50th anniversary

Mount Wachusett Community College has received a bronze Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), District 1 in the Year-Long Special Events category for the multi-faceted 50th Anniversary celebration throughout 2013.

The award was presented to the college during the District 1 awards celebration on January 29 in Boston.

MWCC celebrated its golden anniversary with a series of special events, publications and marketing collateral geared toward the college community, alumni, benefactors and the general public. Events included concerts, a Free College Day for the public, art exhibitions, theatre productions and a Harvest Ball fundraiser for scholarships. Advertising, publicity, social media, photography and graphic design projects, a 50th anniversary website and commemorative publications were among the communications components used to tell the story of MWCC’s past, present and future.

CASE is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.

Each year, CASE District 1 bestows its Excellence Awards on individuals and schools doing innovative work in the subfields of special events, fundraising, stewardship, volunteer engagement, alumni relations, student alumni initiatives, advancement services and communications.

By Chelsea Quinn

Students, faculty and staff of all ages gathered at the Gardner campus on Nov. 7 for a Peace Pole dedication. The pole, engraved “May peace prevail on earth” in eight languages, is a gift to the college from students in honor of MWCC’s 50th anniversary.

The dedication was spearheaded by The Green Society, with contributions made from many campus clubs, including the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Beta Gamma honor societies, The Veterans Group, Beyond Str8, Computer Graphics Design Club, the Student Nurses Association, Early Childhood Education Club, Theatre Club, Legal Studies Group, Math and Our Community Club, the  Art Club, Cru, ALANA, the International Club, Campus Activities Team for Students (CATS) and the Philosophy Club.

“The pole serves as a reminder to keep peace in the forefront of our minds,” said Linda Patterson, president of The Green Society and a Natural Resources major. “It was really heartwarming to see how many clubs worked together to make this happen. It was really a beautiful collaboration and a wonderful opportunity to work with so many people.”

The pole, adjacent to the Garrison Center amid a newly created garden, bears the message of peace in English, Spanish, Chinese, German, Arabic, French, Portuguese and Swahili.

Dr. Vincent Ialenti, co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee, said the dedication served as a fitting end to the college’s year-long celebration.

The peace pole movement began in Japan in 1995. Since then, more than 200,000 peace poles have been installed around the world, with illustrious figures such as Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama photographed at them.

Tommy Priester and Karen Maguire of Lincoln, MA performed Native American songs of peace, healing, empowerment and transformation accompanied by the beat of a drum. Preschoolers enrolled in the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education sang “Silver and Gold,” a friendship song.

Patterson, who led the ceremony, thanked Greg Clement, Associate Dean of Students, Sandra Arsenault, Student Activities Program assistant, Alan Cumming, Head of Grounds section, Bill Swift, Director of Maintenance & Mechanical Operations, and the facilities and grounds crew for the installation of the peace pole and garden.

Accounting major Bethany Jones, whose daughter, Natalie, was among the preschoolers, said she was happy to attend the event. In 1999, at age 11, Jones conducted a bottle and can drive as a Girl Scout project. The funds raised were used to install a peace pole at Reingold Elementary School in Fitchburg.

Area lawmakers traveled to Mount Wachusett Community College for a legislative breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Following the meeting, the North Central Massachusetts delegation presented a resolution congratulating the college on its 50th anniversary.  The resolution notes MWCC’s growth and academic excellence over the past five decades, as well as its leadership in the areas of civic engagement and renewable energy.  MWCC was established in Gardner on Nov. 8, 1963 as one of the first eight of 15 community colleges in Massachusetts.

Pictured from left: Rep. Kimberly Ferguson, R-Holden; Senator Stephen Brewer, D-Barre; Rep. Denise Andrews, D-Orange; Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik, D-Gardner; Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel Asquino; Senator James Eldridge, D-Acton; Rep. Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg; Senator Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster; and Rep. Dennis Rosa, D-Leominster. Not pictured: Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer; Rep. Jennifer Benson, R-Lunenburg; and Rep. Sheila Harrington, D-Groton.

President Asquino receives an anniversary citation from Senator Stephen Brewer.

As Mount Wachusett Community College’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration comes to a close, the varied events and activities provided an opportunity for members of the college and greater community to reflect on the past, reconnect with classmates and faculty, and make a positive impact on future students.

