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Gail Steele

Professor Gail Steele

Professor Gail Steele, director of Theatre at the Mount, not only will be recognized with a community service award during the House of Peace and Education’s annual Celebrating Women event, she’ll also share the stage with one of the country’s greatest performers, Rita Moreno.

The Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Oscar winning performer will headline the annual event to raise awareness of women’s issues and funding for House of Peace & Education, Inc., a non-profit serving women and children in North Central Massachusetts. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, May 21, at Great Wolf Lodge of New England in Fitchburg.

Under Professor Steele’s supervision TAM has received local, regional, and national acclaim. In her 38-year career, over 2,500 individuals have appeared in TAM productions and over 8,000 have participated in summer drama and choir programs. Many have gone on to pursue their own careers in theatre after literally growing up at Theatre at the Mount. In addition to her work at TAM, Professor Steele has shared her expertise and been active in many organizations throughout the community.

HOPE empowers women and children by providing employment and educational skills, and nurturing self esteem, so they can to transition into independence. Because HOPE is a no-fees organization, it must raise considerable funds each year to continue its many services.

This year’s event begins at 5:30 p.m. and consists of cocktail hour with cash bar, dinner, a performance by Boston’s Divas with a Twist, presentation of awards, and finally Rita Moreno’s inspirational story through spoken word and song. Tickets are available in advance only: online at www.hopegardner.org, by calling 978-632-0400, or stopping in at the HOPEful Boutique at 33 Parker Street in Gardner.

In addition to the HOPE Celebrating Women Award, in April, Professor Steele received the Community Leadership Award from the ARC of Opportunity of North Central Massachusetts for her leadership and creativity in launching a sensory-friendly theatre performance for families who support children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities or on the autism spectrum.

Left to right: Peter Kaufmann, Dan Asquino

Professor Peter Kaufmann, chair of the Automotive Technology department, was recognized for 35 years of service by President Asquino and the college community during the 20th Annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony.

President Daniel M. Asquino and the Division of Human Resources and Payroll honored employees who reached the milestone years of service with the college during the 20th Annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony on May 4. Collectively, the recipients represent 405 years of service to MWCC students and the college community.

In addition to the service awards, MWCC announced the recipients of the 2015 Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance, the recipients of the college’s fifth annual da Vinci Parachute Award, and the recipient of the state Workforce Mentoring Award. Five retiring professors were presented with emeriti status: Elena Natalizia, Joel Anderson, Paul Laverty, John McNally and John Reilly.

Cindy Doyle received the Commonwealth Citation individual award, and the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement and the snow removal team were presented with group awards. Honorees include: Evan Berry, Patricia Brewerton, Heather Daly, Michelle Errington Nicholson, Fagan Forhan, Lauren Mountain, Daniel Soucy and Teresa Tambling of the Center; and Norman Boudreau, Jason Brunelle, Leonard Charbonneau, George Couillard, Alan Cumming, Daniel McMilleon and Roland Meunier of the snow team.

MWCC introduced the da Vinci Parachute Award in 2011 to recognize employees who demonstrate innovation and creativity in their field. Melissa Croteau and Carol Jacobson received the 2015 individual awards, and the da Vinci group award was presented to Inclusive Hiring Committee members Kathy Boucher, Mark Boudreau, Charity Colley, Teresita Encarnacion, Maria Gariepy, Eric Johnson, Natalie Mercier and Carla Morrissey.

Melissa Croteau was recognized as nominees for the state Workforce Mentoring Award.

Peter Kaufmann was recognized for 35 years of service to MWCC, and Luz Lopez and Laurene Minns were recognized for 25 years of service. Employees recognized for15 years: Joel Anderson, Jacqueline Belrose, Patricia Brewerton, George Couillard, Julie Crowley, Teresita Encarnacion, Melissa Fama, Michelle Holman, Cynthia Krusen, Valerie LaPorte, Nancy Thibodeau, Stephanie Wiseman and Gardner Wood. Employees recognized for 10 years: Kristine Asselin, Gregory Clement, Rebecca Forest, Judy Fredette, Margaret Jaillet, Gaurav Khanna, Kathy Lewis, Thomas Montagno, Jess Mynes, John Reilly, Candace Shivers, Brenda Tatro and John Walsh. Employees recognized for five years of service include: Stephanie England, Eveliz Rivera-White, Marianne Segool and Tracy Sheridan.

