David Dinkins Provides Keynote Address at Bronx Educational Opportunity Center’s 23rd Graduation

Bronx, NY – Former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins, in delivering the keynote address at graduation ceremonies of the Bronx Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), wished more than 400 graduates success as they were about to move on to their future careers. Speaking at Bronx Community College on Friday, June 11, 2010, Dinkins addressed an enthusiastic crowd of family members, friends and loved ones, and faculty and staff. Mayor Dinkins movingly recounted the stories of the American heroes who broke down the barriers so these students could succeed, and went on to say, “This graduation is a very important sendoff from the training that you have received, “ said New York’s 106th  Mayor. “Life will not always be smooth. I urge you to use the discipline you have learned at the EOC to confront obstacles you encounter on your path.”

In the past 22 years the Bronx EOC has helped more than 20,000 New Yorkers receive their high school equivalency diplomas, enter college, enhance their careers, gain computer skills and certifications, and obtain employment. Students receive training in a broad range of careers, including medical assistant, emergency medical technician, and executive assistant. EOC also provides high school equivalency and college prep, internships, and job placement assistance.

Gilbert Ramos, a 1992 EOC emergency medical technician (EMT) graduate, spoke about how he used his training to become the best in his field. He is now the lead EMT instructor-coordinator for the New York City Fire Department and a certified instruction coordinator for New York State. He has trained over 3,000 EMTs and 13,000 firefighters.

“This graduation represents both your success in achieving your goal and your aspirations for your future,” stated Bronx Community College President Carolyn G. Williams. “Whatever you studied, you know that beginning this evening you are more knowledgeable and you have acquired additional skills that will make you a vital member of the workforce. I do hope that your education does not end here. In fact, I would like for you to continue your education and I certainly hope you will enroll at Bronx Community College.” 

“You now have the essential qualities that will help you move forward in life,” said George Sanchez, BCC senior vice president of Academic Affairs and former executive director of EOC. He told graduates that walking through the doors of the EOC was a good investment.  He also urged them to think about their next step – enrolling at BCC. “Nobody can take a college education away from you,” he said.

Also during the graduation ceremony, retiring EOC instructor Santiago Villafane was presented with the James O. Boykins Memorial Award.  He received this special recognition for his generosity and devotion to improving the lives of students over more than  two decades of service.

Founded in 1957, Bronx Community College (BCC), the oldest of City University of New York’s six community colleges, serves as the engine for academic and economic mobility for motivated students from diverse backgrounds and preparations. More than 11,000 students from over 109 nations are enrolled in 30 associate degree and certificate programs including Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Computer Graphics, Nuclear Medicine, and Business Administration, Digital Arts, Computer Information Systems, Education Associate, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Accounting, Human Services, Media Technology and Paralegal Studies. BCC’s 43-acre campus, high above the Harlem River, features architectural masterpieces of Stanford White and Marcel Breuer, as well as the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, the nation’s first hall of fame. BCC President Carolyn G. Williams is in her 14th year of leadership service to the College, which is located at  2155 University Avenue at West 181st Street, formerly New York University’s uptown campus until 1973.

The College is home to initiatives not commonly associated with two-year institutions, such as the Center for Sustainable Energy, which promotes the use of renewable and efficient energy technologies in urban communities. The National Center for Educational Alliances (NCEA) ) is currently collaborating with South African Further Education and Training Colleges and universities to create linkages between these institutions and is also working to enhance student and academic support at the colleges. NCEA also coordinates the College’s global initiative which facilitates global learning within and outside of the classroom.

Bryant Mason / (718) 289-5208 / bryant.mason@bcc.cuny.edu