Reflections on a Visit to the Birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In August of 2016, my wife and I took a trip down to the beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia. This was our first time visiting Atlanta, and the furthest south I had ever traveled. The drive from Cincinnati to Atlanta led us through the entire states of Kentucky and Tennessee, and took us about eight hours to reach our final destination. For a moment during the ride, I thought about how my paternal great grandmother, whom I had learned about through my grandfather, had likely traveled this same exact route many years ago as she fled the Jim Crow south in search of better opportunities for African Americans in the north. It was a chilling thought, but I was comforted knowing that the south my great grandmother had escaped all those years ago was long gone due, in large part, to the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther king Jr., and many others.

Though a bit exhausted, we were so excited to finally reach our hotel room in downtown Atlanta, on the campus of Georgia State University. There were so many things we wanted to do and so many places we wanted to visit. While there, we had the pleasure of touring the world of Coca-Cola museum, which featured an all-you-can drink beverage exhibit, with various Coca-Cola brand selections from all around the world. My favorite drink was the kiwi apple flavored Fanta, which is only sold in Thailand- it was really good! Then, we took a ride on the famous Atlanta Skyview Ferris Wheel, which towers some 200 ft. above Centennial Olympic park in downtown Atlanta. Swinging back and forth in a small air-born gondola is a bit nerve-wrecking at first, but the view from the top of the Ferris Wheel is absolutely amazing.

We also had the great pleasure of visiting the site of the 1996 Olympic Games. That year, Atlanta became only the 5th US city to host the worldwide Olympic Games. Salt Lake City would become the 6th when it hosted the Olympic Games in 2002. We visited the Cable News Network (CNN) headquarters, which before visiting, I had not known was in Atlanta. We drove past the Georgia Dome, and made a brief stop inside of the centuries old Oakland cemetery, which houses a section known as the “Slave Quarters”, the final resting place for more than 12,000 slaves. Even in death, blacks and whites were not permitted to dwell side-by- side, in what is now the former confederate states of America. I had never seen anything like it in my entire life. It was quite an experience!

But, perhaps, the most intriguing stop of them all was when we visited the former neighborhood and birthplace of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King’s childhood home is located at 501 Auburn Avenue, just two blocks up from the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The feeling of standing in front of Dr. King’s childhood home was surreal. In my view, Atlanta is synonymous with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, I first heard about the city when reading a children’s book about him in grade school, so you can imagine how significant this experience was for me. Unfortunately, however, on the day we visited, the home was under construction and no one was allowed to go inside. This being the case, we would have to be satisfied with taking a picture in front of the beautiful yellow and brown Victorian style home. There were people from all over the world waiting for a chance to take a selfie or group photo in front of the house.

Directly across the street from Dr. King’s childhood home stood an entire unit of homes called “shotgun” houses. Shotgun houses were one of the most popular styles of homes in the early 1900’s, particularly in urban areas. as they were small and relatively inexpensive to build. We, then, made the two blocks walk over to the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both Dr. King and his father, Martin Luther King Sr., were pastors. As I sat on one of the original pews inside of the sanctuary, I was overcome by an immense feeling of gratitude for all that Dr. King had contributed to this nation and to the world at large.

Contributions that consisted of things such as the signing of the 1964 civil rights act by then president Lyndon B. Johnson which, among other things, euthanized the legitimacy of Jim Crow laws. There are so many reasons why we can all be grateful for the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that he is the only non president with a holiday in honor of his name is a testament to the indelible foot print he left on this nation. As I close this reflection, I would like to encourage everyone that reads this post to honor the spirit of Dr. King by choosing love over hate. For as Dr. King himself once said, “I have decided to stick to love because hate is too great a burden to bear.”

-Sokoni Hughes, Admissions Counselor


More pictures from Sokoni’s trip:


Chatfield Renovates Welcome Center

This summer, Chatfield College began work on the expansion and renovation of the Welcome Center on the St. Martin campus, a capital investment project made possible by Chatfield’s Building Community Capital Campaign.  Originally built in 1960 for the Ursuline Teaching Institute, the Welcome Center is a multi-purpose facility currently housing the financial aid department, admissions suite, site director’s office, and the student & staff lounge and kitchenette.

“We are excited to be able to provide what will become an essentially new, state-of-the-art facility that our students will really enjoy”, explained Bob Elmore, Chatfield’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer who is overseeing the project. “The building will be light and bright and our students, faculty, staff and guests will be able to collaborate and gather together on a daily basis and for special events.”

