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MCC President Encourages Graduates to Live by ‘Plethora of Ps’

From left: Robert A. Schick, chairman of the Keuka College Board of Trustees; Dr. Anne M. Kress, president of MCC; and Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College. (photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

When they were youngsters, students who took part in the mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 8 at Keuka College, learned their ABCs.

Prior to receiving their diplomas, they learned their five Ps.

“My goal today is to encourage you to live by a plethora of Ps: perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles,” said Dr. Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College (MCC), the featured speaker at the ceremony.

Perspective, said Kress, “is what helps you see the huge wave about to overtake you is made up of small drops of water, each easily deflected. It’s what allows you to keep a sense of humor when things get stressful, to prioritize when the piles of work look like canyon walls all around you.”

Preparation, she explained, is what opens the door to opportunity; it’s what turns potential into reality. “We prepare not by talking and rushing but by researching, reviewing, reflecting, and listening.”

Persistence, according to Kress, “is how you get up time and time again until you cross the finish line. As the great philosopher, Bond, James Bond, once said, ‘I don’t stop when I am tired; I stop when I am done.’”

Passion is the ‘P’ that lights the fire, she explained. “Community colleges are my passion; they’re in my blood, heart, and soul. Keep your passion. It will warm you and reward you; it is invaluable.”

Kress said principles are hard won. “If you haven’t already, you will come to a day when you need to make a choice between doing the right thing and doing something quite different. Remember that such a choice won’t just impact you, it reverberates and it rebounds. Make sure you have non-negotiables, articulate them to those around you, and keep them safe and secure.”

Tina Fey, stated Kress, “claims the worst question in the world to ask a working mother is: ‘How do you juggle it all?’ I’ll extend it: it’s the worst question to ask anyone. During your time at Keuka, you’ve had to juggle too many balls and sadly, I’m here to tell you that won’t change even after today. With perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles—and your outstanding Keuka education—you have more than enough power to keep the most important balls speeding through the air successfully.”

Lakesha Carter

Rochester resident Lakesha Carter, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management through Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), also spoke at the ceremony. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Keuka College chapter of Alpha Lambda Sigma, the national honor society for adult students.

A wife and mother, Carter said “the driving force behind my success as a Keuka College student is the many competitions I have with myself and the message I am sending to my children by continuing my education.

“I grew up in the projects in Rochester,” she added. ”I am the youngest of seven children. I am the only the second person in my family to graduate from high school and the first one to go to college. I wanted to give my family something to be proud of. I want to be able to show my children that I don’t just talk the talk; I walk the walk.”

Karen Reid

Another highlight was the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award to Karen Reid, who has taught in the Division of Social Work since 2007 and served as a cohort adviser since 2010. She was nominated by Ed Silverman, director of the ASAP social work program.

“Karen has been instrumental in the growth and excellent quality of the social work program in the Syracuse/Auburn region,” said Silverman. “She has gained the respect of her students and colleagues alike with her honest and straightforward approach to student teaching and helps each student achieve personal and professional growth, and academic success.”

Silverman said Reid “challenges students to get out of their comfort zone and encourages each of them to trust in their own potential and strength. Her success in reaching students has its foundation in her own modeling of high quality and competent social work. Students appreciate her ability to bring real-world connection to concepts covered in the classroom.”

Added Silverman: “Karen is of the mindset that if she does a good job, then she knows that the students will go out into the world and truly make a difference in the life of someone who is hurting or in need.”

For more commencement photos, click here.