Freshman Convocation Highlighted Student Stepping Stones to College Success

Bronx, NY – BCC’s newest class of enthusiastic freshmen students jammed the 650-seat Gould Memorial Library auditorium on September 30 and listened closely to two messages about the importance of college: making choices and finding one’s passion.

“You will have to choose your goals. You will have to decide what will be the best path,” stated President Carolyn G. Williams. “To reach your goals, you have to fully immerse yourselves in what the College has to offer and explore all the opportunities.” Her sentiments were followed by George Sanchez, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, who emphasized to the freshmen that while family, children and jobs are always important, students must make college a passion and top priority in order to get the most out of the higher education experience.

Keynote speaker Elisha Miranda, a filmmaker, educator and community activist, picked up on the messages Williams and Sanchez delivered. “The best thing about being in school is that it is a place where you can learn to question and think differently,” she said. “I feel that my education has opened doors. However, concrete experiences via internships, fellowships, leadership programs, travel and activism have really allowed me to keep those doors open.”

Miranda stressed to the students that every experience in life is filled with lessons learned that can be applied to future missions, visions and vocations. She shared that becoming an activist really taught her that she did not have to settle. “If it did not exist, one had the responsibility to stand up and create it,” she said.

Miranda grew up in public housing and was the first person in her family to graduate from high school and college.  Always interested in video and film, she was dismayed growing up by the fact that just about everybody on TV and in the movies did not look like her. Her passion, she told students, would be to do something in her career that would help change that situation. In fact, in 2001, she co-founded Chica Luna Productions to identify, develop and support other women of color seeking to make socially conscious entertainment.  Along with her good friend Sofia Quintero (aka Black Artemis), she also founded Sister Outsider Entertainment, a multimedia production company with several projects in development for television, film and stage. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Columbia University, where she earned her master of fine arts in film directing and screenwriting. For over 15 years, she has been an activist and educator on issues effecting youth and the community.

Miranda admitted that although she loves media, one of the pitfalls of being able to access everything within a minute is that many want the instant fix. “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” she told the new students. “It’s how we handle adversity, as it will always exist in some form. It’s about perseverance with your choices and passion.”

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 /