Friday, June 28, 2013

Wishing Dr. Pat Rucker well on her retirement

WELL WISHES: We're all wishing Pat a wonderful and happy retirement
It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Dr. Patricia A. Rucker, Senior Vice President, Academic Advancement and Provost today after almost 19 years of dedicated service at Peirce College.

During her time at Peirce, Pat served in many roles including, most recently, leading the College’s Academic Division for more than a decade. She has been such a remarkable asset to the College, and we will always be grateful for her leadership, integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication.

As we offer her our best wishes, Pat shared the thoughts noted below about the next chapter of her life, what she and her husband will do with their retirement, and her parting words for the Peirce community:
"My retirement plans include traveling and spending more time with our family who live in Texas and South Carolina. We have five grandchildren with whom we plan to spend a lot more time with. We will continue to live in Center City Philadelphia, where we enjoy the urban life! 
I am excited for the Peirce community for the future of the College – the new programs at the undergraduate level and the inaugural graduate studies program. There is a talented team of people at Peirce who believe in the mission and vision for the College. Our students benefit from the passion our community has for helping students achieve their academic, career, and personal goals. 
I want to thank everyone for their support over the years – we accomplished a lot together! I have been surrounded by truly great people who have made it possible for us to achieve so much. 
I have benefited from the leadership of President Mergiotti. I appreciate his guidance and support and the wisdom he brings to our College. President Mergiotti’s vision and leadership will take Peirce College to great places. 
While I will not be employed by Peirce, I will always be a friend to the College and will serve as an ambassador wherever I go, every opportunity I have."
Thank you Pat, for all you’ve done for the College over the past 19 years. We wish you a wonderful retirement and the best of luck in the years to come. Please stay in touch!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reflections on Commencement 2013

CELEBRATE TOGETHER: Commencement 2013 was a very
special experience here at the College
I might be a little bit biased, but I think Commencement 2013 was the best one ever. And if you were there, you probably agree. I think I speak for many of us when I say that you could feel the love in Verizon Hall between graduates, their families and friends, and faculty and staff. I want to take a few moments to reflect on that evening, and offer hearty congratulations to all of our 2013 graduates.

The class of 2013 is an extremely special one. Included are our Parent University graduates, our inaugural Health Information Technology graduates, our inaugural Healthcare Administration graduateS, and many who have overcome odds to earn their college degree. Congratulations to all of you on achieving your goal, whether it was earning your associate degree, bachelor's degree, or certificate.

We have amazing students, many of whom balanced their careers, families, and community involvement to earn their degree, and we wish you continued success. Here are some photos we shot that night.

Peirce's Commencements are always all about the students, and this year's was no exception. Our featured students were fantastic. I really enjoyed Elsarra Elamin's speech, this year's student speaker -- she did a wonderful job. Kerri Kirlin sang the national anthem beautifully. And our keynote speaker, Lisa Nutter, really connected with our students and acknowledged all the hard work they've put in to get to this point.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Peirce College now offers Philadelphia’s only CAHIIM-accredited Health Information Technology associate degree

ACCREDITED: Our CAHIIM-accredited HIT degree
program will give graduates a leg up in their careers
I’m very excited to announce that Peirce’s Health Information Technology (HIT) program is now fully accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education). This accreditation confirms that our HIT associate degree program meets CAHIIM’s standards for quality, achievements, and innovation. Furthermore, our HIT associate degree program is the only one in Philadelphia to achieve this accreditation.

We’ve covered why choosing an accredited degree program is so important to your education and job search on the blog in the past. Completing an accredited program shows employers that you have met the industry-standard benchmark, giving our program graduates a competitive edge during their job search.

For Peirce students, completing our HIT associate degree problem makes them eligible for American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Professional Certification Exams, including those required to obtain Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credentials.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Peirce College’s Board of Trustees grows by 2

Marc D Ammaturo
We want to extend a warm welcome to the two newest members of Peirce College’s Board of Trustees, Marc D. Ammaturo and Scott Douglas Smith.

Marc is Managing Director at PFM Asset Management LLC, which provides investment advice and portfolio management for government and not-for-profit organizations, corporations, pension funds, and other institutions. Marc serves on the Philadelphia Regional Advisory Board for Economics Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization that promotes economic education in the K–12 classroom. He also participated in LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, a non-profit organization that mobilizes the leaders of the private sector to work on behalf of the Philadelphia community.

Scott Douglas Smith
Scott is Managing Partner at Clinton Rubin LLC, a management and technology consulting firm with service areas in Health Care Advisory, Health Information Technology, Enterprise Software and Implementation, and Staff Augmentation. He co-founded the organization and has managed and grown the firm over the past six years. Scott is a Peirce alumnus, and taught at the College as an adjunct professor from 1978-1985.