 

 

News staff photo by KATIE LANDECK Mount Wachusett Community College nursing students Lori Belliveau and Diana Bronson give a presentation about their recent trip to Haiti and encourage other students to sign up for the Mount’s upcoming trip in January 2016.
Mount Wachusett Community College nursing students Lori Belliveau and Diana Bronson give a presentation about their recent trip to Haiti and encourage other students to sign up for the Mount’s upcoming trip in January 2016.

GARDNER – When the first team of Mount Wachusett Community College nursing students came back from Haiti in January, they all said the same thing: we want to go back.

“There is a lot of beauty (in Haiti),” said nursing student Lori Belliveau while presenting the trip to other nursing students on Monday. “And it makes you think a little bit about what we have versus what they don’t have.”

The nursing students traveled to Haiti with Forward in Health, a locally started nonprofit that is providing health care to 7,500 people in the impoverished Fonde Fred region of Haiti. The trip was organized by Forward in Health cofounder Paula Mulqueen.

The students worked in health clinics, visited orphanages and nursing schools, and also had the chance to explore a little bit of the island nation.

The Mount is planning another trip for next January. The trip costs about $1,600 per person, but students found they were about to raise money to pay for the trip.

“It didn’t cost me anything,” said Ms. Belliveau. “My friends, family and coworkers were very generous.”

There is also talk of creating an exchange program where Mount Wachusett students would have the ability to live with and attend classes with nursing students in Haiti for a week.

Then the Haitian student would be able to attend classes at Mount Wachusett for a week.

Ideally, Mount Wachusett officials said, the students in the exchange program would be able to speak at least a little French.

By the next trip, Mount Wachusett students will be able to work in the clinic that Forward in Health will officially open this summer after years of fundraising and overcoming numerous hurdles, including the devastating earthquake of 2010.

“We are at the brink of opening the clinic doors,” Ms. Mulqueen told the audience. “We are doing a massive inventory and a massive setup. The scheduled date to open is Aug. 4. Great stuff is happening.”

The clinic will include a triage unit and offer permanent medical assistance to the region.

Since Ms. Mulqueen’s first trip to Haiti in 2002, she has traveled to the country 52 times, taking anyone who wanted to go and was willing to work, ranging from high school students to surgeons.

“International nursing is suddenly a hot topic,” she said. “Everyone is now going all over the world to serve.”

When choosing where to go and with whom to serve, Ms. Mulqueen recommends looking into an organization’s history in the country, the sustainability of its work, the compatibility of its objectives with that of the volunteer, and the group’s safety record.

For more information about traveling with Forward in Health, visit forwardinhealth.org.

The Gardner News, Katie Landeck, May 5, 2015

PTK SOS 2015

Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor Fagan Forhan, second from left, with PTK members and Students SOS office mentors John Day, Cathy Teague, Phil Stan, Stevie LaBelle, Carrie DeCosta, Jana Murphy, Jennifer Snow and Chelsea Garrity during the PTK induction ceremony.

This spring, MWCC’s Phi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society inducted 85 new members, and presented sizeable donations to community organizations from funds raised through a variety of events.

During the chapter’s induction ceremony on May 4, chapter officers and members presented a $750 check to the Gardner Community Action Council, a $750 check to the Winchendon Community Action Council, and a $1,000 to the student-run Students Serving Our Students program at MWCC.

