Chancellor Peter Provenzano’s Inauguration Address

Our Time to Shine | September 27, 2018

Thank you Paul...,

Good evening!

Thanks for being here celebrate this very special day. And...I am touched by the passion and hard work by everyone who made this evening possible!

It is truly an honor... to stand before you ...and publicly pledge my service and leadership . . . as the ninth chancellor of Oakland Community College.

We meet here on this beautiful campus...during OCC's 54th year of celebrating excellence.

And...I want to express my thanks and ...deep appreciation the Oakland Community College Board of Trustees...for the opportunity to serve this wonderful institution.

Trustees...Please stand as your name is called...Board Chair John McCulloch; Vice Chair Pamala Davis; Secretary Christine O'Sullivan; Treasurer Susan Anderson; Trustee Kathleen Bertolini; Trustee Shirley Bryant; and Trustee Pamela Jackson.

I also want to thank... the many elected and community well as the donors and alumni who join us for this milestone. We truly appreciate your collaborative spirit and continued support.

This is an evening for honoring our past, celebrating our present, and forging ahead with renewed energy and optimism. For me, it’s a day that... could not have happened without the support of so many...

First... my wife Cindy and our children, Peter and Anna.
Your love, support, and our life journey has shaped me into the man I am today.

You motivate me to make a positive difference in the world even when the obstacles seem unsurmountable.

Through the years...I have always felt blessed to have a family to come home to.

After all...there is no greater happiness...than approaching a door at the end of a day...knowing someone on the other waiting for the sound of your footsteps.

Cindy, Peter, and Anna... please stand and be recognized.

To my mom and dad...who...are no longer with us...thank you for modeling to me...what commitment really means.

And...I never thought I’d say this but...thanks Dad...for dragging me to all of the parades and events for your work...

It sure taught me how to be devoted to a mission.

To my brother, Brian, and sister, Kimberly, who are not able to make it today...but are watching this event live tonight...your kind words and support mean the world to me and I thank you.

I’ve had so many wonderful mentors...and I want to mention...just a few who have inspired and supported me throughout my career.

I’ve been fortunate to work with awesome people like:

  • Mark Hackel, Al Lorenzo, Mark Deldin, from my exciting time at Macomb County...
  • Harold and Cathey Haugh, Steve Truman and John Knapp from my wonderful years at the City of Roseville.
  • And Ken Leslie from Plante Moran and my Uncle Doug who ...mentored me when I was a young accountant and fresh out of college.
  • As well as the Pastors at my church who help to guide my thoughts and decisions every week.

But the reality is...I have been blessed with the support of thousands of people...many whom are here today... and I want to thank... each of you for touching my life in a positive way.

I am also grateful for the college community's dedication to excellence. In particular, ...the Academic Senate Chair John Mitchell who loves all things Shakespeare... and former chairman Shawn Dry...who loves t-shirts.

You see...our college community is passionate... and I have been overwhelmed by their enthusiastic commitment.

Members of the College faculty, staff, and students...thank you for your support as well.

There is so much history here at OCC . . . and it started with a George Moser. This College opened its doors in 1965 with two campuses and 3,800 students. Since then OCC has grown to five campuses... with more than 15,000 students across the county. And I am humbled and grateful to be a part of this College’s rich and distinguished history.

Now....for those who know’s no big secret ... I . . . love . . . watches. we all know...the purpose of a watch is to . . . tell ...time.

And ... according to my watch. . . this is . . . our time . . . to shine.

At no other time in our we see more innovative college initiatives . . . such as new ways of teaching and delivering courses . . . new programs to increase student persistence and completion . . . renewed energy for whole new ways of looking at the world through...unprecedented partnerships and collaborations...with business, government, community organizations and higher education . . . and clarifying who we are... through the college’s first comprehensive brand campaign... Excellence Empowered . .

Our mission... is simple...

Put student success first and advance our community... and it shows... in everything we do.

We are well known... for the quality of our academic curricula... in arts and communications . . . in business, management, marketing and technology . . . in engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology . . . in health and human sciences . . . and in emergency services training.

We are our academic excellence...we are powered by excellent faculty....and empowered... by students and graduates... who drive real change in the workplace.

Businesses in metro Detroit know . . . Oakland Community College students graduate . . . ready to work...energized and are trained in critical fields.