For more about our two new trustees and what they’ll bring to our Board of Trustees, read the press release we issued today.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Recent 2013 graduate earns a degree in tenacity

SELF-STARTER: Frank Clement
earned his bachelor's degree to prove
he wasn't a statistic
Today we have another inspiring story to share with you from one of our 2013 Peirce College graduates. Frank Clement graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies, and his story is inspiring for anyone scared about overcoming incredible odds to earn your college degree. Here is Frank’s college completion story, in his own words.
“At 16, I dropped out of high school. At 25, I [am] obtaining my second degree, my bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies. Peirce has been tremendous in its assistance to my needs during my time in college. I feel as though I have grown up through these last five years. 
I started in May of 2008 to obtain my degree, pushing to not become a statistic of dropout. No one in my family has a college degree. In fact, my mother was a high school dropout, and went to obtain her GED like myself. 
I had to think of a better future for myself then, and now I am preparing for a better future for myself and my wife. I owe a great deal to the awesome staff of Peirce College for keeping faith in me through the ups and downs, mentors that encouraged me to seek higher education when I did not want to, and a great mom that supported me. 
My bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies is for my family and my family-in-law, my friends that stayed with me during the many sacrifices, my father who is not here to see these accomplishments, my loving and devoted wife, and my faith in God for helping me throughout this journey at Peirce.”
Thanks for sharing with us, Frank. Congratulations on earning your degree!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peirce College opens the door for Paralegal students to meet legislators in Harrisburg

LEGALLY MINDED: Four Peirce students
participated in AICUP's Student Lobby Day 
Members of our community recently joined the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) for Student Lobby Day, an annual event held in Harrisburg, Pa., where students, educators, and administrators come together to talk about specific issues in higher education. This year’s topic was the Middle Income Student Debt Reduction Act, Senate Bill 420.

The act is aimed to help families with an annual household income of $80,000-$110,000 -- typically defined as middle class -- pay their college tuition bills. Because lower-income students are often the ones who receive federal and state assistance through Pell grants and PHEAA grants, this can leave middle-income students struggling to pay college costs, often out of pocket.

This issue is very top of mind for us. With 167 Peirce students who come from middle-income families, it’s important that they have the opportunity to receive aid. However, it’s also important that it doesn’t jeopardize funding for low-income students, who also comprise a large portion of our student body.

We took four students who are studying in our Paralegal program -- Diana Kirkland, Patricia Evans, Ashley Arntz, and Sohelia (Gigi) Nikpour -- to Harrisburg to discuss this piece of legislation and why it matters to our community. It was the first time any of these students’ were in Harrisburg, and none had ever had the chance to witness lawmakers in action. We asked one of the attendees, Diana Kirkland, to share her thoughts about her experiences from the day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What’s in store for tonight’s Commencement ceremony

CELEBRATE: Everything you need to know
about tonight's Commencement ceremony
Commencement 2013 is finally here! I know that today's ceremony marks the culmination of years of hard work for our graduates who have been looking forward to this day. We can't wait to see everyone decked out in their caps and gowns, ready to walk across the stage to accept their college degree, and then using their degrees to move into the next chapter of their lives.

Tonight's festivities will begin at 6:45 p.m. sharp at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, and here's everything you need to know about the ceremony.

Ceremony open. Kerri Kirlin, a Business Administration major with a concentration in Professional Studies, will start the ceremony by singing the national anthem. Kerri is our 2013 Peirce Idol, and she was chosen by our Facebook fans and judging panel to hold this distinct honor.

Keynote speaker. Lisa Nutter, President of Philadelphia Academies, Inc., and the First Lady of Philadelphia, will deliver the keynote address. Ms. Nutter is passionate about expanding economic opportunities for students and young people, and setting them on a positive path. She'll share some words of advice with graduates, and was kind enough to give a sneak peak of her speech when she visited campus a few weeks ago.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How a college education became this fighter’s lifeline

PROUD: Antonia Abrams is graduating
with her bachelor's degree
With Commencement 2013 fast approaching, we’ve been hearing inspiring stories from some of our graduates about what their Peirce experience has been like and how earning their college degrees will change their lives. We wanted to share a few of their stories with our blog audience. Read on for Antonia Abrams, who has earned her bachelor’s degree in our Business Administration program, telling her college story in her own words.
“My journey at Peirce has been a bittersweet path. It has been filled with many joys, some sorrows, suffering, and growth. However, through much of this, I have had my Peirce family.
Upon first entering Peirce so many years ago (over a decade now), I was in the process of leaving an abusive relationship. I was a new young single mother. I didn’t really have an income but I knew continuing my education was paramount in my life—not only for myself, but for my son.
I was such a fragile being when I began my walk with Peirce College. I was told I was worthless and a screw up. The sad part is that I had begun to believe it and it showed. The Walker Center helped me to see that there was still a small spark inside of me, and they turned it into a roaring fire.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Philly parents get one step closer to achieving their life goals by graduating from Parent University

In just a few days’ time, our 2013 Peirce graduates will be walking across the stage at Commencement. Today we wanted to take a moment as everyone prepares for that special night to highlight the stories of two of our graduates who were part of the Parent University program -- Jennifer Boone and Carla Bell.

