January 6, 2011 – More than 150 Dutchess County business and community leaders, friends and donors gathered today for the 18th Annual Dutchess Community College President’s Breakfast held on the College’s Poughkeepsie campus. The keynote address was given by Mark Mahoney, a 1983 graduate of DCC and winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing.
DCC President Dr. D. David Conklin spoke about the College’s success in the face of challenging economic times, citing record enrollment numbers and solid DCC Foundation assets.
“This past fall semester, our credit student enrollment was 10,319. That is the highest enrollment in the history of the College and a 24% increase over our fall enrollment in 2007,” said Conklin. “More and more college students, and their families, are looking for a college education that is affordable and of high quality. That is what Dutchess Community College offers our students.”
Conklin said that for the 11th year in a row, DCC is offering the lowest tuition in the state. He credited the College’s Board of Trustees for working to keep higher education affordable despite SUNY cuts and no increase in county support. “DCC is clearly doing more with less,” he added.
Conklin noted that a record 77 first- and second-year students are attending DCC as recipients of the Charles E. and Mabel E. Conklin Scholarship for Academic Excellence, which provides free tuition for any Dutchess County high school senior graduating in the top 10% of his or her class. This fall, the Conklins made another generous donation to the Foundation bringing their scholarship endowment to more than $1 million.
Other highlights of Conklin’s remarks include:
- DCC students who took part in a recent SUNY survey ranked the College #1 or #2 for 63% of the 151 questions asked, when ranked with the nine other SUNY community colleges of similar size.
- The DCC Foundation presented 149 scholarships to students at the 2010 honors convocation.
- The College’s art collection was recently estimated to be worth $2.65 million, and in March the Mill Street Loft will present a Special Recognition Award to DCC in acknowledgment of its art collection.
Mark Mahoney, ’83, the keynote speaker, won the award for his work at The Post-Star in Glens Falls, NY, a daily newspaper that serves New York’s southern Adirondack region. He was recognized for “his relentless, down-to-earth editorials on the perils of local government secrecy, effectively admonishing citizens to uphold their right to know.” Mahoney has been the Star’s editorial page editor since 1999. Prior to accepting that position, he was the paper’s city editor and regional editor. He joined the Star in 1988 as a reporter.
After earning his Associate of Science degree in Communications and Media Arts from DCC, Mahoney transferred to Ithaca College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications Management. He returned to Poughkeepsie to start his career as a radio reporter for WEOK-WPDH before becoming a legislative correspondent in Albany and joining the Star.
In his remarks, Mahoney pointed out that his competition for the Pulitzer included much larger papers such as The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, and he drew an analogy between his work at a smaller paper and the education he received at DCC.
“The message is that great things don’t necessarily have to come from big institutions,” said Mahoney. “There are great things going on in small communities … and DCC is an example of that.”
Mahoney’s editorials encouraged citizens to get involved and educate themselves about local government. He said the message of empowerment he tried to share with residents is similar to what DCC does to prepare its students for the working world.
“Whereas the biggest papers advocated for causes, the Pulitzer judges awarded the small paper for promoting learning,” said Mahoney. “And it’s through that lens that we can understand what’s so special about Dutchess Community College.” He spoke of some of his experiences at DCC and the outstanding faculty he encountered.
Mahoney was an editorial writing finalist in the American Society of Newspaper Editors national contest for three straight years between 2004 and 2006, winning first place in 2004. His editorials were recognized by the New York State Associated Press Association almost 20 times, and by the New York State Newspaper Publishers Association four times. In addition, he won third place in the 2006 and 2009 in the National Headliners Awards, and was a Lee Enterprises President’s Award winner for editorial writing in 2003.
The President’s Breakfast was sponsored by TD Bank and is hosted by the Dutchess Community College Foundation, which raises funds for student scholarships and faculty initiatives. The Foundation granted more than $300,000 in student scholarships last year.
For more information, call DCC Foundation Director Patricia Prunty at (845) 431-8402
Founded in 1957, Dutchess Community College is a two-year community college that has earned a reputation for providing an outstanding education at the lowest tuition in New York state. Its main campus is in Poughkeepsie, with a satellite campus in Wappingers Falls. For more information, visit www.sunydutchess.edu.