Campus Life

Visions Ms Manners 3 Ifra Chelsea Jillian

Ifra Hassan, Chelsea Garrity and Jillian Manty were among the MWCC students participating in a business dining etiquette luncheon, hosted by the Visions and Rx programs.

In today’s job market, it is becoming more common for employers to seek ideal candidates through a series of interviews. One of these interviews could be over lunch or dinner with one or more members of the search committee. This type of environment can be extremely stressful for a candidate who is trying to put his or her best foot forward.

To provide MWCC students with tips on which fork to use, where to place their bread plate, and reminders to keep their elbows – and their smart phones – off the table, the college’s Visions and Rx programs recently hosted an Etiquette Luncheon for Rising Professionals.

Carol McGuiggan (aka Ms. Manners), a professional in business protocol and dining etiquette, provided instruction on proper interview dining to a group of students and staff. Business faculty Linda Bolduc and Elmer Eubanks- Archbold also attended.

Students learned how to properly shake hands, seat themselves at a table, engage in appropriate table conversation and comport themselves in other table manners.

The federally-funded TRIO programs provide academic and personal support to first generation and low-income students as well as students with documented disabilities. Students who meet at least one of these criteria are eligible to apply to the programs.

The Etiquette Luncheon is just one of the many activities and events which introduce students to new experiences and life lessons.



MWCC student Rafaela Lopes, who created the social venture Go Make a Difference, is the recipient of the inaugural United Way Youth Venture Bob Chauvin Leadership Award.

Homelessness. Poverty. Hunger. Illness. Mental health. The environment. Finding solutions to these and other social issues are confounding to even the most experienced adults.

Fortunately, area teens and adolescents are stepping up to become part of the solution, as demonstrated in the first United Way Youth Venture community expo. The event, held March 9 at the Great Wolf Lodge, showcased the wide-ranging, inspiring social ventures of North Central Massachusetts youth.

Business and community leaders turned out to see how teams of young social entrepreneurs are leveraging their passion and skills to generate unique solutions to school and community challenges, including homelessness, autism awareness, support for foster children, environmental conservation, animal welfare and many others.

Over the past decade, the program has grown from 150 students to 6,500 student participants this year and is the largest UWYV program in the world.

UWYV was established in 2002 when the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College and Ashoka’s Youth Venture partnered to help area schools integrate youth-based social ventures into their curriculum, afterschool activities and special events. More than a dozen schools in the region participate, with many others expressing interest in starting a program.

“You are really making a difference. You are inspiring people,” UWYV Assistant Director Lauren Mountain announced to the gathering of enthusiastic participants, who were joined by family and friends.

Lea Ann Scales, MWCC vice president of external affairs, communications and K-12 partnerships commended the young social entrepreneurs for their dedication, passion for addressing some of society’s most pressing problems, and rising leadership roles in the community.

“The work of these venture teams shows me that we have nothing to be worried about when we talk about our future.”

The winner of the first UWYV Bob Chauvin Leadership Award, Rafaela Lopes, 18, of Leominster, was presented with a $1,500 scholarship. The award is named in honor of Chauvin, the recently retired president and CEO of SimplexGrinnell, for his support of UWYV locally and nationally.

A dual enrollment student in MWCC’s Gateway to College program, Lopes created the social venture Go Make a Difference when she was 15. Over the past three years, she has led her team in fulfilling its mission to help the community locally by providing regular birthday celebrations for homeless children, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts, and most recently, a service trip in February to an impoverished village in Haiti.

Three $1,000 UWYV scholarships were presented to Leominster High School students Maggie Mbengue (The Children’s Education Fund); Morgan Tait (Go Make a Difference);  and Hannah Dike (Friends of Rachel’s Challenge).

“The things I do to help are not difficult – anyone can brighten a day or lighten a stressful load,” said Lopes. She was inspired to make a difference in the lives of others by creating a youth-run social venture that would help young people experiencing or close to homelessness, as she had experienced as a child in Brazil before moving to Massachusetts seven years ago.

“I look for ways wherever possible to help others, but often feel frustrated because so much help is needed in the world, and I want to do more.”


Congresswoman Niki Tsongas visit to Vet CenterMWCC student veterans, college officals and community leaders had the undivided attention of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who stopped by to visit the college’s Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success and our neighboring partner, the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center, owned and operated by Veteran Homestead.

The Congresswoman, who serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and Natural Resources Committee, said she was impressed with MWCC’s innovation and leadership in these and other areas.

