MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Although the celebration was for him, Westchester Community College President Joseph Hankin could only think of his students.
"Tonight is wonderful because we've raised so much money for our student scholarship foundation and so many students depend on that," Hankin said.
Wednesday night, members of the Westchester community came out to celebrate Dr. Hankin's 40th year anniversary as president of the college. The gala, held at the college's Gateway Center, in Valhalla, raised $656,960 in scholarship funds. That amount was then matched by various donors and sponsors, making the total money raised at over $1.3 million. That money will be put into a scholarship fund in honor of Hankin.
Hankin made an effort to thank all those in attendance. The social atmosphere was highlighted by various exhibits put together by student organizations such as Alpha Beta Gamma, a business honor society.
William McGrath, senior vice president & chief administrative officer at Pace University, had nothing but praise for Hankin and the work he has done for Westchester Community.
"As a colleague of Joe's, I have nothing but respect for him and everything he's done over the years," McGrath said. "This is all well-deserved.”
Hankin, originally hired in the early 1970s, is the longest serving community college president in the country. Those in attendance Wednesday evening knew Hankin in various capacities over the four decades. Attendees even had the opportunity to take a photo with four life-size cutouts of Hankin, one from each decade.
"I was here 30 years ago as a student and I went off and I had a career and Dr. Hankin helped me so much that I came back and I couldn't believe he was still president here," said Theresa McSpedon, a faculty member at Westchester Community College.