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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.”

STEM Starter Summer Academy photo 3 Ifra and Marissa

MWCC students Ifra Hassan and Marissa Pitisci were among the participants in last year’s free STEM Starter Academy summer program.

Aspiring scientists, engineers and mathematicians interested in high tech careers are invited to attend Mount Wachusett Community College’s third annual STEM Awareness Day on Friday, March 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Activities include an experiment capturing DNA, a hard hat tour of MWCC’s new STEM building and presentations on fire science technology and healthcare careers. A free lunch is provided.

The half-day program showcases Mount Wachusett’s STEM Starter Academy, which is offered through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. MWCC is recruiting 30 students for the summer academy, which provides two free college courses, textbooks, up to $1,200 in stipends, academic support and tutoring. Participants also attend industry field trips and MWCC’s Summer Leadership Academy.

Now in its third year at MWCC, the STEM Starter Academy aims to inform, engage, recruit, retain and graduate students and provide pathways that lead to job placements or transfer to higher level STEM programs.

The seven-week academy is open to recent high school and home school graduates and adult learners who place into English Composition and Intermediate Algebra or higher, and enroll in one of MWCC’s STEM programs in the fall 2016 semester. Qualifying STEM majors include interdisciplinary studies – allied health, medical laboratory technology, natural resources, physics, pre-engineering. pre-pharmacy, analytical lab and quality systems, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer information systems, exercise and sports science and fire science technology.

The summer academy runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 5 to Aug. 18 at MWCC’s Gardner campus. Students will also participate in the college’s 12th Annual Summer Leadership Academy on Aug. 23 and Aug 24.

“We are excited to once again offer the STEM Starter Academy to local learners pursuing a degree in STEM fields,” said Veronica Guay, Assistant Dean of the School of Business, Science, Technology and Mathematics. “Summer participants will enter the fall semester with seven college credits, money in their pockets and be well on their way to obtaining their degree.”

Computer Information Systems major Marissa Pitisci of Barre, who participated in the academy last summer, said the program helped her become “a well-rounded student” by providing fast-paced, rigorous courses, volunteer experience, time management skills, and an opportunity to meet and work with like-minded peers.

“The educational field trips to Harvard Medical School, Abbvie Labs in Worcester, and the Museum of Science in Boston were a unique way to show some of the many possibilities you have with a STEM degree,” said Pitisci, who was inducted into the Alpha Beta Gamma and Phi Theta Kappa international honor societies this past fall.

“The interesting lectures from professors, doctors and scientists reassured us that not knowing what direction you want to go in is perfectly fine. We talked about some unique career paths for everyone to consider.”

In addition, to the STEM Starter Academy, STEM majors at MWCC may qualify for an annual $3,300 STEM SET scholarship, available through a grant the college received from the National Science Foundation.

For more information visit mwcc.edu/takeiton or contact the admissions office at 978-630-9110 or admissions@mwcc.mass.edu.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFollowing academic and career pursuits that have taken her to three continents, educator and anthropologist Dr. Laurie Occhipinti has returned to her native Massachusetts as Mount Wachusett Community College’s new Dean of Liberal Arts, Humanities, Education, and Communications.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Laurie Occhipinti to Mount Wachusett Community College to lead our School of Liberal Arts, Humanities, Education, and Communications,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “Dean Occhipinti brings experience in academic leadership and teaching, a solid understanding of the value of civic engagement to society and great enthusiasm during this period of growth at MWCC. The liberal arts are essential to a holistic education, providing students of all academic disciplines with critical thinking skills and a core knowledge of the world around them.”

Prior to joining MWCC in January, Dr. Occhipinti served as an assistant dean and professor of anthropology at Clarion University in Clarion, PA. At MWCC, she fills a position previously held on an interim basis by Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology.

A native of Beverly and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dr. Occhipinti said she is excited to join MWCC. Her first priority is to get to know the college, students and faculty.

“I come with a blank sheet of paper. I want to know what’s important to others,” she said. “I am really committed to public education. It plays a critical role and opens up opportunity for everyone. Community colleges have a particularly special role in that.”

