Events

Assistant Professor of Math and Physics Peter Olszak instructs students at the recent opening of the new Dr. Daniel M. Asquino Science Center. Beginning on January 17, MWCC’s classrooms will be full of similar scenes of student learning.

Mount Wachusett Community College will spring to life on January 17 as students return to the school for the first day of the spring semester.

The first day of classes will begin next week for both the college’s semester-long courses as well as an accelerated option that allows students to split their semester into two cycles. Full-semester courses and Cycle 1 courses will begin on January 17. However, Cycle 1 courses will end on March 8 with Cycle 2 courses beginning on March 20 and wrapping up with full-semester courses on May 15. These options allow students to build a class schedule that fits with the rest of their lives, setting them up for success.

“The beginning of the semester is always an exciting time, with students filling the halls and classrooms with energy as both our full-semester and accelerated classes begin,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “I am also pleased to start the second semester of the Commonwealth Commitment, which benefits students who qualify by locking in their tuition and getting them money back at the end of the semester.”

The Commonwealth Commitment was announced in March with every public campus in Massachusetts committing to providing 10 percent rebates to qualifying undergraduate students at the end of each successfully completed semester while freezing costs for qualified students. Students who meet the program requirements will, depending on the transfer pathway they choose, be able to realize an average savings of $5,090 off the cost of a baccalaureate degree.

The full academic calendar is available online at mwcc.edu/academic/academic-calendar/ along with course listings. More information on the Commonwealth Commitment is available online at mwcc.edu/macomcom.

Theatre at the Mount performers are pictured during a production of Mary Poppins, which was the theatre’s most recent performance.

Theatre at the Mount is giving back to season ticket holders with three free performances on January 13, 14 and 15 of Broadway musical numbers with tickets also available for sale to the general public.

A Big Fat Broadway Thank You was conceived of by Theatre at the Mount Director Gail Steele as a way to thank season ticket holders for their loyalty during a season where the productions were held at numerous venues due to renovations to the Mount Wachusett Community College’s Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. The season ticket holders were very understanding of seven productions being held at locations throughout the community that included Monty Tech and Gardner High School, said Steele, and the Broadway musical show taking place this weekend was created to thank them.

“It’s just jam-packed with Broadway show tunes and we made a point of picking things people know and love,” said Steele. “These are classics. It’s classic Broadway with our best performers giving their best performances.”

The performances will showcase numbers from Broadway classics such as Chorus Line, Chicago, West Side Story and Les Miserables and feature appearances from regular TAM performers such as Ethan Caouette, Elaine Crane and Mark Peterson. Even though the show is a thanks to season ticket holders, tickets are available for $20.

The performances will be held on January 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and January 15 at 2 p.m. Additional information about Theatre at the Mount and A Big Fat Broadway Thank You is available online at mwcc.edu/tam.

New lab classrooms in Asquino Science CenterMount Wachusett Community College students, faculty and staff; Massachusetts leaders; and the greater community will dedicate the new Dr. Daniel M. Asquino Science Center in recognition of President Asquino’s 30 years of leadership at Mount Wachusett Community College at a ceremony on Tuesday, November 15 at 2 pm.
The public opening of the new building, a state-of-the-art addition to the Gardner campus, will be commemorated with a speaking program including Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone, as well as a ceremonial ribbon cutting, unveiling of the naming of the building, and tours of the new facilities.

Along with honored guests, college staff, faculty, students, trustees, alumni, and community members will be in attendance.

“This new Science Center offers real opportunity for our students,” said Mount Wachusett Community College Board of Trustees Chair Tina Sbrega. “Opportunity is something President Asquino has relentlessly pursued throughout his 30 years at the helm of this great college. Our students will be better prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders. We are all so proud to recognize President Asquino’s commitment to students and our college by naming this building in his honor.”

Following more than a year of construction and extensive renovations, the new science center replaces existing laboratories nearly a half-century old and will enhance the learning environment for all students, particularly those seeking careers in STEM fields.

