Father Time: Cleveland State a strong community asset
by Matt Ryerson
Sep 20, 2012 | 470 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While normally the focus of this column is on the funny side of family (an area where I have an abundance of available stories), my day job is working in the community. I get this wonderful, firsthand view of so many of the great resources we have in Cleveland and Bradley County.

One of the great highlights, and a pillar of education, is Cleveland State Community College. If you have not yet had the privilege of registering as a student, participating in a campus event or visiting the campus, then you should make a point of getting over to that side of town to see the first-rate product that Dr. Carl Hite, CSCC president, and his committed team have put together for the citizens of our community.

Now none of this takes away from our wonderful partners at Lee University. That is a full column by itself as they too are extraordinary community partners. Rather, it is simply a statement of the overall quality of higher education on multiple levels in our little community. As it relates to Cleveland State, my opinion isn’t just driven from an outside perspective. I actually have firsthand experience of the work of this team as I have taught adjunct courses for CSCC for several years and have had the opportunity to attend many of the community events hosted on campus.

Two of our family’s favorite events are the “Going Green” event on the main mall and the Dr. Seuss Day at the library. In fact, one of our fondest memories at the “Going Green” event is the day we went when they were giving away free trees. Yes, I said “free” trees. In all fairness, they were little trees, less than three feet tall. Nonetheless, we picked up a tree and planted it in the back yard. We considered taking bets on how long it would take the Ryerson family to kill this tree; odds were about a week. However, despite our best efforts, that little oak continues to grow to this day. We call it our tree of education. Get it? A tree we got at a higher education facility ... yes, that is the best I could come up with.

Dr. Seuss Day is always a delight and is held, appropriately, in the library, the center of reading and reading materials on campus. On this particular day, in partnership with the local Kiwanis Club, more than 700 books were given to children in the community. Now, my favorite time of day is at night when my children ask me to read to them, and hardly a week goes by before I am reading the “Green Eggs and Ham” book we received that day as a gift on the CSCC campus ... another family legacy that CSCC has contributed to our family.

I could go on to share the quality of students I see over there as an adjunct instructor, the commitment to education the school has, the dedication of the faculty and staff. But what has always impressed me the most is the intentional strides CSCC has made to have an impact on the surrounding community.

We are blessed in Cleveland and Bradley County to have both Lee University and Cleveland State, two of the very best, right here in our community.

Congratulations to the committed team at Cleveland State on this week’s visit by the Tennessee Board of Regents. It is a great opportunity to show off one of our best community assets.

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(Editor’s Note: Matt has a family of six — a beautiful wife, a son, two daughters and of course, the family dogs — Tucker and Boomer. All are potential future students at CSCC, except for Boomer and Tucker, unless admission requirements drastically change in the future. Matt’s column appears bi-weekly in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)