Dr. Occhipinti joined Clarion University, a public institution, in 2003 as an assistant professor of anthropology and was subsequently promoted to associate professor and full professor. In addition to working on program development and assessment for the anthropology program, she served as coordinator of the university’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies program and as vice chair and chair of the university’s faculty senate. In 2014, she was appointed assistant dean of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences, where she was responsible for student advising, transfers, graduation and curriculum.

Prior to joining Clarion, she worked as a lecturer for three years at Northeastern University in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She previously taught at Salem State University and McGill University, and worked for the American Anthropological Association as an assistant with its Association for Feminist Anthropology.

Much of her research has focused on poverty and economic development; the role of religious organizations in combatting poverty; creating meaningful and sustainable service projects; and the impact of volunteerism on volunteers. Her field work and professional travel have brought her to Argentina, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.

Among her many publications, she is the author of Making a Difference in a Globalized World: Short Term Missions that Work; Faith-Based Organizations and Development in the Handbook on Religions and Global Development; and Liberating development: Religious transformations of development discourse.

Dr. Occhipinti earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in anthropology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives in Salem with her husband and their son.

Black Frankenstein bookThough the calendar says it’s the dead of winter, Frankenstein’s monster is still alive as Mount Wachusett Community College’s Humanities Project continues its series “Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science: Frankenstein’s Legacy” through April.

Sponsored through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this year’s theme takes an in-depth look at Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and its impact in the modern era. Free events will take place at MWCC’s Gardner campus and in the community

On Wednesday, February 17, Professor Robert Schwartz from Mount Holyoke College will present “Historical Perspectives on Frankenstein” from 12:30-1:30 pm in MWCC’s North Café.

Elizabeth Young, author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor, and a professor of English and gender studies at Mount Holyoke College, will speak Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Fitchburg Art Museum. In her book, Young identifies and interprets the figure of a black American Frankenstein monster as it appears throughout 19th and 20th-century U.S. culture in fiction, film, essays, painting and other media.

On Saturday, March 5, from 11-5, Professor Joseph Moser of Fitchburg State University will present two film versions of Frankenstein: James Whale’s 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh in 1994. This program, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Leominster Library, includes a light lunch between films. Registration to this event is required and can be made online through the Calendar of Events at www.leominsterlibrary.org or by calling the library’s information desk at 978-534-7522, ext. 3.

On Thursday, March 24, MWCC Assistant Professor of Philosophy Daniel Soucy and UMass doctoral candidate Shelley Errington Nicholson, director of community learning with MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, will discuss, “Girls and Their Ghost Stories: Feminism, Philosophy, and Frankenstein,” at the Athol Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

In April, two final events are scheduled in the North Café at MWCC: on Tuesday, April 5, Mel Brooks’ parody, Young Frankenstein, will be shown from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, April 27, MWCC students will present Frankenstein-themed projects from the 2015-2016 academic year.

MWCC nurse trip to Haiti Jan 2016A weeklong medical mission in Haiti gave a team of Mount Wachusett Community College students and faculty a close-up look at poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries, and an opportunity to do something about it.

The students and educators traveled to Fonfred, Haiti in January with MWCC nursing alumna Paula Mulqueen, who with her husband, Dr. John Mulqueen, founded the nonprofit Forward in Health to bring much-needed medical care to the Les Cayes region of Haiti. This past fall, the Gardner couple’s dream came to fruition when its Fonfred Klinik opened its doors after more than a decade of fundraising, construction and medical missions in temporary clinics.

The MWCC volunteers included nursing students Cassandra Pateneaude, Amy Moisan and Jessica Lugudde; Interdisciplinary Studies – Health majors Tiffany Cunningham and Isabella Smith; nursing professors Katherine Pecorelli and Donna Tully, and Marianne Stoy, administrative assistant for MWCC’s School of Health Professions, Public Service Programs & Social Sciences. This is the second consecutive year that Paula Mulqueen, a 1994 graduate of MWCC’s nursing program, brought a group from her alma mater.

While in Haiti, the MWCC team of volunteers helped organize supplies at the Fonfred Klinik, with assistance from University of Massachusetts Lowell civic engineering students and other volunteers. They toured the region’s nursing school and taught multiple classes of CPR. They also held a mountain clinic where they assessed approximately 100 patients, visited an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity, and provided children with lessons on health and dental hygiene. Professors Pecorelli and Tully also led a discussion on depression and treatment with nurses and a doctor at the clinic.