She lauded the partnership between MWCC and the NVTRC, which provides housing and support services to veterans and their families.

“This is a great partenrship because it really does help veterans and their families move on. It provides  the families with access to education, homes and extended support. It’s unique. Community colleges are rooted in the community and are always looking for ways to solve problems. the Mount is certainly an example of that.”

Read more about her visit in the article below, published in the March 9 issue of the Sentinel & Enterprise, or click here to visit the newspaper’s website for more great photos and video clips.

‘Doing right by the veterans’

U.S. Rep. Tsongas impressed with work done at Veteran Homestead in Gardner (Sentinel and Enterprise, March 9, 2016)

By Jordan Tillery

GARDNER – Retired Army Sgt. Jason Wing and his wife, Kristi, welcomed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas into the living room of their Gardner condo Tuesday morning. Tsongas listened as Wing shared his journey since he was medically discharged after 15 years of service.

“When we exited, we were homeless with no jobs,” he told Tsongas. “I was at a bad point in my life.”

Today, the couple live with their children in one of the condos within the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center run by Veteran Homestead. The homes, just a short walk from Mount Wachusett Community College, are dedicated to rehabilitating veterans and reintegrating them into the community.

Tsongas, who represents the 3rd Congressional District, spent the morning speaking with the veterans who live in the community, as well as those who take advantage of the Veterans Student Success Center at Mount Wachusett Community College.

As an advocate for the GI Bill and a member of the Armed Services Committee in Washington, Tsongas came to Gardner to witness the services in action.

“We want to make sure we’re doing right by the veterans and their families,” she said. “It isn’t until you get out that you see what’s working and what isn’t.”

She was impressed by the work being done by the college and its partnership with Veteran Homestead.

When she spoke with some of the inhabitants of the neighborhood, they all thanked the program for helping them improve their situations regardless of whether it was through education or mental and/or physical rehabilitation.

“I can’t say enough good things about the program,” Jason Wing said.

He was able to receive his bachelor’s degree in natural-resource conservation, and works seasonally for the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Wing said he and his wife are actively looking for a new home to “open up” an available slot in the maxed-capacity center.

“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up,” said Ronda White, chief operating officer of Veteran Homestead.

There are currently 20 families and 17 children living on the site. A large facility on the premises has space for counseling, a room dedicated to physical rehabilitation, a current pool and a pool table — not only used for fun, but also to encourage hand-eye coordination, CEO and President Leslie Lightwood said.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship between Mount Wachusett and Veterans Homestead,” MWCC President Daniel Asquino said. “We owe it to our veterans.”

Bob Mayer, veterans’ services director at the college, said 232 veterans are enrolled at the school, a number that has increased slightly since he began working there nearly two years ago.

In the hallway next to the Veterans Success Center, there’s a world map littered with pushpins marking where students have served.

“The support system here’s great,” said Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas DePaula of Leominster after finding his pin struck in Albuquerque, N.M. “I’ve been in touch with other veterans here. I’m very grateful.”

He plans to graduate in May and continue his education to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Matthew Casaubon, who attends MWCC and lives at the Veterans Homestead, plans to graduate and continue working toward becoming a social worker, something Tsongas said veterans need more of.

“I hear it all the time — veterans want to be counseled by other veterans,” she said.

Tsongas said the shortage of mental-health counseling for veterans is the largest issue she has seen during her time in Congress, and stressed the importance of programs like the Veterans Homestead.

Photographs hang on the wall in Lightfoot’s office, an homage to the men and women who have successfully graduated from the program and have since moved on.

“This must be very satisfying,” Tsongas said as she looked at the images.

“Yes, but there is always more work to be done,” Lightfoot replied.


Richard Cella

Attorney Richard A. Cella, center, will chair the Presidential Search Committee to find a successor to President Asquino, right. Board of Trustees Chair Tina Sbrega, left, will also serve on the committee.

The search for Mount Wachusett Community College’s third president in 53 years has officially begun.

MWCC’s Board of Trustees has named a Presidential Search Committee to find the successor to Daniel M. Asquino, who announced last month that he will retire in January 2017 after 30 years at the helm of the college and 47 years of service in Massachusetts public higher education.

“Under Dr. Asquino’s astute leadership, Mount Wachusett Community College has become known for excellence in academics, workforce training, K-12 and community partnerships, student support services, civic engagement and sustainability,” said Trustee Richard A. Cella, who will chair the search committee.

