ALL IN THE FAMILY
"Just like most high school students, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation," said Pete Robinson. "I had just enough money to attend one semester at NCCC and receiving an education was very important to me. The reason that I was attracted to NCCC is because it gave me a chance to complete my first two years at a lower cost, but still receive a great education."
"After my first semester, I couldn’t afford to stay," Pete said. "I couldn’t even afford my books, but I knew I needed to be at NCCC. The Foundation at NCCC helped! They gave me the opportunity to continue my education by becoming one of the first recipients of the NCCC Foundation scholarship."
Thanks to that scholarship, Pete was able to continue on at NCCC and focus on his education in Criminal Justice. "I was so appreciative of the opportunity and for the College’s help that I wanted to become involved and give back to the campus," said Pete.
Throughout his time at NCCC, Pete worked in the Security Office as a Student Worker and became the first African-American Student Trustee. "To have the opportunity that NCCC offered me, I would have been a fool not to take it, especially as a minority. It was a once and a lifetime chance for any student. NCCC encouraged me to learn and become the best that I could be. It felt empowering because they didn’t care about the color of my skin, they cared about supporting me. Board Trustee member at that time, Joan Wolfgang, was instrumental in my success. She took the time to not only listen to my thoughts and opinions, but also prepare me for real life experiences."
After attending NCCC, Pete transferred to the University at Buffalo where he graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government. Pete stated, "I always dreamed that one day I would be able to make a difference in my community which is why I went into this field." After graduating from UB, Pete served in the U.S. Marshals Service, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Justice Court, and Auxiliary Police.
Currently, Pete is serving as a NYS Court Sergeant in Niagara Falls. "I work for the second biggest law enforcement agency in NY and it’s my job to protect the judiciary and staff. I have been there for 5-years and will be transferring to Buffalo to become the new Training Sergeant. I’ll have the opportunity to train all of the new NYS Court Officers and provide them with encouragement while empowering them with the tools to succeed."
Pete’s desire to serve his community overflows from his professional life and into his personal ambitions. He is the founder and organizer of the much remembered, "Festival of Lights", which attracted tens of thousands to downtown Niagara Falls over 44 days during the holiday season. He also organized the successful Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, an award winning charity which feeds working poor families by distributing jars of peanut butter and jelly to local food pantries. When asked Pete what drives him to be involved he said, "when I wake up in the morning and brush my teeth, there’s something that I always do…I look in the mirror. When I look in that mirror, I see a reflection of myself that I can’t hide from. I have to be able to face that reflection open and honestly every day which is why I try to be the best version of myself and give back to my surrounding community."
In addition to giving back to his community, Pete has never forgotten the place that helped him get his start and continues to stay involved with NCCC. Pete is a former NCCC Alumni Board Member, participates in the NCCC Foundation Scholarship Gala, and volunteers by singing at a variety of College and Alumni events. "When your time at NCCC ends, you leave there with hope. NCCC took an interest in a normal person like me, a person who was broke and helped me to excel. I will forever be proud of this institution and continue to give back in any way that I can."
To honor his achievements, Pete has received a myriad of awards including the United Way of Greater Niagara Shining Star Award, the B.P.O. ELKS 2013 Citizen of the Year Award, the Community Support Person of the Year Award and Certificate of Merit from the Lockport Business Association and Senator George Maziarz.
In addition, Pete was also the recipient of the 2013 NCCC Distinguished Alumni Award. "When I heard that I was receiving this prestigious award from the College, I felt like I was getting a hug from a proud parent. I couldn’t have been more honored and humbled that the place that means so much to me felt that I was deserving enough to receive this award."
Pete concluded by saying, "there are so many people at NCCC that influenced not only my education, but also my life. I can’t even begin to name them all, but I am truly grateful to each and every one of them. Without the help of NCCC, I don’t know where I would be today."