WC Celebrates 13 Years with Cincinnati State Program

April 1, 2016
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Shante Capel: ‘I am a recipient of the benefits of the partnership between Cincinnati State and Wilmington College’

Wilmington College and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College reaffirmed their commitment to serving students through a unique educational model in which WC offers a baccalaureate degree program on Cincinnati State’s campus.

(PICTURED) Sylvia Stevens (CENTER), founding director of the Wilmington College/Cincinnati State program enjoys reconnecting with alumni Karen Magness-Lewe ’07 and Kevin Wesselman ’14.

Scores of alumni and students from WC’s program at Cincinnati State, along with faculty, staff and administrators from both institutions, celebrated the success of the partnership Thursday (March 31) at a reception in CSTCC’s Conference Center.

Dr. Sylvia Stevens, the program’s founding director and currently WC’s vice president for external programs, described it as “an exciting journey” while President Jim Reynolds called the partnership a “blessing that changes family trees” through the education of students. Cincinnati State’s interim president, Dr. Monica Posey, mentioned it not only was one of the first partnerships she worked on at Cincinnati State, but also “one of the best.”

Some 300 students have graduated from the program since it was established in 2003 with a cohort of 12 students.

One of those original students, Karen Magness-Lewe, recalled hearing “Wilmington is coming” while still a student at Cincinnati State. She enjoyed the Cincinnati State experience, not only the quality academics, but also the comfort level she found with its location, cost, parking and other institutional amenities — attributes that transferred seemlessly, along with her credits, from Cincinnati State to Wilmington College. She graduated from WC in 2007.

Magness-Lewe’s success story is similar to that of many that followed in her trailblazing footsteps.

Indeed, in the late 1990s, administrators at Cincinnati State realized the demand for a bachelor’s degree program at the two-year institution. Many Cincinnati State students enjoyed the convenience and comfort level provided at its campus so much that they were returning for additional associate’s degrees rather than pursuing the next level — the baccalaureate degree — at other area institutions.

At the time, with just a fraction of the schools now competing for the working adult student market, Wilmington College enjoyed a sizable share of Cincinnati-area students wishing to complete a bachelor’s degree so, in recognizing WC’s nationally accredited baccalaureate program already in Cincinnati, Cincinnati State approached Wilmington College about forming a partnership.

The WC program started with offering a Bachelor of Artss degree with a major in business administration/management to which the concentration in accounting was soon added. WC currently also offers programs in multimedia studies and business administration analysis.

“Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in Wilmington College,” Stevens said to her Cincinnati State peers, past and present. “We are in love with the students you’ve provided us from Cincinnati State — and we are committed to them.”

A current student is John Son, who represents the first generation to attend college from his family that emigrated from Cambodia. Upon earning his associate’s degree from Cincinnati State, he met with WC’s program coordinator, Sharron Colon, who described a seemless transition into the College’s baccalaureate program “that sounded too good to be true.”

Another student, Sierra Laumer, is studying accounting at WC with an ambition to become a Certified Public Accountant. “The teachers at Wilmington College, like Cincinnati State, are really invested in my success,” she said.

Steve Salmon, a nontraditional student that earned an associate’s degree in accounting technology at Cincinnati State, is double-majoring in management and accounting at WC.

“I initially didn’t plan to go further than the associate’s degree, but Sharron said, ‘No, you’re going to Wilmington College,’” Salmon said, noting he’s never questioned the wisdom of his decision to attend WC. “It’s refreshing to come to class and have an intelligent conversation with my professor — I look forward to going to class.”

Shante Capel attended Cincinnati State on and off for 22 years and, upon earning her two-year degree, realized she needed a bachelor’s degree for many job advancement possibilities. “I am a recipient of the benefits of the partnership between Cincinnati State and Wilmington College, and I truly appreciate that relationship.”

Kevin Wesselman graduated Cincinnati State in 2010 with a 3.9 grade point average before attending Wilmington College and earning his four-year degree in 2014. While he considered completing his baccalaureate degree at one of the area’s other four-year institutions, he realized there’s no place like home.

“After spending four years here at Cincinnati State, I felt at home and, being able to stay on this campus was a big selling point for attending Wilmington College,” he said, noting his love affair with the Cincinnati State campus continues through his position as a student recruiter with its Office of Admisssion.

Reynolds represents the first generation of his family to attend higher education. He spoke of how stories like those he heard at the reception have affected him in his roles as vice president for academic affairs and, now, president of Wilmington College.

“I’ve listened to these stories and I’m hooked,” he said. “I’m so impressed by these students’ perseverance and the things they’ve overcome to go to college. The students that have passed through these doors (at Wilmington College/Cincinnati State) have had a transforming experience that is meaningful, purposeful and remarkable.”

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