Did you hear the news?! Pasadena City College’s President just announced that PCC received a $30 million donation! This is the largest single philanthropic gift in our nearly 100-year history. The donation was made by Mackenzie Scott who was formerly married to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The gift was a complete surprise and we are thrilled to be chosen. Ms. Scott’s representative said one reason PCC was chosen was because of its success in moving students upward on the path of economic mobility. As an added bonus, the gift is unrestricted.
CAR-mencement was awesome. We celebrated graduation of the classes of 2020 and 2021 on June 12. Students and their families drove through the campus, past decorations and bands playing live music, cheering faculty and staff, and finally past the iconic mirror pools in the front of campus. Here, President Endrijonas and a Trustee handed students their diplomas. It was a warm and joyous occasion as wide-eyed little brothers and sisters, proud parents and grinning grandparents rode along with their graduate along the celebration route.
Along with my duties as a Trustee for Pasadena City College, I have been heavily involved in the statewide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion taskforce for the Community College League of California. It has been rewarding because I believe our work will make a real difference in outcomes for all our students. In addition to the DEI taskforce, I am involved with the California Community Colleges Women's Caucus. The Caucus has an online meeting on Tuesday, June 22 at noon and you are invited to attend. We are hearing from Lilly Ledbetter, a history-making American who fought for equal pay for women. Lilly’s fight for equal pay for women is a fascinating story, beginning in her hometown of Possum Trot, Alabama and ending with the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. I am honored to be interviewing Lilly at the meeting. Tickets are $25 or $35 and include one year of membership in the Caucus. Purchase tickets here: https://www.cccwomenscaucus.org/upcoming-events.html. Lilly is a wonderful storyteller and has an amazing story to tell. Click here for a quick six-minute video with some of her story.
Very interesting results are in about legislation that required nearly all community college students to by-pass remedial English and math courses and go straight into college-level courses. Data showed that many students got stuck in these remedial classes and never made it out to college-level courses and on to transfer to a four-year college. This by-pass idea was implemented in Fall 2019. Even with only one normal semester and the other two semesters under Covid, the results are astounding. For Pasadena City College, not only the actual numbers but the percentages soared. For example, from fall of 2016 to the fall of 2020 the percentage of students passing a college-level English class grew from 58% to 72% and in math, the percentage went from 35% to 61%! At PCC we believe we had such great success because we added an extra half a unit to these courses so we could embed a tutoring component. The phrase I hear is, “high expectations with high support” and it seems to be working. Our students are successful in college-level courses without taking remedial courses first. They are rising to high expectations and moving on to fulfill their goals.
Pasadena City College is doing wonderful work for our community and I am so glad to be a part of it.
Wishing you all the best,