New inductees include: Marcus Altman, Justin Arsenault, Louis Ayisi, Ivy Benoit, Yvonne Bentley-Wandless, Thomas Berger, Adam Bergeron, John Blombach, Bryce Bodley-Gomes, Cynthia Boucher, Kaci Bradshaw, Lisa Clark, Kyle Cole, Emanuel Corbeil, Tiffany Cranfill, Rebecca Daniel, Carrie DeCosta, Bianca DiGiannantonio, Khaien Donawa, Julie Edwards, Krista Felaco, Roxanna Figueroa, Francisco Figueroa-Vazquez, Cassandra Fontaine, Chantal Froystein. Dawn Fuller, Carly Gagne, Sara Gallant, Paul Galvin, Chelsea Garrity, Corinne Goodrich, Jamie Grant, Celine Grimley, Paulette Hachey, Stephen Hall, Kaitlyn Jozefiak, Yasmine Kanaan, Carol Karuci-Mirolli, Sara Khan, Helen Koge, Rose LaFargue, Emily Lapinskas, Cassondra Lavigne, Samantha Lazo, Kimberley LeBlanc, Elie LeMieux, Leslie Lupien, Paula Lynde, Trevor            Malerbi, Tammy Mariani, Leanne McCarthy, Ellen McGahan, Catherine Migwi, Marissa Mitchell, Lauren Molnar, Jana Murphy, Eliud Mwangi, Dorcas Mwathi, Kimberli Nutting, Todd Perry, Michelle Racette, Karren Ricci, Bryan Richard, Magaly Rios, Nathan  Roberts, Tasha Rocheford, Darlene Rossi, Angelica Ryan, Erik Salmonson, Jacqueline Scribner, Brendan Shea, Jennifer Snow, Trenton Solomon, Silvana Sosa, Phillip Stan, Rachel Sullivan, Teresa Tambling, Austina Towle, Aaron Trudeau, Mary Volpe, Christopher Waye, Melissa Wilbur and Robert Williams.

 

JamesGarrison74

Jim Garrison

Community leader and long-serving volunteer James O. Garrison is the recipient of Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2015 Service Above Self Award. The award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions within the 29 cities and towns that make up the college’s service area, will be presented during MWCC’s 50th Commencement on Wednesday, May 20.

“We are proud to present this year’s Service Above Self Award to Jim Garrison for the  tremendous impact he has made on our college, in the lives of so many of our students, and in the greater community,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.

“Mr Garrison’s spirit of generosity and willingness to share his time, talents and resources epitomize the essence of what it means to be a caring, engaged citizen in a democratic society,” President Asquino said. “His philanthropic endeavors have resulted in countless improvements and changes to MWCC that have enhanced the learning environment for college students and children and the vital role the college plays in the community.”

A member of MWCC’s Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2014, including four years as chair, the Philadelphia native developed a passion for education and helping others while earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Garrisons moved to North Central Massachusetts in 1990 when he purchased the Gardner company H&R 1871, and immediately became involved in community service.

“The thing that struck me about Gardner was the dedication of the people in the community,” Mr. Garrison said. “Within the first week of arriving, I was visited by a number of business leaders, including President Asquino.” The first program launched by the company and MWCC focused on helping high school graduates get back on track. The program was not successful, Mr. Garrison said, due to a high rate of homelessness among the participants. However it raised awareness of underlying issues, and correlation between the importance of early childhood education prior to kindergarten, and academic success later in life.

With this in mind, in 2005, he and his wife, Peggy, donated $1 million to the MWCC Foundation to support stipends for MWCC students in need of child care, as well as scholarships for students studying early childhood education. The Garrisons also provided additional funding to build the child care center and preschool on the Gardner campus, which is named in their honor.

Mr. Garrison, a resident of Acton, continues to volunteer as a member of the MWCC Foundation. In addition, he currently serves as chair of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, chair of the Greater Gardner Industrial Development Corporation and Foundation, chair of the GFA Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee, and on the Heywood Hospital Board of Trustees. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts.

A former president and CEO of Instron Corp., in Canton, which manufactures and services materials testing instruments, system and accessories, Mr. Garrison retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves with the rank of Commander. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Miami University in Ohio, followed by an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Recognized for his dedication promoting education, health and economic development, Mr. Garrison is a recipient of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and Business Person of the Year awards; the MWCC Foundation Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year Award; Gardner Visiting Nurses Association Make a Difference Award, and Community Health Connections’ Community Health Champion Award. Earlier this year, Mr. and Mrs. Garrison were recognized with the Heywood Healthcare Community Health Hero Award.

 

AACC conference group photo

AMMQC national advisory board members, from left: Dennis Bunnell, Industry Consultant and Committee Chair; Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development and National Director of the AMMQC grant; Dorey Diab, President, North Central State College, OH; Barbara Roseborough, Interim Provost and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Southwest Tennessee Community College; President Daniel M. Asquino, Ph.D, Mount Wachusett Community College, MA; Brent Weil, Senior Vice President and Treasurer, the Manufacturing Institute, Washington, D.C.; and Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr., Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College, LA.

Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel M. Asquino and Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development Jacqueline Belrose joined colleagues from three other community colleges to share highlights of their advanced manufacturing partnership during the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual conference in April in Texas.