Without access to health care, even the most common of ailments than can be cured with over the counter medicines in the U.S. can become full-blown health issues in Haiti when left untreated, such as respiratory illness and skin infections. Klinik Fonfred is a primary care clinic providing life-saving healthcare to a community of 18,000 poor adults and children from birth through adulthood in the Fonfred area.


Pete Shungu

Musician, poet and rapper Peter Shungu, aka Afro D, kicks off Black History Month at MWCC with a performance on Feb. 10.

Black History Month is observed as a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans. In recognition, MWCC is hosting several events throughout the month of February at its Gardner campus and in the community. All events are free and open to the public.

The series of events begins on Wednesday, Feb. 10 with a performance by Afro D (Peter Shungu) a spoken word poet, rapper, trumpet player, educator and activist who uses performance art as a medium to promote reflection, understanding and community building. Shungu will perform from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café at MWCC’s Gardner campus. The event is sponsored by MWCC’s office of Student Life.

The Bamidele Dancers and Drummers returns to the college to perform on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café. The BDD are art educators, composers, musicians, dancers and choreographers from Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean who are dedicated to the preservation of African and African-rooted cultures through dance, music and song. Members have expertise in African, Caribbean and Brazilian culture. The event is sponsored by MWCC’s office of Student Life.

On Wednesday, February 24, the film “Freedom Summer” will be shown in the Wetmore Center, room W11, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sponsored by Student Life and the ALANA Club, the film looks back at the summer of 1964 when more than 700 student activists took segregated Mississippi by storm, registering voters, creating freedom schools and establishing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Members of ALANA will also host a voter registration drive during this event.

Black Frankenstein bookElizabeth Young, author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor, will give a presentation on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Fitchburg Art Museum. She is a professor of English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College. In this book, Young identifies and interprets the figure of a black American Frankenstein monster as it appears throughout 19th and 20th-century U.S. culture in fiction, film, essays, painting and other media.

The black Frankenstein’s monster has served as a powerful metaphor for reinforcing racial hierarchy, and an even more powerful metaphor for shaping anti-racist critique. Young’s lecture is part of the ongoing MWCC Humanities Project, sponsored through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now in its second year, the Humanities Project is focusing this year on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its relevance today.

The series of events concludes with a Men of Color Panel and Black History Month luncheon on Monday, Feb. 29 beginning at noon in MWCC’s North Café. The panel presentation will explore obstacles men of color face in today’s society, workforce and education system. Panelists include 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; 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 Eric Rodriguez, Lead Organizer at United Neighbors of Fitchburg.

The presentation is sponsored by MWCC’s Diversity Consortium, Gateway to College and the Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health. Seating to the panel presentation and luncheon is limited. To reserve a seat, call 978-630-9143.


President Daniel M. Asquino presented certificates and a free course to the winners of the fourth annual President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. From left, President Asquino, Darrège Bruny, Monica Kwan and Eddie Vargas of Gardner, with Human Resources Generalist Maria Gariepy, co-chair of the college’s Diversity Committee.

MWCC students from a variety of academic disciplines shared their views on diversity during the college’s annual President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. College faculty and staff selected four winning submissions from among the poems, essays and artwork entered into the competition.

This year’s winners are Gemini Walter of Leominster, Monica Kwan of Fitchburg, Darrège Bruny of Clinton and Eddie Vargas of Gardner. Each will receive a free, three-credit academic course for use during the spring or summer semesters.

Now in its fourth year, the competition was developed by MWCC’s Diversity Committee to highlight the value diversity brings to the learning and working environment. Students are encouraged to submit papers, posters, essays, research work, art work or other original, creative work related to issues of diversity or identity, such as those involving disability, race, socio-economic status, veteran status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and national origin.

Walter, a Human Services major, is the competition’s first two-time honoree, following up on his winning essay on race relations last year with a new essay on what it means to embrace diversity.

“Diversity is looking into, not around your fellow human beings,” he writes. “Diversity is knowing in your heart that every man is your brother and every woman is your sister.”

MWCC Diversity Competition Photo 2 Gemini Walter

Gemini Walter, center, with Kim Kayser, Senior Community Outreach Specialist/Adult Basic Education and Leominster Campus Dean John Walshis, is the first two-time winner of MWCC’s President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition.

