Clovis Community College showcases successful culture

CONTRIBUTED BY CLOVIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Clovis Community College president Dr. Lori Bennett addressed the community Wednesday morning during the school’s inaugural President’s Breakfast in which she and other administrators showcased the college’s programs, achievements and overall academic excellence.

“I am currently enjoying my third year as the president of the college, however, I personally fell in love with Clovis Community College the first time I read our mission statement,” said Bennett, who moved to the area after accepting the job in 2016. “The people at Clovis Community College are dedicated to creating opportunities one student at a time. I knew that a community college that focused on individual students was a special place and I wanted to be part of that.”

Originally founded as Willow International, the two-year college earned its accreditation in July of 2015, becoming the state’s 113th community college.

Today, it serves nearly 12,000 students, a 52 percent growth from 2012.

“Clovis is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing community colleges in the state of California … and enrollment growth will continue throughout the next decade,” said Bennett.

Making up the student population at Clovis Community College are students of all backgrounds with Hispanics leading the way at 43 percent. A majority of the students are also products of local high school with 52 percent of the population representing Clovis Unified School District.

Following graduation, these same students move on to four-year universities in both the CSU and UC systems, as well as private institutions. Fresno State happens to be a top pick for many with 63 percent of graduates electing to be Bulldogs.

According to Bennett’s presentation, Clovis Community College is ranked the No. 1 community college in the Central Valley for completion rate, and No. 19 in the state.

Damon Rapada, the student body president, also shared a message with the audience about his experience at Clovis Community College.

“I came to Clovis Community College as a first-generation college student and let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect,” said Rapada, the student body president. “But what I found at Clovis Community College was beyond community, beyond any regular institution, beyond what people really believed a community college can be. Clovis Community College is truly a family – a family that cares and invests in every student’s future, just like mine. It was from the very first week on instruction that I realized my experience at this college would be forever life-changing. This college’s diverse culture has given me and so many other students opportunities to expand their horizons in areas they never believed possible … ”

After completing his coursework, Rapada looks to attend UC Davis with hopes of one day running for public office.

Bennett returned to the stage to share one of the school’s goals moving forward: “Our goal is to continue developing high quality educational programs that allow students to either start a career or go on to a university, either locally or away, but always with the mindset that they will come back to the Valley to work and live. Clovis Community College is proud to be creating opportunities one student at a time.”