Presidential Address Touches on New Focus Points for the Future

by Jonathan Tate


President Miles reflects on her experiences at WCC. (Photo: Courtesy of WCC Publications Office)

The year 2017 held successes and bumps for the campus, but for President Belinda S. Miles, it’s the future that WCC should set its eyes on.

For the foreseeable future, Miles hopes to focus on three mission goals to improve the college, which are academic innovation and excellence, community partnerships and people and places. The focus is placed upon these pillars not only for the success of current members of the college but for beyond, to help make WCC stand apart from other institutions.

On Jan. 25, the Presidential Address was given in the Davis Auditorium in the Gateway Center, inviting administration, board of trustees, faculty, staff and students alike to take part in the ceremony which comerated the third year that Miles has been in office with the college.

The opening speaker of the event was Kevin Girgera, a student who majoring in Criminal Justice.

“My journey is similar to so many of our students, who like me have big dreams for our future,” said Girgera who continued to tell the audience of his life experiences since being a student at WCC.

Girgera admitted that the main motivation for picking WCC as his starting point was to remain close to home and out of debt, but quickly discovered that the community college was in a class of its own.

“It only took me about a week into my first semester to realize how amazing this school is,” said Girgera, acknowledging the friends he had made, and the professors who enlightened him.

“What a great perspective to hear from Kevin,” said Miles once on stage, who also took a moment to reminisce on her own experiences at the college and those who she has been able to interact with.

“As I begin to talk about my experience and our experiences together and our future together, there is one word that really stands out for me. And that word is wow,” said Miles. The president began to list off the reasons how and why the community has stunned her, from the work professors put in, to the energy students exhibit at the college.

“This is truly an exceptional place,” said the president.

President Miles took a moment to thank a few faculty and staff members personally while on stage, acknowledging their hard work and dedication to the school and its mission.

While the president spoke of past and current goals, they all pointed working towards the future. In the year 2021, WCC will be celebrating its 75th year in service to education, and the college will continue to expand it’s goals for the future.

The speech moved to go over the projects currently underway, such as Viking ROADS (Resources for Obtaining Associate Degrees and Success). Viking ROADS is similar to the accelerated programs adapted by other SUNY schools. According to Miles WCC was able to create this program in part to a grant given to the college.

While touching on the place portion of the new mission, president Miles made a stand that WCC is have zero tolerance for hate groups and violence. Posters depicting intolerant views towards immigrants were found on campus before the ceremony. They gave the  appearance of being approved by the college but were not and have since been removed.

“This brings to the forefront the urgency around our discussion on shared values,” said Miles. “We want to make sure that we are fostering an environment where we can value each other and promote more harmony.”

Miles closed the ceremony on a note of striving for the future beyond the 75th Anniversary of the college and that the community would have more opportunities to engage in productive change in the college, announcing the Faculty Senate meeting which will be held Feb. 14.

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