Honoring Delia Pfister during Women’s History Month
During this year’s Women’s History month, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) honored Delia Pfister, Associate Vice President, Academic Professional Development, Online Learning and Academic Technology, Transfer and Articulation. Pfister is also a part of the ideas festival team which ensures that students have a great home at Tr-C.
Pfister grew up as the middle child of a family of five kids in Lyndhurst, Ohio, she loved school, and knew she wanted to go to college.
“I was not quite sure I would have the funds for it, given that I had to pay for it on my own,” Pfister said. “But between scholarships, a job, and financial aid, I was able to make my dream come true and attended Ohio University where I majored in organizational communication and minored in studio art.”
During her junior year, Pfister knew she wanted to get a master’s degree but was not sure how she could afford it.
“God gave me the resources in scholarship money to be admitted to graduate school early and I became the first student at Ohio University to finish both a master’s and bachelor’s degree at the same time – in four years,” Pfister said.
“I have a master’s degree in interpersonal communication and a certificate in women’s studies.”
As a student at Ohio University, Pfister loved the college environment so much that she knew that someday she wanted to work at a college.
“I even told my college roommate that someday I wanted to be a president of a college or university,” Pfister said. “So, at the age of 43, I went back to school to earn my Ph.D. in higher education administration from Kent State University. I also earned the Dissertation of the Year Award in 2017 from the National Council on Student Development with my research entitled, ‘Singled Out for Success: A Narrative Inquiry of Single Mothers in the Community College.’”
After graduating from college, Pfister worked in the advertising industry for six years at the advertising agency, Axel Band and Brown, and Fifth Third Bank.
“While I loved my career in advertising and marketing, working in higher education was always my dream,” Pfister said.
“This dream became a reality when I got a job at Ursuline College as the director of marketing for their accelerated adult program and stayed there for 13 years. Currently, I have been working at Cuyahoga Community College for over 12 years and have served in various dean roles at both the Metro and Western campuses.”
When asked why she likes working at Tri-C, Pfister said, “I have always been an educator at heart and Tri-C’s mission speaks to my heart with the open-access mission, whereby no matter where you are on your journey, we meet you there and provide a great educational experience.”
Pfister added that, “Tri-C feels like a family to me. I love the students, faculty, and staff. We all care so deeply for one another and want to see everyone achieve success however, everyone may define it.”
Pfister’s advice for students is to not let life get in the way of your education!
“When I was in the middle of my doctoral program in my 40s, I went through a terrible divorce, had to sell my house, and take care of my two teenage daughters at the time,” Pfister said. “School was the last thing I wanted to think about, and I almost dropped out of my Ph.D. program.”
But after telling a faculty member that she wanted to quit the program, they convinced her that she would need her degree more than ever because as a single mother she will have to help her family in the future.
“I am so thankful for the wise words of this faculty member who convinced me to keep going,” Pfister said. “I can proudly say that earning my Ph.D. was a true-life milestone in more ways than one. So, students stay in school and seek support to stay in school. Once you have your degree no one can EVER take it away from you.”
Pfister says that Tri-C has great things to offer students from its vast educational offerings, scholarships, clubs, organizations, athletics, and academic resources to the learning commons, library, tutoring, writing centers, and student support services.
In her current position, Pfister enjoys helping faculty and students with their experiences in teaching and learning. In her spare time, Pfister enjoys leadership coaching, gourmet and vegan/plant-based cooking, church marriage ministry, volunteering, musical theater, and traveling with her family.