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A Glimpse into Dr. Baston’s Vision – Tri-C’s Journey Towards a Four-Year College 

By Jane Salifu 

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In a recent luncheon at the Westshore campus, Dr. Baston, the President of Tri-C, sat down with students to connect with them on a personal level and gain insight into their needs. Born to young parents in the Bronx, Dr. Baston’s upbringing was far from privileged.

He described himself as, “a product of babies that had babies”. His mom was 19, her mom was 19, and his dad was 21 when they had kids. He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. But he believes that there is nothing you can’t achieve with resilience. He is fortunate, he says, to grow up in a community that fosters him with the ideology “if it won’t work for anybody, it will work for me.” He said, “I grew up in the Bronx; I didn’t feel that I was going to college for myself. I felt I was going for my neighborhood. I hope you make a beautiful contribution to your communities. We need people who are going to lean in and try to help.” During the gathering, he shared his belief that everyone can achieve greatness with determination and a commitment to making a positive impact on their communities. 

Switching from Law to Education: 

Dr. Baston’s journey took an unexpected turn when he switched from pursuing a law degree to representing educational institutions. Drawn to engage with students, he found fulfillment in improving their lives. He emphasized the idea that one can “do good and do well” simultaneously, and this philosophy has become a guiding principle for Tri-C. 

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Tri-C’s Transition to a Four-Year College: 

One of the most exciting developments discussed during the luncheon was Tri-C’s potential transition to a four-year college. Dr. Baston expressed hope that the institution would offer its first bachelor’s program in the fall of 2024, specifically in the field of mechanical engineering. While this move could make higher education more accessible, there has been pushback from existing four-year colleges concerned about competition. Nevertheless, Dr. Baston sees this as a work in progress and a step towards providing more affordable education. 

Mentorship Programs: 

Tri-C is actively involved in mentorship programs like Mandel, connecting students with mentors from the faculty and staff. Dr. Baston stressed the importance of speaking up and maintaining these connections even after graduation. Mentorship programs aim to provide students with guidance and support, enhancing their overall college experience. 

Challenges in the First Year: 

Challenges faced by students vary, with the pandemic highlighting the need to adapt to remote learning. Dr. Baston emphasized the importance of staying abreast of trends in the job market and understanding how to transfer acquired skills into marketable assets. 

Internship Programs and International Students: 

Addressing the pause in internship programs for the fall semester, especially for international students, Dr. Baston cited funding as a major factor. Tri-C is committed to prioritizing funding for these programs and exploring options like OPT and CTP to support international students. 

Child First Initiatives: 

Tri-C recognizes the challenges students with children face, especially regarding childcare costs. Dr. Baston acknowledged the importance of affordable childcare and mentioned ongoing efforts to identify local options. The institution is also exploring scholar housing as a means of supporting students with childcare responsibilities. 

Student Housing and Future Plans: 

Regarding student housing, Dr. Baston sees potential in the Westshore and Eastern campuses due to their ample physical space. He envisions student housing as a game-changer, enhancing the overall student experience and fostering campus engagement. 

In conclusion, the students present at the luncheon expressed their satisfaction with Tri-C, highlighting its evolution beyond high school drama and the excellence of programs like nursing. As Tri-C navigates the path toward becoming a four-year college, Dr. Baston’s commitment to student success and community impact remains at the forefront of the institution’s vision. 

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