The Weirton Daily Times – IBEW apprentices obtain their degrees from Eastern Gateway

STEUBENVILLE — Thanks to a unique partnership between a local union and Eastern Gateway Community College, eight students finished a five-year apprenticeship program and earned an associate degree at the same time.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 246 and the Steubenville Division of the National Electrical Contractors Association celebrated the graduation with a dinner and ceremony on May 20. This is the 10th group of inside wiremen to complete the training and receive an associate degree of technical studies in electrical trades technology.

The celebration marks the completion of more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, accompanied by 1,000 hours of classroom training through the Steubenville Electrical JATC, and 47 credits through EGCC. The graduating apprentices received certificates of completion from the U.S. Department of Labor and The Electrical Training Alliance.

Christina Wanat, senior vice president and chief student affairs officer, said Eastern Gateway accepts IBEW Local Union 246 apprentices nearly every year. Under EGCC’s program, it is mandatory for apprentices to earn their associate degree. This, in turn, opens up more opportunities for continuing education.

Thanks to the program, participants are offered the opportunity to earn wages and benefits while they learn the skills needed for the trade, obtain an associate degree, and go through multiple certification processes all at the same time. Students in the five-year program are all union electricians and only a certain number of participants are accepted, said Christy Hardwick, an administrative assistant at IBEW Local Union 246.

Scott Kosek Jr. and Hunter Wallace received the John Habash Award for Outstanding Apprentice. This award is named in honor of longtime apprentice instructor and IBEW leader John Habash of Steubenville. The award is based on excellence in classroom training, leadership and on-the-job performance. Kosek and Wallace, along with other outstanding apprentices, will attend a summer session in Ann Arbor, Mich., this summer to further their knowledge of the electrical construction industry.

The IBEW Local Union 246 includes all of Jefferson, Columbiana and Harrison counties in Ohio; parts of Carroll County; and all of Brooke and Hancock counties. Information on apprenticeship and access to skilled electrical craftsmen can be obtained by contacting IBEW Local Union 246 in Steubenville.

Steubenville, Ohio – The Ohio Region of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recently recognized Eastern Gateway Community College’s leadership and students.

“As a college, we built a strong and vibrant PTK organization as a way for our students to be recognized for their achievements in the classroom, as well as their dedication to community and service,” said Associate Professor Karen Spindler, Eastern Gateway program chair for business management and advisor of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Omicron Nu chapter. “As an advisor to this impressive group of students, many of whom are working parents and caregivers, I am incredibly proud and inspired by how hard they work to give back.” Spindler is based in Steubenville, Ohio.

Eastern Gateway Community College President Michael Geoghegan was named one of the Ohio Region Paragon President Award winners. This award recognizes new college presidents for their outstanding support of student success and the PTK program. Eastern Gateway students and advisor nominated President Geoghegan for this award which, according to PTK, acknowledges college presidents who are providing students “more opportunities and stronger pathways to completion, transfer, and employment – even amid a global pandemic.”

Additionally, Rob Hodge, of Washington, an Eastern Gateway  business management – labor studies student is a semifinalist for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer scholarship. This competitive scholarship is for the nation’s top community college students seeking to complete their bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.

As a chapter, Alpha Omicron Nu at Eastern Gateway Community College received the following distinctions:

  • 5-Star Chapter Award
  • Catch A Shining Star Award for increase in membership of 61.4% for 2021
  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region
  • Members Jeremy Taylor and Kimberly Boyer will compete in Colorado for the Scholar Bowl later this year

Individually, the individual awards presented to chapter leaders include:

Jeremy Taylor, Chapter President

  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch
  • Scholar Bowl Championship winner with team member Kim Boyer
  • Elected the Eastern District Representative of Ohio Region Officer Team for 2022-2023
  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team

Lisa Shipman, Chapter Vice President

  • Catalyst Flag Bearer (Carries the flag at national conference)
  • Most Distinguished Regional Officer award
  • Elected Ohio Region President 2022-2023
  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team

