Mount Wachusett Community College Adjunct Instructor Wesley Stanhope holds his Course of Distinction award he received recently for his Renewable Energy Sources course.

Mount Wachusett Community College Adjunct Instructor Wesley Stanhope received a Course of Distinction award for his Renewable Energy Sources course at the 12th annual Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) E-Learning Conference that was held recently at Greenfield Community College.

“This is great. It’s good to be able to reach out to students and just teach,” said Stanhope. “It’s great to get recognition for it.”

Stanhope’s class was one of 11 COD winners selected from over 5,000 courses offered through MCO, a consortium built out of the 15 community colleges and nine universities in Massachusetts. The winners were selected for their use of technology to enhance the learning process. Stanhope said a vibrant online course can be created through discussions and sharing of ideas. In addition to receiving the award on June 6, Stanhope presented his course at the conference as part of the Best Practices Showcase.

According to MWCC’s Dean of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology Vincent Ialenti, Stanhope uses multiple platforms and VoiceThread technology to provide his students with a vibrant and interactive online learning experience.

“You try different ways of gauging how everyone is doing and you try to keep everyone active and collectively engaged together,” said Stanhope who uses VoiceThread to create a slide presentation overlaid with his spoken lecture.

Stanhope’s class uses case studies to provide an overview of the costs and benefits of various energy sources and systems. The renewable resources at MWCC’s Gardner campus, which include solar panels and two wind turbines, help make the coursework tangible for students, he said.

“You have the wind turbines and everyone sees them from miles around. They generate a lot of electricity for this campus,” said Stanhope.

Mount Wachusett Community College Adjunct Instructor Wesley Stanhope and Dean of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology Vincent Ialenti hold awards they recently received at the Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) E-Learning Conference that was held recently at Greenfield Community College.

Stanhope’s class is one of over 140 online courses offered at MWCC. These courses allow students to learn at their own pace and within their own schedule with 41 percent of all students at the school taking at least one online course during their time at MWCC, said Ialenti. These courses are especially important for students with busy or changing schedules, he said. But advances in technology mean that online students still get an engaging educational experience.

“Today’s online courses incorporate technology that enhances teaching and learning beyond the traditional classroom lecture. Stanhope’s course is a good example of this,” said Ialenti.

Ialenti was also honored at the conference for his longtime work in the world of online learning and as a founding member of MCO with a Contributor of Distinction for his many years as serving the organization.


Left to Right: Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Chair Chris Gabrieli, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino and Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Chair Chris Gabrieli and Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago recognized Mount Wachusett Community College President Daniel M. Asquino for his thirty years of service to MWCC and 47 years of service to Massachusetts public higher education at their board meeting hosted at the college’s Gardner campus on Tuesday, December 6th. The Board and attendees honored the president with a standing ovation. The president has announced his retirement and the college is currently conducting a search for its next and third president.

Chair Gabrieli praised the college in particular for its leadership and excellence in K-12 partnership work and early college design. President Asquino gave a presentation to the board outlining the college’s growth and leadership in Civic Engagement, K-12 partnerships, academic excellence, workforce development and sustainability.

Daniel Asquino, Shine Award RecipientThe SHINE Initiative held its tenth annual Keep Your Mind Open event on October 5, 2016 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. Among the evening’s highlights, Dr. Daniel M. Asquino, President of Mount Wachusett Community College, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Ed Manzi, Jr., Chairman of the SHINE Initiative and Chairman of Fidelity Bank.

President Asquino was recognized for his leadership in increasing mental health awareness through support of mental health and wellness conferences and events that have featured experts in the fields of mental health as speakers and panelists.

The SHINE Initiative aims to shine a light of understanding on the issues of mental health and was founded in 2004 under the guidance of a community-based advisory board and the directors and employees of Fidelity bank, based in Leominster.

Mount Wachusett Community College will continue its support of mental health awareness under Dr. Asquino’s leadership by sponsoring the upcoming Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Awareness Event on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at Great Wolf Lodge at 5:00 p.m.

