SUNBURY — The Sunbury Center of Lackawanna College more than doubled its enrollment since it opened nearly four years ago.
Sunbury Center Director Philip Campbell joined the Daily Item on July 30 for a One On One discussion to talk about the Scranton-based college. The Sunbury branch, located at the Sunbury Plaza at 1145 N. Fourth St., had its first semester starting in August 2017.
“When we first started, we started with 20 students; now we’re close to 60,” said Campbell. “It doesn’t seem like a lot, but over year to year, we’ve been growing gradually. That’s better than going backward.”
Students at Lackawanna Sunbury can seek their bachelor’s degree in business, criminal justice, human services, restaurant and food service management and RN to BSN; and their associate’s degree in accounting, business administration, business studies, criminal justice, cybersecurity, human services, petroleum and natural gas technology, professional studies and sports management. There are also several certificate programs, including a newly launched program in 3D printing as well as administrative support technician, certified clinical medical assistant, conservation and natural resource and medical administrative assistant.
Campbell takes pride in being a part of the community. The college recently sponsored a community day at the Sunbury pool.
Campbell said Lackawanna’s partnership with high schools in the Valley has been a highlight of the branch’s existence.
“Our dual enrollment program has really blossomed and we’re allowing students to take college-level courses while they’re still in high school,” he said.
The plaza is a “great location” for the college with amenities close by, including Weis Markets, Dunkin Donuts, parking, and the YMCA, said Campbell.
“It’s at the end of town, it’s very accessible,” he said.
The misconceptions from the community have been a challenge to overcome, said Campbell.
“We’re not (a community college),” said Campbell. “We’re a private institution, the same as Susquehanna and Bucknell.”
Lackawanna does not ask for any financial help from outside agencies, he said.
“I’m not going to a county to ask for a tax raise or to the state to ask for subsidies,” said Campbell.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a challenge. Masks are encouraged for those who want to wear them or are not vaccinated. Classes, for now, will be in person in the fall, he said.
“Safety is on top of everybody’s list,” he said. “Our major concern is to keep everybody safe.”
Lackawanna has not made a decision on whether vaccinations will be mandatory for taking classes on campus, he said.