New York Students Hear Completion Message, 9,120 Pledge to Complete

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Canandaigua, New York – On October 3, more than 9,120 students pledged to complete their college credentials through a statewide Community College Completion Corps (C4) event held at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York. The theme for the day was “Commit, Complete, Compete.”

Finger Lakes Community College student

Finger Lakes Community College student shows her commitment to complete.

Thanks to technology, students at 37 State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) community colleges throughout the state were also able to watch the event from their own campuses.

Author and motivational speaker Isa Adney, who was inducted as a member of Phi Theta Kappa at Seminole State College of Florida, gave the keynote address. Her book Community College Success was published in March 2012, and she has been featured in USA TODAY, U.S. News and World Report and on FOX News Latino among many other programs.

“For any community college students out there, to make the most of your experience my advice would be to connect with the people around you,“ Adney said, “As I say in my book, no matter how technological our world gets, opportunities happen through people. And there are incredible people all around you in your community college who are dying to help you succeed!”

“There was tremendous energy on campus as our faculty and staff all came together to encourage our students to commit to complete,” said Finger Lakes Community College President Dr. Barbara Risser. “More than 600 students signed the Phi Theta Kappa pledge to complete and now our Phi Theta Kappa members will follow up with those students throughout the year to keep the momentum going. Isa Adney’s message was a powerful one and clearly resonated with our students.”

FLCC President Dr. Barbara Risser, Isa Adney and Advisor Amy Flagler

FLCC President Dr. Barbara Risser, Isa Adney and Advisor Amy Flagler

The day included a variety of completion-oriented activities held at all 37 New York community colleges – including a panel discussion at Cayuga Community College; faculty, staff, and administrators at Corning and Monroe Community Colleges sharing with students what motivated them to graduate; and posters at Jefferson Community College showcasing how a college degree leads to success.

A completion video created especially for the event was shown at all of the New York campuses and featured motivational messages from prominent New York community college alumni such as astronaut Eileen Collins, New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and Neil Giraldo, guitarist for  Grammy Award-winning singer Pat Benetar among others.

New York Completion Day was sponsored by the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Phi Theta Kappa and the New York Community College Association of Presidents (NYCCAP). The event was developed by NYCCAP through the recommendation of Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley.

Dr. Risley, who was also featured in the community college alumni video, said this is the first statewide C4 event of its kind and he expects it will serve as a model for events already being planned in other states.

For example, representatives from Nebraska’s community colleges have been invited to work together on completion during the upcoming Nebraska Community College Association meeting in November, and according to Dr. Risley, similar discussions are taking place in Montana and New Jersey as well.

“We are taking C4 to a whole different level next year,” Dr. Risley said, “We will be asking faculty for their support to help students complete. We think we can get more engagement from faculty to increase learning outcomes that will lead to completion.”

“This was a wake up call to many students throughout the state of New York. With sincerity and enthusiasm the message about the importance of goal setting, having a plan of action, and degree completion was delivered,” said Amy Flagler, a Phi Theta Kappa alumnus who serves as an advisor for the Finger Lakes Community College chapter. “For some, this experience made students aware of the rich supportive community they are a part of. I think many are now more determined to succeed.”

 “We all have the same opportunities. So many people drop out to do basic jobs when they could be doing better with their lives,” said Julie Brooks, a Phi Theta Kappa member at FLCC. “You can do anything you dream of doing.”

View the community college alumni completion video produced for this event, and Isa Adney’s presentation in its entirety at the New York Completion Day website.

Read news coverage about New York’s completion day and view photo galleries in the Community College Times and MPNnow.

Learn more about how your college can participate in C4, download resources and report results at http://www.cccompletioncorps.org/