In addition to expanding the footprint of the building by 1,190 square feet, an increase of 39%, the renovation of the Welcome Center will address several important needs:  environmental abatement, replacement of an aging roof, bringing the building up to ADA compliance, enlarging and renovating the restrooms, adding a two-sided porch, and installing energy efficient windows and doors.

To date, the foundation, framing and roof trusses have been constructed for the new addition, and much of the interior framing and rough in of mechanicals, electrical and plumbing are complete.

The renovated Welcome Center will be fitting and respectful of existing campus architecture.  It will provide a welcoming, student-oriented area for socializing and study, while also providing private office space for staff.   “BHDP is proud to be working with Chatfield College”, explained architect Kevin Denman. “This project was a real challenge, but the end result will be spectacular and a great addition to an already warm, welcoming and bucolic campus, providing a student environment second to none.”

Planned Giving: A Personal View

My wife and I are in our mid-forties and we just celebrated birthdays in July.  We also just revised our estate plan.  You may ask why would we do that when we are only in our 40’s?  Several years ago, I had to face some very difficult decisions concerning my parents.  Fortunately for me, my parents had the foresight to have everything planned and provided me with a road map.  They had wills and kept them updated, listing me as Power of Attorney on all medical and financial matters.

The will was a living will and very detailed.  When the time came to make difficult decisions concerning my father in his final days, I knew exactly what he wanted.  This included medical as well as financial decisions.

I have seen families splinter when faced with end of life decisions.  Thanks to my father’s foresight, there was no conflict for my family – only support for honoring his wishes, especially in the last days of his declining health.

This experience convinced my wife and me to make a will and other estate planning documents. My wife and I do not have children we need to spare from end of life decisions (unless you count pets in which case we have six: three dogs and three cats!).  However, we do have organizations and causes we care about.  We are of modest income, but we know that even small donations can make a big impact in people’s lives.

We identified five organizations that we want to support when we are both in God’s hands.  My wife chose a deaf education school and a pet rescue while I chose Chatfield College, and a local soccer club in Virginia that helped get me started as a child.  Together, my wife and I agreed to support our Alma matter, Flagler College, a small liberal arts college in St Augustine, Florida.  We both benefited greatly from our time there and have a huge passion for its mission.

I encourage everyone to think about the possibilities of planned giving no matter what your income may be.  You have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the organizations that you hold dear to your heart.

There are many ways to support an organization in an estate plan.  You may remember the organization in your will.   Or, before death, you might elect to allocate the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA or qualified retirement plan to a nonprofit – a great way to direct dollars that would go to taxes to a worthy cause.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss planned giving options with you.  Remember, it is never too early to start thinking about how you can make a difference, forever, to a worthy organization.

James Ludwig, Director of Development


Coming Home Does Not Mean Giving Up

This is the time of year where college students cram for those final exams, hurry to pack their bags, and head home for a long Christmas vacation with friends and families.

The research, however, shows us that after all the celebrations are done and the Christmas decorations put away for another year, many college students choose not to return to that same college in January.

Some are overwhelmed with academic challenges.  Others simply can’t justify, or even afford, the high cost of tuition, room and board.  Many just need a break.  In today’s world, this is not unusual, as available data confirms that only 19% of college students complete their bachelor’s degrees in the “traditional” four years (

And that’s okay!  Today’s “traditional” student is now in the minority, while what we used to call “non-traditional students” make up the majority of college attendees.

What is important is that you continue your education in some way while you take a break from the school where you started.  That’s where Chatfield College comes in to play.   As a regionally accredited college, Chatfield’s credits will likely transfer to any other college or university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC.)  We have articulation agreements with 24 other colleges representing many different academic programs.  This means that our classes are reviewed and pre-approved for transfer by one of these partner colleges and universities.

Chatfield is affordable, too, and has generous privately endowed financial aid available to those who qualify.  In fact, many students transfer here, and enjoy our small classes and individual attention so much, they choose to stay and earn their associate degree.  At that point, the credits they have earned for the associate degree will almost always transfer to any four-year institution.

Now we don’t have basketball or football teams, cheerleaders or food courts.  Chatfield is about teaching and learning and you!  Our students are the reason we are here and all our efforts are directed towards making you successful.

We are a liberal arts school for men and women of any age or experience.  Proud of our Catholic and Ursuline tradition, we are open to people of any and all faiths and religions.  All are welcome at Chatfield.