Signature 50th anniversary events sponsored by the MWCC Foundation throughout the year, including a Presidential Harvest Ball held October 5 at the Chocksett Inn in Sterling, raised more than $120,000 for the foundation’s endowment for student scholarships.

MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino thanked the college’s many partners and sponsors for their dedication throughout the anniversary celebration, as well as for their support of the college’s past, present and future initiatives.

During the Harvest Ball, Senator Stephen M. Brewer stopped in to present college officials with a Senate citation congratulating MWCC on its milestone anniversary and positive impact the institution has had on North Central Massachusetts and the state over the past five decades.

“It is our inter-generational responsibility to help level the playing field for all students who show the desire and the talent to obtain the benefits of higher education,” Brewer said.  “Mount Wachusett Community College has been providing these opportunities for 50 years.  The English language has over a million words in it, those of us in public policy ought to single out the special word of ‘opportunity ‘as a beacon of inspiration to those who dream big dreams.”

Trustee Scott Howard, executive vice president of premier sponsor Bemis Associates, provided a celebratory toast. “Here’s to all the students, staff, leaders and supporters of Mount Wachusett Community College for 50 years of work strengthening our community, our country and the world by providing outstanding educational opportunities to all regardless of race, gender or economic situation.  And here’s to the ongoing work to continue expanding our impact for the next 50 years and beyond.”

MWCC’s art department greeted former students during an Oct. 10 alumni art exhibit reception on Oct. 10 in the East Wing Gallery. Pictured, from left, Professors Joyce Miller, Gene Cauthen, Tom Matsuda, department founder Jean Tandy, and John Pacheco.

Other fall events included an alumni art exhibition featuring the artwork of more than 30 graduates and a special alumni showing of the 1960’s themed production of Shout, the Mod Musical at Theatre at the Mount. More than 200 alumni and friends of the college attended the Oct. 10 events.

“It is wonderful to see such a large turnout of MWCC alumni, and friends of the college, here to celebrate our alumni art exhibition and to enjoy a special performance of Shout,” said Carol Jacobson, Associate Director of Alumni Relations.

50th Anniversary Sponsors included premier sponsor Bemis Associates, Inc.; Mr. & Mrs. James Garrison; Scott Howard; MWCC Barnes & Noble Bookstore; The Clementi Family Trust; Data Guide Cable Corporation; Mr. and Mrs. Jay Drake; Enterprise Bank; IC Federal Credit Union; Nypro Foundation; Rollstone Bank & Trust; Advanced Cable Ties, Inc., Athol Savings Bank; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Couvares; Ms. Ellen Daly; Mr. and Mrs. Walter Heath; Simonds International; Workers’ Credit Union; and Gardner Visiting Nurses Association.

Harvest Ball sponsors included premier sponsor Bemis Associates, Inc.; Heywood healthcare, Chocksett Inn; Colonial Hotel; Aubuchon Hardware; GFA Federal Credit Union; Tyco/SimplexGrinnell; HealthAlliance Hospital; Fitchburg State University; Dunkin Donuts; Windmill Florist; Ed Collier Photography; Fidelity Bank; Clinton Hospital; Venning  & Jacques, PC; MASSMedia; Paul DiGeronimo and Katharine Marino; and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School.

MWCC Broadcasting & Electronic Media studentWilfred Momo and classmates created a concert video and DVD featuring singer-songwriter Kellianna.

If you missed the free Kellianna concert at Mount Wachusett Community College as part of the college’s 50th anniversary events, you can soon see what you missed on local cable access TV.

Kellianna, an internationally recognized singer songwriter of Celtic myth and magic, is originally from Westminster. She graciously accepted an invitation from MWCC to present a full concert in the college’s theater in March, which allowed students in Audio Engineering and Video Recording to practice their craft.  As part of their course work, students recorded the concert and later edited the video and mixed the sound to create both a full concert DVD and a half hour television program. The DVD is enjoying international distribution to Kellianna’s fan base and the TV show has been released to local cable stations and others throughout the United States.

The aesthetic of the concert would not have been possible without the donated help of Jeff Boisseau, Technical Theater Director for Theatre at the Mount. All faculty, students and staff, who participated in the presentation and recording of the concert, donated their time to the event. Six video cameras and two multi-track recording systems captured the show.

