MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Rochester has New York's largest Latino/Latina population outside NYC, and our community, outside and inside our College, is home to inspiring leaders and accomplished professionals. Five percent of MCC's full-time employees are Hispanic, including almost 5% of our full-time teaching faculty. The College's Latino Empowerment Network (LEN) promotes greater cultural understanding of this diverse community; supports the recruitment, retention, development and advancement of Latino/Latina employees: and advocates for curriculum and programming that reflect the history, culture, and experience of Hispanic students.

Last fall, 10% of MCC students were Hispanic, a growth of 67% over the decade 2007-17. Assuring that this increased access to higher education opportunity results in success for our students is important to all of us and essential for our community. According to data from Excelencia in Education, Hispanic students in New York state graduate from college at a lower rate than their white peers, facing a 19 point equity gap. This gap has a lasting impact: in New York, 24% of Latino/Latina adults 25 and older have a college degree, compared to 43% of all adults. Building and sustaining an inclusive college culture that connects all students to academic and career pathways and provides the support in and out of the classroom for their success is ever more important.

On October 4, as part of MCC's first Diversity Conference, we will welcome the President of Excelencia in Education, Sarita Brown, to campus. Excelencia in Education is focused on accelerating Latino/Latina student success in higher education to improve the US workforce, leadership, and economy. Ms. Brown, who co-founded the organization, has dedicated her career to this mission. At the University of Texas at Austin, she built a national model that increased the success of under-represented students in graduate education; in the White House during the Clinton administration, she served as the Executive Director of the Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The tagline for Excelencia--"Inform. Lead. Accelerate."--could be her personal mission statement. It is also a fitting description of the work of MCC's new Chief Diversity Officer, Calvin Gantt, who with Vice President Lloyd Holmes is convening this new conference.

I encourage you to make time next Thursday, October 4, to attend the Diversity Conference. You will hear from Sarita Brown and Dr. Fred Bonner, and engage in honest dialogue and practical work on improving equity in student achievement and transforming our spaces into diverse and inclusive environments. Our students today are our community's leaders tomorrow. Thank you for all you do to support their growth into confident learners whose future is brighter because of MCC.

I welcome your thoughts on the blog.

Kress, Anne
Office of the President