AACC was pleased to have Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. Undersecretary of Education Dr. Martha Kanter visit AACC on September 15. Wife of Vice President Joe Biden and College Professor, Dr. Jill Biden has been a long-time advocate for community colleges and seemed at home talking with AACC students.
The visit was part of Dr. Biden’s ongoing work to showcase the Obama-Biden Administration’s commitment to supporting America’s community colleges and their students. She hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges on October 5.
The two dignitaries first participated in a pastry-making session in an intermediate bakery class where students are working toward certificates and degrees in culinary arts.
The next stop of their visit included a round-table discussion led by AACC President Dr. Martha A. Smith. Fourteen students represented diverse ways the college is helping more students become more successful, the key element of Student Success 2020. The students shared personal stories of needing to make career changes, overcoming language and financial barriers, and seeking out mentors on campus to help them succeed.
When Dr. Biden asked Calvin Diggs, 19, who first came to AACC through the college’s Jump Start program, if he was the first in his family to go to college, the Glen Burnie resident responded, "No, but I’d like to be the first to finish."
Dr. Biden asked follow-up questions on ways that colleges could help even more. She also recognized that many are trying to balance work and raise families while furthering their education and praised them for their persistence.
As a lifelong educator and community college instructor for the past 17 years, Dr. Biden knows that community colleges are uniquely positioned to graduate more Americans with the skills that businesses and the economy will need to compete in the 21st century. Over the last year and a half, she has visited successful job training and completion programs as well as student support programs at community college campuses throughout the country.
Learn more about the students who participated in the round-table discussion with Dr. Biden, Dr. Kanter, and Dr. Smith.
See additional photos of the event.