“I am confident we’ll attract outstanding candidates for this position, given MWCC’s reputation as an innovative institution with an extraordinarily strong endowment for a community college,” said Mr. Cella, an attorney in Leominster and Gardner.

“Mount Wachusett Community College has grown exponentially over the past three decades under President Asquino’s bold leadership,” said Board of Trustees Chair Tina Sbrega, who will also serve on the committee.

The college serves nearly 12,000 credit and noncredit students at its main campus in Gardner, satellite campuses in Devens, Leominster and Fitchburg, and online, said Sbrega, president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union. “Our programs now include more than 70 academic degree and certificate options, tailored to our specific workforce needs.”

The nationwide search, conducted under the guidance of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, will be an open and transparent process that will involve the entire college community, Ms. Sbrega said. The committee plans to hire an executive search firm to coordinate the process, and anticipates it will present a recommendation to the Board of Higher Education for approval by late fall.

Dr. Asquino, currently the longest serving president among Massachusetts’ public institutions of higher education, was appointed in August, 1987. He succeeded the college’s first president, Arthur F. Haley, who was appointed when MWCC was established in 1963.

“Over the next 10 months, we will work together to address all of the challenges and opportunities for Mount Wachusett Community College, with a goal of a seamless transition to work at least one month with the new president,” Dr. Asquino said.

In addition to Attorney Cella and Ms. Sbrega, other committee members include: Trustees Scott Howard, executive vice president of business development of Bemis Associates, Suzanne Farias, general manager of the Double Tree by Hilton in Leominster, and Joana Dos Santos executive director of the United Neighbors of Fitchburg/Cleghorn Neighborhood Center; business and community leader Jim Garrison, former board chair and current member of the MWCC Foundation; MWCC Foundation board Chair Ray Martino and foundation member Chuck Bowles; Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success Patricia Marshall, representing the state Board of Higher Education; Gardner Superintendent of Schools Denise Clemons; Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella; business Professor Elmer Eubanks; Financial Aid Director Kelly Morrissey; Shaunti Phillips, senior outreach specialist; Cheryl Oliveri, staff assistant in the Planning, Development & Institutional Research department; Carla Morrissey, library assistant and circulation supervisor;  Student Government Association President Cathy Teague; and ex-officio member Diane Ruksnaitis, vice president of human resources & payroll and affirmative action officer.

“There really are no words to express the gratitude and appreciation for all President Asquino has done,” Ms. Sbrega said. “Dan is synonymous with words like tireless and innovative and creative. These are going to be very difficult shoes to fill, so rather than fill them, we’ll have to find new shoes.”

FHS hardhat tour of MWCC STEM building 1

Janice Barney, Dean of MWCC’s School of Business, Science, Technology and Math and Jon Wyman, Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management, led hard hat tours of MWCC’s new STEM building to approximately 90 area high school seniors.

Aspiring scientists, medical professionals, engineers and mathematicians were among the crowd of area high school students who attended Mount Wachusett Community College’s third annual STEM Awareness Day promoting academic programs and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Nearly 90 high school seniors from Fitchburg, Leominster, Oakmont, Montachusett Reginal Vocational Technical, Gardner, North Middlesex and Mahar high schools attended the half-day event on March 4. Activities included a hard hat tour of the college’s new STEM building, which opens this fall, an experiment creating DNA necklaces from their own saliva, an overview on healthcare careers and academic programs, and presentations on fire science technology, manufacturing, and college success.

Janice Barney, Dean of MWCC’s School of Business, Science, Technology and Math teamed up with Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management Jon Wyman to lead groups of students through the new building. The 44,000-square-foot addition to the main campus will house state-of-the-art classrooms and science laboratories that will be central to academic programs such as allied health, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, medical laboratory science, computer information systems, natural resources, nursing, physical therapist assistant, physics and pre-engineering.

Oakmont students Erin Theriault and Teddy Doucette

Oakmont Regional High School seniors Erin Theriault and Teddy Doucette wait for a strand of their DNA to appear in a test tube during Mount Wachusett Community College’s third annual STEM Awareness Day.

While cycling through the stations, many of the students shared their excitement and experiences through social media, posting photos and comments on Twitter using the college’s #MWCC hashtag and the event hashtag #takeiton.

That’s how Twitter followers learned that Oakmont senior Jon Chernock will graduate high school this spring with a full year of college courses already completed as a dual enrollment student at MWCC. “I’ll have one year of classes done, then complete my degree in physics at MWCC before transferring to UMass to major in physics,” he said.

