I had the privilege last week of attending two events illustrating the breadth of activities the College is undertaking to expand community engagement in ways that transcend state and national borders.
Members of the Mexico Consulate General’s office in Tucson visited the College Friday to memorialize the PCC Foundation’s receipt of a $90,000 grant from the government of Mexico through their Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME). The grant supports attainment of postsecondary education by Mexican immigrants and Americans of Mexican origin at PCC.
This initiative is connected to two education efforts that are hemispheric in scope: the U.S.’100,000 Strong for the Americas Global Initiative, which seeks to increase the number of U.S. students pursuing studies in Latin America, and its Mexican counterpart Proyecta 100,000. The goal is by 2018 to have 100,000 students from Mexico studying in the U.S., and for 50,000 U.S. students to be expanding their academic horizons in Mexico.
Mexican Consul Ricardo Pineda Albarrán framed the initiative as one centered on student mobility and cross-cultural awareness. Tucson “is the community we want to work with,” he said.
My thanks go to PCC’s Dr. Ricardo Castro Salazar, who has been serving as an external advisor with IME and applied for the grant for the Foundation; PCC Foundation Assistant Vice Chancellor Cheryl House; IME’s Mr. Ernesto de Lucas, who works with 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. and has been very supported throughout the process; deputy consul Enrique Gomez; and community leader Raúl E. Aguirre, who also is an external advisor with IME.
Also on Friday, the College graduated the first class of Air Force personnel from our Paramedic program. A diverse group of 26 airmen from across the U.S. completed an intensive four-month curriculum. The next class begins in January, with as many as 10 classes planned.
At the ceremony, I thanked Major General Dorothy A. Hogg, Director, Medical Operations and Research, and Chief of the Nurse Corps, Office of the Surgeon General, for entrusting PCC to train the paramedics with skills that could mean the difference between the life and death of their comrades-in-arms. I was moved, as I suspect was the entire audience, by keynote remarks from Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona, the son of immigrants whose incredible career began by earning a GED and attending a community college in New York City, described the training program as one example of the many mutually beneficial connections between civilian organizations and the military. He told the newly minted paramedics that what they learned at PCC will let them make a positive impact on the lives of countless people. “Don’t ever doubt that one person can make a difference,” Dr. Carmona said.
Congratulations are in order for our Shane Clark, Sharon Hollingsworth and the team at PSESI for organizing a stirring ceremony.
It’s important to remember that as we pursue opportunities across borders or with varied governmental entities, we are strengthening the entire College. We build partnerships targeting specific sectors in order to spur growth that our institution needs to survive and thrive in a competitive global environment. It is not a zero-sum game, and the winners are our students and the community.