Commencement May 19

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Nolan Harkness: EC a place of growth for family

For 16 years, respect for the purple and gold has run deep for Nolan Harkness, EC’s Head Electrician, and his three children.

Harkness’s relationship with EC began after he “saw a job posted for an electrician at Elmira College and it seemed like a good fit,” he shared. “It’s been a good job and a great place to work.”

Before becoming an electrician, Harkness was a youth minister and promoted his ministry around the country through publications like The Christian Post and a syndicated radio show for teens called "Teen Talk Radio." After he began working at EC, he started taking Marketing courses as well as creative courses in photography and graphic design to pick up practical skills that would further his ministry work and help financially.

“As a student myself here, I knew the faculty were excellent. Being on campus, and being around people, I felt warmth and friendliness - a type of family atmosphere. There was an acceptance and I felt that my children would do well here.”

And they did.

Soon after taking the role, Harkness’s middle child, Cherith Harkness ’10, transferred from another college to take advantage of the tuition assistance offered to employees and their dependents. She attended her junior and senior years, earning a bachelor’s in Education.

It was an adjustment at first, shared Nolan Harkness. However, Cherith Harkness quickly made friends and thrived academically, enjoying the close relationship with her professors and peers.

“To this day, one of her roommates at EC remains her best friend,” he said.

After graduating, Cherith Harkness became a nanny for a family, which led to a position at a charter school for gifted children.

“She always wanted to be a teacher,” explained Nolan Harkness, adding that she loves where she works.

When Nolan Harkness started working at EC, his older daughter, Shiloh Harkness Magsamen ’13, had already graduated from another college with a bachelor’s in Psychology. She had originally planned to become a counselor but decided to pivot to Education. While working full-time, she earned a master's in Education from EC, taking online and evening classes. She now works at Bath Haverling High School.

His youngest child, Aaron Harkness ’14, attended all four years at EC. Interested in the military, Aaron Harkness participated in the ROTC program. Since graduating, he worked in the military and has done well. He earned the rank of Captain and received positive performance reviews.

“He is currently serving in an evacuation unit, helping to get people out of dangerous situations,” shared Nolan Harkness.

When asked what advice he has for parents considering whether to send their student to EC, Nolan Harkness said, “Because the character of the staff here is caring and loving and patient with young people, I think they can be confident while their children are here. And they’ll get a great education in the process.”

“I would encourage them to visit and meet as many people as they can when visiting EC. Talk to faculty and staff and participate in programs to get a feel for the atmosphere. Talk to students who are here and find out what they feel. I think anyone who does that will get a sense of the real culture of the school.”

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