By Dr. J.D. Rottweiler
Community colleges have the amazing ability to help “possibility” become a reality for the students we serve. To some people, college seems out of reach, a foreign concept intended for the wealthy, for kids who make the honor roll, for people who have the potential to become teachers or doctors.
In the past, that may have been the case. Fifty years ago college may have been intended for people in those specific categories. But today, a community college like Cochise is designed for everyone and gives people a chance to reach their “possibility.” According to Mary Barnes, daughter of the late college founder Dr. George Spikes, a college in Cochise County allowed others to do what he had done – “achieve the life that was desired, not the life that was just available.”
We all have “possibilities,” don’t we? If your “possibility” is something that requires more than a high school education, Cochise College is a place you can go to turn “possibility” into reality.
Let me share a little about my experience.
I’m from Wyoming, the son of loving parents who, although not college educated, recognized the importance of higher education. They hadn’t been fortunate enough to attend themselves but believed the future well-being of their sons rested in their receiving an education beyond high school. That’s how I became a first-generation student at Ricks College, a two-year school in Idaho. With the help of the faculty and staff there, I learned to navigate the system, to meet deadlines and take responsibility for my own learning, to set career-related goals and achieve them. I began studying criminal justice, with my “possibility” being to attend law school and become a lawyer. Though I shifted disciplines and later earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at other institutions, it was at a junior/community college where I learned what it takes to be academically successful and gained the confidence to consider “possibilities” that weren’t, at first, part of my plans. Ricks College provided a foundation for success.
My story probably isn’t very different from that of someone you know. And so I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who’s contemplating his or her “possibilities” come talk to someone, anyone, at Cochise. Alumni have said this is where they pursued things they may not have tried without the support of faculty, where they transitioned from a face in the crowd to the leader of a student organization, and where those experiences set the stage for later success. One alum, now residing in Georgia, said she was so proud to receive notification from Cochise that she’d graduated that she has saved “every single piece of documentation” she’s ever gotten from Cochise in an effort to preserve that feeling. Another, an information technology professional in South Carolina, credits Cochise for preparing him to work with a number of Fortune 500 companies. Others value the friendships they made and ideas they shared with people from all different walks of life.
We live in the world’s greatest country. We can go anywhere, do anything, and be anything we desire. Our “possibilities” are unlimited and in our reach. At Cochise, we believe “possibilities” aren’t to be set aside. They’re perfectly possible! A new message on our website is one you’ll see throughout the coming year as we correlate Cochise College with the idea that possible means “being within the limits of ability, capacity or realization.”
In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible.’”
Give Cochise a try. You might even become president.
J.D. Rottweiler is president of Cochise College. Contact him at email@example.com.