May 03, 2012
Although Dr. Mark Erickson won't officially take office as Northampton Community College's new president until July 1, he visited the college the weekend of April 27. Over the course of his stay, he met with students, faculty, staff and friends of NCC at the Fowler Family Southside Center, Main Campus and the Monroe Campus.
Katlane Seema, an international student from South Africa, was invited to the Main Campus student meeting because of her involvement in NCC's Leadership Class, the Residence Council, and the International Student Organization. Seema wanted to extend the same welcome to Erickson that she received when she first came to NCC.
"When you're at Northampton you still feel like you're home," she told Dr. Erickson. "Everyone is so welcoming. It makes you glad to be here."
Courtney Winzenried of Student Senate and the Student Leadership Class recognized similarities between retiring president Dr. Scott and Erickson.
"Not only are they both very nice, but they both enable students to have a voice," she shared. "And they want to hear that voice."
Students peppered Erickson with questions about his background, his role at Wittenberg University and why he wanted to come to NCC. Erickson had some questions in return. Seema appreciated that Erickson wanted to know from the students "how we see the college, what we think it's important for him to know, and what we expect from him," she said.
Winzenried added, "He also wanted to know how he could encourage students to approach him and talk to him."
Her answer: "Come to our events! It was a really big deal for us when Dr. Scott came to our Student Celebration. It makes us feel a community, a family. "
"It would make us feel like he is part of the team," Seema echoed.
Erickson readily agreed, but asked one thing in return: "He said we had to promise to come up and say hi to him if we saw him walking around campus. He really wants it to be a friendly environment," Seema said.
The only downside to Seema was the fact that she is leaving after this semester. "I wish I was not. I would like to work with him. He seems very easy to approach and open to suggestions."
Winzenried, who will also be graduating in May, says that Erickson encouraged the soon-to-be alumni to visit and let him know how they are doing.
"I will come back," she promised. "Positivity trickles down to the whole institution. It's a quality Dr. Scott has and I believe Dr. Erickson has, too."
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