Dr. Daryll Dykes, ’83 Named National Alumni Award Honoree

Dr. Daryll Dykes, ’83

Onondaga Community College alumnus Dr. Daryll Dykes, ‘83 has been named a 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award winner by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Dykes will receive the award Tuesday, May 1 at the AACC’s annual convention in Dallas, Texas.

Dykes love of medicine started early. When he was a young boy growing up on Syracuse’s west side, he enjoyed visiting his mother while she worked as a nurse. After graduating from Fowler High School in 1980, Dykes joined the United States Marine Corps as a way of paying for college. When he completed his military obligation Dykes came to OCC and majored in Mathematics & Science. “The classes and professors really ignited my passion for learning. The professors saw my talent, invested in it and pushed me to do great things,” Dykes said.

Dykes turned his passion for medicine into his career. Today he is one of the nation’s premier spine surgeons and owns his own practice, Medical and Surgical Spine Consultants of Minnesota.

Dr. Daryll Dykes, ’83

“We are so proud of Dr. Dykes and his accomplishments,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. “He is richly deserving of this recognition, and we congratulate him. We’re grateful too that in the years since he earned his degree he has been willing to return to campus and speak with students who today sit where he once sat. His message of hard work, perseverance and determination have had a positive impact on those he has spent time with.”

Dykes is one of only three national Outstanding Alumni Award honorees in 2018. He is also the fourth OCC honoree in the last five years joining Dr. Emad Rahim (2017), Laurie Halse Anderson (2015) and John Dau (2014). There are 1,462 community colleges in United States serving approximately 12 million students annually. According to the AACC, Onondaga Community College is the first institution to have four Outstanding Alumni Award honorees in five years.

Congratulations Dr. Daryll Dykes!

Recently we announced a new initiative, “The OCC Effect.” We wanted to hear from our former students about the ways in which OCC impacted their lives. If you would like to join in the conversation please visit our Alumni web site and tell us about your experience. Your success is a significant part of OCC’s story which began more than a half-century ago when we first opened our doors in 1961. We’re proud our middle name is “community” and we’d love to hear what OCC’s effect has been on you.

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Dr. Daryll Dykes, ’83 accepts his award at the AACC National Conference.

The Podcast: Summer Success Academy

Distinguished OCC alumnus Dr. Emad Rahim has a conversation with students enrolled in the Summer Success Academy.

OCC’s Summer Success Academy once again helped students get a head start on college. The five-week program acclimated students to the college environment so they were well-positioned for success at the start of the fall semester.

Marcus Watts

Students took classes in the morning and participated in various activities during the afternoon. Activities included a ropes course, discussions about life skills, visits to SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego and conversations with current and former students including Dr. Emad Rahim. Dr. Rahim is a graduate of Fowler High School who came to OCC, conquered a learning disability and earned advanced degrees from Colorado Tech, Tulane and Harvard University. Today he is an endowed chair and project director at Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska. Earlier this year, the American Association of Community Colleges honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award, one of only five given out nationally.

Yanira Rodriguez

A total of 47 students took part in the Summer Success Academy, 40 of whom will be freshmen at OCC this fall.

The Summer Success Academy is the focus of the latest edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” We’ll introduce you to Marcus Watts, Director of our Educational Opportunity Program who also oversees the Summer Success Academy. You will also meet Yanira Rodriguez, a 2017 Henninger High School graduate who will be a freshman and Criminal Justice major at OCC.

Enjoy the podcast!

New Honor Society Members

New Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members hold candles after being inducted.

OCC’s chapter of honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) welcomed more than 200 new members during its spring induction ceremony March 29 in Storer Auditorium.

The event was highlighted by the inspirational words of former OCC student Dr. Emad Rahim. Next month he will receive the Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges. He will be one of only five honorees nationwide.

