I want to share some good news amid the COVID-19 disruptions. Austin Community College will celebrate our 2020 spring graduates with a virtual commencement on Saturday, June 6.
This is my favorite time of year, and I look forward to recognizing the incredible accomplishments of our students through such a challenging period. I invite you to join us virtually and encourage you to “Go Purple” to make it our best celebration yet.
This has been an incredibly difficult time, but through it all, the ACC family has demonstrated we’re stronger when we work together. When city and county officials issued stay-at-home orders, the entire ACC community pitched in to ensure students and employees have what they need to work, teach, and learn remotely. As a result, ACC reduced our on-campus footprint by more than 98-percent. Through it all, we remain open, classes continue, and support for our students grows in new and different ways.
This week ACC launched a new drive-up WiFi service at three campuses. Students and employees now have unlimited access from parking lots at Riverside, Highland, and Round Rock. We’re also providing equipment to students who don’t have the tools they need to access class remotely. The tech distribution program remains available to any student who needs support.
We know that for some, this still isn’t enough. So, in partnership with the ACC Foundation, we launched a drive to raise $300,000 for the Student Emergency Fund to help students facing financial challenges. With donations from ACC faculty, staff, and the community, we are close to reaching our goal. By this time next week, we expect to launch the CARES Act Student Aid program to help even more students.
I am proud of all that is happening. To our administrators, faculty, and staff, thank you for tackling every challenge with a positive attitude and passion for student success.
To our students, thank you for staying with us. Many of you will graduate at the end of the semester. You should feel proud of your accomplishments. Those of you who are still on your college journey, I encourage you to stay on track. Summer registration begins May 4.
We will continue to face challenges and changes in the weeks ahead. My promise is that ACC will be with you every step of the way.
Richard M. Rhodes, Ph.D.
Austin Community College District