In addition to showcasing academic and career opportunities, the event served to raise awareness about the college’s STEM Starter Academy, funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the STEM SET scholarship program, funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The college is currently recruiting students for its seven-week STEM Starter Academy summer program, which begins July 5. Participating students will receive up to two free college courses, textbooks, up to $1,200 in stipends, academic support and tutoring, and will attend industry field trips and MWCC’s Summer Leadership Academy.

MWCC’s STEM Starter Academy students have gone on to transfer to public and private colleges and universities to continue on for their bachelor’s degrees, including Carnegie Melon, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Massachusetts campuses, MCPHS University, and others.

For more information about the STEM Starter Academy and academic programs at MWCC, visit or contact the admissions office at 978-630-9110 or







Men of Color panel 1 TGN

Jesse Edwards speaks at a Mount Wachusett Community College panel discussion, Men of Color, on Monday while Eric Rodriguez, left, and Train Wu, right, look on. News staff photo by Andrew Mansfield

GARDNER – In an effort to close out Black History Month with a healthy dose of food for thought, Mount Wachusett Community College hosted a well-attended panel discussion and luncheon titled Men of Color on Monday.

A major theme of the event was listening to panelists as they described their experiences growing up and becoming aware of race relations in society. Jesse Edwards, director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity for the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said he grew up in Lowell in the projects with parents who didn’t graduate high school.

“I knew in the community I was living in, there weren’t many role models. You’re always constantly, I feel like, having to prove yourself,” he said. “We’re not living in a post-racial society,” said Eric Rodriguez, director of organizing at the United Neighbors of Fitchburg, a social service organization. Edwards and Rodriguez took part in a five-man panel.

Also included was Dr. Brian Lewis, a biology professor at UMass Medical School, Train Wu, a senior community outreach counselor for the Mount, and Waldo Zamor, a medical student from UMass Medical School set to graduate this year and practice dermatology. While Edwards, Lewis, and Zamor are black, Rodriguez is Hispanic and Wu is Asian, which allowed the panel to represent a broad spectrum of minority perspectives.

Much of their discussion focused on racial tensions that still exist in America and how they have felt personally about race in society. Lewis spoke about racial differences in America from an interesting perspective, having grown up in Jamaica, a nation with a history of slaves working on sugar plantations and a large percentage of its population being black. He said in Jamaica, he saw economics as more of an issue than race, but when he came to America to study at the University of California in Los Angeles, he encountered a different viewpoint.

“I realized for everyone else around me, race was a big issue. The key is recognizing differences and dealing with differences in a positive way,” he said. Julianna Ladd attended the panel discussion and is a student in the Mount’s Gateway to College program, which allows high school students to earn college credits. She noted that the panel members have all become professionally successful and asked them how their perspective on race might be different if they lived a poor area such as Section 8 housing, which is government-subsidized.

Zamor – who grew up in Queens, New York and Brockton – spoke about the troubles of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that people growing up in a poor neighborhood face, the difficulty they have in overcoming negative stereotyping. “These are all constant daily evaluations that you are not worth it. You’re being told that you’re one thing constantly and you develop into it,” he said. Wu, who was born in Laos in 1975 and spent time in a refugee camp in Thailand before moving to Fitchburg, said that in Fitchburg he lived in a Section 8 housing neighborhood.

“That was my burn; those were the times where I knew one day I would get out. For me, it was that I had to find something better … education is the only thing. You can become what you want to be. I still believe in that phrase,” he said. Greg Germagian, another Gateway to College student, asked panel members, “What are some ways you have been discriminated against because of your race?”

Zamor recalled a recent example in which as a medical student, he was given a patient to care for. The patient made it known their preference to be seen by someone else, despite the other options being medical students with less experience than him. He said he tried not to be offended and was ultimately able to convince the patient to allow him to provide care.

“Have some awareness that this shortcoming of the human race exists and it’s not personal. Anyone can be discriminated against; color is just one dimension of it,” he said.

While the dialogue mostly focused on their personal experiences, there were some questions targeted about how the issue of race is changing with newer generations. They commonly agreed that while there has been progress in all races being treated equally, society is still not “color-blind,” and issues such as reforms in the criminal justice system still need to be addressed to ensure fair treatment for everyone.