Walter’s essay goes on to address gender, disability, illness, faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, and physical appearance. “Diversity is understanding that there are no absolutes when it comes to human beings…Diversity is not black and white.”

Kwan, a Dental Hygiene major, created a painting of a bee inching toward an abstract set of teeth through the unknown. The artwork represents her goal of gaining an education and becoming a successful healthcare professional in contrast to the discrimination against women in China.

“Bees area symbol of perseverance, while simultaneously advocating a team-oriented approach. Their nature of persistence and maintaining equality runs parallel to why my grandparents relocated to the United States from Hong Kong. I wish to honor my grandparents’ beliefs that women deserve an education and have the ability to defy stereotypes by being successful.”

Bruny, who recently transitioned from English as a Second Language student to an Interdisciplinary Studies major, wrote about the vast difference between how people with disabilities are treated in Haiti, where she was born, and in the U.S., where she now lives with her family. In her essay, the aspiring cardiologist shares the struggles her family experienced due to their physical and medical disabilities of her two young brothers.

“Haiti has a system where disabled people are ostracized or rejected by society. It is a system that will not be over soon, although a great deal of citizens are fighting every day to change it.”

Vargas, who is majoring in Media Arts and Technology with a concentration in photography, submitted a collection of photographs and a statement on the diverse, supportive community of skateboarders, a culture that does not discriminate. The submission stemmed from a year of photographing skateboarders of all ages and backgrounds through his volunteer work with the nonprofit organization he founded called Keep Kids Off the Streets, which strives to break stereotypes about skateboarders as trouble-makers.

“I’ve never seen a happier, more diverse or civilized group of people,” he said.



President Asquino photoThe New Year began at Mount Wachusett Community College not with the customary noisemakers of bells and horns, but with drills, hammers and saws as construction continues on our Gardner campus.

The patience of our students, faculty, staff and visitors during the modernization of our 45-year-old facility is greatly appreciated. In the coming weeks and months, renovations to our Advising Center, Commons Area, Theatre at the Mount, and main entrance will be unveiled, followed later this year by the opening of our new science and technology building.

Less obvious than these outwards signs of growth and improvement, but equally impressive, is the transformation taking place inside the classroom walls. New student support services, new faculty and staff, new transfer agreements, and new civic engagement initiatives will enhance our existing resources to help students build up their academic and career skills in preparation for the workforce or a bachelor’s degree.

This spring semester provides opportunities to help students build up their résumés as well as increase understanding on national issues, including race, income inequality, and citizenship. Continuing programs through the office of Student Life include alternative spring break with Habitat for Humanity, the Leadership for Life workshop series, and events commemorating Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Upcoming events include a not-to-miss presentation in March by Harvard political scientist and best-selling author Robert D. Putnam. This presentation comes to the Mount through our involvement with the national “Citizenship Under Siege” program sponsored by the American Association of Colleges & Universities and The Democracy Commitment, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

In February, the MWCC Humanities Project continues its second year of programming with “Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science: Frankenstein’s Legacy,” an in-depth look at Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, and its relevance in today’s world. Free events will take place on the Gardner campus and in the community at public libraries and other venues, funded through a grant from the NEH to deepen and sustain quality humanities programming and curriculum throughout North Central Massachusetts.

The Division of Access and Transition is launching a Tea Time Speaker Series that will kick off on February 29 with a Men of Color panel presentation exploring the journey and obstacles of men of color in society, with an emphasis on those working in the field of healthcare.

Theatre at the Mount will reopen with a slate of new productions, we’re hosting a job fair for students and the public in March, and sooner than we realize, the season will conclude with our most joyous event of all, Commencement, on May 18.



MWCC Workforce Diversity Pipeline appointments group photo

MWCC’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline team, from left, Heidi Wharton, Train Wu, Melissa Bourque-Silva and Shaunti Phillips.

Four area educators have been appointed to Mount Wachusett Community College’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline program, a new partnership with the Fitchburg and Leominster school districts funded through a five-year, $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

The goal of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged healthcare providers by creating a high school-to-college pipeline of students who plan to enter the healthcare field. The program will provide counseling, coaching, field trips, guest speakers, and dual enrollment courses to 120 high school students attending Fitchburg High School, Leominster High School and Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation.

