Ivan L. Harrell II., Ph.D. was the welcome guest at the June Meeting of the Transportation Club of Tacoma.
As our last speaker leading up to our two-month hiatus, Dr. Harrell seemed the perfect speaker for our local Transportation Club. Talking about teaching and the COVID curve balls that were thrown at all of us, Dr. Harrell led us down the path of college learning that changed and altered many times over the last few years.
Dr. Harrell serves as the 11th President of Tacoma Community College (TCC). Having a passion for community college education, Dr. Harrell strives every day to lead a group of professionals in providing the best environment, programs and services students need to complete their academic and career goals.
Dr. Harrell has written or co-written a number of scholarly articles and book chapters. He has also served as a presenter at numerous local, regional and national conferences and seminars. He is most proud of his work around improving the success of students of color, particularly Black men, first-generation college students, as well as students who come from traditionally marginalized backgrounds.
It was interesting learning what inspired him early on and why he continues as an educator. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “We must find a way . . . or make one.” It doesn’t matter how rough the road is, if you have to, you walk it.
A native of Oberlin, Ohio, Dr. Harrell was a first-generation college student who began his career at Tallahassee Community College. Inspired by the diverse, intelligent and hard-working students he met at Tallahassee Dr. Harrell decided to dedicate his career to advancing the community college mission. His goal, as a higher education leader, is to support as many community college students as possible to achieve their academic and career goals.
Now, at TCC his fellow educators and staff are constantly working with students to try to find ways for them to learn while being offered $20 plus an hour for jobs that will generally not lead a brighter future. Fitting today’s college students with the habits, curiosity, skills and temperament for a better life, TCC is trying to find ways that students can work during the day and take classes to advance on their degree studies in the evenings and Saturdays. In addition, they are searching for ways that more women can have better help with childcare, allowing them more time to complete their educations.
The fact that there were seven or eight . . . or nine questions at the end of the presentation just shows how much people enjoyed the speaker and his presentation. The subject was about business and training for our community. We are already working with both TCC and Pacific Lutheran University programs in conjunction with our own transportation-related needs like supply chains and more. Reaching out and connecting with tomorrow’s leaders makes sense. Thank you, Dr. Harrell for a timely and informational presentation.