Kimberly Boyer, Chapter Vice President of Fellowship

  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch
  • Inducted into the Order of Athena
  • Scholar Bowl Championship winner with President Jeremy Taylor
  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team

Rachel Ballowe, Chapter Vice President of Service

  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch
  • Inducted into the Order of Athena
  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team

Stacy Lemke, Chapter Member

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Member
  • Inducted into the Order of the Golden Key
  • Elected Vice President of the Ohio Region for 2022-2023

Jayden Podszus, Chapter Vice President of Membership

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region

Kimberley Grandberry, Chapter Public Relations Officer

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region

Leonard Gehl, Chapter Recording Officer

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region

Termia Brown, Chapter Vice President of Scholarship

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region

Jeannette Fe Rizzo, Chapter Vice President of Leadership

  • Nominated for Most Distinguished Chapter Officer Team
  • Inducted into the Order of the Torch for the Ohio region

“None of this would be possible without the leadership of PTK’s advisor, Karen Spindler, who has made PTK one of the most well-respected organizations at Eastern Gateway,” said Christina Wanat, senior vice president and chief student affairs officer at Eastern Gateway. “Our students in Steubenville, Youngstown and online benefit from the hands-on approach to this student-focused service organization.”

Spindler has provided leadership to Eastern Gateway’s PTK chapter for the last five years. During that time, she increased the chapter’s membership levels from 113 to more than 5,100 active members, including students taking classes in-seat, CCP, and online. During August 2021, the Eastern Gateway’s PTK reached out to staff, students and faculty to collect financial and personal care item donations to deliver to Eve Inc., an Ohio-based battered women’s shelter. The chapter’s Honors In Action project reached homeless shelters in many different states where students lived by donating Blessing bags to those shelters. By engaging the entire campus community in the service project, Professor Spindler brought awareness to our students’ participation in the Conference while clearly demonstrating PTK’s mission.

Award recipients will be formally recognized during PTK Catalyst 2022, our annual convention in Denver, Colorado, April 7-9, at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center.

The Christine and Phillip Dennison School of Business and Leadership will launch in Spring Semester 2023

Youngstown and Steubenville, Ohio – 

The Eastern Gateway Community College Board of Trustees today accepted a $250,000 donation from Christine and Phillip Dennison, of Youngstown, Ohio, to establish the Christine and Phillip Dennison School of Business and Leadership. The school will officially launch for Spring Semester 2023 (beginning January, 2023).

“This generous donation from two true community servants in very validating of the work our faculty, staff and students put into ensuring a high-quality business program, both in person and online, is offered at Eastern Gateway,” said Eastern Gateway President Michael Geoghegan. “We also hope to inspire our business students, with tremendous role models like the Dennisons, to achieve great things in their careers and in giving back to their communities.”

“The Board of Trustees was honored to accept this gift from one of our own – Board Member Christine Dennison – who is truly ‘walking the walk’ to help build a stronger Eastern Gateway,” said Eastern Gateway Board of Trustees Chair Jim Gaisor. “The Christine and Phillip Dennison School of Business and Leadership will be something we can all be proud of.”

Christine Dennison retired from teaching full time 8 years in the Marketing Department at Youngstown State University (YSU)’s Williamson College of Business Administration. She was also a Planned Giving Consultant to both United Way and the Community Foundation of Mahoning Valley and volunteered on the United Way Fund Allocation Committee. She was a board member and chaired a capital campaign for the Youngstown Hearing & Speech Center. Prior to that, she worked 15 years at IBM in Youngstown and Detroit in Administration and Marketing Divisions. She also was a secondary high school teacher for 6 years. She was a member of Leadership Youngstown and an Athena Nominee. She earned her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude at YSU where she also earned an MBA. She earned her M.S. in Education at Edinboro University, PA. She was appointed as an Eastern Gateway Trustee in 2015 and continues to serve and chairs the Student Success committee of the Board.

