Collaborations Led to the U Center’s Groundbreaking


Cumberland County College hosted a very public and well attended groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday for the Shirlee and Bernard Brown University Center, which will be located on campus between the library and the Guaracini Arts Center. In a white tent on a rainy afternoon, the Browns were joined by many county and state officials, educational leaders from the participating colleges and universities, and K-12 educators from Cumberland County as well as scores of CCC employees, students and friends of the college.

This celebration of baccalaureate and master’s degree programs coming to Cumberland County was inspiring. After all, the university center will bring higher education within the grasp of many area people who would not otherwise be able to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The sun even peaked through the clouds before the ceremony ended.

But the most important aspect of this wonderful event lies in what the public did not see.

The groundbreaking didn’t just celebrate the actual building, but the concept and the collaboration it took to get to that day. For several years, CCC faculty and staff have been meeting with their counterparts from the participating colleges and universities to develop the mechanisms that will provide for a seamless transition from CCC associate’s degree programs to bachelor’s degree programs, and eventually master’s degree programs.

And just as important, these same CCC faculty and staff have been meeting with their K-12 counterparts in Cumberland County to assure that a seamless transition occurs when students graduate from the high schools’ curricula and begin their CCC experience.

What we are really celebrating is a community-based collegial planning process that promotes the regionalization of an educational system that supports all students. This system will bolster the local economy, since educated people provide leadership and valuable professional services for our community.

We are excited because this regional system leverages resources, promotes collaborations and strengthens the collegial commitment to serving students rather than institutions, political jurisdictions or individual egos.

Join me in praising the leadership of CCC employees, our local school officials and teachers, and our partner colleges and universities. Last week, we witnessed a giant leap forward in developing a regionalized, resource leveraged system of life-long education.

The Shirlee and Bernard Brown University Center ceremony was a milestone in the county’s history; it was a tipping point. And the center will serve as a focal point as we promote and provide life-long learning in the 21st Century.