The Dr. Daniel M. Asquino Science Center includes LEED Gold rated labs, classrooms, and student study space for the college’s continued pursuit of academic excellence.

The $41 million project includes the 44,000 square-foot science center, a new 2,300 square-foot greenhouse and renovations throughout the existing Arthur F. Haley Academic Center. MWCC received $37.9 million in state capital funds for the project, as well as a $500,000 grant from Massachusetts Life Sciences for laboratory equipment.

From an economic standpoint, this is the largest construction project in North Central Massachusetts, which in itself helps boost the region’s economy by providing work for Massachusetts businesses and bringing more traffic to local businesses and service providers. Additionally, the project was completed on-time and on-budget.

Designed by Boston-based Architerra, Inc. to meet LEED Gold certification for efficiency and sustainability, the new building will contain energy-efficient features to tie in with the college’s commitment to sustainability. Construction began in spring 2015. Shawmut Design & Construction, also based in Boston, oversaw the 18-month project as construction manager.

Over the past 15 years, MWCC has been the recipient of top state and national sustainability awards, including the American Association of College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Wildlife Federation.

Amenities in the new building include eight new classrooms and laboratories, four lab prep rooms, 24 new faculty offices, student study space and interior glass walls to highlight STEM student innovation. Renovations to the Haley Academic Center include a new visitor entrance, a multi-purpose room, an academic advising suite, a refurbished student-centered campus commons and increased accessibility to the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.

Immediately following the dedication, Mount Wachusett Community College is hosting an Open House from 3:30 to 7pm. The public, past MWCC staff and faculty, and all community partners are encouraged and invited to attend. For more information, please contact Lois Cox at 978-630-9101.

The Mount Wachusett Community College East Wing Gallery will open two new art exhibitions by local artists Jesse Connor and Tracie Pouliot on October 17. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 4 from 4:30 to 7 PM and will feature talks by each artist as well as an opportunity to tour the gallery.

Artist Jesse Connor’s exhibition entitled “Far Reaches” includes large scale paintings that borrow from close observation of settings, houses or nature with unusual emotionally charged interpretations of color. Connor lives in western Massachusetts, teaches painting at MWCC and is an active, highly respected artist with many recent exhibitions across the state. He is a dedicated teacher and artist working in acrylic and oils.

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Artist Tracie Pouliot’s exhibition entitled “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” is based on the lives of 14 workers in the last furniture manufacturer in Gardner. Pouliot is a local artist who opened a grant-funded community art center in Gardner to complete the book series project. She first took printmaking in the MWCC Teen Art summer program and fell in love with it. Pouliot then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in printmaking and a Master’s degree in Community Art /Public art before returning to the area as a new adjunct faculty member in the art department, teaching printmaking. Her exhibition was orchestrated in conjunction with a National Endowment for Humanities grant.

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

All are welcome to visit the gallery, attend the reception and participate in the free gallery talks. The East Wing Gallery, housed in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center on the Gardner Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 pm. The Gallery will be closed on November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

With a focus on the nature of work, Mount Wachusett Community College is kicking off its third year of Humanities Project programing with a Poetry Read-Aloud & Pizza Party on Thursday, October 20, from 6 – 8PM in the MWCC Library, Gardner Campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Attendees will have a chance to read their favorite poem from the selected work Kettle Bottom by award-winning author Diane Gilliam Fisher. This book of poems explores the West Virginia Mine Wars and coal mining life from the perspective of those who lived in coal camps, bringing a historical perspective to the theme of work.  Fisher’s poems draw upon her experiences as the child of parents who left the coal country of West Virginia and Kentucky.

Funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Humanities Project strengthens the college’s humanities curriculum; supports collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching and research in the humanities; examines the intersection between the humanities and other academic disciplines; and engages MWCC and the greater community in dialogue of enduring themes from the world’s many cultures and traditions.

For more information and dates for upcoming events, visit mwcc.edu/humanitiesproject.