Though the concert was recorded in the theater, several weeks of subsequent student training in the media facilities yielded the final videos. The DVD and TV show are also the first productions to come out of MWCC’s newly completed recording studio. The most intricate of the Mount’s five sound studios, it is being utilized by Broadcasting & Electronic Media students concentrating in Audio Engineering.

A three-year project to create the studio began in 2009 when MWCC acquired a Yamaha PM 4000 large format analog mixing console from Comcast SportsNet New England, in Burlington. Acoustical engineering and architecture for the new studio was commissioned to Lou Clark of Sonic-Space, in Portsmouth, NH, and construction is credited to MWCC’s facilities department. The room has custom made equipment racks by Dave Ruthardt of The Woodesign Company in Medway and is designed to serve as a recording/mixing facility as well as a teaching/learning space as recommended by MWCC faculty.

A major part of the system design of this new studio is state-of-the-art functionality for mixing audio with motion pictures.  It is now one of only a few college sound mixing rooms in the country that can marry sound and high definition video together to such a capacity.  Connecting the room’s equipment together took hundreds of man hours by MWCC’s media specialists Chris Chouinard, and Ben Mertzic.  It is estimated that if separated and connected end to end, the amount of wire used to connect this system together would reach five miles in length.

This recent production and other musical performances previously recorded at the college, including  “The Oakmont Jazz Band,” “The Fine Tuners” and Scott Beddia’s “IndepenDrum,” give media students experience creating content in a way that is rare to most colleges. MWCC is fortunate to have the facilities, equipment, faculty and staff to offer experiences of production equal to current professional standards of music on television.  This concert was recorded live with no opportunity for second takes.

MWCC’s newest recording studio is the latest upgrade to the college’s media facilities, which are constantly maintained and updated to meet industry standards and curriculum advancements. In the summer of 2011, a renovation to convert the college’s video training facilities to high definition yielded a new control room system, editing systems and video cameras.  Four existing audio studios have undergone regular updates and improvements, and the creation of a sixth audio studio is under way. It will feature an all-digital audio recording/mix room with a digital mixing console and digital connectivity to all performance areas including the college’s theater.

MWCC’s Broadcasting & Electronic Media degree offers concentrations in Audio Engineering, Video/Film Production and Photography.  The department is planning the next musical production for students to capture.

– John Little

Assistant Professor John Little teaches audio engineering at MWCC and is the owner and operator of the award-winning, full-service recording studio Up-Side-Sound in Ashburnham.

Nearly 30 students signed up to learn how to use a potter’s wheel in Art Professor Joyce Miller’s Introduction to Pottery workshops.

More than 300 area residents turned out for Mount Wachusett Community College’s Free College Day on Saturday, April 13, registering for 800-plus seats in 50 workshops led by MWCC faculty and noncredit instructors who volunteered along with other members of the college community.

One of the college’s 50th anniversary celebration events this year, Free College Day featured workshops in a variety of topics including art, math, science, music, automotive technology, computer technology, social media, writing, theater and dance.

Fifty door prizes, including free credit and noncredit classes, Theatre at the Mount tickets, Fitness & Wellness Center memberships, sweatshirts, t-shirts and gift cards were presented to attendees. Jeanne Hollows, a 1969 alumna of the college who works for the Townsend Planning and Land Use Department, said she was thrilled to win another top door prize, an iPad.




AVTT Traveling Wall

Veterans and active members of America’s armed services travel great distances and make great sacrifices to preserve and protect freedom and liberty. How far will you travel to honor their contribution?

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute will bring its Traveling Wall to Mount Wachusett Community College April 10 through 14, in honor of the college’s 50th  anniversary. The Traveling Wall, an 80-percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., will be escorted on April 10 at 3 p.m. by the Patriot Riders Chapter 3 to Gardner City Hall for a brief ceremony, then proceed to the college soccer field. Events and activities will commence on April 11, beginning at 12:30 p.m. when student veterans dedicate a plaque at the college’s flagpole.

An opening ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. A candlelight vigil will take place April 13 at 6 p.m. A closing ceremony will take place on April 14 at 3 p.m. before the wall is dismantled.

