WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Westchester Community College family honored two of its most important members -- its longtime president, Dr. Joseph N. Hankin, and supporter David Swope -- at the WCC Foundation Spring for Scholarships dinner in Tarrytown.
Hankin, the longest tenured community college president in the nation (in his 42nd and final year), and Swope, an Ossining resident who has been a volunteer, fundraiser and current chair of the college's Board of Trustees, were each presented with proclamations by Westchester County in front of a packed room at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill.
Swope spoke fondly about his 20-year partnership with the college and its administrators, professors, students and foundation members. He received the Foundation’s Donor of Distinction Award.
"It (his work with the college) started years ago with students I met working part-time at Club Fit," said Swope, an Ossining resident. "I was just so overwhelmed by their accomplishment, the obstacles they would overcome and the help they were getting (from WCC). Then I met the faculty and were here because they loved to teach and that was all. I appreciate you all and being associated with the college."
Hankin was named the leader of Westchester Community College in 1971 and began transforming the Valhalla-based college.Over his four decades at the helm, Hankin helped the campus to the community, expanding academic programs and repairing infrastructure.
"Albert Einstein said in every difficulty there is an opportunity," said Hankin, who has signed more than 50,000 Westchester Community College diplomas over his career. "Whether you are member of the board of trustees, foundation board or administrator or staff. Whether you are a state or county official, member of an particular organization or you're disorganized -- all of out efforts represent a team of educators."
The evening was capped off by Mount Vernon resident and 2014 WCC graduate Devisha Bryan, who spoke poignantly about how scholarships helped her fulfill part of her "American Dream" of getting an education.
"I thought the dream of a better life was going to be lost until I received the financial help I needed with a scholarship," Bryan said.