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!