Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay, at left, was joined by Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson at a dinner with faculty, staff and students a day after Gibson’s inspirational commencement speech at Suffolk County Community College’s 55th commencement on May 21.
Gibson, a 1966 graduate of Suffolk, presented the college, pictured, with artifacts from his voyages aboard the space shuttle including a Suffolk pennant he carried into space.
“Commander Gibson was impressed by our STEM program and the national recognition we received with the award of more than $2.6 million in grant funding in the past decade, and that our STEM scholars have achieved paid research internships in arenas as varied as NASA, in 6 of the 11 federal laboratories around the nation, and also at the Smithsonian Institute,” said President McKay.
“Commander Gibson spoke passionately about his academic and career pathway – all , in his words, influenced by his start in engineering science at Suffolk County Community College,” said Suffolk County Community College Professor of Chemistry and NSF SSTEM program chair, Dr. Candice J. Foley.
“STEM programs at Suffolk County Community College include a Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP), a Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and a Liberty Partnerships Program, all funded by the New York State Education Department. Total student enrollment in these programs exceeds 700 students and funded with more than $1 million annually,” said Associate Dean, Continuing Education Nina A. Leonhardt.