Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership Leader to Speak at OCC Commencement May 21

Dr. Samino Scott II, executive director of the Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership, will deliver Oakland Community College’s 2022 commencement address on Saturday, May 21, at Oakland University’s O’rena Athletics Center in Rochester, Mich. The event will be the first in-person commencement ceremony for the College since 2019.

About OCC’s commencement

Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Oakland University’s O’rena and live streamed on Facebook.

• 10 a.m.: Graduates receiving an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS or AASX) or a Certificate (CT)

• 2 p.m.: Graduates receiving Associate in Arts, Associate in Business Administration, Associate in General Studies, Associate in Science

For more information about OCC’s 2022 Commencement, visit https://www.oaklandcc.edu/commencement.

Dr. Samino Scott II a true community leader

With over two decades of extraordinary leadership experience, Scott is dedicated to empowering others and improving the quality of life and success for every child in the city of Pontiac and beyond, from cradle to career.

Dr. Scott, serves as the inaugural executive director of the Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership, a community-driven initiative. In this role, Dr. Scott provides leadership and support for the partnership’s day-to-day operations. He has more than two decades of professional experience in the civic and private sectors, most recently serving as community affairs director for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, where he worked with school districts, higher education institutions, municipalities, corporations, and other nonprofit agencies to effect systemic change and bring much-needed resources to the city of Pontiac.

Dr. Scott is a Pontiac native and proud graduate of the Pontiac School District. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Business at Oakland University and his Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies from the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University . Dr. Scott’s research has examined the factors that impact African American males’ educational aspirations and influence their post-secondary enrollment decisions.

He began his career working as an Oakland University’s admissions counselor after graduation. There he met students who weren’t sure what career path to take and it ignited a passion in him that evolved to where he is today.

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About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

OCC Awards $8.3 Million of Federal Relief Funds Directly to Students in Winter Semester

OCC has awarded more than $8.3 million to more than 80% of its Winter semester students as part of the federal government’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The financial awards range from $500 to $1,450 for full- and part-time students to assist them during the Pandemic. These awards are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

The funds were provided to all OCC students who registered for Winter 2022 classes and applied for the “no-strings-attached” money as part of the HEERF program. Students received a minimum of $500 and additional money was awarded based on other factors including credit load and financial need.

Money was directly awarded to the students the week of Jan. 31 and can be used for any component of their educational costs or related emergency costs that arise such as transportation, technology, health care or childcare expenses. Students determine how they may use their emergency financial grant within the allowable uses.

“This additional $8.3 million is a continuation of the program we provided for students in the fall semester,” said Chancellor Peter Provenzano, Jr. “The good news is that these funds are not a student loan and students are not required to pay the funds back as they work toward their academic goals.”

Provenzano said that between May 2020 and May 2022, OCC will have awarded $21.9 million of HEERF money directly to its students.

About OCC

Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

OCC Budget and Financial Planning Earns National Award

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Dec. 17, 2021 – The Government Finance Association has awarded OCC the GFOA’s coveted Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. The GFOA also awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Preparation to the College’s Budget and Financial Planning Department.

To earn the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award recognition, the public entity must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications tool.

“As careful stewards of the resources entrusted to us by our community, we strongly believe in financial transparency and financial stability,” OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano said. “These awards and documents are a testament to that commitment.”

“Participating in the GFOA budget awards program affords Oakland Community College an opportunity to have its budgeting practices evaluated by an organization whose mission is to advance excellence in public finance,” said Renee Oszust, OCC’s Director of Budget and Financial Planning. “The GFOA’s recommendations focus on best practices in budgeting and help guide the College in enhancing our commitment to financial transparency and sustainability.”

This is the fourth year OCC has received a budget award from the GFOA. View the budget report here.

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About Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), founded in 1906, represents public finance officials throughout the United States and Canada. The association’s more than 20,000 members are federal, state/provincial, and local finance officials deeply involved in planning, financing, and implementing thousands of governmental operations in each of their jurisdictions. GFOA’s mission is to advance excellence in public finance.

About OCC

Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

OCC Awarding Minimum of $400 Relief Money to Students Enrolled in Winter Semester

Oakland Community College will be giving a minimum of $400 for every student who registers for Winter 2022 semester, with many students qualifying for additional funds. The funds are provided through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and do not need to be repaid.

Once students register for winter 2022 classes, they can apply for this “no-strings-attached” money as part of a Federal program designed to assist in continuing their education during the COVID-19 pandemic. All students will receive a minimum of $400 and additional money may be awarded based on other factors including credit load and financial need. Money will be directly awarded to students and can be used to cover tuition, fees, transportation, technology, childcare or other related educational expenses.

“An additional $8-million is available for our students is a continuation of the program we provided for students in the fall semester. The good news is that these funds are not a student loan and students are not required to pay the funds back,” said Chancellor Peter Provenzano, Jr. “With OCC’s in-district rate of $99 a credit hour, the minimum $400 award is equivalent to getting a free four-credit class.”

The deadline for students to apply for these free funds is Jan. 25, 2022, with funds being disbursed directly to students the week of Jan. 31, 2022.

Provenzano encourages student to take advantage of these funds to further their goals stating, “It’s a great time to be an OCC student.”

For more information about the free funds, students should visit https://www.oaklandcc.edu/coronavirus/relief-fund.aspx.

About OCC

Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

August/September News from Beyond Basics

At long last, educational leaders are prioritizing the scientific instruction of reading for students, and providing equitable distribution of resources to students who need it most. Read more about our work and how you can be part of the solution here: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/August-September-News-from-Beyond-Basics.html?soid=1103648190684&aid=Enbab8ilTB0

OCC Giving $14 Million in Federal Emergency Relief Funds Direct to Students

Oakland Community College has a variety of new ways to make it easier for students to access funds and help pay for tuition and educational expenses for the fall semester. In addition to scholarships, financial aid and payment plans, OCC is providing Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) awards to all students registered for classes at OCC this fall.

HEERF funds are available through the Federal American Rescue Plan to institutions of higher learning to ensure learning continues and support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief has been provided with grant funding through specific programs such as the CARES Act and HEERF. OCC has secured $14 million for the student portion of the HEERF funding. The College plans to award $7 million to fall semester students and an additional $7 million to winter semester students.

Students enrolled in OCC’s fall semester will qualify for a minimum of $300 with additional funds granted based on certain qualifying factors including credit status and financial need as indicated on a student’s FAFSA.

“This $14 million is truly a gift to our students. By providing these funds to every student at OCC, we are working to ensure this grant supports individuals through this difficult time and allows students to experience the difference education brings to their future,” said Chancellor Peter Provenzano, Jr. “At $99 a credit hour for in-district residents, this grant award of at least $300 per student is essentially a free three credit class. It is an incredible opportunity for our community to prepare for the future.”

Awards will be made to all students registered for fall semester classes on or before September 14. Eligibility for the grant will be determined after OCC’s drop/add period, with awards expected to be disbursed by Thursday, September 30.

Bobbie Remias, vice chancellor for administrative services, believes this is a great year to be an OCC student.

“On top of the federal financial aid programs, the state’s Future for Front Liners and Michigan Reconnect programs, three Oakland County Promise Zone programs and the OCC scholarship programs, the addition of $14 million in HEERF awards makes college very accessible,” she said.

In addition to the scholarships and Federal grant opportunities, OCC students can make paying for fall classes easier by enrolling in the Tuition Payment Plan to defer tuition payment into three or four smaller payments. For more information, visit Tuition Payment Plan.

With five campuses in Oakland County, OCC’s 100-percent online degrees and certificates offer additional flexibility for those who need it.

For more on the HEERF awards, visit www.oaklandcc.edu/HEERF.

About OCC

Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Experienced Diversity Champion Joins OCC

Kristina M. Marshall, a champion of diversity and inclusion initiatives, has been hired as Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) at Oakland Community College (OCC). She brings a wealth of experience in DEIJ and higher education to the newly created position.

Marshall currently serves in a variety of national diversity leadership roles including current Co-chair of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. She is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Crain’s 2021 Notable Executives in DEI, Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Judge, and Instructor of the Year at Baker College.

She most recently served as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer as well as the Director of the Human Services Program for Baker College, the state’s largest independent, not-for-profit college. Among her most recent accomplishments, she was instrumental in launching Baker’s DEI foundational training series for faculty and staff and developed vital discussion panels for employees and students to dispel misunderstandings and stereotypes, with a focus on current events through the lens of systemic problems in society.

“Kristina brings tremendous experience, understanding and enthusiasm to this position,” said OCC Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Andre’ L. Poplar. “I am excited to have her join our team and look forward to working with her in implementing transformative change at OCC.”

