Colonial Quarterly - Summer 2016

Letter from the Alumni Association President

Dear Alumni:

Felicia CarterMy name is Felicia Carter, and I am proud to say that I am your Community College of Philadelphia Alumni Association president. I come to you having more than 15 years of communications and project management experience within the health care industry, along with running my own travel agency. Balancing all of my personal endeavors is tough at times, but Community College of Philadelphia has equipped me with the tools to succeed at anything I set my mind to. I am sure it has done the same for you.

As we unite to grow our Alumni Association, the Alumni Council is working on bettering our communications with you and creating more fun-filled events for the coming year. In 2014, we sent out a survey to alumni to find out what you wanted in events and how we can better communicate with you. We were delighted by the results. After reviewing the responses, we created a line of events that focused on what YOU wanted: professional development, networking socials, cultural awareness events and community service days. We also re-launched our Facebook page and created this quarterly newsletter to ensure that you always stay connected to us.

I could not be more excited to be a part of this dedicated, thriving community, and what it holds for us for the future. My goal is to empower alumni pride, passion and appreciation; keep in communication and to give back to Community College of Philadelphia. Joining the Alumni Association has its privileges, and we aim to make it great! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Alumni Association president.

If you are not yet a member of the Alumni Association and would like to be a part of this flourishing group, we invite you to learn more about our benefits and services.


Felicia signature
Felicia Carter '04
Alumni Association  

Alumni Spotlight — Charles King, '05

Charles KingWhen you talk about perseverance and determination, you have to place Charles King, ’05, in the conversation. This alumnus is a Special Olympics record holder in the category of powerlifting and bench pressing. His claim to fame was deadlifting an astounding 407 pounds in 2012 while over the age of 60. But despite that great achievement, things were not easy for Charles. While a student at Community College of Philadelphia, he was homeless, legally blind in both eyes and diagnosed with cancer. Despite the trials he faced, he never gave up. He used each trial as a stepping stone to a much more positive future.

In the beginning of his higher education journey, he searched long and hard for the right institution to meet his needs. After speaking with a representative at the Veterans Affairs office, they urged him to attend Community College of Philadelphia. “I was nervous and scared because I was blind. This was all new to me. I wasn’t too sure if I would be able to handle college at all. When the VA representative told me that Community College had a good disability center, I instantly made my decision to attend.”

During his College experience, he vividly remembered the generous support that the Center on Disability gave him through the years. “The staff and students of the Center were like a family. We helped one another out. That support really encouraged me to continue pursuing my education at the College.”

Education was not the only benefit Charles received at the College, this is also where his powerlifting career got its start. To alleviate the stress of exams and coursework, he began working out at the College’s Athletics Center. “Being able to use the gym and work out after my classes was a relief. Sometimes people don’t understand that being blind is mentally stressful, especially for someone who wasn’t born that way. It takes so much energy. I have to create mental maps so I can navigate through life. So when I’m at the gym, I am in my safe haven.”

His hard work at the gym not only provided stress relief but also the opportunity to participate on the world stage at the Special Olympics: International World Games for the Blind. In 2012, he set the world record by deadlifting 407 pounds and won a Gold Medal for the United States. He also set the bench pressing record of 281 pounds, being recognized as the “oldest actively competing blind weightlifter in the world.”

King’s advice for students currently attending Community College of Philadelphia is very simple. “Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. You can easily complain about the trials in your life, but success only comes to those who look at adversity as minor challenges to get to your true goal. Enjoy the journey ahead, and never doubt yourself. I attended the College as a senior citizen, diagnosed with cancer, homeless and blind. If I can make it, I know you can too!”

Class Notes

Phoebe HenningerPhoebe Henninger, ’15, studied Liberal Arts – Social/Behavioral Science. She is one of our select alumni to make the ambitious jump from Community College of Philadelphia to the Ivy League. She currently attends the University of Pennsylvania, where she is studying Political Science with a concentration in American Government. Upon graduating, she hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in Political Science and conduct research in the field of political behavior.


Erika LawrenceErika Lawrence, ’14, graduated from Community College of Philadelphia with a degree in Marketing. While at the College, Lawrence held many leadership positions. She served as treasurer for the Student Government Association during 2014 and as president of Alpha Beta Gamma International Business Honor Society while interning for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Lawrence, now a senior at La Salle University, has continued on her path as a distinguished student, putting to use the skills she developed to secure a competitive internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago last summer. She plans to graduate this December and enter into the business sector.

