Alumni in Action: Denise Oakeley
Denise Oakeley has seen many changes in her 34 years at CCA. From starting her classes in a small three story building, to working on multiple campuses, her CCA story is defined by the connections she built along the way.
Video produced by CCA Dept. of Strategic Communications
If Denise Oakeley’s face seems familiar, there is a good chance it is because of her connection to the Community College of Aurora. Perhaps you have seen her on the big screen, featured in CCA advertisements at local Aurora theaters in the 90s. Or it could be at any one of the other places where she is regularly recognized by former students, coworkers, and community members.
Building lasting connections is central to Oakeley’s CCA story. She enrolled at CCA in the Fall of 1988, and went on to earn two degrees, an Associate in General Studies, and an Associate of Arts. She had no idea that she would still be on campus more than 30 years later.
These days, she is focused on helping other students fulfill their academic dreams. As a student, she held various jobs on campus. Later, she split her professional experience between admissions and registration, as well as academic internal operations.
Oakeley says she always loves to reconnect with students and hear about their stories of success. “They just lift my heart,” she said. “That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to make sure our students know that we care about them and their journey, all the way through. From the beginning, to their graduation.”
Oakeley directly credits CCA’s welcoming community with her own academic and professional success. She has built professional and personal relationships that have thrived for decades. One longtime friend and colleague’s own child attends CCA. “It’s just really amazing to have that friendship. We’re both still here, and we both love CCA. We both love serving our students.”
Oakeley is content where she is at right now. She describes herself as a CCA “lifer” and plans on helping students realize their academic potential for a long time to come. “Right now, I feel like I’m living my dream,” she said. “I want to ride it out until I retire.”
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