Chris Gray, Ph.D.

Founding President, Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania 

As I write today, summer is in full swing, and we are over halfway through the summer semester.  I’ve mentioned previously that the quietly persistent rhythms of the academic calendar bring me comfort; I’m feeling that today.  Our student ranks continue to grow, and we continue to add programs based on student and community needs.  Slowly and steadily, we are creating traditions.  And two years into our journey, EC3 has developed its own rhythms while becoming part of the fabric of the Erie County community. One such rhythm is the Quarterly Breakfast that we hold at Erie West, the focus of today’s blog.  

Our latest Quarterly Breakfast was held last week on Tuesday, July 11.  This is the fourth time that we’ve hosted this forum, and it’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite activities. Why?  Well, that’s easy.  I so look forward to these gatherings because they offer a fantastic chance to connect with our community constituents, and this was no exception.  As the Community’s College, our commitment is to transparency and collaboration with those whom we serve.  This is an opportunity for everyone to come together in the same place to celebrate achievements, learn about new programs, and get a sneak peek at what’s coming up.  

Allow me to share some of the highlights of our July meeting.  First, Chairperson Cheryl Rush-Dix and I honored Dave Mitchell for his service as a founding board member of the College.  He has been a tireless advocate for EC3 and for the community, and we wanted to acknowledge all of his hard work for our cause. I’ve said before that we would not be here today were it not for the work of visionaries who dared to dream us into existence, and Dave is one of those visionaries.  We will forever be grateful for all that he has done to help make EC3 a reality. Our community deserved the chance to celebrate this man with us!

In addition, Rebecca Walker, Dean of Workforce Development, shared some information about the new Fiber Optic Installer Training Program. Working with VNET Fiber, we were able to launch this fantastic new program this summer.  In a world that is becoming increasingly connected, fiber optics are at the center of emergent technologies.  This program runs for just over two months, and participants will earn the OpTIC Path Fiber Optic Technician certificate issued by the Fiber Broadband Association upon completion. The cost of the program is $2500, and funding is available under the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act.  What a wonderful new opportunity for our students and our county!  

Our next Quarterly Breakfast will occur once the Fall semester is in full swing, and I’m already excited to begin EC3’s third year of operation  As we get ready to welcome another group of new students to our ranks, I remain committed to sharing the latest happenings with constituents of the college as we continue to grow and evolve.  If you haven’t attended one of our Quarterly Breakfasts yet, please consider this a personal invitation from me to do so.  Just drop me an email at, and we can add you to the list.  Once again, I hope to see you there!