So if you want to take a single class to keep your head in the game, we can handle that.  If you want to pursue your associate degree with us, even better.  Or if you thought you never had the chance to go to college, it’s not too late. Give us a call.  (513-921-9856 ext.215 in Cincinnati, or 513-875-3344 ext.115 in Brown County.)  Or check us out on the web at  You’ll be glad you did!

See you at Chatfield!

John P. Tafaro, President

Chatfield Grad Finds Success After Dual Enrollment

Graduating from high school and college at the same time is a big advantage in more ways than one.

The College Credit Plus (CCP) program is expanding the opportunities for many Ohio students in grades 7-12.  The program allows qualified students the option to earn college credit while still attending high school at the same time. Students can get a head start on their college education, some even earning enough credits for an associate degree, which saves thousands in college tuition as well as enabling them to get out into the work force sooner.

Chatfield College has numerous examples of students who have successfully earned a high school diploma and a college degree at the same time.  Alex Julian is one of those students.

Alex enrolled at Chatfield College as a CCP student from Fayetteville High School.  After graduating from Chatfield in 2015, Alex moved seamlessly into the Graphic Communication Design program (also known as the D.A.P.) at the University of Cincinnati.  Now in his second year, he has only one year left to complete the five-year program.

“The general education requirements were pretty much already complete with my associate degree,” said Alex, “so I was able to start taking my program requirements right away.”

In January, he will begin a semester-long co-op as part of his program, working for Allbirds in San Francisco, where he will be a graphic design intern for the newly founded shoe company.

Allbirds is a start up company that sells direct-to-consumer and online-only that put out its first shoe in March: the “Wool Runner,” a simple sneaker made out of a superfine merino wool upper and a sole of rubber and foam polymer.

“I am really excited about the Allbirds internship,” said Alex.  “I will be getting real world experience with things like packaging design, websites, bill boards, and branding.  Hopefully, this experience will help me get a job when I graduate.”

Alex says that the CCP program and Chatfield College had significant impacts on his education and helped prepare him not only for the path he chose at UC, but his career path as well.

“Chatfield prepared me for the next step in my education,” he said.  “Academically, it put me ahead in the program, but it also taught me what to expect of life outside of high school.  I attended classes with people of all different ages and backgrounds, so I learned how to interact with people outside of my own experience.  I learned that with college, you get out of it what you put into it, and that is how the real world is.”

Alex has some advice to students thinking about the College Credit Plus program.

“You should do it,” he said, “especially if you plan to go to a four-year college.  It’s a great stepping stone for the next level.”

Any high school students in grades 7-12 who are interested in the College Credit Plus program should contact their guidance counselors to learn more about the program, deadlines, and how to proceed.

To learn more about the College Credit Plus program at Chatfield College, contact the admissions department at or  visit

Use Your Christmas Break For A Campus Visit

Christmas break is a time for students to take a much needed vacation from the stresses of school, sleep a little later, maybe work an extra shift, and spend time with friends and family. The students and staff here at Chatfield are looking forward to the Christmas break, too. Campus will be closed from December 23 to December 26, and from December 30 to January 3. That leaves the days of December 27, 28 & 29 open for business as usual.

Why are we open? So you, the prospective student and family, can come out to visit Chatfield!

We want to provide an opportunity for high school students and families to take advantage of the gap between semesters. We know it is hard to schedule around school and work hours, so we have decided to make ourselves available for campus visits over the break. During your visit we will provide a tour, talk about financial aid, and schedule a placement test. We must have an RSVP to set these appointments, so please let us know as soon as possible so we can get you on the calendar!

Also, if you signed an Intent to Participate form for CCP back before April 1, 2016, you can still enroll for Spring 2017! This is the last semester of the 2016-17 school year. The 2017-18 academic year starts Summer 2017, and will require a new intent form and placement test.

Call the Admissions department at the Fayetteville location at 513-875-3344 x 115 or 129 or our location in Over-the Rhine at 513-921-9856 x 209 today to schedule your campus visit.

The Spring semester starts January 17, so don’t wait!

-Lee Rose, Admissions Counselor

Take Some Time to Unplug, and Plug Back Into Family

homefireplace_feet_567Well it is Christmas time… again.  Our lives and hearts are all a flutter with joy, good tidings, feeling overwhelmed, and did I mention feeling overwhelmed?  Yes, it is absolutely a cliché to say Christmas time can be stressful to the point of mental anguish. We all want to please and impress our children, family, friends, and co-workers with lavish and creative gifts. To accomplish what? The standard boiler plate response is to state how giving makes us feel good, and seeing joy in others brings joy to our own hearts.