Another key point of conversation was the importance of civic engagement and being an independent thinker who is open-minded and doesn’t rely on unreliable information such as social media posts to develop opinions. “I would say everyone in this room needs to vote. The onus is also on us to make change happen,” said Rodriguez.

Andrew Mansfield, The Gardner News, March 1, 2016


From left, Dr. Brian Lewis, Sharmese Gunn, Eric Rodriguez, Jesse Edwards, Train Wu, Dr. Waldo Zamor and Melissa Bourque-Silva were among the participants of the Men of Color presentation and Black History Month luncheon.

Have a sense of belief in yourself. Be open minded about issues. Engage in community service. It’s really about finding what motivates you. Be assertive and go after it.

These were just some of the words of wisdom shared by five professionalss in the fields of medicine, healthcare, education and public service during MWCC’s Men of Color panel presenation before a capacity crowd in the North Cafe.

The Lead Day event capped off the college’s series of Black History Month events and kicked off this spring’s new forum, the Tea Time Speaker Series, by exploring obstacles men of color face in today’s society, workforce and education system.

Panelists included University of Massachusetts Medical School: Brian Lewis, Ph.D., associate dean for student diversity and associate professor in the Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; Eric Rodriguez, Lead Organizer at United Neighbors of Fitchburg; Jesse Edwards, director of diversity and equal opportunity at UMass Medical School; Train Wu, senior outreach specialist/career coach with MWCC’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program; and Waldo Zamor, MD., Class of 2016 UMass Medical School.

The forum was moderated by MWCC Senior Resource Specialist Sharmese Gunn, who developed the series as a way to create a dialogue around diverse issues that engages the college community and members of the greater community. President Daniel Asquino welcomed the panelists and audience.

The event was sponsored by MWCC’s Diversity Consortium, Gateway to College program and the National Workforce Diversity Pipeline program. The pipeline project, a new initiative between the college and the Fitchburg and Leominster public school distrits for students interested in healthcare careers, is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

Upcoming Tea Time Speakers Series events will include Immigration and the Undocumented Student on March 28 and Understanding the LGBTQA Community on April 25.



MWCC Nursing majors participating in the CPR training included, from left: Amanda Donham, Antonina Herbst, Breana Keegan, Amy Moisan, Jessica Lugudde and Kristin Anderson. Missing from photo: Stacy Riel-Rigiero, Sabrina Petigrew, Sarah Mathewson, Katie Aufiero and Lisa Hahn.

MWCC nursing majors trained more than 150 students, staff and faculty members to administer the life-saving skills of Hands-Only CPR during a community-wide challenge that engaged college students from throughout Worcester County.

MWCC’s chapter of the Student Nurses Association sponsored the event February 22 and 23 in partnership with the American Heart Association’s Central Massachusetts division, HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster, UMass Memorial Medical Center and Medstar Ambulance.

“A lot of people have questions about CPR and don’t really know if this is something they can do,” SNA President Breana Keegan said of the training program. “It is a bystander intervention that is easy and approachable.”

According to the AHA, more than 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, and about 90 percent of those victims die, often because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR or are afraid they’ll do something wrong. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting, such as at home, at work or in a park.


President Asquino photoMWCC President Daniel M.  Asquino is being recognized with the 2016 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Giving Back Award honors presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. President Asquino will be featured, along with 26 other recipients, in the April 2016 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The Giving Back Award is presented to leaders of institutions of higher education who exemplify what it truly means to ‘give back’ to others, said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of the St. Louis, MO-based magazine. “These presidents and chancellors are role models, and we honor their efforts to give back to everyone on their campuses and in their communities.”

Award recipients were based on their outstanding demonstration of social responsibility, a commitment to charitable services, and involvement with students, faculty, and staff to serve underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and philanthropic achievement.

“Throughout the past three decades, Dr. Asquino has remained committed to nurturing an inclusive environment that strives to ensure the college experience is one that challenges, empowers, supports and prepares students to live in, work in, and value our increasingly global and diverse world,” said MWCC Board of Trustees Chair Tina Sbrega, who nominated the president for the award.

“It is an honor to receive this award, which ultimately recognizes the commitment and dedication over many years by many people on our campus and in the community working as a team to ensure equal access to quality higher education for all,” said President Asquino.

Among his groundbreaking work, President Asquino established MWCC’s pioneering and innovative Division of Access & Transition nearly two decades ago, which has expanded to now serve 4,000 middle and high school students annually. Predominantly funded through federal and state grants, the division’s 18 distinct programs help students prepare for, access and transition into postsecondary education and career readiness. The vast majority of the teens and adolescents served are first-generation college students from low income families, and one third of these students are minorities.

