Suffolk CC invites Obama to visit in October

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at Knox President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at Knox College July 24, 2013 in Galesburg, Illinois. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

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Suffolk Community College president Shaun McKay is asking President Barack Obama to come to the Selden campus this fall to learn how the state's largest community college is leading the way to help grow a prosperous middle class for the next generation.

McKay said he decided to invite the president Monday after listening to Obama’s weekend radio address where he talked about higher education as “surest ticket to the middle class,” where graduates average $28,000 more a year than those with a high school diploma.

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McKay would not speculate about the prospects of the president accepting, but he added, “If you don't ask, the chances of him coming are zero.” He hopes the president might join them Oct. 21 when the college dedicates the opening of the new $28.5 million life sciences building in honor of late Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook).

McKay said he wants the president to come to the campus to underscore the importance of community colleges as an affordable alternative in helping students achieve a better life. He noted the three-campus school graduated a record 4,189 student in May and the incoming class for this year is expected to be even larger next month.

McKay also said the college has introduced scholarships to spur interest in Science Technology, Engineering and Math, popularly known as STEM, other scholarships to keep students local as they advance to four-year colleges, and an initiative known as Excelsior to give high school students college course credit.

“The college is committed to economic empowerment,” McKay said, “and serves as an economic engine for our region by educating and training our students for a wide range of economic opportunities.”

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