According to OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano, the recent appointments of both Marshall and Poplar, who joined the College in February, 2021, will further support the College’s commitment to fostering a culture of understanding and appreciation of diversity, equity and inclusion. He stated, “This work is foundational to our personal and professional relationships and our efforts to positively impact our community and prepare our students for opportunities in a vibrant, global-based economy.”

Marshall says she is enthusiastic about joining the diverse, multi-campus community college.

“I chose OCC because they are committed to fostering an environment where students, faculty and staff feel a sense of belonging and value. They understand that people are our most valuable assets,” she said. “I look forward to improving OCC’s culture of inclusive excellence even further, where students, faculty and staff are offered the opportunity to thrive and bring value to the community.”

In addition to her background in DEI and human services, Marshall has extensive college teaching experience at both Baker College and Lansing Community College. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University.

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About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

OCC Celebrates Class of 2021 Graduates

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – June 16, 2021 – After a year like no other, which featured Oakland Community College’s first-ever, all-online year of learning, OCC celebrated its Class of 2021 graduates’ great achievement with a virtual commencement. This was the second year the event was held virtually, and nearly 1,600 graduates were honored.

“You were asked to achieve everything that students have done in past ‘normal’ years, while overcoming unbelievable challenges in the process,” said Peter M. Provenzano Jr., OCC Chancellor. “But you did it.”

The special event featured taped messages and photos from graduates, a recognition clip for each student as part of the roll call procession, remarks from OCC faculty and staff, a special keynote address and more. La’Jonnaqueece McEwen, OCC Graduating Class of 2021, sang the National Anthem to kick off the celebration.

OCC surprised graduates pre-ceremony with a special “Grad Box” that included a cap and tassel, commencement program, diploma cover, OCC swag and more. Graduates could also order a gown and other graduation memorabilia from the OCC Bookstore.

“Shout out to Oakland Community College for going above and beyond for their graduates this year! I was not expecting this Grad Box at all, and it may even top my ‘graduation’ for my Bachelors,” OCC graduate Kristina Renee Miller said.

Michigan’s Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II delivered the keynote address, which focused on graduates’ resiliency and ability to adapt – and how this has helped prepare them for a world that has opportunities and considerable challenges.

He also posed his own challenge: “I dare you to be bold. Be a bolder thinker. Be a bolder innovator. Be a more bold change-maker. Do not be afraid to think outside the box and stand tall in your beliefs. Today marks the next step in your journey, so take time to enjoy this moment, soak it in, because tomorrow, you take those bold next steps.”

In addition, the special event featured a collaborative address from several OCC students, who shared insights from their experiences during a year of online learning.

“We had to deal with balancing school, work and life in a virtual world,” said Shruti Goel, who studied Computer Information Systems.

“We were put in the most difficult situations, but we managed them – and we grew,” said Markus Tepandi-Sivila, who studied Business and Marketing.

“And we received such amazing support from our OCC instructors, administrators, mentors, advisors and counselors – ultimately helping us to get to this day,” said Tala Alahmar, who studied International Relations and Political Science. Alahmar was also recently elected 2021 international president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the primary honor society for two-year colleges.

Students and family members viewed one or more of the pre-recorded ceremonies customized to graduates from the Arts & Communications; Science, Health Sciences & Human Services; Business, Management, Marketing, Technology, and Engineering, Manufacturing & industrial Technology; and General Studies programs. The commencement ceremonies remain available for viewing on OCC’s website.

“The world needs your talent, your passion, your voice,” said Provenzano. “Your school experience has been set against the backdrop of a global community undergoing seismic shifts and new, unprecedented trials. No matter where your journey takes you next, no matter what your future holds, no matter how you choose to make your mark in your own communities, I know you will continue to make all of us proud.”

Following the Virtual Commencement ceremonies, graduates and their families gathered at the Orchard Ridge campus for OCC’s first ever Commencement Car Parade. Nearly 150 cars full of graduates and their loved ones drove through the approximately one-mile long parade route, which was adorned with inspirational quotes, lively music, balloons and decorations, and most importantly, OCC faculty and staff members cheering them on. At the end of the parade route, graduates drove across a “green carpet” and had their names announced by Academic Deans, as well as receiving accolades from Chancellor Peter Provenzano and Provost Jennifer Berne.

