Rise and Shine!

From: President
Sunday, December 25, 2022

Dear College Community,

As a New Yorker for the past 30 years or so, I like many New Yorkers know to stay clear of Time Square during the holiday season because it is also gridlock season.  But during the height of the pandemic, when we were all shut in, I promised myself that when it was all over, I would experience New York in new ways.  So, when I received an invitation from JCRC (the organization I as well as Dean Alley-Young and Maria Patestas did an educational tour with to Israel) to attend the Menorah Lighting in Times Square, enjoy the opportunity to reunite with my friends, and add my light to dispelling the darkness of antisemitism, I was all in.  Despite not finding my friends in the crowd, I had a great time. The music of a variety of performers, the message of the many speakers and lighting of the Menorah moved me.

I’ve probably shared this before, but I am not one who celebrates holidays, but I do understand their value.  And as I reflect on Hanukkah and the Menorah Lighting, Christmas and the stars that often crown Christmas trees, and the candles of Kwanzaa’s Kinaras, I am reminded once again, that “what unites us is far greater than what divides us”.  We all share a light in common.  We are the light; the light of KCC and the light for our students as they find their way to accomplishing their educational goals.  

This year our light was bright as ever this year.  We were named an Aspen top 10 finalist and’s 2023 Best Community College in New York.  We developed innovative programs, received grants, had many publications, and engaged in research. We enjoyed student mentoring, beamed with pride when students completed their degrees, announced their transfer to four-year colleges and started on their career journeys.  We came out for Play 4 Pink, our Annual Gala, and KCC Spirit Day.  We recruited and advised students which resulted in us exceeding enrollment targets. We enhanced campus facilities, increase student activities, made progress on the Governance Plan review, further advanced our assessment efforts, established new partnerships, and enjoyed many more incredible accomplishments. 

And with our collective light, and the light that each of us brings, we continue to find our way out of the shadows of COVID, budget constraints, equity gaps, and instances of intolerance and disrespect that rear its head to devalue members of our college community and conflicts that threaten the college and our ability to fulfill our mission.

I think back to where we two years ago and a line from Maya Angelou’s poem comes to mind:

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

COVID and other challenges may have held us down, but we are never out.  This year, we moved FORWARD and thrived. As we enter another year, let us now RISE and SHINE as we continue to lift and be the light for our students, each other, and the college.  

I remain grateful to share in this work, this mission, and this purpose with you.  Thank you for all that you do.  

I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.  

Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! A very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

- President Schrader