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.