Phillip Dennison, CPA, is a principal emeritus with Packer Thomas, a regional accounting firm. He is chairman of the Board of the Western Reserve Health Foundation. Additionally, he serves as a board member and treasurer of Youngstown Cityscapes, received their Grass Roots Award. He is chair of a Committee of Grow Mahoning Valley, East Gate Regional Council of Governments. He was a past chair of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce. He chaired a successful, $3 million United Way of Mahoning County Annual Campaign. He also was a member of Leadership Youngstown. He earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from YSU.

“Community colleges are the backbone of our communities, and business and leadership are the heart,” said Christine Dennison. “Giving back to the college that continues to work tirelessly to enhance our communities is an incredible opportunity for us. It is an honor to be a part of Eastern Gateway’s story and the next generation of business leaders and professionals.”

“The business and leadership programs at Eastern Gateway Community College succeed because of the college’s students, faculty, and leadership. We are extremely thankful to be a part of helping students achieve their goals and career aspirations,” said Phillip Dennison.

The change will go into effect during the next Spring Semester, beginning in January 2023. At that time, the name of the school will appear on formal college documents, such as reports and student records.

“Business students and faculty will benefit greatly from the generous support of the Dennison’s donation,” said Dr. John Crooks, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Eastern Gateway. “The Dennison School of Business and Leadership will advance the college’s vision of ‘Creating Opportunities and Changing Lives.’ It is fitting to name this school after solid supporters of our students and local business professionals and owners.”

Media Note: Media interviews with President Geoghegan, Dr. Crooks and or Chair Gaisor will be available by request. Mr. and Mrs. Dennison will be available for media interviews at the May Board of Trustees meeting. Please email Amanda Wurst at [email protected] or by text at 614-832-7512 to schedule an interview.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – At a time when public colleges and universities see declines in enrollment, Eastern Gateway Community College is posting gains in acquiring and keeping its students.

Before the pandemic, 88% of EGCC students were enrolled in online courses. Offering curriculum online proved to be “a real shot in the arm for us” in terms of enrollment during the pandemic, EGCC President Michael Geoghegan says.

“Our enrollment in fall of 2020, six months after COVID hit, was 50% higher than it was in the fall of 2019,” Geoghegan says.


Total enrollment for fall 2021 at EGCC is 47,015 on both campuses and online, which is up from 40,033 in fall 2020 and up from 25,638 in 2019. Students from the four-county district it serves, by comparison, was 3,518 in fall 2021.

Enrollment is underway for spring semester, which Geoghegan estimates will be up 5% year-over-year.

Those enrollment increases buck the national trend, which saw fall 2021 enrollment at community colleges and two-year schools drop 14% from 2019, according to U.S. News.

Geoghegan credits the success at Eastern Gateway to its virtual education infrastructure.

“Because of the investments we made internally in technology, our student information system and our learning management system, it is very easy for students to attend Eastern Gateway,” he says.

Students can access course material on their time, which is beneficial since most of the students at EGCC work full- or part-time, he says. A new phone app increases that accessibility, letting students view their schedules and current classes, access the latest campus information and even do some coursework on their phones.


Through its free college benefit program, EGCC has minimized some barriers to enrollment for students from Mahoning, Columbiana, Trumbull and Jefferson counties. The benefit covers tuition, fees or books not covered by federal or employer education grants.

After completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, students must agree to limit any loans they receive to $1,000, he says.

“Our focus is on giving students the opportunity to get a community college degree and a workforce credential,” Geoghegan says. “We don’t want them leaving with a heavy burden of debt.”

EGCC enrolls a diverse student body, 70% of whom are female and 40% are students of color. The average student age is 34. The EGCC student profile is a 36-year-old working mother of two, he says.

Now, EGCC is turning its attention toward high school students. Currently, it enrolls about 1,500 high school students through the Ohio  College Credit Plus program, which allows students to simultaneously earn college and high school credits by taking EGCC courses.

Courses and instructional materials are free for the students. All College Credit Plus students are considered EGCC students and can transfer their credits to more than 1,000 Ohio colleges and universities.

In 2020, EGCC graduated 62 students from the program, who each earned a two-year degree in the process “and really never set foot on the campus,” Geoghegan says.

During one of the peaks of the pandemic in spring 2021, all in-seat courses were remote, including welding and health care programs with clinicals. EGCC was able to get students back in-person during the summer to finish the spring semester.

