Notes from the President

Chris Gray, Ph.D. | Founding President, Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania

As we head into our last day of classes before Thanksgiving recess, I find it helpful to pause and reflect on the semester so far.  More of Fall 2022 is behind us than lies ahead, and I can see in our students the need for some downtime.  They have been pushing so hard, and it shows.  This week provides the chance for them to rest, regroup, and ready themselves for the last weeks of the semester, culminating in final exams.  There’s still a lot to do in the short time that remains!

This semester has seen enrollment growth and the beginning of several new programs here at EC3.  We have a new campus site and much excitement ahead of us as we move through the accreditation process with MCSHE this year.  It’s been a very busy time to be sure, and I’m reminded every day just how grateful I am to be on this journey with EC3.  

As things slow down a bit, it affords us a moment to look around and take stock.  I’ve never been a person who draws any real sort of motivation from inspirational quotes; I have always found motivation from within, so they feel rather unnecessary to me.  That said, I’ve seen one about having an “attitude of gratitude” popping up increasingly as we draw nearer to the Thanksgiving holiday, and it resonated with me for some reason this year.  

So much of what we have been doing for the past year and a half has only been possible through the unrelenting support of the people of Erie County.  From the tireless commitment of the Board of Trustees to the students who are signing up for classes to the community who rallies behind our institution tirelessly, we are so very fortunate.  We live in a time in which the value of higher education is contested; I’ve not seen that here.  We live in a time in which communities are often divided against themselves; I’ve not seen that here.  We live in a time in which workers are hard to recruit and harder to retain; I’ve not seen that here.  In fact, I’ve seen our various stakeholders band together to support our work here at EC3 time and time again.  

Leading EC3 is a fantastic privilege for me, and I can’t express the gratitude that I hold in my heart heading into this long weekend.  Like many of you, I’ll be celebrating with my family, and I’m looking forward to time with my boys.  I’m hoping that our EC3 faculty and staff enjoy their time away and that our students return to us after the holiday recharged and ready to finish strong.  As holidays always prompt both reflection and anticipation for me, I’m already starting to feel the excitement that comes as one semester winds down while glimmers of another appear on the horizon as well.  It happens to me this way every year!

As the holiday season officially launches this weekend, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for all our endeavors and all our successes once again. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!