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posted: 12/6/2017 12:25 PM

COD president counts school community's many blessings

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By Ann Rondeau
Inside COD

Gratitude.

This is a single word that means so much. Yet during the rush of the holidays it can be difficult to sort through the many tasks to be accomplished, often at a pace that denies us the opportunity to celebrate what the season truly means.

For many college students, this time of year means putting the holidays on hold until projects are completed and finals are taken.

A community college education provides much to those who seek it. This does not happen in a vacuum, but requires the dedication of people within and outside the institution. In taking a moment to reflect on the past several months, the College of DuPage community is grateful in many ways.

We are grateful for the students who choose to invest in their learning by entrusting us. They come to us with their dreams of higher education, and we provide the care and attention they need to achieve their goals.

We are grateful for the capacity to give to others. College of DuPage is in a position to help those who may be struggling, and doing so demonstrates how we can work together to strengthen a community.

For example, our COD Cares program organizes students, faculty and staff to participate in service activities that benefit our communities. In October, 120 volunteers cleared walking paths, stocked a food pantry, deep-cleaned a group home and performed many more duties at 12 locations during the second annual Serve-a-Thon.

We are grateful that our students are recognized for their hard work. This fall, our motion picture/television students received eight Illinois Broadcast Association Student Silver Dome Awards, including three first-place awards.

Two heating/ventilation/air conditioning/refrigeration students took first and second in the Vocational/Junior College HVACR competition hosted by the Chicago Pipe Fitters Local Union 597.

Seven architecture students received a Distinguished Project Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects Northeast Illinois Chapter for a gathering pavilion they designed, built and installed on campus.

We are deeply humbled by these various accomplishments because the honors validate the effort our students put into their education, and we are proud of their achievements.

We are grateful to our community partners -- too many to list here -- that share their talent and expertise to help us succeed. This includes the professionals who serve on program advisory committees, companies and institutions that provide clinical sites where students gain hands-on experience, and organizations that offer service-learning opportunities where students use their talents to help others.

We are excited about our most recent partnership with the village of Glen Ellyn and the founding partners of Innovation DuPage, a new business incubator and accelerator that will help stimulate local job growth.

We are grateful that the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees voted to remove the sanction of probation from the college. This action last month from our accrediting body was indeed something to celebrate.

While College of DuPage remained fully accredited during the two-year review period, we used this time as an opportunity to examine our processes even more closely. As a result, I believe the college is stronger now than it ever has been.

I am personally grateful to the College of DuPage family. This includes our accomplished faculty, administrators and staff at all levels, from accountants and registrars to the grounds and custodial teams that create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone coming through our doors, whether on campus in Glen Ellyn or at the four centers in Addison, Carol Stream, Naperville and Westmont.

Every day I can feel the passion from the people who care about College of DuPage and our mission to learn. Every day we help minds create. Every day we cultivate physical, emotional and intellectual development.

Every day students are invited into a place where they can share in the spirit of excellence with a group of people who are willing to fully invest in their educational journeys.

Everyone at College of DuPage works hard because we are proud of what we do. As our students finish the semester with a flurry of activity, we are grateful for our ability to serve them as well as the community with the many gifts we have to offer.

Gratitude.

• Ann Rondeau is president of the College of DuPage. During the school year, her column appears monthly in Neighbor.

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