On October 25, in what is likely one of her last public appearances as President of Clovis Community College, Dr. Lori Bennett spoke at the President’s Breakfast held at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
The President’s Breakfast also served as a State of the College for Clovis Community College.
In her address, she spoke about the students of Clovis Community, coming out of the pandemic, and the growth that has been occuring at the college in the past five years.
“When I started as President in 2016, we had about eighty-five employees, less than a hundred, today we have over two hundred…[We had to hire] to support our growing number of students. For the last three years we served an average of over 13,600 students each year on our campus.”
Dr. Bennett then mentioned specifics at Clovis Community College including their number one major which is biology. Because so many students choose to transfer into the healthcare profession, they choose biology as their major. “34 percent of our students are STEM majors.”
“Our college has been strategic in reflecting on our work, so that we can remove barriers and provide support systems to improve access to help students to succeed.”
When talking about program building and curriculum at the campus, Dr. Bennett mentioned that there are now over one hundred degrees and certificates offered at Clovis Community College. When she first began, there were only twenty-six.
Before mentioning an update on the new Applied Technology building, Bennett explained the importance of being able to connect to the community of Clovis, in addition to Fresno as well, with transportation programs such as the FAX bus routes from Fresno. “With this addition we are now connected to community and public transportation.”
Speaking with the Superintendent of Clovis Unified, Dr. Eimear O’Brien, it was mentioned that Dr. Bennett’s allusion to the Summer at S.E.A. program is a welcome addition to CUSD. “I told one of my colleagues ‘I want to be sure that we are ensuring that all of our kids know about that program’…We’ll be making sure that all of our students have access to that.”
Dr. O’Brien then wished Dr. Lori Bennett a happy retirement before she praised her efforts of the last seven years.
“I’m happy for her to be moving on in her retirement, but for sure she can look back on a great career…She has been very passionate about what she’s done, she’s a doer, and I will tell you, what she’s done over the last seven years is quite extraordinary…She can certainly look back on huge accomplishments over a short period of time.”
“I‘ve worked very closely with her, people may not realize that I meet with her every couple of months. We sit down, have breakfast and we review how our education pathways, K-12 are feeding into her programs.”
Before Rico Guerrero, Executive Director of the State Center Community College Foundation, came to the podium to mention fundraising opportunities like the 6th Annual “Giving Tuesday” that will take place November 29th, Dr. Bennett bid one last thank you and farewell to the large crowd inside the ballroom.
“I just wanna say thank you for all of your support, for your friendship during my time as President at Clovis Community College. It has truly been an honor being at this college, and to help build it into what you heard from the presentations today….Together we’ve created opportunities, one student at a time.”