student-veterans the best possible programs and services as they transition back to civilian life. Thanks to our dedicated employees, we have taken a big step toward achieving that worthy goal.