Metropolitan Community College’s eighth chancellor was introduced to the community June 19 at an event in Kansas City’s Union Station, with each speaker’s words echoing throughout the majestic old building.
A long line of employees and community members formed to greet Dr. Kimberly Beatty, who’s coming to MCC from Houston Community College, where she’s vice chancellor for instructional services and chief academic officer. She officially takes the helm at MCC July 1.
Jazz played by a four-piece combo including MCC faculty members filled the former train station’s North Waiting Room, now known as Sprint Festival Plaza, during the late-afternoon reception.
Dignitaries on hand included U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver. Missouri state Senator Kiki Curls, in remarks on stage, said she spoke for the state delegation and others “in welcoming Dr. Beatty to Kansas City as our new chancellor of Metropolitan Community College.”
In her own remarks, Dr. Beatty thanked faculty and staff. “I’m just honored and humbled to stand here before you after going through that process,” she said, referring to MCC’s national search for a new leader. Chancellor Mark James, who has held the position since 2010, is retiring.
She thanked community members and MCC business partners as well, plus family members who attended including her husband, Kelvin.
In introducing herself, Dr. Beatty referenced a video, “Is America Dreaming? Understanding Social Mobility” (watch it here). It asserts that four factors — race, family history, education and socioeconomic status — determine a person’s social mobility.
“The demonstration in the video makes the point that poor minorities who come from unmarried parents and don’t have a college education are not likely to experience social mobility,” she said.
“So who is Kim Beatty? Kim Beatty is an African-American woman who was raised by a single mother in Pittsburgh who was poor. The only thing that shifted my life was that my mother went to college.”
Dr. Beatty became emotional as she recalled being a little girl riding three buses with her mother to get to the University of Pittsburgh.
“I’m convinced that I would not be here in front of you today if it wasn’t for that one opportunity that she had, a college education.”
She realized just recently that “seeing her work so hard, riding the bus to college with her, surviving the trials associated with poverty, and living in a house with four generations of my family made me the woman that I am today.
“My journey is not unique,” Dr. Beatty stressed. “In fact, it’s the journey of many of our Metropolitan Community College students, and it’s the journey of some of you here.”
Community colleges were “born out of the need to democratize higher education.” MCC is uniquely positioned to create more role models like her mom and contribute to the economic engine of Kansas City, Dr. Beatty said.
Metropolitan Community College has “a rich story to tell,” she added. “MCC is preparing our students to achieve their dreams. For the last 100 years, our dedicated faculty and staff have been committed to student success.”
Chancellor Mark James took the stage to recognize Dr. Beatty’s selection as his successor.
“You know, when you put your blood, sweat and tears into a mission, you can have a little trepidation about handing things off,” he said. “But I will tell you I feel really, really good and confident in the future for MCC.”
The two embraced after he presented her with his always-present MCC lapel pin.
Earlier, Trent Skaggs, president of the MCC Board of Trustees, told the audience that trustees are accountable to voters and have fiduciary and strategic responsibilities. But their most important responsibility, he said, is to “hire the very best chancellor that we can and then get out of their way and let them do their job.”
At the event David Levy, incoming chairman of the MCC Foundation board of directors, announced that an MCC student this fall will be awarded a $1,000 Foundation scholarship in Dr. Beatty’s honor.
“Community colleges are a tremendous value, and I think we’re going to see a lot of great things (from MCC) in the next few years to come,” Levy said.
Dr. Beatty, in concluding her remarks, noted that MCC “has the potential to be a catalyst for change in this community. And as the new chancellor I commit to you today, by partnering with the executive team, faculty and staff, MCC will be a place where students not only dream with a question mark, but rather achieve their dreams with a period. That’s what we will do together.”
Watch Facebook Live video from the event:
Welcome to Metropolitan Community College, Dr. Kimberly Beatty! We are excited to have you join us as our new chancellor. #BeMoreAtMCC
Posted by Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City on Monday, June 19, 2017