For a list of mental health and wellness resources, please visit:

MWCC Executive Vice President Ann McDonald and Assistant Dean of Student Services Gregory Clement.

Gregory Clement, assistant dean of student services, is the recipient of this year’s Founder’s Award, which is presented annually to a Massachusetts student affairs professional whose dedication and hard work advances the goals of the Community College Student Life Association.

MWCC Executive Vice President Ann McDonald presented the award to Clement on Oct. 11 during the CCSLA annual conference, held in Framingham. In presenting the award, she highlighted many of Mr. Clement’s accomplishments, including serving as the CCSLA president for two years. He is also a recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Diversity Achievement Award from the National Association for Campus Activities; a recipient of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Employee Recognition Program Employee of the Year Award; the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award; and a two-time recipient of the National Association for Campus Activities Staff Programmer Award.

Mr. Clement, who has extensive experience in public higher education including the past eight years at MWCC, has “a widespread impact on both students and professional staff alike,” Ms. McDonald said. Mr. Clement created MWCC’s popular Leadership Camp program and Leadership for Life series, which incorporate civic engagement activities and leadership training and workshops, and has assisted students in numerous successful fundraising efforts for a variety of charitable organizations including ALS research, Habitat for Humanity and Houses for Haiti.

“Perhaps the most significant rationale for Greg’s receipt of this award is his commitment to students and to his profession,” Ms. McDonald said.


MWCC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Robin A. Duncan, center, NCMPR District 1 Communicator of the Year, with NCMPR National President Sally Cameron of Bristol Community College and District 1 Director Ron Taber of Northern Essex Community College.

MWCC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Robin A. Duncan received the 2012 Communicator of the Year Award from District 1 of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations. The award was presented on Oct. 15 during the district’s conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

Ms. Duncan came to MWCC more than 15 years ago to transform the college’s underutilized 60,000-square-foot gym into a vibrant community fitness center. Since then, she has continued to gain tremendous visibility for the college in her role as vice president of marketing and communications.
She was recognized by NCMPR as a “change-maker” who accomplishes goals by employing a big-picture vision of integrated, strategic, and results-driven marketing. Under her leadership at MWCC, blogging, tweeting, Facebook and online advertising have become key components in the communications mix, along with consistent, coverage in traditional media, a monthly radio program, and many other initiatives.
This year, she led a system-wide analysis of the marketing and communications at the college, engaging staff, faculty, students, and the greater community, which led to systemic changes, including rebranding the college, the redesign of the college’s website, and incorporating analytics to more effectively measure the return on marketing investment.
The Marketing & Communications division has received numerous NCMPR District 1 Medallion and national Paragon awards, as well as a national gold Circle of Excellence award this year from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
An affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, the NCMPR is the only organization of its kind that exclusively represents communications professionals at community and technical colleges. District 1 is comprised of community colleges in the eastern U.S. from Maine to the District of Columbia, as well as in the maritime provinces of Canada and in the United Kingdom.
“Robin is a dedicated and enthusiastic ambassador for Mount Wachusett Community College, as well as a highly motivated professional who consistently delivers a positive and impactful message in support of the important work that occurs at our college,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “Her commitment to public higher education and to our college community is demonstrated by her tireless efforts to employ her communications, marketing, leadership and organizational talents.”
In addition, Marketing & Communications division received NCMPR gold Medallion awards in the video advertisement category and in the student handbook category, and a silver Medallion in the brochure/flyer series category for the “We Generate” brochure series.
Martin Connors

Martin F. Connors, Jr.

Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will honor long-serving community volunteer Martin F. Connors, Jr. as the 2012 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year.  Connors, President and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, will be recognized during the foundation’s annual dinner on Oct. 18 at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner. Outstanding MWCC students who receive foundation scholarship awards also will be honored.

The Citizen of the Year Award is presented in memory of Harold E. Drake, Jr., treasurer and former president of Royal Steam Heater Co. and Lynde Hardware & Supply, Inc. The award recognizes community members who exemplify Harold Drake’s extraordinary commitment to the North Central Massachusetts region.

