Photo cutline: EAC President Todd Haynie unveils two bachelor’s degrees at pep rally press conference at the Guitteau Gymnasium. [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
THATCHER, Ariz. — Eastern Arizona College (EAC) proudly announced a historic moment with the unveiling of its inaugural bachelor's degree programs. The announcement took center stage during a press conference and pep rally led by EAC President Todd Haynie. The event saw enthusiastic participation from community members, faculty, staff, and a vibrant assembly of approximately 200 EAC students.
Haynie expressed gratitude to the community members who played a pivotal role in passing the transformative legislation.
“As I look out into the audience today, I see members of our community who have been instrumental in helping to support and pass this legislation, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. Your efforts will transform lives, elevate job opportunities, increase wages, alleviate financial and travel burdens for students, and help our residents live and work close to their families in Graham and Greenlee counties.”
Underlining the impact of these degrees, Haynie emphasized the opportunity they bring to high school graduates and associate degree holders. EAC's programs, offered at a quarter of the cost compared to universities, ensure accessibility for all without the need to travel to larger cities.
Haynie then introduced Mr. Vance Bryce, the executive director of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce and the son of Mark Bryce, his predecessor at EAC. In doing so, he acknowledged the substantial contributions of President Bryce, highlighting the significant work and effort he invested to pave the way for EAC to offer bachelor’s degrees.
Bryce commended the visionary leadership at EAC, underscoring the positive impact the new bachelor's degrees will have on future generations.
“President Haynie, Vice President Wood, and Vice President Welker are a part of a long-standing tradition of visionary leadership, making Eastern Arizona College the smart, higher education destination since 1888. I’d like to thank all of the volunteers, faculty, staff, governing board members, business owners, elected officials, church leaders, and anyone who wrote a letter of support or excitedly shared their passion and vision for this project,” said Bryce.
Bryce also acknowledged the significant economic impact of EAC, contributing $250 million annually to the Eastern Arizona economy.
“At the Chamber of Commerce, our mission is to advance the quality of life for everyone in the Gila Valley. With higher education, and these degrees, our quality of life is advancing like never before. Thank you again to those who supported this cause and Eastern Arizona College for not giving up the dream.”
Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Susan Wood then provided details about the new bachelor's degrees. Registration for the programs will open in March 2024, with classes scheduled to commence in Fall 2024. The 120-credit path is designed for career success, accepting any associate degree.
Acknowledging the rigorous evaluations conducted by The Higher Learning Commission, Wood gave special recognition to EAC’s Music and Health Sciences departments, led by deans Aaron Burk and Pete Chidester, for their dedicated efforts in making these degrees a reality.
EAC’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences equips students for over 40 healthcare roles, addressing the 28% nationwide growth rate in healthcare management positions. The EAC Bachelor of Music Education Degree prepares students to become music educators in diverse settings.
The celebratory event featured a dynamic performance of the EAC Fight Song by the EAC Monster Band and cheerleaders. Offering a glimpse into the caliber of performances students in EAC’s Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education program will produce, EAC Encore delivered a captivating rendition of Coldplay’s "Fix You."
Prospective students interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Arizona College are encouraged to visit [www.eac.edu/4year](http://www.eac.edu/4year) for more information.
Photo cutline: A large crowd gathered at Guitteau Gymnasium to hear the announcement. [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
Photo cutline: Mr. Vance Bryce, the executive director of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce and the son of former EAC President, Mark Bryce, was the featured speaker. [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
Photo cutline: Dr. Susan Wood, EAC Vice president of student and academic affairs, provided details about the new bachelor’s degrees [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
Photo cutline: EAC’s show choir, Encore, delivered a captivating rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
Photo cutline: Attendees enjoyed pizza and “Monster” cookies after the rally. [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]
Photo cutline: Everyone got in on the excitement at this landmark event. [Photo submitted by EAC’s Sophia Saldana.]