Chris Gray, Ph.D.

Founding President, Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania


As I sit down to write this blog, the start of EC3’s third year is less than a week away.  The dawn of a new college semester always brings with it a sense of renewal and anticipation – for students, faculty, and staff alike. As our students get ready to step onto our campus, some for the first time, they will be met with the promise of fresh challenges and opportunities for growth. As we prepare for their arrival, the atmosphere is electric, with a palpable buzz of excitement as a new semester draws closer.

For many students, the start of a new semester is a chance to embark on a journey of intellectual exploration. Some of our students will be new high school grads, and others will be returning us after years or decades away from school.  Our faculty are at work creating syllabi that help students develop mastery in a variety of subjects in the coming months. Students will pore over their textbooks, organize their notebooks, and set up systems to help them succeed as they dive into this new world of knowledge. It all starts on Monday!

However, a new semester isn’t without its challenges. Balancing academic rigor with personal well-being can be a delicate act, particularly for new students since it requires careful time management and sacrifice. The pursuit of educational excellence will surely be accompanied by some moments of doubt and stress, but at the same time, our students will be forging a newfound resilience that will grow with each passing semester.

Before any of that can happen, however, students need to take that first step.  As I’ve said before, that’s often the hardest step.  Any new endeavor brings with it challenges and uncertainty, but academia is a different world.  And of course, no one is born knowing “how to college.”  We know the struggle our new students face, and we are doing our very best to clear the road of any hurdles that will impede our students’ progress.  In fact, this year, we are adding an Instant Enrollment Day for our students; it’s a day in which students can handle everything all at once and be ready to attend fall classes, which begin on Monday, August 21.

Instant Enrollment Day is a chance for students to meet with the staff, apply for admission, and register for classes in just one visit.  As a reminder, the EC3 application is free, and tuition is covered for Erie County residents this fall.  Since the first step is the hardest, we’ve made the rest of the process easy; we just need you to stop by, and we’ll help you with the rest.  We are holding the event at the Erie West campus from 11:00am to 1:00pm this Saturday, August 19, and interested parties can RSVP here.   

Every new college semester offers a new chance for growth and transformation. We are about to open a new chapter in which aspirations meet actions, where goals are created and refined. We hope that you’ll join us as you pursue your next dream, and we look forward to seeing you soon.  Feel free to contact our admissions team at or by calling (814) 413-7000 with any questions.