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The Gardner Rotary Club recently bestowed the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Recognition on three members of the MWCC community who have been involved with the organization’s annual auction. From left, Jacqueline Belrose, president of the Gardner Rotary Club and Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development at MWCC; Professor Joel Anderson; Dr. Vincent Ialenti; and Michael F. Ellis, Rotary Foundation chair, district 7910. Not pictured, Arthur Collins.

The Rotary Club of Gardner has bestowed the international organization’s prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Recognition to three Mount Wachusett Community College employees for their enduring support and dedication to its annual charity auction.Michael F. Ellis, past district governor, District 7910, and current district Rotary Foundation chair, presented the award during a recent meeting of the college’s Board of Trustees to Dr. Vincent Ialenti, dean of academic and institutional technology, Professor Joel Anderson, chair of the college’s Broadcasting and Electronic Media program, and Arthur Collins, director of media services and chief engineer of broadcasting and electronic media.

The club, which conducted its 38th annual auction in March, has received support from the college and its students for 27 years. The auction is the club’s largest fundraising event. All proceeds go directly back to the community for scholarships and to assist various nonprofit organizations with their programs.

“Without your guidance, support and continued efforts on behalf of our club, we would not be able to do what we hope to do every year,” Ellis said.

The recognition award is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary over 100 years ago. The fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation and recognition for a contribution of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. A Paul Harris Fellow is an individual who contributes $1,000 or in whose name that amount is contributed. The recipients receive a certificate and a pin which identifies them as an advocate of the Rotary Foundation’s goals of world peace and international understanding.

The recognition is share by more than 950,000 people worldwide. Past recipients include Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anann, Prince Charles, Indira Gandhi, Luciano Pavarotti, King Hussein of Jordan and Pope John Paul II.

“It’s highly unusual to recognize three people, especially non-Rotarians, as Paul Harris Fellows. The college community should be proud that three of its own have been given such a prestigious honor,” said Jacqueline Belrose, president of the Gardner Rotary Club and Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development at MWCC.

The honorees paid tribute to the many students who have participated in the event over the decades. Each year, approximately 20 broadcasting students volunteer over 100 hours for the live, televised event. “They do a great job, and it’s not part of their coursework. They volunteer their time and talents as a community service,” Anderson said.

 

Bob Regan

Robert Regan, a distinguished executive recognized for consistent innovation in the production of groundbreaking digital media content and delivery strategies and a 1975 graduate of Mount Wachusett Community College, will deliver the keynote address during the college’s 48th Commencement on May 16.

Regan, honored as Mount Wachusett’s Alumnus of the Year in 1989, forged a career record of revolutionary consumer, media, communication and technology platform product development for broadcast, cable, online and mobile channels.

A native of Lowell, Regan has served as president and chief operating officer for Twin Entertainment, a joint venture of the U.S.–based Interactive Network and U.K.–based Two Way TV, Ltd.; senior vice president of programming and content for GTE MainStreet, the first two-way cable television service in the U.S.; executive producer of NBC’s “Mall of America,” the first major network shopping show; and senior vice president of programming, news and operations for the Financial News Network (now CNBC).

Recognized for consistent innovation in the production of groundbreaking digital media content and delivery strategies, Regan was recently appointed founding director of the Dr. John Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation, an executive graduate program with an industry think tank based at Ithaca College.

“We are delighted to welcome distinguished alumnus Bob Regan back as our commencement speaker as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of MWCC,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “Bob’s extraordinary career in the field of communications began here and went far, which makes him an inspiring role model for our graduates, who are moving forward with their own dreams and aspirations.”

Regan attended MWCC from 1973 to 1975 during a time when many students were the first in their families to go on to higher education, overcoming tremendous odds to graduate, he recalled. He would set out in the morning in a black 1965 Buick Special he bought for $1 from a neighbor.

“I remember having my radio on and driving along Route 2. I had no power steering, there was a hole in the driver’s side floor, but I had a hope and a dream that I was going to be able to get to the school that day, no matter get my degree or a job,” he said.

After earning an associate degree in public communications, which is now the broadcasting & electronic media program, he transferred to Worcester State and earned his bachelor’s degree in media with a minor in secondary education in 1977, heeding his parent’s advice about having a back-up plan. He went on to Boston University to earn a master’s degree in broadcasting in 1979, so he could teach at the college level.

Regan’s career began that year as an intern at Boston’s WCVB Channel 5, fetching coffee and bagels for celebrities such as the legendary actor Vincent Price. Regan was hired by the station soon after as a production assistant, then promoted to associate producer, and later moved over to WNAC, a CBS affiliate, and WNEV. Among his experiences, he worked as associate producer for Weekday with Ted O’Brien, and producer, videographer and editor for LOOK, a two-hour daily afternoon show, the most ambitious local program in the history of television. Media mogul David Salzman, then president of Telepictures, plucked Regan from the local show to start a nationally syndicated news program from Hollywood. For the next 25 years, he worked with countless celebrities, including Price. Regan hired the avid art collector to host a show in the late 1980s. In short order, Regan was promoted to oversee the production of the syndicated shows “Let’s Make a Deal,” “Love Connection” and “The People’s Court.”

Regan credits MWCC and his former public communications professor, Vincent Ialenti, now dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, with providing a strong academic foundation.

“I never imagined when I was sitting at Mount Wachusett on my graduation day, what would happen in my career,” Regan said. “The dream came true for the Irish kid from Lowell. I am blessed and I credit Vin. I don’t know if he realizes how much of an impact he made on me, and how much of an impact Mount Wachusett makes on all of us,” he said.

“I’ve been very fortunate to follow Bob’s career from leaving Mount Wachusett to where he is today,” said Ialenti. “He has been on the forefront of a lot of media movements. Now he’s looking at the whole picture and working with people who will be the visionaries to develop the communications of the future.”