There is no doubt that gift giving swells our hearts by seeing those special to us glowing in happiness.  Happiness… what precisely is happiness?  According to Merriam-Webster, happiness is as follows: “the state of being happy”.  Some synonyms for happiness include: pleasure, contentment, satisfaction. Happiness is so valued, that it is one of the three unalienable rights in the United States Declaration of Independence. The other two being life and liberty. Perhaps we’ll get to those another day.

In this season of expected unbounded happiness, why do so many feel such hollowness once the gifts have all been unwrapped? Possibly it is because we spend so much time chasing the carrot of cultural technology obsession, we leave our loved ones behind in our cyber dust. We have lost deep connections in our lives because we feel the need to stay up with the “times”.

Think about how much time you spend staring at a screen this holiday season searching for online sales, events, or commenting on those hilarious dancing “elf yourself” posts from friends.  What would that time mean to your child, spouse, or a parent if you were to give that time to them? I think most of us are guilty of being hypnotized by those tempting devices. However, there is no gift in this world that substitutes for meaningful time spent with a loved one, and this is especially imperative for children in our lives.

The sparkle of a gift begins to fade once the package has been opened, but an experience with a loved one will maintain a luster long after the lights of the season have dimmed. So the next time you pick up your smart phone, tablet, or begin a Netflix binge; take that time to hug a loved one, read to your child, or call an elderly parent.  I wish everyone a blessed, joyous, and safe Christmas season.

-Mr. Gossett, Chatfield Instructor


Guitar Students at Lessons and Carols

img_2455I was delighted when Dawn Hundley asked me to help with this year’s Christmas show, Lessons and Carols. I had already started my students in MUS150 and MUS1502 on playing several Christmas carols and so it was only natural to arrange to have each student play one Christmas song as a duet with me for the Christmas show.

The idea for doing Carol Of The Bells with the entire class came to me during Steven Fritz’ class.   Steven has taken almost 2 years of guitar classes at Chatfield College. Unfortunately, Steven has injured his right hand and will not be able to perform at the Lessons and Carols on Friday night. Steven’s input and participation in the rehearsals we have had has been important in our ability to put this all together for Friday’s show.

The parts for the arrangement of Carol Of The Bells that we are performing were written during each student’s weekly lessons and so each part is uniquely written for them with each student’s input on note choices and on the form of the arrangement. Each student has learned all the parts of the arrangement so that they would have a deeper understanding of each other’s parts and perform well together. I am so proud of the effort that each student has put towards putting together the music for this year’s Christmas show.

These are the students performing at Lessons and Carols Friday night –

Anna Nicole Howard is in her second semester of guitar classes at Chatfield College. Nicki loves img_3486modern rock and her favorite band is Black Veil Brides. She hopes to someday form a band as a lead singer and guitarist.

Chase Patterson is in his 1st semester at Chatfield College.  Chase played guitar for a few months before taking guitar classes at Chatfield. Chase is interested in modern rock and contemporary Christian music.

Margo Thompson is in her first semester of guitar classes at Chatfield College. Margo had no previous experience playing guitar before this semester. Margo’s family has a great history of musicians. Her grandfather & great uncle were in a band in the 1960s with John Scofield, who is now a world famous jazz guitarist. Margo is interested in playing all types of music with a emphasis on playing and singing country music.

James Evans is in his second year of guitar classes at Chatfield College. Jay became interested in playing guitar when his grandfather gave him his first acoustic guitar a few years ago. Recently, Jay got an electric guitar and his interest has grown even more. Jay is interested in playing all types of music with an emphasis on classic rock.

Ethan Griffin has been taking private lessons with me since the beginning of this summer 2016 in the enrichment program at Chatfield College. Ethan is 11 years old. After finishing the enrichment program, Ethan decided to continue private lessons with me. Ethan’s interest in playing guitar started from seeing his father play guitar night after night in the very successful local band called the Bar Codes. Ethan has even played with his dad’s band in concert! Ethan is interested in playing all kinds of music with an emphasis on playing classic rock guitar.

Alexis Dericks has been playing guitar since the beginning of this semester. Alexis has done an incredible job learning to play guitar, despite not owning a guitar to practice. Alexis comes in every Wednesday during my lunch break to practice on the guitars that Chatfield College purchased last year for students, and I am so proud of her efforts to learn to play. She is proof that, if a student is willing, there will be a way provided to succeed. Alexis’ grandmother is a pianist and her family has always had a great interest in music. Alexis is interested in playing all types of music with an emphasis in popular music.