If you missed it, Peirce joined forces with the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University in 2010 in an education initiative to increase the number of working adult residents in Philadelphia earning college degrees. Peirce offered 25 parents of children who are enrolled in the Philadelphia School District the opportunity to earn an associate degree in General Studies to help them start their college careers. These students have now completed the three-year program and will have a new advantage to get ahead in their careers or move to a more fulfilling job path.

Out of the over 250 parents who applied, Jennifer and Carla were among the 25 chosen to earn their college degree on scholarship. As parents of children in the Philadelphia school system, they have inspired their friends, family, and communities by earning their college degrees. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know them, and wanted to share their stories with our blog readers.

Jennifer Boone

WORKING ADULT: Jennifer went to Parent
University to pursue her dream of being
an educator
Jennifer, 47, is a mother of two. Although she had always dreamed of being a teacher, she went into the military as a young woman to support her family. After being honorably discharged, she is now a Philadelphia police officer, a post she has been proud to hold for 21 years.

But her first dream of being a teacher was always in the back of her mind. So in 2008, when her children didn’t need as much care at home, she began taking classes one at a time at Philadelphia Community College. Then she heard about the Parent University program from a member of her church, who encouraged her to apply, and she was accepted.

Jennifer worked full-time and took care of her family while attending Peirce. She really enjoyed her classes and helping other parents who didn’t have college experience. With the ultimate goal of being a teacher, helping other parents was great experience for her. She also paid special attention to the teaching style of Peirce faculty members, who encouraged the parents the same way the parents encourage their children: study, pay attention to detail, and get the work done.

Advice from Lisa Nutter for Peirce College graduates

Commencement 2013 is quickly approaching, and we know graduates are getting excited to don their caps and gowns, sit with their friends and classmates during the ceremony, and hear from the speakers and faculty members that will share their thoughts that night.

Lisa Nutter, our 2013 Commencement speaker, recently visited campus, and we asked her to share a few quick thoughts for graduates. Watch the video below to see what she had to say.

We can’t wait to see Ms. Nutter and all our graduates at the Kimmel Center on June 10!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Meet Elsarra Elamin, our 2013 Commencement Student Speaker

STUDENT SPEAKER: Elsarra, our 2013 Commencement Student Speaker,
is pictured here in 2011 accepting the Business Administration
Scholarship with President Mergiotti cheering her on.
Every Peirce student has a unique story that brought them here and inspired them to earn their college degree. International student Elsarra Elamin, who grew up in both Sudan and Zimbabwe, will be sharing hers this year as our 2013 Commencement student speaker.

Elsarra will be graduating with dual bachelor’s degrees – one in Business Administration with a concentration in Management, where she’ll graduate cum laude, and one in Accounting, where she’ll graduate magna cum laude.

While studying at Peirce, Elsarra received the honor of Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business.

We thought you’d like to get to know Elsarra a bit better, so we asked her to answer a few questions for you.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Under one tent: Celebrating community at the 2013 Spring Reception

CELEBRATE: Over 500 alumni, students, faculty, staff,
family, and friends came to Peirce's 2013 Spring Reception
One of the most special events of the year here at Peirce is the Spring Reception, the annual celebration which brings together alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends for an evening of social camaraderie, professional networking, and reconnecting with the school.

This year’s Reception on May 20 brought over 500 guests to campus. In addition to the main party held under a tent which runs the length of Carlisle Street, attendees also gathered in College Hall to connect at program-specific receptions. The College’s new Graduate Studies division was also featured in a special session hosted by Dean Adrian Zappala.

A highlight of this year’s Spring Reception was the awards ceremony, during which three individuals were honored for service to the College, achievements in their professions, and volunteerism in the community.

Thomas J. Foga ‘52 posthumously received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Mr. Foga, who passed away in February, served as a volunteer on Peirce’s Board of Trustees for 30 years, including terms as both board vice-chair and chairman. He did all of this while advancing a very successful career as a CPA, business owner, and consultant. Mr. Foga’s daughter, Debbie Foga Smith, accepted his honor on behalf of the Foga family.