The Erie County Community College Board of Trustees have welcomed their new president.
Dr. Chris Gray says he’s excited to lead future students to their dreams. Dr. Gray may be focused on the future, but he’s counting on an extensive past to bring his knowledge to Erie’s first ever community college.
“All we do is we keep one hand behind them to push them when we need to and one hand to support when they fall and one hand in front of them saying you can do it. That’s what community college does.” Dr. Gray said.
Dr. Gray’s vision is coming from being a vice president at McHenry County College in Illinois. He says he is looking forward to providing opportunities to many, especially those in underserved communities.
“The current system doesn’t meet their needs and they might not even have access to it. One thing we have to do as a community’s college is get into those neighborhoods, get into those high schools, get into those churches and start to understand what are the needs and what are the barriers.” Dr. Gray said.
Dr. Gray and others, including Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, are looking forward to opening the doors to those chasing their dreams.
“Look at the community college as a possible vehicle to get that. It’s going to be affordable is going to be accessible and it’s going to be a great opportunity for you.” Dahlkemper said.
An opportunity that Dr. Gray says he can relate.
“I’m a blue collar guy at heart and I don’t feel I belong in higher education, but that’s what community college is about because we’re greedy and get things done.” Dr. Gray said.
Applications to apply to the college begins next week on July 15th.
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