MWCC Foundation

Doug Petersen Picture 2012

Doug Petersen

The Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation will honor Douglas J. Petersen, president and CEO of Workers’ Credit Union, as the 2016 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year for his leadership and service in the community. He will be recognized during the foundation’s annual celebration on May 25 at MWCC’s Gardner campus.

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.

“Doug Petersen contributes a tremendous amount of his time, energy and expertise serving the North Central Massachusetts community,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “His leadership benefits the residents of our region in numerous ways, and we are proud to honor him as our 2016 Citizen of the Year.”

Mr. Petersen is involved in many professional associations, business ventures and community causes. He serves as chairman of the boards for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, and is also a member of the MWCC Foundation board of directors and a member of the HealthAlliance President’s Council.

He said he is honored to be selected to receive an award that has recognized many “important people who have given to the community and been an inspiration to us all. I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

A prominent figure in North Central Massachusetts business circles since joining Workers’ in the mid-1990s, Mr. Petersen was appointed to the top position of the nonprofit financial institution in 2011. The sixth oldest credit union in the country, Workers’ was established in Fitchburg in 1914 to assist Finnish immigrants and has expanded over the past century to 86,000 members. In December, Workers’ announced it reached $1.3 billion in assets under Mr. Petersen’s leadership.

“Workers’ is so active in the community and part of our heritage is to give back to our members,” he said. “One of the ways to give back is to help strengthen the community. From that standpoint, it’s an honor to be able to lend a hand in different areas. It’s very rewarding to help out different organizations that all basically have the same goal of helping others. I’m fortunate to be able to do this because of the tremendous support I receive from the Board of Directors and our 280 employees. Also, it corresponds with who the credit union really is. The credit union is here to improve the daily lives of our members. That’s our core purpose. The opportunity I have to help in the community helps many of our members directly, and all of our members indirectly.”

Among his professional affiliations, Mr. Petersen is the vice chairman of the board of directors for the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations, and a member of the Massachusetts Advocacy Committee, the board of directors for Student CU Connect LLC, and the board of directors for Member Gateways LLC.

Mr. Petersen earned an MBA in finance and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Bentley University. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Brookline, NH and have two children and one grandchild.

Tickets to the annual foundation celebration are $100 per person. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Carla Zottoli at 978-630-9276 or czottoli@mwcc.mass.edu.

 

Magic of Motown band photo

The Magic of Motown will perform at MWCC in January to benefit the MWCC Foundation’s student scholarships and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

A musical journey through the Motown years will take place at Mount Wachusett Community College’s newly renovated Theatre at the Mount on Friday, Jan. 22 to benefit the MWCC Foundation scholarship program and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster.

The Magic of Motown at the Mount begins and 7:30 p.m. and features a cast of singers and dancers that recreates the harmonies, dance moves, stylish looks and legendary musicianship of the era. The performance includes the hits of Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gayle, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Isley Brothers and others.

“We are delighted to present this community event to benefit the Boys & Girls Club and the MWCC Foundation’s scholarship program,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We’re partnering to help students of all ages build a great future.”

Since 2001, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development with young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“From its beginning, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has benefited from the generosity of individuals, corporations and organizations,” said Leominster attorney Justin Gelinas, chairman of the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors. “We are grateful to the community for its ongoing support, particularly Mount Wachusett Community College, for serving as our primary sponsor and host of this event.”

Sponsors to date include Mr. & Mrs. Daniel M. Asquino, The Ronald M. Ansin Foundation, Heat Trace Products, Heywood Hospital, I/C Federal Credit Union, Enterprise Bank, Advanced Cable Ties, Fidelity Bank, HealthAlliance, Bemis & Associates, GFA Federal Credit Union, Workers’ Credit Union, Rollstone Bank & Trust, North Middlesex Savings Bank, Simonds International, Leominster Credit Union, Geosearch Inc., SimplexGrinnell, Zottoli Family Trust, Molds International, Mr. and Mrs. Scot Barrett, W.E. Aubuchon Foundation, Fitchburg State University, Dunkin Donuts, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Martino, and Hometown Bank.

General admission is $50 for the concert. Special VIP tickets are $100 and includes reserved seating and a cocktail reception.