Melissa Bourque-Silva of Fitchburg has been appointed director of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program. Since 2006, she has worked in partnership with area high schools throughout her employment with MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition, beginning as an academic counselor for the GEAR UP grant in the Fitchburg Public Schools. As a senior community outreach counselor and then as the director of dual enrollment contracts, she has had the opportunity to serve over 12 area high schools under the College Access Challenge Grant and the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program, developing dual enrollment opportunities for underrepresented youth. Bourque-Silva is also an English adjunct professor at MWCC.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and a master’s degree in English from Fitchburg State University.

The program’s three newly appointed senior outreach specialists/career coaches are Shaunti Phillips of Fitchburg, Heidi Wharton of Harvard and Train Wu of Fitchburg.

Phillips joined MWCC in 2005, working as an academic counselor advising and mentoring middle and high school students through the college’s Division of Access & Transition. For the past three years, she has served as career vocational technical education transition counselor within the college’s Division of Academic Affairs. She previously worked as a mentoring specialist with LUK, Inc. in Fitchburg.

Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in school guidance counseling from Fitchburg State University.

Wharton most recently worked as an academic counselor in MWCC’s Rx program, a federal TRIO Student Support Services program for students pursuing healthcare majors. Prior to joining MWCC in 2012, she worked as a graduate intern in the office of International Education at Fitchburg State University.

She earned a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish from Capital University. She previously worked in England for 3 Com (UK) Ltd.

Wu has more than 15 years of experience working with diverse youth and students in the education and human services sectors. He earned a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in higher education, from Merrimack College, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College.

He previously was a case manager for My Turn, Inc. in Fitchburg, a program instructor at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and a youth development coordinator at LUK, Inc. 


L to R: Jim Adams, VP/Regional Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank; Daniel M. Asquino, President of MWCC; Tina Sbrega, Chair of MWCC's Board of Trustees

L to R: Jim Adams, VP/Regional Business Advisor at Enterprise Bank; Daniel M. Asquino, President of MWCC; Tina Sbrega, Chair of MWCC’s Board of Trustees

With toes tapping and fingers snapping, an audience of nearly 500 grooved to the soulful songs of the Motown era during a benefit performance Friday, Jan. 22 that raised more than $100,000 to support student scholarships and youth programs in the region.

The “Magic of Motown at the Mount” benefit, co-sponsored by the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, took place in the college’s newly renovated Theatre at the Mount.

The five-person cast of singers and dancers recreated the harmonies, dance moves, stylish looks and legendary musicianship of the era, including the hits Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Isley Brothers and others.

“It was heartening to see so many people enjoying an evening of fantastic entertainment while supporting our college students and area youth,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

Established in 1971, the MWCC Foundation now offers 38 scholarships for continuing students and transfer students pursuing certificates and degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines. More than $260,000 is awarded to students annually.

The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development since 2001. A STEAM- (science, technology, engineering, art and math) focused club, it serves young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“We are truly grateful to Mount Wachusett Community College, President Asquino and Theatre at the Mount for coordinating another spectacular community event,” said Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. “The music was superb and the community’s support for our organization is so greatly appreciated.”

Event sponsors were Dr. Daniel Asquino and Alberta DelPrete; Advanced Cable Ties, The Ronald M. Ansin Foundation, Enterprise Bank; Heat Trace Products, LLC; Heywood Hospital; IC Federal Credit Union; Fidelity Bank; UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Hospital; Bemis and Associates; Clementi Family Trust; GFA Federal Credit Union; Hometown Bank; Workers’ Credit Union; Rollstone Bank & Trust; Medical Associates Pediatrics; Geosearch Inc.; Leominster Credit Union; Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; North Middlesex Savings Bank; Royal Steam Heater Co.;

Shawmut Design & Construction; Simonds International; Tyco SimplexGrinnell; Anderson, Bagley and Mayo Insurance; Scot and Janice Barrett; Dunkin Donuts KCMC Management; Fitchburg State University; Molds International & Consulting Co. Inc; Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Moran, Jr.; Zottoli Family Trust; Avidia Bank; Becker College; Commonfund Securities, Inc.; Geronimo Properties; GVNA HealthCare, Inc.; Raymond and Susan Martino; W.E. Aubuchon Foundation; and media sponsor the Sentinel & Enterprise.