ECC President David Sam: Start at ECC, succeed anywhere

  • Tags: Achievements
Published 12/17/2018
Dr. David Sam portrait

Dr. David Sam portrait

When I think of Illinois, the best athletes and sports teams come to mind. Michael Jordan. The Chicago Cubs. The Northwestern Wildcats. I also think of it as the home of Abraham Lincoln and to one of the best cities in the world.

But, did you know that Illinois now leads the nation in bachelor’s degree completion rates among community college students who transfer to four-year colleges? The Illinois Board of Higher Education also notes that Illinois’ bachelor’s degree completion rate for community college students who transfer to a four-year institution was 11.6 percentage points higher than the national average.

While it is encouraging to see new faces on our campus each semester, it is just as important that we help those students complete. As such, I am proud that Elgin Community College’s three-year graduation rate (37 percent) surpasses the national average for community colleges (22 percent), according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). This means that our students are finishing what they’ve started and are one step closer to landing their dream jobs or continuing their educations at four-year institutions.

I am doubly proud when our students graduate and transfer to prestigious universities, such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Michigan State, Dartmouth, and University of Pennsylvania. A prime example is ECC graduate Alex Theimer, a military veteran who completed an Associate in Engineering Science degree with a 4.0 GPA and transferred to MIT this past spring to study engineering.

A hallmark of ECC’s success is our partnership on transfer agreements with dozens of outstanding institutions right here in Illinois. For example, we recently enhanced our partnership with Elmhurst College, making it easier for ECC students to transfer seamlessly. Additionally, through its Honors Scholarship Program, Elmhurst provides one ECC Honors Program graduate with a full tuition scholarship each year.

Our transfer agreements at partner institutions also include the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois State University, Columbia College of Missouri, Judson University, Northern Illinois University, and Roosevelt University.

As you can tell, at ECC, our goal is not just for you to enroll, but to see you through to completion. After that, the world is yours.

~ David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, President, Elgin Community College