“My HCC professors were mentors who had a profound and lasting effect on my life.”

— Richard Gaspar, 1990 HCC Graduate, current HCC professor

As the first member of my family to enjoy the privilege of attending college, I didn’t know what to expect. Wisely, I chose HCC and received an education that provided limitless opportunities. Small class sizes afforded me the opportunity to establish relationships with professors who provided guidance, encouragement and helped me understand the importance of leadership and community service. Professor Reg Poling was one of my most heartfelt mentors. He not only taught me how to be a leader, he helped me establish the Brandon Campus Drama Club, apply for scholarships, and receive a full transfer scholarship to the University of Tampa, where I earned a B.A. in English and education. I continued my education, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at the University of South Florida. One of my proudest moments, however, was returning to HCC to teach, a promise I made in my 1990 student commencement speech. Each day in the classroom, I try to instill in my students what was instilled in me at HCC so many years ago—the confidence to set high goals and then achieve them.