Saturday, May 19, 2018

Transfer Feature of the Month From Delaware County Community College: Meet Correy Gibbs

When Correy Gibbs started his college career at Delaware County Community College in 2010, he had just graduated high school, wasn’t working yet, and could afford to focus all of his energy on his class work. But by the time he enrolled at Peirce College in 2016, he had a full time job, a busy personal life, and he wasn’t sure he had enough time in his day to continue his success as a student.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well, two years later, Correy is maintaining a 3.85 GPA, and finds himself with less than one year remaining until he graduates with his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security.

Correy said he had a wonderful experience at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), but that it almost stopped before it even started. He originally declared as a Computer Science major, but after ten minutes into his new student orientation at DCCC, Correy said he quickly learned that his interest fell elsewhere. “My dad had steered me towards computers and I thought it’d be right for me, but then I learned about Network Engineering and thought it would be a better fit for what I wanted to do career-wise,” he says.

Immediately upon graduating from DCCC with his associate degree in Network Engineering, Correy was hired by the college full-time at DCCC’s IT help desk. Though Correy enjoyed his work and had no immediate intention of leaving DCCC, he started to become more and more interested in cyber-security and began to think that it would be wise to earn his bachelor’s degree. “Normally the guy they call to fix high-level data breaches has more than just an associate’s degree,” Correy said. “It was time to get back in school and get my bachelor’s.”

Correy first heard about Peirce from DCCC’s transfer counseling department as a student, but it wasn’t until he was a graduate working for DCCC that one of his co-workers told him he was planning to attend Peirce College for Information Technology. Remembering that Peirce allows students to take online coursework that would enable him to keep working full-time, he decided to enroll in the Network Administration and Information Security program in the fall of 2016.

Correy admits that it’s difficult to maintain such a high GPA since he still works full-time at Delaware County Community College, but he’s firm in his stance that nothing will prevent him from earning his bachelor’s degree. When asked if one particular class or instructor at Peirce has had a significant impact on him, Correy didn’t hesitate when he said he thoroughly enjoys classes taught by Professor Patrick Coyle. “His classes aren’t easy and he demands a lot from students, but there’s no way you can finish the class without learning all the information.”

When he’s not fixing anything and everything “tech-related” at Delaware County Community College or completing his studies online through Peirce’s PeirceFit® format, Correy enjoys fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. “If I’m not working with computers and getting networks back online, you can always find me outside in nature,” he says. We congratulate Correy on his successes to date, and wish him all the best in his future!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Manager, Institutional Partnerships, today at 215.670.9203 or ttschop@peirce.edu.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Introducing the 2018 Commencement Speaker: Harold T. Epps

Commencement is less than a month away. So now it’s time to reveal this year’s Commencement speaker…

Harold T. Epps!

As a child of first-generation college graduates and a natural born leader and businessman, Harold T. Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, is just the role model our Class of 2018 graduates need as they start and advance their journeys into the region’s workforce.

Epps started his higher educational journey at North Carolina Central University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, and continued his studies at Western New England College, where he earned a Master’s of Business Administration.

Throughout his storied career, Epps has served in a number of high-profile, senior leadership positions where he has led with passion, knowledge and purpose. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of PRWT Services, and as the company’s President and CEO from 2007 to 2014. Prior to that, he held executive roles at Quadrant, Menasha Corporation, and Polaroid. Throughout his career, Epps has built a solid reputation for positioning organizations for sustained growth, successfully managing change and restructuring, improving efficiency, spurring innovation and maintaining a focus and discipline of continuous process and performance improvement.

During a recent visit to campus where he met with some of our upcoming gradates, we sat down to ask Epps a few questions:

Tell us about your professional path. “I always wanted to be a businessman. I always wanted to be in charge and to run things. Now I have been doing that at a variety of levels for more than 25 years.”

What do you think makes Peirce and Peirce graduates special? “In recent years, my appreciation and awareness for how Peirce fits into what I call ‘the quilt of higher ed’ for Philadelphia has increased significantly. Peirce has the opportunity to strongly assist in changing the conversation and the gap in higher education. Two places in this city will play a role in closing the [degree attainment gap] and they are Peirce and Community College of Philadelphia. Peirce and CCP have geographic accessibility, affordability and a mission and a vision that embraces those that need a hand up.”

How can Peirce graduates stand out in the workforce? “Every day deliver your best self. You are much better served to receive positive action when you deliver positivity.”

What is your advice for our Class of 2018? “See it through. It is a saying that I learned as a child and which has reminded me to push through the most difficult times. Remember that you are not going to face anything that another person hasn’t already faced. The test of a person is not what they do in good times, but what they do in bad times.”

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We are so excited to welcome Harold T. Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia as the Peirce College 153rd Commencement Speaker!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Master Plumber to Master Student – Meet John Murphy

As a young professional, John Murphy took on the personal responsibility of running his father’s business by becoming a master plumber. After his father became ill and was ready to retire, John left his undergraduate career behind and went straight to the workforce.

After years of owning and running the family business, John was ready for a new scene. He transitioned into a bigger world when he started with SEPTA as a plumber. After 10 more years of working in his specialty, he decided he was ready to learn and grow even further in his career, which meant heading back to school.

Thanks to conversations with his father-in-law, John was inspired to go toward the direction of business. So with his goals in mind, he enrolled at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) ready and eager to achieve his associate degree.

Once John started hitting the books again, he discovered he had a more direct passion within the business world: Accounting. He had personal experiences where he learned first-hand how to balance some tax issues, which escalated his new possible career path.

After graduating from DCCC with his Associate in Science in Business Management, John was ready to narrow down his business mindset and focus on this new passion he had discovered. In 2015, John enrolled at Peirce College and began chasing his Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

His new career idea was only amplified as he continued to take classes with Peirce. “The accounting and finance professors here are phenomenal and kept my fascination alive. The real-world experiences professors talk about really draw you in,” explained John, “My wife would wonder why I would come home so late; it was because I would just sit there and listen to them.”

As much as the professors were a huge draw for John’s positive experience with Peirce, there was something else that kept him coming back session after session: Peirce Fit®. This innovative learning model allowed for John to balance his current job and his education. “Peirce Fit makes life a lot easier. You can always tell when you hit a hard spot in class because everyone is there, which is great,” said John, “I actually got sick for a couple weeks, so chose to do it online, and it eliminated the stress of needing to come to class. It’s nice having the choice.”

John even took a little trip down memory lane by discussing how he believes Peirce’s founder would truly appreciate and support this flexible opportunity, “Peirce Fit is definitely something Thomas May Peirce would have done and enforced. Based on what I have read, he was always trying to innovate and make things work for every individual.”

As a working adult, Peirce Fit made John’s Peirce experience much more relaxed and enjoyable. This led to his desire to come to campus more often and really create lasting connections. He said, “Peirce has such a sense of community. I didn’t realize how much I missed out on when I did all online. Now I have connections with people I have taken class with for two or more years. As I wrap up my career with Peirce, I am truly sad.”

As John prepares for graduation next month, he has some advice that can go a long way for any prospective or current student, “The hardest thing to do is to not be obsessed with when you finish such as saying, ‘I have x amount of classes left.’ It’s very stressful looking at it that way. Make smaller goals; make a simpler plan. Register out for one year and focus on that. If you look at how big and how long the trip is, it makes it harder to tackle. Look at things one step at a time and, remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Peirce College is incredibly proud to serve a student like John Murphy who is not only a dedicated learner and soon-to-be alum, but also a successful working adult who now holds the position of Manager of Facilities Programs with SEPTA. Congratulations to John on all of his accomplishments from school to work to life. We wish him much continued success!