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QCC Sees Promise for College Students in the New Administration

January 2021

On January 20, we witnessed a time-honored tradition with the inauguration of our 46th President Joseph R. Biden Jr. We also witnessed history in the making as Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman (and first woman of color), to hold the office.

President Luis G. Pedraja Ph.D. was heartened by the inauguration and released a statement after the swearing-in ceremony. The full text is below. 

"Today marks a historic time in our nation’s history with the inauguration of our 46th President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to that office. Last week, despite the violent assault on our democracy, our Constitution held strong and today we witnessed a peaceful transfer of power.  While the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 threatened the cradle of democracy, today is a cause for celebration and hope for our future as we watched the swearing in of our new President.

Equity and justice for all is not just a pipe dream realized by a few, it is a right of everyone in a free society. It is my sincere hope that we can begin to come together as a country and to find common ground, based on mutual respect. As someone who emigrated from Cuba as a young boy, my family came to this country for the freedoms that only democracy could offer. I am hopeful that the country I have come to call my home will represent the diversity that is our great country.  I am heartened by President Biden’s cabinet nominees, who reflect the multicultural fabric that make up the United States of America. This gives me hope for our future and the freedoms that democracy affords us.

Freedoms such as higher education for all is the hallmark of democracy and something that I value dearly as a first generation college student who became an educator. I fervently believe that education is a human right that helps raise people out of poverty and changes the trajectory of their lives.

I am excited that the White House now has an educator in its midst with Dr. Jill Biden as our First Lady. Dr. Biden brings a unique perspective to higher education, as a community college professor. What an inspiration and advocate she is for community colleges!  I am confident that Dr. Biden can help change the lens in which community colleges are viewed. As a community college president, I understand the importance of making affordable, accessible higher education for all. Through Dr. Biden’s perspective, I hope that she and President Biden will help to realize community colleges’ full potential, by elevating and escalating investments and programs to support our community college students. The President has repeatedly noted that community colleges are America’s “best kept secrets,” and I am hopeful that they will now get a more equitable share of the funding pie.

The dawning of a new time is upon us and I look toward the next four years with a sense of anticipation and faith that our democracy is strong. Today has reinforced and enriched the values that have made our country a symbol of freedom throughout the world."

Prior to the inauguration, the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA) held a pre-inauguration forum with welcoming remarks from Congressman James P. McGovern. The forum featured a variety of area college students who voiced their hopes and reflections for the next four years.  President of QCC's Student Government Association, Armela Xhindole, took part in the event and shared her thoughts on the incoming administration, her hopes for the future as a whole, and the future of higher education.