About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

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Baker College and Oakland Community College Announce New Articulation Agreement

Baker College, Michigan’s largest private, not-for-profit college and top private transfer school in the state, and Oakland Community College (OCC), Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college, are pleased to announce the signing of an official articulation agreement. The agreement was recently finalized by Baker College President, Dr. Bart Daig, and Dr. Jennifer Berne, OCC Provost.

The articulation agreement, effective immediately, enables OCC students to easily transfer into one of several select bachelor’s degree programs at Baker College, providing them with resources for a simplified and streamlined pathway to complete their studies. The agreement ensures a smooth curriculum transition, minimizing loss of credits and duplication of coursework.

Additionally, Baker will waive any new student application fees for eligible students admitted in connection with the OCC articulation agreement. Baker College also offers specific scholarships for transfer students, including the Trustees Transfer Scholarship, with up to $9,000 per year available to eligible students.

“Between Baker College and OCC, we share a passion for our students’ success, and our new partnership demonstrates one more step we’re taking to ensure that success,” said Dr. Daig. “We look forward to welcoming even more OCC transfer students to our Baker campuses, and are ready to provide them with exceptional academic opportunities.”

“We are pleased to partner with Baker College on a number of pathways that will ensure that OCC students complete their Baccalaureate in as smooth and certain a way as possible,” said Dr. Berne. “Our hope is that we are able to offer OCC graduates a second congratulations as they achieve their four-year degrees.”

Under the new arrangement, Baker College and OCC agree that any student who has successfully completed coursework and/or programs at OCC may transfer the course credits as indicated in transfer guides toward their degree at Baker. The associate degree to bachelor’s degree pathway will be available across a variety of programs, including: business administration (management), computer science, game software development, information assurance, information systems, information technology & security and psychology. These new pathways allow OCC graduates to earn between 80 to 90 credits prior to transferring to Baker College for the completion of their bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, as with all Michigan Community Colleges, OCC associate degree graduates are eligible for Baker College’s 60+60 Bridge to Bachelor’s program, which allows OCC students with 60 credits to be admitted to a related bachelor’s program at the junior level, meaning only 60 additional credit hours from Baker will be required to complete a degree.

More information on the articulation agreement is available at baker.edu and oaklandcc.edu.

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About Baker College
Founded in 1911, Baker College is Michigan’s largest, private not-for-profit college and the top private transfer school in the state. Baker College has multiple on-ground campus locations and two affiliate sites across the state, as well as an online global campus offering more than 40 academic program options for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learn more at www.baker.edu.

About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Michigan’s Lt. Governor Serving as Keynote Speaker for OCC Virtual Commencement

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II received his first computer at age 5. By 16, he was building his own, and using them to set up a computer lab at a Detroit community recreation center.

This motivation, ingenuity and commitment to community propelled Gilchrist through his successful career as a software engineer, social entrepreneur and community organizer, before being elected Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor in 2018.

On Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 10 a.m., Gilchrist will share insights from his journey to Oakland Community College’s Class of 2021, when he serves as keynote speaker for OCC’s virtual commencement.

The fact that his remarks will be delivered in a pre-recorded address – and that the entire virtual commencement is pre-recorded – is both a sign of the times and of the challenges that students have had to overcome during OCC’s first-ever, all-online year of learning.

They are in good company. Gilchrist’s work has also been characterized by a drive to succeed and solve problems.

After studying computer engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with honors, he worked as a software engineer at Microsoft, helping to build SharePoint into the fastest-growing product in the company’s history. He was also a guest student at OCC while attending the University of Michigan.

He spent the next several years of his career as a social entrepreneur and community organizer, helping people in communities across America realize their full economic and political potential. Upon returning home to Detroit, Gilchrist worked in local government to help build systems that made the government more responsive, transparent and accountable to city residents.

As part of the Whitmer Administration, Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist has sought to address injustice and inequity across Michigan at every level. From co-chairing the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration to helming the Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, these task forces have taken actions that saved lives and protect our most vulnerable populations.

Gilchrist and his wife, Ellen, reside in Detroit where they are raising their twins, Emily and Garlin III, and daughter, Ruby.

About OCC’s virtual commencement

Virtual commencement will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, and consist of four pre-recorded ceremonies, available on OCC’s website:

1. Arts and Communications
2. Business, Management, Marketing, Technology, and Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technology
3. General Studies
4. Science, Health Sciences, and Human Services

Each ceremony’s end time will depend on the number of graduates, and each student will be featured alphabetically on a graduate recognition slide. This will include any personal message (photo, quote, video) that the student chose to submit.

About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

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