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli at czottoli@mwcc.mass.edu or 978-630-9276.

Yoav Elinevsky

Professor Yoav Elinevsky, chair of MWCC’s Math Department, and his partners in the college’s Math Modeling Initaitve, Patrice Lincoln and Veronica Guay, are among this year’s Innovation Fund grant recipients.

With the start of the new academic year, the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. has provided funds totaling $32,000 for five innovative projects conceived by college faculty and staff.

“The Innovation Fund allows us to financially support inventive staff and faculty and give them the opportunity to implement their concepts.” MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli. “We applaud all of the applicants for embracing innovative practices and aligning their proposals with the college’s strategic plan.”

The college’s Math Modeling Academic Initiative, which is designed to increase the college and career readiness of high school graduates, will expand during this academic year through a proposal presented by Professor Yoav Elinevsky, Patrice Lincoln, Dean of Access and Transition, and Veronica Guay, Assistant Dean of the School of Business, Science, Technology and Math.

Math Modeling began in fall 2013 with seniors at Leominster High School and Leominster High School Center for Technical Education Innovation. Last year, the project expanded to include seniors at Fitchburg High School and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School. During this academic year, the 2016 Math Modeling cohort is expected to exceed 500 students as Gardner, Athol and Murdock High Schools join the partnerships.

Margaret Jaillet, Assistant Dean of the School of Health Professions, Public Service Programs and Social Sciences, was awarded a grant to expand the college’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course offerings by purchasing a second set of training equipment. MWCC’s Basic Emergency Technicians program provides students with the opportunity to become state and nationally certified. Purchasing a second set of equipment will allow the college to double the EMT offerings and expand enrollment.

Veterans Services Director Robert Mayer received funding to purchase two laptop computers to implement the TeleHealth Computerized Health Assistance program for student veterans. As part of its VITAL program, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides electronic “face-to-face” health consultations with veterans who are unable to travel to Northhampton or Bedford VA hospital sites.

Associate Dean of Students Greg Clement was awarded a grant to initiate an international service project this academic year. The project will provide students with an opportunity to contextualize classroom learning through international service.

Professor Michelle Valois received a grant to support the MWCC Humanities Project, which is now beginning its second year. The Humanities Project engages students and the community, supports inter-disciplinary teaching and learning, strengthens the humanities at the college, and collaborates with community partners to bring lectures, discussions, and other events to the public.

Photo caption – With assistance from the MWCC Foundation, the college’s Math Modeling Program will expand to more high schools this academic year.

VFW donation to MWCC Foundation

The Ovila Case Post 905 VFW recently presented a $1,000 donation to the MWCC Foundation to support scholarships for student veterans. Pictured, from left, MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli, MWCC Director of Veteran Services Bob Mayer, past Commander Donald Progen, Commander-elect Joseph LeBlanc and President Daniel Asquino.

The Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Gardner recently donated $1,000 to Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation’s Veterans Memorial Scholarship.

President Daniel Asquino, Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli, and Director of Veteran Services Bob Mayer accepted the generous donation from VFW Commander-elect Joseph LeBlanc and past Commander and MWCC alumnus Donald Progen, and thanked the post members for their continued support of MWCC and student veterans.

The scholarship was established to recognize the important role played by MWCC in ensuring that the sacrifices and service of veterans who served the country will not be forgotten.

Scholarship funds are awarded to new or returning full-time students who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard.

 

Sen Brewer Congressman McGovern 2

Congressman Jim McGovern, with Senator Stephen Brewer, at the MWCC Foundation annual dinner.

An outpouring of admiration and acclamation for state Senator Stephen M. Brewer and Mount Wachusett Community College student scholars fueled an evening of inspiration and celebration during the MWCC Foundation’s annual dinner on April 9.

The event, held at the Wachusett Mountain ski lodge, honored the long-serving legislator as the foundation’s 2015 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year.

Congressman Jim McGovern delivered remarks both heartfelt and comical, before announcing that Senator Brewer’s 26-years of exemplary leadership in the Legislature has been officially noted in the Congressional Record.

