John Gould’s road to a college degree has been a long and winding one. In the 1970s he was a high school All-American basketball player in Garden City, Long Island. Due to a series of bad choices he was never able to turn his athletic abilities into opportunities in higher education. Four decades later, he is about to earn a college degree.
In the spring of 2009 at the age of 48 Gould started taking classes at OCC. “I was nervous because I had never been to college. I was worried I’d be much older than everyone else. When I got here and saw some students around my age I felt much more comfortable. The faculty and staff were wonderful about accepting me.”
In his seven years at OCC Gould has become a leader on campus. He’s served as president of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement for two consecutive years. He didn’t seek the position, it found him. “I came to the office one day, started asking questions and the next thing I knew I was being asked to run for president. As I got more involved I saw the issues which impact students and I became a person who wanted to help. Every student needs a voice. There are faculty and staff here who really want to help them achieve their dream.”
The fact Gould has time for anything outside of class is remarkable. He and his wife live in Ithaca where they are raising two grandsons. He also works full time in Syracuse at CNY Services. “My schedule is very challenging. There’s never enough time in the day.”
Gould will graduate in May with a degree in Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counseling. His goal is to transfer to Syracuse University and pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees. “I thank OCC for the opportunity it has given me. The relationships with students, faculty and staff have been great!”