"Resurrection" Oil on linen painting by John Pacheco

“Resurrection,” oil on linen painting by John Pacheco is among the works on display in MWCC’s East Wing Gallery through Oct. 4.

An exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Mount Wachusett Community College Professor John Pacheco is on display in the college’s East Wing Gallery through October 4.

Pacheco’s work is influenced by abstract expressionists and artists that saw spiritualism in the process of painting and the contemplation of color and abstraction.

“Painting abstractly, I can compose using color in ways that my previous attachment to figuration wouldn’t permit. The paintings exist like a piece of music – evocative rather than specific,” Pacheco said about the collection. Titles, such as “Caveman,” “Day at the Beach,” “Resurrection” and “Koi Pond” compensate for the lack of narrative, he said.

Born in Cambridge in 1949, Pacheco earned his MFA in painting from Boston University and a BA from Yale College for studio art. He began his career at MWCC in 1980 and served as Director of the East Wing Gallery from 2004 to 2015. He retired from full-time teaching in 2015, and continues to teach at MWCC as an adjunct instructor.

MWCC’s art department offers art majors and non-majors a comprehensive program that includes painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking. Faculty, all of whom are working professional artists, actively assist students with developing transfer portfolios, college applications and scholarships, and teach basic digital tools required for success. Small classes lead to a close-knit, active and inspired community.

The associate degree in art is a cost effective way to begin a college degree and prepares an art major for transfer to four-year programs at colleges and universities, said Department Chair Thomas Matsuda. Graduates have successfully transferred to Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Massachusetts, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Montserrat College of Art, Maine College of Art, Boston University, Pratt Institute, and others.

The associate degree in art includes the core general requirements for state programs giving the flexibility to transfer into other degrees, and by substituting designated courses it will align with MassTransfer. The college also offers a liberal arts degree with an art concentration that allows students to minor in art.

Comprehensive studios include large gas and electric kilns and an outdoor ceramic firing area, bronze casting, and printing presses. Just outside the studios is the East Wing Gallery. which hosts annual student exhibitions, alumni and professional art exhibitions and houses the permanent collection of student work purchased by the college.

A student organized art club raises funds or trips to local galleries, museums and an annual bus trip to New York City. Students gain practical experience in their field through service learning and volunteer opportunities.

MWCC’s art department is an integral part of the college and community, offering free gallery talks, an artist lectures series, open figure drawing sessions, art student lectures, high school art teacher workshops and a summer youth art program. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Fall Fest welcome back barbecue and activities fair will take place Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the patio near the South Cafe. Entertainment will be provided by Grupo Fantasia in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Activities include caricatures, henna tattoos, cotton candy, various novelties and the student club expo, as well as a free barbecue that begins at 12:30. The event is sponsored by the Student Life office, CATS (Campus Activities Team for Students) and the Student Government Association and is open to all MWCC students, faculty and staff.

MWCC offers short-term accelerated programs that students can complete in as little as 2 weeks, as well as 6-week, 1-year, and 2-year options that fit your life and employment needs. All of our programs provide you with support services that help you apply, interview and get a job in a career field with tremendous job growth opportunity. Information sessions are held on most Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Devens campus. To register for an upcoming information session, call 978-630-9883.

Orientation sessions for new and transfer students will take place prior to the start of the new academic year. Orientation for evening students will be held at the Gardner campus on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. A family and support network orientation will take place evening at 6 p.m. Orientation for day students will take place Thursday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fitness & Wellness Center. A session for student veterans will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Lion’s Den Student Center.

 

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Theatre at the Mount continues its2016 season with the Tony Award winning musical, Hairspray. Performances are February 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 21  at 2 p.m. This production will take place at Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham , as renovations to the theatre continue.

You can’t stop the beat! Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion — to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a plus-size trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the program’s reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her ‘do? Only in Hairspray!

Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students and may be purchased at the TAM box office at 978 630-9388 or online at http://mwcc.edu/tam.