Additionally, Dr. Asquino has built strong ties between the college and nonprofit community organizations that serve underrepresented residents in the region, and has served in a leadership capacity for a number of these organizations. On campus, he established a diversity committee that plans, promotes and creates education, social and recreational programs and opportunities to increase the understanding of and appreciation for the value of diversity within the college and the greater community.

For more information about the 2016 Giving Back Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit

MWCC President Daniel M AsquinoMount Wachusett Community College President Daniel M. Asquino today announced his intention to retire in January, 2017.

Dr. Daniel M. Asquino has served as President of Mount Wachusett Community College since August 1987 and is currently the longest-serving public higher education president in Massachusetts. Under his leadership, Mount Wachusett has grown exponentially in size, stature and academic services.

Enrollment has grown to over 12,000 credit and non-credit students, satellite campuses have been established in Leominster, Fitchburg, and Devens, and the number of academic programs has expanded to over 75 associate degree and certificate options. During his tenure at MWCC, President Asquino has established the college as a state and national leader in the areas of workforce development and economic development; dual enrollment and K-12 partnerships; civic engagement and service learning; veteran services; and renewable energy and sustainability.

“It has been an honor and a privilege,” President Asquino said in an announcement to the college and greater community earlier today.  “I can say without reservation that is has been a joy to come to work each and every day. For that, I thank the hard-working students, faculty, staff and alumni of Mount Wachusett Community College and our many community partners for their inspiration and support.”

“President Asquino has transformed Mount Wachusett Community College during his time at the helm of this great institution,” said Mount Wachusett Community College Board of Trustees Chair Tina Sbrega. “What was a one-campus college with fewer than 1500 students when he arrived thirty years ago, is today a thriving four-campus college deeply connected to the communities we serve.” Sbrega praised Asquino for his deep commitment to community partners.

“President Asquino really listens to the needs of business leaders, non-profits, K-12 educators and all of the North Central Massachusetts regional partners. Sbrega expressed the deep appreciation for President Asquino’ s leadership on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “We have been so very fortunate to have such an innovative leader as President Asquino,” said Sbrega.

“President Asquino not only cared deeply about his students and the college, but he worked closely with countless community partners to ensure that the college and its offerings were relevant. This entire community is better for his leadership and he will leave a pair of very big shoes to fill.”

Dr. Asquino began his career in public higher education in 1971 as Assistant to the President of the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges. He went on to serve as Assistant Dean of Administration at Bristol Community College, and Dean of Administration and Development at Cape Cod Community College before being appointed MWCC’s second president.

He is a charter member of the Massachusetts College Success Campaign, The Democracy Commitment, as well as the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

President Asquino currently chairs the Massachusetts Community College Council’s Labor Relations Committee. In addition, he is a past member of the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Communications and Marketing, Commission on Diversity, and Commission on Workforce Development. He has twice chaired the Massachusetts Committee of Community College Presidents and is a past chair of the College Board’s National Community College Advisory Panel. He is a member and past as two-term chair of the New England College Council, and a member of the Massachusetts Campus Compact Executive Board of Directors.

Locally, Dr. Asquino serves as an officer and past chair of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts Board of Directors, officer and past chair of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and past chair of Greater Gardner and North Central Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce. He is a member and past chair of the Board of Trustees for Heywood Hospital, and the GFA Supervisory Board.

He is the recipient of many community and national awards, including the Community Leader Award from the UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital Foundation; the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Nashua Valley Council Boy Scouts of America; the Dr. Robert H. Goldman Community Service Award; the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and Community Service Awards; the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Award; the Governor’s Pride in Performance Award; Enterprise Bank’s Celebration of Excellence Community Service Award; and the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations Pacesetter Award.

Dr. Asquino holds a Ph.D. and M.P.A. in Public Administration and Political Science and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Southeastern Massachusetts University, now UMass Dartmouth. He has taught public administration and business administration courses at all college levels, including at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels.

A nationwide search for a new leader for Mount Wachusett Community College will be conducted under the leadership and authority of the Mount Wachusett Community College Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. During that time, President Asquino will continue to lead the institution to ensure a seamless transition. “I can promise you that I will continue to give 100 percent every day and partner with all of you so that there is no loss in the momentum that has been our hallmark.”