ELYRIA, Ohio, March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Allan Golston, President of the United States Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be the keynote speaker at Lorain County Community College's (LCCC) 55th Annual Commencement on Saturday, May 18.
Golston, who originally joined the foundation in 2000 as the chief financial officer, became president in 2006 where he leads efforts to advance educational opportunity and student achievement. The foundation's work is focused on ensuring all students – particularly low-income students and students of color – receive a high-quality education that leads to success in college and their careers. This is an area in which Lorain County Community College has made remarkable strides, gaining national recognition in 2018 when the American Association of Community Colleges named LCCC first in the nation for Excellence in Student Success – thanks in great part to programs supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The support LCCC has received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has enabled us to scale our student success work to impact every LCCC student. From our academic advising redesign to our guided pathway model, we have transformed our institution to one that deeply believes in being 'student ready.' At every level of our college, we strive to meet each student where they are, regardless of barriers or challenges, and help them succeed. Everything we do is based on getting students to that finish line – and much of this work would not have been possible without the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are so pleased Allan Golston will join us to celebrate our 2019 graduating class. This will certainly be a special experience for our graduates, college and community," said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D.
Golston oversees the foundation's U.S. Program's education work – which spans early learning, K-12 and postsecondary. He believes education provides a bridge to opportunity unlike any other in America. Golston is deeply committed to ensuring all young people have the education and opportunity they deserve.
"Lorain County Community College is truly a student-centered institution. Being able to join the LCCC community for this special day and celebrate students' graduation alongside their families, faculty, and leadership will be both an honor and a testament to the great work happening at Lorain," said Golston.
For more than a decade, LCCC has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to close achievement gaps and increase graduation rates. The partnership began with funding to support Early College High School on LCCC's campus in 2004 which has since made college a reality for more than 500 first-generation college students. Of these graduates, 92 percent earned their associate of arts degree and high school diplomas simultaneously and 97 percent continued their education to pursue a bachelor's degree or higher.
In 2012, LCCC joined Completion by Design, a student success initiative supported by the foundation, as one of only three community colleges in Ohio selected to develop strategies designed to drastically increase completion and graduation rates for low-income students. LCCC has since deeply integrated a strategic vision of student success throughout the institution.
LCCC increased the total number of degrees and certificates conferred by 79 percent since 2011. And just last year, LCCC celebrated its largest graduating class in the college's history with 2,018 graduates earning 2,108 degrees and certificates plus an additional 277 University Partnership graduates earning bachelor's or master's degrees.
LCCC's commencement ceremony will be held in the College's Ewing Activities Center and will celebrate the 11th graduating class of Early College High School as part of a larger class of more than 2,000 graduates earning certificates, associate degrees, and bachelors and master's degrees through LCCC and the University Partnership.
SOURCE Lorain County Community College