Rahim came to OCC in the late 1990s after graduating from Fowler High School. He struggled as a student until he was diagnosed with dyslexia. The discovery opened up a world of possibilities for him. Today he is an Endowed Chair and Director for the Project Center of Excellence at Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska.

During his energetic and animated presentation Rahim encouraged inductees to take advantage of the opportunities at OCC rather than focusing on which college they will attend next. “Often when we go to community college people tell you it is a stepping stone. A stepping stone does not look like success to me. Community college created a foundation for me, a foundation of success.” Following his presentation Rahim was awarded an honorary membership in PTK.

Other event speakers included OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, PTK Advisor and Sociology Professor Dr. Annie Tuttle, PTK Chapter President Haley Hurst and PTK Chapter Vice President for Scholarship Jon Minnberg.

OCC’s Music department was well represented at the event. The Chamber Ensemble under the leadership of Dr. David J. Rudari performed the National Anthem. The ceremony closed with sophomore pianist Ryan Case and the Chamber Ensemble singing the Phi Theta Kappa song.

The Phi Theta Kappa Student Leadership team is:

  • Haley Hurst, President
  • Jon Minnberg, VP for Scholarship
  • Jerry Tingley, VP for Leadership
  • Neil Minet, VP for Service
  • Casey Rochette, VP for Fellowship
  • Carrie Daignault, Executive Secretary for NY Region
  • Blake Carter, Leadership Team
  • Heather Flewelling, Leadership Team
  • John Schuermann, Leadership Team

OCC’s PTK chapter and Honors Program are located in Coulter Library, Suite 204. The suite includes offices for the coordinator and faculty members as well as student lounge space, computers, a printer and a multi-purpose meeting/classroom/workshop space.

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National “Outstanding Alumni Award” for Dr. Emad Rahim

Dr. Emad Rahim speaks with students in OCC's Summer Bridge Program in August 2016.
Dr. Emad Rahim speaks with students in OCC’s Summer Bridge Program in August 2016.

Former OCC student Dr. Emad Rahim will be recognized in April by a national education association, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Rahim will receive the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award at the AACC’s National Convention in New Orleans, LA.

“The AACC Outstanding Alumni recipients showcase the quality and diverse plethora of the nation’s community colleges programs and services,” said AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus. “They are shining stars that exemplify the great value of a community college education and we are honored to recognize their accomplishments.” Rahim is one of only five honorees nationwide this year.

“Dr. Emad Rahim’s life story is truly an inspiration and we at Onondaga Community College are proud to have played a role in his journey. He is richly deserving of this award and we congratulate him on his accomplishments. We are also proud that for the third time in four years the AACC has chosen to recognize a distinguished member of our family,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. OCC alumna and bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson received the award in 2015. Alumnus and Human Rights Activist John Dau was honored in 2014.

Dr. Emad Rahim
Dr. Emad Rahim

Rahim is a survivor of genocide in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. While in a concentration camp his father was executed and his older brother died of starvation. After fleeing to the United States, Rahim’s family lived temporarily in Brooklyn and ultimately found a home on Syracuse’s west side. He attended Fowler High School, earned his diploma in 1997 and began attending OCC a short time later.

“Many of my peers saw community college as a stepping stone towards their career. As a first generation college student, my experience at Onondaga Community College not only provided me with the academic foundation I needed to find my footing in higher education, but also helped me develop the skills I needed for career advancement,” said Rahim.

Rahim went from OCC to Empire State College where he was diagnosed with dyslexia. The discovery opened up a world of possibilities for him. Rahim earned a Doctorate in Management from Colorado Tech University and continued his education at Tulane University, the University of Maryland and Harvard University.

Today, Rahim is an Endowed Chair and Director for the Project Center of Excellence at Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska. He works remotely from his home on the west side of Syracuse just a few blocks from where he grew up. Rahim also works closely with inner-city organizations and refugee programs. His life story is the subject of a documentary titled Against the Odds.

Congratulations Dr. Emad Rahim!