“Senator Brewer is a giant; someone who not only looked out for his constituents and his community, but also for Massachusetts. I can think of no one finer to receive this year’s Harold E. Drake Citizen of the Year award for his service to the Commonwealth and to the constituents he represented over nearly three decades of public service,” the official record reads, in part. Senator Brewer retired from the Legislature last fall.

“As senator, Steve helped countless people,” Congressman McGovern said. “I admire him because of all the great things he’s done and because he’s never thrown away his conscience.” Regarding the senator’s popularity, the Congressman quipped, “Have you ever walked in a parade with him? It’s like walking with Elvis, everyone wants to meet him.”

In addition to celebrating Senator Brewer’s legacy, the event acknowledged the academic success and civic engagement of MWCC students, as well as the volunteerism of area middle school and high school students who participate in United Way Youth Venture, a thriving partnership between the college, the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, and the international organization Ashoka.

The audience of 220 college supporters, benefactors, students and community leaders rose to their feet on many occasions throughout the night, beginning with remarks delivered by student speaker Cathy Teague, president of the Student Government Association. She shared how she and her husband, Jason, an Army veteran, rebuilt their troubled marriage after realizing the power of a college education to shape a brighter future for themselves and their children. The Winchendon couple, who divorced and later remarried, credited the support they received at MWCC through various student and veteran support services.

“During the past two years, I have transformed from a scared single mother of three little boys that didn’t know where her life was going. I have grown to be a more confident person who has a clear path. Through MWCC, Jason has found one of his true passions, which is helping other veterans” as a mentor and advocate for veteran suicide prevention she said.

“Because of the scholarship support and the positive encouragement I received, I have an amazing story. My once broken family is back together again, and I have grown into a person that I never thought I could be.”

An exchange between the couple and Senator Brewer sparked the most poignant moment of the night, when the senator presented Jason Teague with the flag lapel pin he was wearing, along with words of encouragement. In response, Teague asked to approach the microphone, and then presented Senator Brewer the pin he was wearing – the high school graduation pin of his 20-year-old son, who is currently serving in Afghanistan. The men embraced, tearfully, as tears flowed freely throughout the banquet hall.

During his remarks, Senator Brewer lauded President Daniel Asquino for his visionary leadership and the college for its ability to transform lives through education and student-centered service. He spoke of his love for America, his admiration for Harold Drake, and the dedicated spirit of the Youth Venture teens who represent the country’s future.

“The promise of our country is to do better for the next generation,” he said.

President Asquino described Senator Brewer as a man of many hats and talents, but above all, “a great human being and an example of a truly caring and engaged citizen of our democracy. Today all of our lives have been improved because this year’s honoree exhibits the fine characteristics of good citizenship, of sacrifice well beyond self-interest and of volunteerism.”

President Asquino recognized several student leaders in attendance for exemplary achievements this spring, including Ms. Teague, who will be MWCC’s recipient in May of state Department of Higher Education’s 29 Who Shine Award; John Day of Gardner, who was recently named a national Newman Civic Scholar by Campus Compact; Student Trustee Phillip Stan of Gardner, one of 150 students named a national Coca-Cola Scholar this year; newly elected 2015-2016 student Trustee Thomas Berger of Winchendon, a veteran of the U.S. Army; Louis Ayisi of Leominster, who has represented MWCC students as a featured speaker high-level events at the statehouse; and Aaron Trudeau of Rindge, N.H., a Marine veteran who was selected nationally to join President Obama and Vice President Biden at the recent dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for his essay on community service.

Featured speakers also included State Senator Harriette Chandler, Foundation board Chairman Richard Mohnk, Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli, and former MWCC Trustee Jay Davis Drake, who has presented the annual award for the past two decades to community members who exemplify his father’s volunteerism and commitment to the North Central Massachusetts region.

“Mount Wachusett Community College,” Congressman McGovern remarked, “is a place where incredible things happen and dreams come true.”

MWCC Group with students

Senator Stephen M. Brewer, front row, center, was recognized with the 2015 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year Award by the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation. Pictured front row, from left: Jason and Cathy Teague, Jay Davis Drake, President Daniel M. Asquino, Senator Brewer, Congressman Jim McGovern, Valerie Brewer, Rep. Stephen DiNatale. Back row, MWCC student leaders with Senator Harriette Chandler, second from left, and Rep. Jon Zlotnik, right.