“Marty Connors contributes an enormous amount of his time, energy and expertise serving the North Central Massachusetts community, particularly in the areas of education, health care, and economic development,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “His leadership in these critical areas, as well as his support for many other community organizations, benefits the residents of our region in myriad ways and serves as a great example for our students to find ways to volunteer their skills to benefit others. We are proud to recognize him as our 2012 Citizen of the Year.”

Among his community activities, Connors serves as a director and past campaign chairman of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, as trustee and audit committee chair for HealthAlliance Hospital, as vice chairman of the board of trustees for Fitchburg State University, as governor of the Diocesan Expansion Fund of Worcester, and as a finance committee member at St. Leo’s Parish in Leominster. He also serves on numerous professional organizations, including SBLI of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Bankers Federal Liaison Committee, and is the immediate past chairman of the board of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. He previously served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts, the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, Our Father’s House, and other organizations.

“I’m honored to be recognized,” Connors said. “Without the support of the Rollstone Board of Directors and fellow co-workers, I would not be in a position to do the many things that I do. Personally, I find it very interesting and a real learning experience, but I also feel good when these organizations are able to help people. Two key industries for this area are education and health care. These are two economic engines that at times seem to be overlooked, but are significant contributors to our local economy.”

Prior to joining Rollstone Bank & Trust, Connors was a partner at Reagan & Company LLP, a regional CPA firm. He also worked at Safety Fund National Bank, beginning as controller and working up to chief financial officer.

Since its inception in 1846, Rollstone Bank & Trust, previously known as Fitchburg Savings Bank, has reinvested profits in the community to help create jobs and move the economy forward, Connors said. “To this day, the decisions we make are based on what is good for the community, as well as the bank.” The bank has branches in Fitchburg, Leominster, Worcester, Townsend, and Harvard.

Through its Rollstone Charitable Foundation, the bank has given more than $700,000 to local charities and nonprofit organizations, including MWCC to support workforce training and development, Fitchburg State University, Health Alliance’s Cancer Center, and the American Red Cross.

A second-generation American and dual Irish/American citizen, Connors’ grandparents emigrated from Ireland during the turn of the 20th century for greater opportunity and settled in Fitchburg. Connors graduated from St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bentley University. He also attained a certificate with honors from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. He and his wife, Kathleen, have two children, Martin III and Kelly.

The MWCC Foundation annually awards more than $260,000 in scholarship funds to students. Tickets to the annual foundation dinner are $75 per person. A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Jessica Connors at 978-630-9387 or

Kristin Riordon

Kristin Riordon

 MWCC instructor Kristin Riordon has been recognized with a Course of Distinction Award from Massachusetts Colleges Online, for her online course, “Comparative Religion.” Riordon, an Athol resident, received the award during the June 6 Massachusetts Colleges Online: Sharing Best Practices conference.

“The COD Awards recognize faculty from throughout the state who have developed and teach innovative and exciting online courses. These courses are representative of the best uses of eLearning instructional tools to enhance student success,” said conference committee member Dr. Vincent Ialenti, dean of Academic and Institutional Technology at MWCC.

Riordon’s course is well-organized, with all requirements presented in a clear and concise manner, Ialenti said. Course guidelines are highlighted in an introductory video, as well as syllabus, project and announcement folders, allowing the instructor to guide students through the week’s assignments while offering flexibility for different learning styles. Riordon also presents a weekly streaming PowerPoint “audio lecture,” layering her spoken words with written information and photographic images to reinforce the fundamentals presented.

Riordon acts as a facilitator and guide to her students during a comprehensive tour of the world’s religions. Week by week, she presents a diverse variety of visual and auditory materials to spark student curiosity, exploration and discussion, Ialenti said. She also regularly utilizes multimedia, including short films, audio and video clips, as well as current article and posts from sources such as Films on Demand, YouTube, CNN’s Belief Blog and others.

Riordon also consistently receives positive reviews for availability and support, Ialenti said. She maintains daily interaction with her students via weekly discussion board assignments, remaining attentive and responsive and energizing classroom dialogue. Riordon’s course attracts an increasing number of students each semester based on positive student reviews and recommendations.