Commencement

Christopher P. Brown

Christopher P. Brown, a physical therapist assistant who was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Westminster public safety officials earlier this year for his heroic actions at the scene of an accident, has been named Mount Wachusett Community College’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year.The Westminster resident and Persian Gulf War veteran will be honored during the college’s 48th Commencement on May 16.“We are extremely proud to honor Christopher Brown as our 2013 Alumnus of the Year,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “Like many of our students, Christopher discovered his vocation while attending Mount Wachusett Community College, and then followed that path to achieve success both academically and professionally. Moreover, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment to serving others, first in the military, then as a student at Mount Wachusett, in his new career, and in his personal life.”

Brown graduated from MWCC in 2010 with an associate degree in Physical Therapist Assistant and works at Genesis Rehab Services in Westford. Over the past several years, he has carved out a niche as a veterans’ services specialist in the national company of more than 7,000 rehabilitation professionals.

Brown said he was humbled to receive the award. “It’s an extraordinary honor to return to your college to receive an award when you believe the college has already given you more than enough to succeed in your career and to pursue your passion and goals in life.”

A former firefighter with the U.S. Air Force, Brown was hailed a hero in March when he rushed to rescue a young woman who was trapped in a burning car following an accident in Westminster. In addition, he was recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services in November 2011 for his support of veterans and their families in the state.

While at MWCC, Brown founded the MWCC Veterans Group in 2009 to assist and support fellow veterans on campus. The club has since grown into a vibrant student organization serving the college and greater community.

Brown continues to actively volunteer, including with the Massachusetts chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center.

MWCC’s 48th Commencement will take place Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m. in the Fitness & Wellness Center. Media executive and MWCC alumnus Robert Regan will deliver the commencement address; Christopher Brown will receive the 2013 Alumnus of the Year Award; and Raymond LaFond will receive the Service Above Self Award. Members of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society will conduct the 10th annual “Project Graduation” food drive. All graduates and their guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the rehearsal or ceremony, which will be donated this year to the Gardner Community Action Committee.

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.”