Since returning, online enrollment has increased to about 95% of the student body, he says. EGCC had to pull back a bit on in-seat courses because of the delta variant driving spikes in COVID cases, he says. “We’re looking for the spring to bring everybody back” to other in-seat programs.

More than half of the EGCC workforce is also working remote, he notes.

“We couldn’t have done that. We couldn’t have pivoted. We couldn’t have been as successful as we were when COVID hit if we didn’t have all of these sorts of investments in place at the time,” Geoghegan says.

Those investments have also helped EGCC to combat, to some extent, the demographic cliff that is shrinking enrollment at institutions of higher education across the United States.

EGCC recently elected its first student government association. Its president, Jeanette-Fe Rizzo, lives and works in Los Angeles.

“Our community college has to be one-of-a-kind in the country in the sense that we have students from all 50 states,” Geoghegan says.

Drawing out-of-state students with online enrollment is a financial boon to the region as well, Geoghegan says.

“The Pell [Grant] monies that they’re using come right into our service district,” he says. “It allowed us to be able to purchase our two buildings here.”

In June 2020, the Ohio Controlling Board approved EGCC’s request to buy what is now Thomas Humphries Hall at 101 E. Federal St. and the Healthcare Workforce Building at 101 E. Boardman St. for a combined $9.69 million.

In addition to enrollment, EGCC continues to improve its retention rate, says Art Daly, senior vice president for the Youngstown campus.

From fall 2019 to 2020, the retention rate collegewide was 57.1%. It has increased steadily since fall 2016 to 2017, when it was 49%.

Daly attributes those increases to the EGCC support for students to overcome various barriers to education – not just financial. Regardless of class size, faculty and adjunct faculty focus on giving each student the attention needed for successful outcomes and graduation, he says.

“Sometimes we have first-generation students that come through our institution and we have the support to make sure that we don’t lose them through the cracks,” Daly says. “We make sure our faculty are definitely engaging, because I know that can be a critical piece.”

EGCC also focuses on job placement after graduation, Daly notes.

“We were speaking with the CEO of Mercy Health and at any one time they’ve got 350 nurse openings,” Geoghegan says. “We want to help fill that pipeline.”

Eastern Gateway is working to expand its nursing programs to meet that need. The community college has 200 nursing students enrolled and another 68 coming into the program between this spring and the fall of 2022, Daly says.

“Because we know there’s an aging population, there’s a health crisis that we have for some of our older folks that are living in some of these assisted living places. And they need help and hospital settings are overburdened,” he says.

In January, the Youngstown campus will add a radiology technology program, which is already offered at the Steubenville campus.

The Youngstown campus is also promoting other programs, such as medical assisting and health-information management, all of which can be done online. Future post-graduate certifications being considered include mammography, MRI and CT scanning.

“We see the areas of opportunity and need,” Daly says. “And that’s exactly where we want to be.”

One area of expansion is establishing a badging system that will allow students to front-load their course work with focus-area classes to earn a credential while they still attend school. Another is a new program to certify technicians for electric-vehicle charging stations.

Eastern Gateway looks to have its additive manufacturing program, in collaboration with America Makes, established by fall 2022, possibly with a makerspace on campus, Daly says. Also, EGCC trains workers at Ultium Cells LLC in Lordstown on programmable logic control systems.

Ensuring students find employment after graduation is part of EGCC’s accreditation.

In early November, the Higher Learning Commission placed the community college on probation for up to two years, changing its accreditation status to “Accredited – On Probation.”

The action followed a comprehensive evaluation by the commission in November 2020.

Geoghegan dismissed the findings as related to operational issues under the former EGCC president, Jimmie Bruce, such as how it vets faculty, he says.

“We went back and forth with the accreditor because we just didn’t agree with their findings,” Geoghegan says. “But their findings are pretty autonomous.”

The probation period doesn’t affect financial aid and students will still be able to graduate or transfer, he says. He allows, however, that some private schools might not transfer their credits because of the probation status.

