DCCC Supports a Stronger Vision for Community Colleges as Outlined in the President’s Commencement Speech

May 15, 2015 – As Davidson County Community College approaches its weekend commencement ceremonies, the school shares a vision for more affordable college options with President Barack Obama. The president shared his plan to provide free tuition to responsible and deserving community college students in his Friday evening commencement address at a South Dakota community college.

“As Davidson County Community College readies to graduate its largest number of students in the history of the college, I'm thrilled that this administration is focusing on community colleges and the differences they make in the lives of everyday Americans,” says Dr. Mary Rittling, president of DCCC. “I, too, am inspired and touched by the students who cross DCCC’s threshold each year dreaming of a better life.”

In his address at Lake Area Technical Institute, the president said he believes that in a fast-paced, hyper-connected, constantly changing world, there are few institutions that are more important to America’s economic future than community colleges.

“Community colleges like this one can be a great place for young people to launch a career,” said Obama. “But they’re also a great place for people who have already been in the workforce for a while and decide they need to change their careers and reach for something better.”

As is his custom during speeches, Obama recognized a number of the Lake Tech graduates – a working mother, a veteran, a disabled student and a young entrepreneur – applauding their efforts to overcome challenges and learn new job skills.

“We live in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge and innovation like never before,” Obama said. “We can’t afford to let any striving American be priced out of the education they need to get ahead.”

Rittling agrees that community colleges provide a vital path to the middle class for millions of Americans. “But, we must acknowledge the need for additional financial resources to support these workhorses of the American economy,” says Rittling. “We know that community colleges can change lives and grow jobs right here in North Carolina, and it’s heartwarming to see this administration take such a strong stand in support of them and the students they serve.” 

Under Obama’s plan, students would have to attend at least half time, maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average and make steady progress toward completion of their program of study in order to earn free tuition. Federal funding would cover most of the cost but state governments would contribute as well. 

“The Lake Tech students Obama acknowledged during the commencement ceremony are no different than the students we see everyday here at DCCC,” says Rittling. “There’s never been a time when Hubert Humphrey’s quote used by the president is any more true or significant, ‘The road to freedom begins in the classroom.’” 

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and is looking forward to serving students in Davidson and Davie counties for many years to come. The college is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.