Julian Montana Matthews has been playing drums almost his entire life. Montana’s interest in music came from his father who played both drum set and guitar. This is Montana’s first semester in guitar classes. Even though Montana is not playing guitar at Lessons and Carols, he has done a great job learning to play guitar in classes with me this semester. Montana is interested in playing all types of music with an emphasis on playing hard rock music. After he graduates from Chatfield, Montana hopes to someday come back and teach percussion at the college.

img_3492I am so thankful to all these students for all the hard work they have done to put together the music for Lesson and Carols. I am looking forward to Friday night.

Lessons and Carols will be held on Friday, December 2nd at 7pm in the Mongan Building located at the St. Martin campus in Brown County. A cookie and punch reception will follow the performance. Come out and show your support for these students and their hard work.

-Jamie Murrell, Guitar Instructor at Chatfield

Join the Movement and Give Today


Click Here to Make Your Gift

After Thanksgiving, many of you fought the long lines and did some early Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  Many more of you shopped on Small Business Saturday, which helps our small local businesses.  Today, some of you are probably making purchases on Cyber Monday, hopefully on your breaks or lunch hour.  Tomorrow, we celebrate generosity on what is known as Giving Tuesday.

Now entering its fifth year, Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving back and kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.  It connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

This will be our 3rd year participating in #GivingTuesday at Chatfield College.  This year, Chatfield students have been hard at work signing Christmas cards that they will hand deliver today, Giving Tuesday, to more than 100 residents of the Laurels of Blanchester, the Continental Manner, the Oak Pavilion and Epic House in Over-the-Rhine.

In turn, we hope to receive 100 gifts on Giving Tuesday, of any amount, to show our students that they are supported in their efforts to achieve a better future. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match our donation, up to $1,000!

You can help us achieve our goal!   Make your gift for #GivingTuesday on our website at, mail in your gift to Chatfield College at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH  45118, or call us at 513-875-3344 X 124 to make your pledge or payment.

Every gift matters to our students.  Please share this with all of your friends and family, so that we can spread the word concerning our campaign, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, as we will be making periodic updates on our students as they deliver the Christmas cards.

The Joys Of Holiday Giving

8-ways-to-give-back-during-the-holidaysIt’s the time of the year where everyone is thankful for the many blessings they have in their life, and they look to give back. The holidays tend to bring out a charitable side of individuals, and there is no shortage of worthy organizations to support.

At Chatfield, we believe we have something worthy of your support. The students of Chatfield dream big, but don’t always have the means to achieve those dreams. They need your help! We wanted to take this time to let you know of several ways that you can support our students at Chatfield College through purchases you may already be making!

krogercommunityrewardsChatfield College participates in the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Last quarter, 19 households supported Chatfield College through the Kroger Community Rewards Program bringing a total donation back to Chatfield College of $141.  That is an average gift of $7.42 per household.  If we multiple this by four that is an annual gift of $29 per household.  If you have not done so already, please consider joining this program and making Chatfield your charity of choice.

There is not cost to you to join and it is very easy.  Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Sign in to your online account or create a new account- You can do this with your alt ID (phone number)
  3. Find and select Chatfield as your organization and click enroll
  4. Shop as usual

Please note that you have to renew your choice annually in April and your fuel points or other discounts will not be adversely affected.

amazon-smile-logoWith days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, online shopping is about to explode! We have an opportunity for giving with Amazon Smile as well. If you plan to shop at Amazon this holiday season or do on a regular basis,  please consider supporting Chatfield College.  Follow the easy instructions below:

  1. go to and sign in or create an account.
  2. Choose Chatfield College as your charity of choice.
  3. Purchase items from Amazon and Chatfield College receives .05% of every purchase.

In addition to these immediate rewards, you have the option of making an annual or planned gift to our students.   Annual gifts are always appreciated and go to support immediate financial needs of our students.  You also have the option to contribute to one of our 28 endowed scholarships.

11-29-2016If you are not familiar with GivingTuesday, a yearly day of giving back the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, check out Chatfield’s project this year and join the movement!

On Giving Tuesday, Chatfield students will hand deliver Christmas cards to 100 residents of nursing homes in Blanchester and Over-the-Rhine. In turn, we hope to receive 100 gifts to the college, of any amount, to show our students that they are supported in their quest to achieve a better future!


As you can see, there are many ways to show your support to Chatfield College. You can start giving today without putting out any additional money!

Thank you for all that you do to help better the lives of our students and their families.

Make a gift now