Pennocks Bridge campus welcomes college president

By Meredith Haas

Special to The Communitarian

Gates black
Dr. L. Joy Gates Black addresses students and faculty members while visiting the Pennocks Bridge campus. Photo by Meredith Haas

President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black visited Pennocks Bridge campus on Oct. 30 to hold an open discussion among students and faculty members.

Having visited Pennocks Bridge campus for the college’s 50th Anniversary, Gates Black’s interest radiated with the attention she provided to the campus director, Kevin Ballisty, as they walked through the halls to Room B137.

Gates Black situated herself at the front of the room as Ballisty introduced her to the audience she came to know in the next hour.

“For you who have been here the longest, I hope that you share the things you feel you truly appreciate about this campus,” Ballisty said to the audience. “Also things you want to see change would be great for not only us, but the college as a whole.”

With this introduction, Gates Black took the stage as everyone got situated into their seats. The room was filled with quiet students and faculty members, all preparing themselves for the discussion to begin.

Joy black
Dr. L. Joy Gates Black addresses students and faculty members while visiting the Pennocks Bridge campus. Photo by Meredith Haas

“I joined the college in June of 2017, and it has been a wonderful journey for me,” Gates Black said. “I have enjoyed meeting so many students, and I listen to every single one of their suggestions.”

Gates Black opened a discussion by informing the audience that her door is always open and she is always listening. She explained that her approach to working with people does not come from a textbook, but from her life experience.

Whether it was in her hometown of Texas, when she moved to New England, or when she was introduced to DCCC while in California, Gates Black said she always took note of her experiences and the wisdom that came with them.

“My parents were not wealthy, but I was an honors student,” Gates Black said. “My parents could not afford to send me to college so I went into the Air Force. I know what it is like when you need a little bit of direction and that is why I always found a kinship when I got to the community college experience.”

This kinship carries heavily in all that Gates Black does. She described her admiration for the aspiration and drive that is so common among community college students.

“The students that go here want an education, no matter what the end plan is,” Gates Black said. “They have a pathway, and that is really appealing to me.”

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Dr. L. Joy Gates Black and Kevin Ballisty, director of the Pennocks Bridge campus, speak on issues brought up in the discussion.
Photo by Meredith Haas

Gates Black described this as a commonality among community colleges, recognizing the determination students at both DCCC and her past jobs have.

“When I saw this opportunity to come to DCCC it really interested me,” Gates Black said. “I did my dissertation research at Brenmar College, and so coming back here was like coming home to me.”

Gates Black recognized how many smiles she often sees around campus and attributed them to every student’s determination and purpose.

After speaking with students and faculty members about various topics surrounding DCCC, Gates Black acknowledged the potential of the campus and wrapped up the discussion.

“This is a wonderful campus, not perfect, but all who are here are committed,” Gates Black said. “Thank you all for being here today and I am glad you came out.”

Contact Meredith Haas at

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