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Dr. Steven Helfgot Retires

News July 8, 2015
Dr. Steven Helfgot with kachina doll at his retirement party.

“Breaking Up is Hard to Do!”

Do you remember that song? It was a big hit for Neal Sedaka in 1975, remember? If you do that’s pretty good… and you’re probably of “a certain age.” But if you remember that the first time he had a hit with that song was in 1962 you are REALLY of “a certain age”… probably somewhere around my age!

So, by now you are probably wondering what the point is and what, in fact, this has to do with anything. I’ll tell you.

As I write this I am three weeks from retirement, the conclusion of a 44 year career in community colleges including 13 years with the Maricopa Community Colleges and seven of those years as President & CEO of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. I am clearly of “a certain age,” and while my retirement has been long planned (with lots of exciting things on the horizon), nonetheless, “breaking up is hard to do.”

It’s not hard leaving the day-to-day grind of the work behind; I’ve been working for a long time. What’s hard is separating—at least to some extent—from the people who have so enriched that work and made it so worthwhile, day-in-and-day-out, year-in-and-year-out, and it is to those people that I want to say thanks.

Thanks, first, to all of you in our community, who support us, who make gifts to the Foundation and allow us to do the work that we do and create opportunity for students. It’s obvious but true—we couldn’t do it without you.

And thanks to all those students, some who I’ve come to know and others who I have never met, who are hungry for educational opportunity, grateful beyond belief, for the support that they get from us and who often bring us to tears and always make us proud with what they accomplish in school and beyond.

A special thank you to all of those who have served on the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Board during my tenure. Your support has been a treasure. Your willingness to push us has helped us to become a better organization. Your enthusiasm, your commitment, your gifts of time, talent and treasure have inspired us all.

Finally, a profound and heartfelt thanks to my colleagues on the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation staff. Each has unique talents and skills, but individually and collectively what they share is a passion for our mission, a deep devotion to helping students and a true desire to make a difference. It’s hard to ask for more and it has been both an honor and a pleasure to work with each and every one of them.

Enough said; thank you all!

Steven R. Helfgot, Ed.D
President and CEO