Rainah ChamblissRainah Chambliss, ’13, has found a home at Community College of Philadelphia. After graduating with a degree in Business, she began work in the College’s Office of Workforce and Economic Innovation. She served as an alumni speaker at the Community College of Philadelphia’s 2014 Women’s Leadership Conference and participated in the 2013-2014 Leadership Institute. Chambliss has demonstrated a passion for leadership and stellar scholarship. She is currently a senior at Temple University, and has been recognized as a member of the National Society for Leadership and a Golden Key International Honor Society member. She was also chosen as a finalist to be the graduation speaker of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.

Fredrick Soejanto, ’12, earned associate’s degrees in Liberal Arts – Religious Studies and Social/Behavioral Science. After completing his education, Soejanto made a commitment to serve in the United States Army. He holds the position of Unit Administrator for the 424 Medical Battalion and serves as a medical logistics sergeant for the 341st Medical Logistics Company. In his latest embodiment of leadership, Soejanto collaborated with the Red Cross military division to assist in the scheduling, managing and issuing of medics to help the Red Cross during the 2015 papal visit.

Faculty Spotlight Ravyn Davis

Ravyn Davis

Ravyn Davis, assistant professor of English, started teaching at Community College of Philadelphia in 2010. She teaches English 101,102 and 108, as well as Women’s Studies 101. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts Studies from the University of Memphis, a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has completed all but a dissertation on a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.

Davis served as a Teacher in Residence in the College’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. She is involved with the Center for International Understanding, which has allowed her to participate in the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center’s Infusing Institute on China and Japan. She is currently a regional coordinator through her involvement in a Student-Faculty International Fellowship Program, which will allow her to travel to Tanzania in June 2016 as part of a study abroad program.

Davis has received multiple awards for her work, including Educator of the Year by the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at the University of Mississippi in 2007, the “Shakey” Yates Teaching Award in 2008 by the English Department at the University of Mississippi, and she was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies at Wabash College in 2008-2009.

“I do not think many people understand just how rewarding teaching at a college like the Community College of Philadelphia can be,” Davis began. “There are possibilities for the students, but equally as many for the professors. If you want a teaching career that offers necessary pedagogical challenges, supportive colleagues and professional development opportunities, it would be hard to find a better place than Community College of Philadelphia.”

Alumni News

2016 Black and Gold Awards

2016 Black and Gold Awards

The Alumni Association held its first fundraising event, the 2016 Black and Gold Awards, on April 20. Held in the Pavilion Building on Main Campus, we welcomed more than 110 guests. The Association was pleased to honor Napoleon Garcia, VI, Impacto Latin Newspaper Publisher, with the Community Hero Award; Rev. Dr. John A. Dawkins, III, Jo-Dan Enterprises CEO and McDonald’s Operator, with the Corporate Leadership Award; and Jerome Mitchell, ’80, RJ Mitchell Group Principal Partner, with the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. With the help of our honorees and the Black and Gold Committee, the event raised more than $10,000. Proceeds from the event went toward scholarships and alumni activities. Check out some of the event pictures.



Three successful entrepreneurs and alumni of the College spoke to students, fellow alumni, faculty and staff about how to be your own boss on April 12. Chet Riddick, ’77, CEO of Alpha Enterprise Group; Darrell Dorsey, ‘10, CEO of Dorsey Investments; and Mindy Solkin, ’74, CEO of The Running Center each discussed their personal journey and the difficulties along the way toward business success. Check out some of the event pictures.

Philly Fun Fest: Coffee Tasting in the City


Our alumni took over Mugshots Coffeehouse on Jan. 20 to experience some fun and networking while taking an educational trip to caffeine paradise. Alumni enjoyed a brewing presentation by Eric, the coffee barista, who demonstrated the drip brewing process. We even had two alumni members reunite for the first time since high school. Goes to show you that a little coffee at an alumni event can rekindle great memories and bring us all together! Check out some event pictures.

Foundation Update

There is more than one way to give a gift

Tara Jenkins and Daniel Platt

Tara Jenkins and Daniel Platt

Shirley P. Thomas Scholarship

Shirley P. Thomas, ’77, established the Shirley P. Thomas Scholarship in 2010 to provide funding to nontraditional students who have delayed or interrupted their education.


Sophie Vega and Kinga Kania

Sophie Vega and Kinga Kania

In Honor
Dr. Edward Anderson Scholarship (Business Programs)

Richard S. Downs, ’67, established the Dr. Edward Anderson scholarship to support students pursing business-related majors. Dr. Anderson was highly regarded for his many talents and contributions to the College as an educator, administrator, entrepreneur, marketing expert and artist. It was Dr. Anderson’s devotion to his students in the role of educator that inspired this scholarship in his honor.