In September, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $15.9 million TAACCCT grant to expand career opportunities in advanced manufacturing at MWCC and partnering Southwest Tennessee Community College, North Central State College in Ohio, and Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana. The colleges created the Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics, and Quality Consortium (AMMQC) to help job seekers quickly obtain training and credentials in the advanced manufacturing fields of Mechatronics and Quality career pathways.

“This grant is the story of how four colleges drew on the strengths of each region and are able to effectively work on a project in which our consortium is stronger than the sum of our parts,” President Asquino said during conference presentation. “We designed this using a Center of Excellence approach, in which our emphasis was on obtaining funding that would promote our areas of strength, and not simply address perceived shortfalls and weaknesses. We committed to establishing regional advisory boards drawn from our local manufacturers. And we agreed to work with the Manufacturing Institute so we could ensure that our curriculum aligns with various industry recognized credentials.”

As a group, the programs share a common interest in appropriate and deliberate use of assessment tools, non-credit to credit transition, acceleration of degree completion, and the nexus between education and industry credentials.

Prior to the presentation, the AMMQC national advisory board met. In addition to President Asquino, members include Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development and National Director of the AMMQC grant; Dennis Bunnell, Industry Consultant and Committee Chair; Barbara P. Roseborough, Interim Provost and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Southwest Tennessee Community College; Dr. Rick Bateman, Jr., Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College; Dorey Diab, President, North Central State College; and Brent Weil, Senior Vice President and Treasurer, The Manufacturing Institute.

 

elizabeth moison and staff

Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche, left, and Victor Rojas, Assistant Director of the GEAR UP program, right, with scholar Elizabeth Moison.

Elizabeth Moison, who participates in MWCC’s GEAR UP program at Fitchburg High School, achieved a tremendous result on the fall 2014 PSAT which qualifies her to participate in the College Board’s National Merit Scholarship Program during her senior year.

In order to be considered, a student must score in the top 50,000 out of 1.5 million test participants. By achieving such outstanding results, Elizabeth will now have the opportunity to possibly achieve National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist or Commended Student status, to be reported in September 2016.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a joint venture between Mount Wachusett Community College and FHS. The program provides services at high poverty middle and high schools and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Elizabeth is an example of a student who has taken full advantage of all of the outstanding opportunities in the Fitchburg Public Schools since kindergarten,” said Fitchburg Public Schools Superintendent Andre Ravenelle. “Her personal academic success and leadership as the student representative to school committee are a tribute to her, her family and the whole FPS community.”

 

Gardner Mayor, MWCC Trustee and Alumnus Mark Hawke with 2015 MWCC Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Inductees.

Gardner Mayor, MWCC Trustee and Alumnus Mark Hawke with 2015 MWCC Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Inductees.

Gardner Mayor, MWCC Trustee and Alumnus Mark Hawke shared lessons learned throughout his career in business and public service with 17 Mount Wachusett Community College students who were inducted into the Chi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma, an international business honor society, at the 25th annual induction ceremony, Thursday, April 23.

After graduating from MWCC, Hawke transferred to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, then went on to earn an MBA from Anna Maria College. After pursuing a career as a financial analyst, he took a pay cut to take a job with the City of Gardner, and learned he loved the work so much, he wanted to run for Mayor. Now serving his eighth year as mayor, he still loves the work. “In this job, I can see the results of our work. If we plan to build a playground, we build a playground. If we say we are going to fill a pothole, we fill a pothole and we see the result.”

He shared several pieces of advice gathered from his own career and lessons learned from other business leaders. “Never stop learning, never stop trying, and surround yourself with a good team,” he said. He challenged the students to work hard and always to strive to surpass expectations. “You will be noticed and rewarded.” He also credited Mount Wachusett Community College for putting him on a path of academic success. “It is an intimate setting and you really get to know the faculty, the staff and the college leadership,” he explained.

To be eligible for membership into Alpha Beta Gamma, students must be enrolled in a business curriculum, have completed 15 academic credit hours in a specific degree program and demonstrate academic excellence by attaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above. At MWCC, the programs include Business Administration, Paralegal Studies, Computer Information Systems, Graphic & Interactive Design, and Medical Assisting.

The Chi Gamma chapter has a long history of community involvement, including activities to benefit NEADS, a Princeton-based service assistance dog organization; the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center; the House of Peace and Education in Gardner; local food pantries; military troops serving overseas; and the national Alzheimer’s Association.

