Cochise College’s very first graduating class consisted of three individuals who transferred from other institutions to complete their degrees in 1965. The following year, Cochise presented 57 degrees in the company of former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, who gave the commencement speech.
Planning of many anniversaries often includes historical research. In the course of planning a series of celebrations around the Sept. 21 anniversary of the first day of class, the External Affairs Office is having great fun reconnecting with the college’s earliest stakeholders. I imagine that when Cochise celebrates its 75th in 2039-40, or its 100th in 2064-65, planners will try to catch up with some of the students we’ll recognize this year – the 50th Anniversary Scholars.
The 50th Anniversary Scholars program recognizes Cochise County high school graduating seniors with a 3.0 or higher grade point average who also submit an essay about what the Cochise College mission means to them. Each selected scholar will receive a $1,000 scholarship for the 2014-15 school year. The scholarship application is on the college website at www.cochise.edu/FA, and the application deadline is March 31.
If you’re a friend or family of someone who falls into this category, I hope you’ll help the student you know to consider the significance of the college’s mission of providing accessible educational opportunities that are responsive to a diverse population and lead to constructive citizenship, meaningful careers and lifelong learning. For just a little bit of effort, and perhaps some creativity, a $1,000 scholarship cuts about half the one-year community college tuition cost for a local student taking classes full time on campus.
Cochise College was founded on the idea of accessibility, but it has never sacrificed quality in order to achieve this ideal. The class of 1966 included seven who graduated with high honors and 16 who graduated with honors. We regularly hear from alumni who value the education they received and went on to advanced degrees and long careers in a variety of fields. Some Cochise alums were in awe of the faculty; others have called Cochise “perfect” and a “lifesaver.”
Over the course of 50 years, Cochise has proven that it’s more than a college of convenience. The 50th Anniversary Scholars program serves to remind us of that.
J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at email@example.com.