Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) turns 105. What began with 17 students and four faculty has evolved and transformed into your community’s college. And just like soldiers then around the world were facing battles, so is our entire world today facing its own battles, this time against a pandemic and racial injustice.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, RCTC continues to improve people’s lives through learning. This past summer yielded the best enrollment RCTC has seen in four years. What’s more, through innovative and flexible course scheduling, RCTC is leading all colleges and universities in the Minnesota State system in enrollment growth fall over fall (on a percentage basis). RCTC offers comprehensive and rigorous coursework on campus and online in a variety of delivery modes to meet our students’ schedules and needs. As we continue to navigate these turbulent waters, rest assured RCTC will make any and all necessary adjustments to keep the health and safety of everyone on our campus our utmost priority.

In addition, whether in-person or virtually, RCTC also ensures an environment that offers students and faculty a chance to share differing points of view and experiences, while also making sure our curriculum includes a solid foundation for increasing cultural competencies. The quest for truth, knowledge and culture is so important to us that RCTC has emblazoned our official seal with those very words. We will not shy from difficult conversations, but instead will discuss and debate sensitive and often divisive issues in a civil and thought-provoking environment. As this community’s college, we welcome students of all backgrounds, beliefs, aspirations and abilities. This diverse community brings with it a wealth of perspectives from which every individual on our campus should embrace.

A lot has happened in the world this past 105 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to providing accessible, affordable, quality learning opportunities to a diverse and growing community. Whether through a world war, pandemic or racial equity, it is education that changes lives, and I promise you the time you spend at RCTC will not only be worth the investment, but it will indeed change your life.

Jeffery S. Boyd, Ed. D. is president of Rochester Community and Technical College