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The Rainbow Connection

A Career, Not a Job 

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has always been one of my favorite songs. In fact, Edward Simons, who conducted major musicals in the Big Apple, played it at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of RCC. For me, it is a symbol of the promise of tomorrow and all that tomorrow can bring. I thought about this on Sunday as I handed diplomas to hundreds of students at our 2012 Commencement. As I watched this rainbow of humanity, our very diverse student body, my hope for them is that RCC becomes that rainbow connection for them. I hope their RCC experience connects them to higher education and to a job and then to a career. Like most parents of young adults whose dream is for their child to have “a job with benefits,” I also want all young people to have a career.

A career is more than a job. It is a way of life where you not only earn “a living wage,” but it also gives you a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that your work makes a difference. Over the past 46 years, I have had seven jobs, but my career has always been in higher education and in working with students in building community. How do we as educators help our students move from “the rainbow” to a job to a career? One way is to provide activities beyond the classroom that help them understand the difference between a job and a career.

Dr. Edmund Gordon, the esteemed educational psychologist and RCC Scholar-in-Residence, calls these activities “supplementary education.” He says that stimulating students’ educational experiences outside the classroom can stimulate intellectual development. That is what we did at RCC in Spring 2012 as we provided exceptional activities that enhanced the career goals and aspirations of students.

Rockland Community College provided and continues to provide activities beyond the classroom that are excellent “resume builders” for participating students.


Outlook is RCC’s award-winning student newspaper. This year, Outlook was first runner up in the nationwide competition for Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ). The category was “General news reporting, two year colleges.” Rebecca Gross wrote the story, “Tuition Rises for Fall 2012 Semester.”

Outlook Advisor, Professor Rob Fuentes said the following about the Outlook staff:

“The students are incredibly talented and hard working. They have a strong commitment to journalism as a public service. Their work helps to keep our campus and wider community connected and informed.”


Impulse is RCC’s award-winning literary and art magazine, which over the years has received numerous national awards. This year’s issue included original work by more than 50 students. In addition to the impressive number of writers and artists, advisor Page Simon said the following about the Impulse staff:

“Finishing Impulse, after all the submissions are in and edited, always comes down to a few
hard-working, enthusiastic few. It always turns out to be one of the best learning experiences
they have at RCC as they have to meet ‘real world’ production demands and then are
rewarded with a ‘real world’ product.”


For the fifth year, RCC held an annual Video Festival for college students, alumni and high school students.  This year, six area school districts participated in the competition with entries in the following categories:

RCC: Music Video Category
RCC: Documentary
RCC: Commercial
RCC: Movie Trailer
RCC: Short Film
High School 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place
RCC Alumni: Best Overall
RCC: Best Overall


“All the World’s a [Musical] Stage” was the theme of this year’s Spring Performing Arts Program. Several in attendance said they don’t recall so many really good singers in one show.
Director and Department Chair of Performing Arts, Patty Maloney-Titland stated:

“I am always so proud of our students, their talent, commitment and passion.
‘All the World’s A [Musical] Stage’ was another wonderful opportunity for
our students to celebrate music and showcase their amazing abilities!”

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” said someone with a profession and not a job. That “someone” is an international star of stage, screen, and television: Kermit the Frog. At RCC we know there are just as many songs as there are rainbows to chase, for if we give our students the right rainbow , the spectrum of colors; courses, classes, certificates, degrees, civic engagement, student organizations, honor societies, publications, athletics and the arts, they will move from an education to a job to a career. Why a career? Because it will be with you throughout your life, just like the following nonagenarians who have RCC in their DNA:

Herb Kurz, founder and former CEO of Presidential Life, is the major benefactor of RCC’s Student Support Funds, which assists hundreds of students in financing their education. At 92 years old, Herb is busy running the Kurz Family Foundation, which supports the work of some of Rockland’s most outstanding non-profits.

Dr. Edmund Gordon, Chairman of the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education is also the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology – Emeritus, Yale University, and the Richard March Hoe Professor of Psychology and Education – Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University.  Last year, at 91 years old, Dr. Gordon received a two million dollar grant for Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey to establish the Gordon Commission to study the future of assessment in education.

The legendary musician Edward Simons charmed us all in the Spring at his 95th birthday party playing international folk songs, a classical duet with his daughter and of course, “Over the Rainbow.” His career was spent as a Broadway musical conductor in the 50s and 60s, and later as RCC’s music professor and founder of the still successful Rockland Conservatory of Music.

Our wish for all of our RCC students is reflected in the following words:

Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

(from “The Muppet Movie”)



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