2020 District 1 Pacesetter
Dr. Donald Generals
Community College of Philadelphia
Dr. Donald Generals, the sixth president of Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), is a strong community college advocate who focuses on student success.
He has emerged as a leader in guided pathways, a national reform initiative that ensures curricular alignment between academic programs and related support services and has shown positive results in graduation rates and retention. Dr. Generals also has placed an emphasis on dual-enrollment programs, and this year at CCP, 76 students in dual-enrollment programs graduated with an associate degree as they completed high school. His focus on student success also has helped hundreds of CCP students obtain basic needs – such as housing, food and child care – so they could continue their studies.
Equally important to Dr. Generals is understanding and responding to the challenges of his city. He serves on the board of directors for the Economy League of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, where he is able to share the latest information about the college while remaining in-the-know about the workforce and educational needs of the city. In recognition of his community outreach, Dr. Generals received the Philadelphia Tribune Magazine’s 2020 Most Influential Leader award, which acknowledges African American leaders in the region for outstanding commitment to the community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Generals has stood out as a confident, inspiring leader. When classes moved online in March, the college made resources available to assist faculty in creating online courses and help students adjust to learning remotely. Dr. Generals arranged for students to receive laptops and reduced or free internet. In late May, he announced that fall 2020 classes would remain online, which was well before other area institutions.
An educator and seasoned researcher, Dr. Generals is an expert on the roots of the progressive education movement in America, a concept advanced by leading scholars who believe schools must be effective agencies of a democratic society. In 2013, Dr. Generals authored the book Booker T. Washington: The Architect of Progressive Education.
In response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, Dr. Generals organized the “Enough Is Enough” series, which features teach-in sessions for the college community to educate and share how to take action against racism and inequality.