Very sad news. The nation’s longest serving community college President, Dr. Joseph Hankin passed away. Dr. Hankin, who served as president of the college for 42 years beginning in 1971, made a major impact on people’s lives. During Dr. Hankin’s tenure the college became one of the nation’s leading educational institutions. Dr. Hankin opened the campus to the community, expanded academic programs, addressed infrastructure issues. He was committed to quality, affordable education.
Dr. Hankin expanded opportunities for professors- full time and part time to expand their professional developments. He initiated academic support systems for students –enhancing classroom successes. He promoted the Westchester Community College Foundation which has raised millions in support of faculty and staff, including scholarships. He raised money for new buildings including the Gateway building. In addition, five free standing hub sites in Peekskill, Ossining, White Plains, Yonkers and Mount Vernon started offering courses to students. An honors program was established in 1987. He helped educate immigrants and new citizens –expanding the English as a second language program. More than 70 student clubs have been established.
I feel horrible about Dr. Hankin’s passing. I first met him when I was a student attending meetings of the Board of Legislators. Dr. Hankin always encouraged me to go into public service. When I was a member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators I met with Dr. Hankin many times and was impressed with how passionate he was about education and about his students. His advocacy encouraged me to work harder to support county funding for the college. Dr. Hankin was responsive to constituent concerns. And, most important of all – I have met numerous Greenburgh residents and town employees and community leaders whose lives were changed for the better because of their education at the Community College. For the past five years I have taught one class in local and state government at the Community College as an Adjunct Professor. Every time I drive around the college -I reflect on the positive role that Dr. Hankin played in making the college a great place for students to learn. The faculty is dedicated. And the students appreciate the opportunity to get educated without accumulating debt. Many of the graduates have been accepted and graduated from prestigious four year colleges after their Community College graduation. Good grades from the Community College is a ticket to admission to the best four year educational institutions in the world!
Westchester Community College and our entire community owe a big thank you to Dr. Hankin. He will always be appreciated by those whose lives he touched.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor