Paradise Valley Community College Celebrates 30 Years of Quality Education

At the 2016 graduation ceremony, Dr. Mary Lou
Mosley announces the name of Don Lant, who
excitedly crosses the stage. Lant was an actively
engaged student leader.

Photo courtesy of PVCC Archives

At the 2016 graduation ceremony, Dr. Mary Lou Mosley announces the name of Don Lant, who excitedly crosses the stage. Lant was an actively engaged student leader.

Denise Estfan, Puma Press Faculty Adviser

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Photo courtesy of PVCC Archives

A 1985 photo of Northeast Valley Education Center, which was located at 2848 E. Bell Rd., Phoenix, Arizona, eventually moved to the current PVCC campus.

This year, Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) celebrates its 30th anniversary. What began as The Northeast Valley Education Center in 1985 and was then dedicated as PVCC in 1987 is now a comprehensive community college serving the Northeast Valley.
Before the students, the campus and signature programs like Nursing and Fire Science, there was just a piece of land and a great need for a college in the Northeast Valley. Someone who was instrumental in getting the college up and running is Beth Koehnemann, Paradise Valley Community Council Chair. She said that it was the surrounding community that really made the college a reality.
“Out of the three colleges built about the same time (Chandler, Litchfield Park and PVCC), PVCC was the only one who had to find land, pass a bond issue in the immediate area and help to lift a building moratorium imposed by the, then, State Community College Board. To accomplish these feats, our local and national elected officials plus hordes of citizens, teachers, school hierarchy, high school and college students, from Cave Creek, Carefree as well as the Greater Paradise Valley area, banded together for the common cause. They manned phone banks for the bond issue passage and attended scores of meetings. As one of the District’s officials said to me after the dedication, ‘This is truly a community college,’” said Koehnemann.
The school has been embedded in the community ever since.

According to the PVCC website and college president, Dr. Paul Dale, when the college opened its doors in the Fall of 1987, 3,781 students were enrolled; today the school serves close to 9,000 students annually. Over its 30 years, the college has educated 166,889 students in the Northeast Valley and conferred over 13,513 degrees and/or certificates.
Dale said, “Over the past 30 years, PVCC has grown to be a fully comprehensive community college inclusive of the addition of niche occupational programs, extensive co-curricular programs, fine and performing arts, intercollegiate athletics and the establishment of the Black Mountain site to serve northern Maricopa County and the communities of Cave Creek and Carefree.”

Dale said that the school’s most notable contribution to the community is student success. He said that students from PVCC “do as well or slightly better than the ‘native’ university students when it comes to completion and graduation rates.” He also said that there are over 4,300 former PVCC students enrolled in one of the three state universities, Grand Canyon and many out-of-state universities each semester. The certificate and AAS degree programs allow students to directly enter the workforce.
Two PVCC alumni who met while in school started a restaurant together and attribute some of their success to their time at PVCC. Tom D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck’s business venture, Aioli Burgers, started with one truck, grew into three, became a full catering company, and now they have a brick and mortar location, according to the Alumni Association’s page on the school website. “Kyle credits the support he received in PVCC’s Tutoring Center with his appreciation for and success in his math coursework at PVCC. As the mathematician behind this business venture, Kyle utilizes his PVCC education daily. While students at PVCC, they both worked in the restaurant business and envisioned the day when they would own a restaurant.”

D’Ambrosio and Hollenbeck aren’t the only ones who appreciated the support they received while at PVCC. Musician, James Austin Murray, known as JAM, “credits the outstanding faculty at PVCC with his commitment to this college,” according to the Alumni Association page. “JAM loves performing on campus and is giving back to PVCC in several ways. JAM energized the graduates at the 27th Annual PVCC Commencement in May 2017 with ‘Believe It’s Possible.’ He performed classic rock songs for PVCC’s annual Fine and Performing Arts Scholarship fund-raiser.”
Though student success is at the forefront of PVCC’s mission, the college provides more than just classes for credit; it also continues to serve the Northeast Valley by offering enrichment opportunities to the community. Dale said, “We provide courses that all ages can take; additionally, our Fitness Center hosts a very well subscribed Silver Sneakers program, and during the summer months, numerous discipline specific camps are held on campus including fine and performing arts, math and science and creative writing.”
PVCC’s commitment to the community has never been stronger. Dale said, “Students who leave PVCC are equipped as critical and creative thinkers with life-long learning value, and it is my sincerest hope that many of our students are also able to make positive change in their places of work, communities and local neighborhoods. It is literally the thousands of PVCC alumni making the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, the state of Arizona and many other communities a better place for all.”
The community is invited to celebrate with PVCC. More information about these events can be found on the school website at www.paradisevalley.edu/anniversary.

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