Who's Who 2015MWCC students enrolled in a range of academic programs and involved in numerous activities have been selected as national outstanding campus leaders and will be included in the 2015 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

The 30 students were selected based on their academic achievement, service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities and the potential for continued success. They join an elite group of students from more than 1,000 higher education institutions in the United State and several other countries. The tradition of recognizing noteworthy college students in a Who’s Who biographical volume began in 1934.

The following honorees were among the student leaders recognized by the office of Student Life during a reception held April 23 at the Gardner Museum:

Louis Ayisi, Amanda Baldino, Andrea Bartlett, Thomas Berger, Aleisha Berthiaume, Michelle Blackmore, Evan Bonenfant, Tara Burke, Micaiah Bushnell, Carrie DeCosta, Roxanna Figueroa, Mary Fournier, Chelsea Garrity, Michael Godin, Celine Grimley, Emily Lapinskas, Jillian Legere, Brandi Logue, Siobhan Mack, Michael P. MacLean, Amber Martinez, Ariel Meaney, Sharon Nabulime, Michelle Nye, Desiree Procell, Phillip Stan, Cathy Teague, Sammi Tovar, Aaron Trudeau and Robin Wead.

MWCC STEM Building Ceremony

Participants in Mount Wachusett Community College’s Building Beyond Tomorrow ceremony marking the start of construction on its $41 million science building include, from left: State Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik; Gardner Mayor and MWCC Trustee Mark Hawke; former MWCC Board of Trustees Chair Jim Garrison; Senator Stephen M. Brewer; MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino; State Rep. Stephen DiNatale; Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone; Representatives from Architerra and Shawmut Construction; and MWCC student leaders.

With a nod to its future and that of its students, Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated the start of construction of its eco-friendly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) addition during a “Building Beyond Tomorrow” ceremony on Earth Day, April 22.

“Today we celebrate not just the assembly of bricks and mortar, but we truly lay a foundation literally and figuratively for the future of our school, our students, alumni, and indeed the future of our greater community,” MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said to the gathering of students, faculty, legislators, community leaders and college supporters.

The new building will replace existing laboratories nearly a half-century old and will enhance the learning environment for all students, particularly those seeking careers in the STEM fields, he said.

“Our STEM students include first-generation college students aspiring to be the first in their families to attain higher education.

Many of the students are participating in the college’s STEM Starter Academy, a program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education, as well as the STEM SET Scholars program, funded through a grant by the National Science Foundation which awards up to $3,300 per year to participants.

“This building represents a tremendous investment by the Commonwealth in the future of our region’s students and graduates,” he said. “Today’s families and students are seeking ways to fund a college education in an era where student loan debt has ballooned and placed a tremendous financial burden on so many graduates.

“Increasingly, more students are recognizing the value of beginning their academic studies at MWCC before transferring for a bachelor’s degree and other advanced degrees in the profession of their choice.  By helping them during these foundation years, Mount Wachusett Community College plays a key role in meeting state and national goals of filling a shortage of graduates both at the state and national level to remain competitive globally.”

Carol Gladstone, Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, noted that the project is one of many DCAMMM projects at MWCC in recent years, including the construction of two wind turbines in 2010, the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education in 2006, the Senator Robert D. Wetmore Center for Innovation in 2004, and the biomass heating system in 2002.

During her first groundbreaking ceremony since being appointed earlier this year, Commissioner Gladstone said the project blends new, state-of-the-art construction with much-needed renovations that tie in with the college’s nationally recognized sustainability initiatives. “But what’s really most important is the purpose – the students – who are preparing to become nurses, dental hygienists, physical therapist assistants, scientists and other technology specialists to serve the Commonwealth.”

Long-serving State Senator Stephen M. Brewer, State Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, a member of MWCC’s Board of Trustees and an MWCC alumnus, were among the other featured speakers.

The new building is one of “so many wonderful things that have happened at Mount Wachusett Community College,” to benefit students, veterans and the region, said Senator Brewer, a key supporter of the new building during his tenure in office.

The $41 million project includes a 44,000 square-foot addition, 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.

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. Shawmut Design & Construction, also based in Boston, is overseeing the 18-month project as construction manager. Completion is anticipated in fall 2016.

Amenities in the new building will 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 hub and increased accessibility to the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.

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.