Today’s students will one day join a talent pool and workforce that includes thousands of CSU graduates who have been influencing and advancing society’s collective good for the better part of 50 years.

Becoming a valedictorian

When CSU senior Ellen Rea got word that she had landed a job at GE Aviation as an aerospace...

Your support helps alleviate the pressures that can cause some of our students to simply give up, only a few short steps away from obtaining a college degree.

Becoming a valedictorian

When CSU senior Ellen Rea got word that she had landed a job at GE Aviation as an aerospace...

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Rebounding from struggle

Not long ago Jamil Rahman was homeless.

He enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and discovered a network that quickly embraced him, finding him housing, clothing and more. It didn’t take long for him to get established and back on his feet.

After finishing his associate's degree at Tri-C, Jamil, at the urging of mentors and counselors, came to CSU for a bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership. With only months left in his undergraduate career, he’s looking to get into the kind of work that helps people avoid his rocky path.

“I, at one time, needed assistance and I received a lot of help,” he said.

“Now I want to give back.”

Jamil said that, as a kid, he took education for granted. Through the years, though, he became keenly aware that it was the key to finding a career.

“If I’d gone straight from high school, I’d be more established,” he said.

But the fact that it’s taken 30 years to get his bachelor’s degree or that he’s often the oldest one In his classes doesn’t seem to faze him. He relishes the life experience he’s gained along the way and it motivates him.

“I don’t want to fail,” he said.

Take his last semester, for instance. He readily admits that it was challenging, especially a particular gnarly statistics class. He’d heard that some students were more forgiving of themselves if they flunked out of it, but that wasn’t an option for him.

For better or worse, he puts a lot of pressure on himself.

“I have a lot riding on me.”

He met with a tutor, his professor and studied endlessly week after week, even scouring YouTube for tips. In the end, he passed, clearing yet another hurdle to graduation.

This sort of drive finds its origins in a number of places – his mentors at Tri-C, his appreciation for education, his hope that he’ll one day help others lead easier lives and even his scholarship.

“My scholarship enables me to continue to strive for excellence,” he said.

Jamil already has his sights on graduate school, but he’s pacing himself and eager to walk across the stage at commencement. Earning his associates was one thing, but getting his bachelor’s degree is on a completely different level.

And he’s eagerly anticipating the swell of pride he’s sure that he’ll experience when he can finally say that he did it.

“I’m going to feel good.”

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