ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe Community College is taking a leading role to address diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in our community.

MCC President Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna discussed the school’s vision and an upcoming Diversity Conference on Friday, October 1 during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation Wednesday.

“Our virtual conference is forging a path to an inclusive campus culture and will increase awareness of inequities in higher education and explore how colleges and universities can become stronger champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in our local community,” said President Burt-Nanna. “Equity coaches from New York University will guide us in developing solutions to better serve our students. Unfortunately, the facts are true among students of color. They earn below-average wages and, therefore, often qualify for Pell grants. They withdraw from college without a degree at higher rates than our Caucasian peers. As a result, they have higher rates of student loan debt burden and defaulting on loans.”

President Burt-Nanna said MCC has a role to play in helping close the racial and economic equity gaps in Rochester and improving the poverty rate across Monroe County. “MCC has six decades of being committed to its mission to access and opportunity for all. We’ve maintained that commitment with laser-like focus, with an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But we’re going to elevate the focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the years ahead, making sure we leave no one and no zip codes across our region behind in our commitment to improving quality of life. The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, commonly now referred to as the Forward Center, is set to open early next year on our Downtown Campus and that will support our efforts as well. There we will be offering affordable, high-caliber education and training programs to diverse learners across the region and preparing them for in-demand high-tech-oriented careers that pay living wages and are less vulnerable to future displacement.”

There are a number of other ways MCC is engaging the community to address equity and racial justice. “It’s all about partnerships and we as the community’s college embrace that opportunity for partnerships,” explained President Burt-Nanna. “We’re proactively planning for the arrival, for example, of 1,500 families that will immigrate to our region from Afghanistan. As our community’s college our doors are open to them and we are committed to supporting their success. We’re already strategizing how to make that a positive transition for those families. Thanks to recent private philanthropy, a Women of Excellence Program will be created at MCC and scholarship funds will be available to Men of Excellence program participants, enabling all students of color to achieve success in and outside of the classroom. The Avangrid Foundation continues to also support MCC’s Dreamkeepers program which helps students with expenses such as basic needs and security around housing and food, utilities, and childcare making sure that they’re able to stay on track.”

Register and learn more about MCC’s Diversity Conference by going online at