What Did They Talk About?

October 09, 2012

Dr. Jill BidenThe call from Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan came unexpectedly. Would Northampton Community College's president, Dr. Mark Erickson, be available to join him for coffee at the Hotel Bethlehem? The group would be small. The only other guests would be Dr. Jill Biden and two of her staff members.

It was Tuesday morning, October 9, and Biden was winding up a trip to the Lehigh Valley campaigning for her husband, Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate President Barack Obama.

An English professor who has continued to teach at a community college in Virginia while her husband works in Washington, Jill Biden has been a strong advocate of community colleges' effectiveness in educating the workforce and changing students' lives.

Erickson found her smart and interesting. She was eager to hear about NCC. When he asked her what advice she would have for him as a new community college president, she responded immediately: "When the faculty do a great job, let them know," she said.

Erickson thanked her for using every opportunity she gets to talk about community colleges. What you and the Vice President and President are saying is making a difference in terms of raising awareness of the important work that community colleges do, he told her.

He also invited her to visit Northampton the next time she comes to Bethlehem, and he had the feeling she just might do that.

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