Alexis Miro and Joyce Baskins

Alexis Miro and Joyce Baskins

In Memory
Christopher L. Baskins Scholarship

Christopher L. Baskins was a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia and an active participant in community service. After his sudden passing in 2013, his mother, Mrs. Joyce Baskins, established the scholarship to recognize a student active in community and volunteer service.



Volunteer Board Member Support

The Reentry Support Scholarship was established by Craig Stock, a Foundation boardmember, to assist citizens enrolled in the Reentry Support Project. The program provides academic and workforce-oriented projects, resources, and services that contribute to students’ secondary education and community reintegration success.


Community Partner

PECO Energy awards 50 Community College of Philadelphia students pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors with tuition support through the PECO Scholars Program.

Annual Fund Raises more than $80,000
The Annual Fund is a special giving campaign where College staff, faculty, employees and alumni have the opportunity to give back and support the mission of the College. The money raised from the Annual Fund campaign helps fund scholarships and other tuition assistance, including the 50th Anniversary Scholars Program, a scholarship that provides eligible Philadelphia high school graduates with the chance to pursue their associate’s degree at Community College of Philadelphia with no cost for tuition and fees. This year, the Annual Fund raised more than $85,000 toward this effort.

Learn more about the 50th Anniversary Scholars program or donate to the Annual Fund and be a part of this tremendous initiative.

Update Your Information
Did you move? Are you married or recently engaged? Have you changed jobs? Update your information online or email us at so we can continue to stay connected with you and keep you informed about all the exciting things happening at Community College of Philadelphia.

Join the Alumni Association Now!
Interested in joining the Alumni Association? Already a part of the Alumni Association and want to find out what new benefits we offer?

Benefits include:
Access to College Library, and Computer and Learning labs
Discounts from Third-party Partners
Quarterly e-newsletter
Exclusive Access to Special Events
Free Professional Workshops
And much more!

Join Now! 

Notable Alumni: Moving Philadelphia Forward

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Deesha Dyer
White House Social Secretary


Gunter Pfau
Founder and CEO of international technology
companies Stuzo and

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Dr. Kathleen Hetherington
President of Howard Community College


Joseph J. Williams, M.D., and Gwendolyn
V. Williams, Ed.D.

Urologist and Educational Consultant/Professor

To view more notable alumni click here

Program Partners

To help you conquer your tasks and enjoy exclusive alumni savings, check out the discounts and special offers on the latest Dell PCs, electronics and accessories. Visit

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom
Offers alumni discounts on etickets (print and go). Visit to view the College's available discounts.

Join us for the Community College of Philadelphia Alumni Day at Hersheypark on June 11, 2016. Admission include The Boardwalk, Hersheypark and ZooAmerica for just $15.00. Visit  and use promo code 21416.

Liberty Mutual Insurance
To learn more about Liberty Mutual Auto and Home Insurance discounts or get a free, no-obligation quote, call 1-888-915-1100 or visit

Morey’s Piers
Two beachfront waterparks, three action-packed amusement piers, more than 100 rides and attractions, and countless family memories! Savings are simply a click away by visiting to view discounted packages with the ID CCP.

76ers Basketball
Purchase Sixers tickets and save off of the gate price with a special alumni discount. Please visit and enter code CCPAlumni.

Six Flags/Great Adventure

Log on to the Six Flags site to buy tickets with substantial savings off the main gate price. This online benefit program allows you to print and go, so there is no waiting in line. To access tickets, visit and log in with the username ccpga and password SixFlags1 (case sensitive).

College News

Special Homecoming for White House Social Secretary

Deesha Dyer

Whenever Mary Conway gets the chance, she shamelessly talks to her classes about a former student who is now the White House Social Secretary."I see her as a self-made woman," the associate professor of English said, in regard to Deesha Dyer. “I tell every class about her. I think sometimes they don’t imagine their futures, and they can’t see that place of where she is from where they are, and I think it’s good for me to remind them.” Read more.

Vice President and Second Lady Visit to Announce Plan for Free College Tuition

Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, the Second Lady and a teacher at a Virginia community college, visited the College April 25 to discuss their initiative for free college tuition. The program provides $100 million in grants to expand job-training partnerships at community colleges. Vice President Biden said the program is designed to extend free tuition programs like the one at Community College of Philadelphia. Read more.

Dr. Karen E. Nelson: Intersecting Science and Humanity to Boost Global Health

Karen Nelson

A microbiologist whose research may one day allow doctors to match medical care to an individual’s genetic code, Dr. Karen E. Nelson’s groundbreaking research has had a global impact—and it could change how people live their lives.
Read more.