EGCC is scheduling listening sessions for students and updating its website at with the latest information. “So far, we haven’t had a lot of concern from our students,” he says.

And Geoghegan says he’s “fully confident” Eastern Gateway is close to getting back to being fully accredited. The community college needs to complete an assurance argument based on five criteria.

A draft will be ready by next fall. It will be submitted to the commission for review in February 2023, he says.

Hiring a vice president of institutional effectiveness is one of the first steps the college has taken. That will address the internal processes for assessing and documenting student and program outcomes, he says.

“We’re having project teams set up for each of the five criteria that will be led by our vice president of institutional effectiveness,” Geoghegan says. “We hired a new assessment coordinator, who will be our academic liaison officer with the accreditor. They’re already working very well together.

“We’re not going to wait until the last minute. We’re going to make sure that we’re going to be in constant communication with our liaison officer,” he says.

Pictured: Art Daly, senior vice president for Eastern Gateway Community College Youngstown campus, and EGCC President Michael Geoghegan review the college’s strategic plan.

EGCC launches Summer Guarantee

The Vindicator | May 3, 2020

Ensures no out-of-pocket costs for students with CARES Act support

YOUNGSTOWN — Eastern Gateway Community College has launched the EGCC Summer Guarantee, a program that allows students to take summer semester classes with no out-of-pocket costs, including tuition, fees and books.

For new, continuing and returning students who reside in the college’s service district — Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson counties — the program will be a “last dollar” scholarship that will cover students’ costs after Pell Grants and other financial aid eligibility is determined.

It is also available to students enrolled at another college or university, but are back home in the service district for the summer.

“The federal stimulus bill, the CARES Act, provided funding to colleges to help cover the costs of transitioning to online learning during the novel coronavirus pandemic and to ensure students continue to receive their education, especially those students facing economic hardship,” said Interim President Michael Geoghegan.

The college will receive just under $1 million in funding through the CARES Act to support students after academic disruption as a result of COVID-19.

To be eligible for the program, students must have completed a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submitted an EGCC online application. Summer courses begin June 1.

In addition to tuition assistance, the legislation provided funding for direct assistance to students to remove barriers to continuing their education. The college is reviewing guidlines and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

EGCC tuition plan good for region

Herald Star | April 30, 2020

Eastern Gateway Community College is putting its expertise in online and distance learning to use to offer local students the chance to take summer classes with no out-of-pocket costs.

The school announced Monday a program called the EGCC Summer Guarantee, which will allow students to earn college credit during the summer semester at no cost to them — not for tuition, not for fees and not for books.

Described as a “last dollar” scholarship, it will cover out-of pocket costs after Pell Grants and other financial aid legibility has been determined.

The program is open to new, continuing and returning students who live in the college’s service district, which includes Jefferson, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Students who are enrolled at other colleges and universities and are back at home in the service area also are eligible to participate.

It’s a move that comes at the right time for area residents who have experienced disruption in their education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and falls right in line with the school’s mission of providing quality and affordable education.

Technology, and EGCC’s expanding online presence, plays a big part in that equation. Officials explained that before the school was forced into a full-scale conversion to distance learning as a response to the social distancing and other restrictions that have been put into place as a response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, 88 percent of EGCC’s students were taking at least one online course.

All students have to do to become eligible for the program and summer classes, which begin June 1, is to have completed a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid form and an online application. Much of the money to cover the cost of the program will come from the nearly $1 million the school will receive from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Monday’s announcement from EGCC is more good news for higher education in our region. Last week, the Franciscan University of Steubenville announced its Step in Faith program, which will cover the remainder of tuition costs, after scholarships and grants have been applied, for the fall semester for all incoming full-time undergraduate students enrolled in its on-campus programs.

Eastern Gateway’s summer semester offers students and displaced workers a chance to get caught up and move forward, according to Michael Geoghegan, the school’s interim president, who added the programs are affordable and accessible without “sacrificing any of the rigor students, staff, faculty and employers expect.”

That it comes as no cost to students is important, and the EGCC administration and board deserve to be commended for working to make the summer guarantee program possible.