The exhibit is sponsored by MWCC’s student Veterans Group and the college’s Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, through the generous support of several community sponsors including the Patriot Riders Chapter 3, the VFW Ovila Case Post 905, Vietnam Veterans of America, Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, Franco-American Vets in Leominster and many other school clubs and outside organizations.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is a veteran-owned project committed to travel the nation to honor, respect, and remember men and women who served, and to pay specific tribute to those who gave all in that service. Since the tribute is mobile, it allows people to honor and respect veterans and active military personnel without having to travel great distances to do so.

The AVTT Traveling Wall was completed in 1998 and began traveling that year. Across its 360-foot length, the wall contains every single name etched on the original. At its apex, the memorial is an impressive eight feet tall. AVTT’s Traveling Wall is the largest wall replica traveling the country, and is not to be confused with several other replica walls that also share a mutual mission.

For more information about this event contact Andrew Constant, president of The Veterans Group at aconstant1@mwcc.edu or Kristine Larkin, director of the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, at 978-630-9855 or klarkin@mwcc.mass.edu or visit www.avtt.org.


International neo-Celtric artist Kellianna will present a free concert March 15 at MWCC.

International neo-Celtic artist Kellianna will perform songs of myth and magic during a free concert Friday, March 15 at Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green Street. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the theatre of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center.

A resident ofWendell,Mass., the singer/songwriter performs powerful goddess and mythology-inspired folk music and chant. With guitar and vocals, she brings to life the stories and sagas of the gods and goddesses, and with Native American frame drum and chant, she honors the earth and the ancestors via primal drumming and powerful vocals. Kellianna also facilitates chant circles at festivals and shops throughout the country. She is experienced in the art of ritual chant and uses the song to move energy, to celebrate the ancient mysteries, and to strengthen intention.

Joining Kellianna in the performance are Athol musicians Adam Bergeron, piano, Ethan Stone, piano and Fern Thorpe, guitar; Jen Spingla of Ashburnham, bass guitar; Tina Horn of Wendell, percussion; Anne Silverman of Belmont, piano; and Jenna Greene of Rhode Island, harp and vocals.  

Kellianna has performed at venues throughout the U.S. and internationally, including New York, Washington, England, Ireland and the Netherlands. Her recordings include Lady Moon in 2004, I Walk with the Goddess in 2007, Elemental in 2010; and The Ancient Ones in 2012.

The concert, presented as part of the college’s 50th anniversary celebration, will be recorded by audio and broadcasting students enrolled in MWCC’s Broadcasting and Electronic Media program. For more information, visit www.kellianna.com.


President Daniel M. Asquino cuts the cake during the 50th anniversary celebration kick-off.

Mount Wachusett Community College kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration on Jan. 30. The 1960s-style band Shakin’ all Over performed tunes from the decades, while students, faculty and staff posed for 1960s photos.

“I think what makes our 50th special, is we have faculty members who were here during the early years, including those who were either students or have been teaching for quite some t6ime. It makes it even more amazing,” said SGA member Lourdes Abreu.

“I think it’s awesome, added Liberal Arts and Sciences major Rosemary Mruk. “I think it’s really nice a a really great way to welcome all of the new students who are coming in, as well as for those of us who are graduating.”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, a series of events, community service projects, career and college fairs, exhibits, dedication ceremonies, an essay contest, a time capsule, and other programs will take place throughout the year.

Upcoming spring events include a free concert presented by International Neo-Celtic  artist Kellianna, who will perform songs of myth & magic on March 15 at 8 p.m. in the theatre. The concert is open to the public and will be recorded by students in MWCC’s Broadcasting and Electronic Media program for DVD distribution.

A presentation on the history of MWCC, led by Dr. Ialenti, will take place April 4 at the Gardner Museum.

MWCC students Vanesa Sanchez, Guernslye Honore and Lourdes Abreu at the 50th anniversary celebration.

A Free College Day for the public will take place Saturday, April 13. The event offers fun, informative workshops and classes on a variety of topics including computers, photography, science and technology, dual enrollment opportunities for teens, theatre, dance, public speaking, fitness, criminal justice, writing, and much more. The event will also feature an academic and career expo and door prizes including Theatre at the Mount season tickets, Fitness and Wellness Center memberships, free credit, noncredit and workforce development courses, college sweatshirts, and other prizes.

Information about MWCC’s 50th anniversary celebration and activities, historical photos, yearbooks, tributes and more can be found on the college’s website at mwcc.edu/50th.