We see a bright future.

And we feel a greater sense of excitement about the important role our college plays at this transformational time.

Consider this. . .

  • Our graduates’ first-time pass rates . . . on many licensed exams . . . surpass national standards.
  • Our four-year university partners enroll more OCC transfer students... than any other college in the state,.
  • Our Oakland County first responders...they are educated at our highly respected CREST emergency services training facility in Auburn Hills.
  • Our state health care partners benefit of the largest nursing associate degree programs in the nation.
  • Our corporate partners obtain advanced technology training our innovative Michigan Technical Education Center.
  • Our small business partners learn how to identify and evaluate business opportunities...through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.
  • And . . . our restaurants are enriched by the many top chefs who graduate from our nationally recognized Culinary Arts program.

All the while...our students benefit from THE most affordable tuition rate in Michigan.

Employers often tell us our students “hit the ground running,”...due in large part to our faculty’s personal attention, smaller class size, and our engagement with the community around us. We are preparing students... with the hands-on professional training...problem solving...and communication skills coveted by employers.

We’re also globalizing our curriculum to attract...more international students, crafting fresh new approaches to our general education core; and expanding our international focus and partnerships as the host site of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce as well as the Consular Corps of Michigan.

We’re bridging the gap...between K-12 and higher education... through our Oakland Early College, our Accelerated College Experience...and the Oakland Schools Technical Centers.

These programs... are a conduit for students of all abilities... to achieve more.

We are also...a natural complement to our higher education partners, including tonight’s presenting sponsor...Walsh College.

This region is remarkably well served by our universities and community colleges... and together...we serve as a significant source of talent to improve innovation, investment and industry...providing a seamless continuum of education for Michigan students.

Among this college’s most dearly held its rich diversity. We celebrate the mix of unique perspectives and backgrounds... that so beautifully reflects the global society in which we live and work today.

And finally.... I offer one more characteristic of our college that perhaps has never been more important .

I believe OCC is destined to be the first choice for a whole new generation of students...who follow traditional and not-so-traditional paths.

We want to educate more of these future leaders than ever before. Students from diverse backgrounds who are willing to give us their very best, who are looking for the opportunity to excel in today’s complex and interconnected world.

And this is precisely...why I was so Oakland Community College. This college plays a crucial role in this region’s improving lives in our community.

Now...Moving forward, we have more work to do.

On my watch...we will build on our pillars of academic excellence and develop more in-demand programs....that meet the needs of an ever-changing population and workplace.

On my watch...we will reaffirm the public’s trust... through our honorable actions ....with a non-negotiable commitment.... to fiscal integrity...transparency...and student success.

On my watch...we will enhance the student experience... and ensure every student ....has the opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities that enhance leadership development.

On my watch...we will refresh our relationship with alumni.... as treasured members of the OCC family. Our alumni... represent this college’s greatest accomplishments ....and the foundation on which we will build our future.

On my watch...we will improve our services and programs... for veterans to make the transition from boots to books ....a seamless one.

And, finally... on my watch.... we will continue to encourage a greater level of collaboration with our partners.... so our academic resources are put to the greatest use for the common good.

Our vision for this college is an ambitious one....:

  • We will become the college of choice . . .
  • The employer of choice . . .
  • And...the partner of choice . . .

It’ll ...require hard work...collaboration, and new ways of thinking......... and yet all over this college... I hear support from our faculty and staff. me, they are eager to achieve this college’s great potential. And we know...that together... the possibilities are endless!

As you stroll around this evening...I think you will feel the generations of students who studied here - more than one million strong.

At OCC...we care deeply about our students...and we know there is no higher calling ......than to provide a timely and affordable education that leads to a better quality of life.

As I look around here tonight...I am reminded of the power of Oakland Community College. We have a community-driven commitment.... to doing excellent work...raising excellent families...and building an excellent future for our diverse and amazing region.

We’re the power... to move minds . . . and improve lives . . . The power to honor our region’s tradition of persistence and innovation . . . To shift potential into professional . . . to empower a new family tradition of higher education . . . to dream bigger and achieve more.

Let’s be excellent everything that we do.

Let’s empower our find their passion . . . and their path.

Because....this is our time to shine.

Thank you so much!