Notes from the President

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

If you’ve read here for a while, you’ve likely grown accustomed to hearing me talk about the ways in which EC3 is the community’s college. And it is. It truly is. EC3 has been built from the first with the community in mind, and it continues to grow and change based on community needs. Serving a community as diverse as Erie County requires that we evolve and change along with our constituents. Therefore, it’s crucial that we maintain an open dialogue with our community.  

To that end, EC3 has recently created several community-based events to help spread the word, connect with new students, and continue to forge valuable workforce partnerships. Over the summer, we’ve hosted several EC3 “Night at the Erie Seawolves” events. Attendees were able to spend the evening enjoying our fabulous Seawolves and learning about us as well. Hats off to their run at the championship during their winning season! We’ve also been hosting “Chicken Wings & College Things” gatherings at several Erie County locations, at which we offer free wings to attendees while also providing them with information, application assistance, and even help registering for classes. These fun get-togethers allow current and potential students to connect with EC3PA faculty and staff.  

Most recently, we’ve begun a quarterly breakfast series at EC3 Erie West to help share and celebrate our first-year successes. In the past year, we’ve more than doubled our enrollment and expanded our program offerings (with more expansion to come) in addition to moving forward on our path to accreditation. At this first gathering, forty attendees had a chance to hear from our Board of Trustees and administrators directly about what we’ve been up to. I’m very excited for this series to continue and think it offers tremendous benefit to all involved.

Additionally, in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we hosted a celebration to highlight Hispanic community members’ voices and stories. The day included fantastic food from Erie restaurants and guest speakers willing to share their experiences. It was a lovely time, and I’m excited to offer more opportunities like this in the future.

Events like these help our community see that we really are here to serve and allow them to celebrate our growth along with us. I’m committed to ensuring that we continue to find new and exciting ways to connect with our community and our students. And this is where you come in: if you have suggestions for places that you think EC3 should be or celebrations we should observe, please reach out to us. We want to make sure that we’re showing up in the places where our community needs us and wants us to be. If we’re missing something, please let us know.

As we get closer to midterms for our sixteen-week semester, we start to see students spending more time in the library and studying in local coffee shops. Perhaps these places might be future connection points? As ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I’m listening.