 

 

Winners Photo

“The Trivial Pursuits,” winners of the first MWCC Alumni Association Quiz Night, from left, Karen Doherty, Shawn LaRoche, Joseph Stiso and John Doherty.

On Thursday evening, January 8, “Quizters” and spectators braved the arctic cold and made a spectacular showing at the Mount Wachusett Community College Alumni Association’s first annual “Quiz Night” event.

In a dynamic game of question and answer, teams tested their knowledge related to current topics and college-related trivia. Promoted as a fun and entertaining evening, the event proved to be just that. Teams were encouraged to give themselves humorous names and to come dressed in costume. Many did, adding to the amusing atmosphere. Complementing the levity of the evening was Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Mark Hawke, whose quick wit truly entertained the crowd. “I didn’t find the questions all that difficult, but then again I had the answers” Mayor Hawke commented. “What a fantastic night and a great way to raise funds for the MWCC Foundation.”

“This turned out to be a great way to raise much needed funds for student scholarships” said Carol Jacobson, Associate Director Alumni Relations at MWCC. “Being our first effort with this event, we are thrilled with the level of support and enthusiasm we received from members of the community and within the college. We’re already looking ahead to next year.”

Thomas Mutti from the Ronald M. Ansin Foundation participated as a member of the HealthAlliance Hospital team. “I can’t imagine a better night for a better cause” he said. “Fun was had by all and a day later I’m still laughing.”

The event netted nearly $3,000 and proceeds will fund student scholarships through the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation.

 

 

 

 

American Legion donation Nov 2014

Members of the Gardner-based Chapter 907 of the Vietnam Veterans of American donated $2,000 to the MWCC Foundation to support scholarships for veterans. Pictured from left: James Benton III, Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli, President Daniel M. Asquino, Bryan Wickman, Dan Ninno and Jay Ringquist.

Members of Gardner-based Chapter 907 of the Vietnam Veterans of America donated $2,000 to the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation’s Veterans Memorial Scholarship.

President Daniel M. Asquino and Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli accepted the generous contribution from chapter President Bryan Wickman, Vice President and Secretary James Benton III, Treasurer C. Dan Ninno and Jay Ringquist.

The scholarship was established to assist student veterans and ensure that their service and sacrifices will not be forgotten. Scholarship funds are awarded to new or returning full-time students who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard.

 

Chris JasonFor one night, Theatre at the Mount will become “Sinatra at the Mount,” as Mount Wachusett Community College welcomes Chris Jason and the Sinatra Live Big Band on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Jason is considered one of the premier Sinatra interpreters in New England and has been performing as the “Chairman of the Board” for the last 15 years. Along with his eight-member band, Jason plays tribute to Sinatra over 200 times per year, capturing the legendary singer’s cadence, swagger and elegance.

This benefit concert presented by the MWCC Foundation will provide continued scholarship support to deserving students.

General admission tickets are $40. VIP tickets are also available for $80, which includes reserved seating and a complimentary cocktail reception.

Tickets are available by email, phone or at the Theatre at the Mount Box Office Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Email cdefosse1@mwcc.mass.edu, or call 978-630-9387 or 978-630-9276.

Event sponsors include North Middlesex Savings Bank, Heat Trace Products LLC, Heywood Hospital, W.E. Aubuchon Co., Inc., Simonds International Corporation, GFA Credit Union and Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about Theatre at the Mount, visit mwcc.edu/tam. To learn more about Chris Jason and the Sinatra Live Big Band, visit chrisjasonentertainment.com.

 

_MG_6094

MWCC art major Amber Martinez participates in a Raku firing at Snow Farm Craft Center in Williamsburg, Mass. With funding provided by the MWCC Foundation, the art department will create an area on the Gardner campus for Raku and pit-firing ceramics.

With the start of the new academic year, the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation has provided funds totaling $46,044 for eight innovative projects conceived by college faculty and staff.

“Current community college funding is such that we are often left wishing we had more resources to experiment with new and innovative pilot programs that have the potential to dramatically alter or create new opportunities for our students and the community,” said MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse. “The Innovation Fund allows us to financially support inventive staff and faculty and give them the opportunity to implement their concepts.”

Dean of Students Jason Zelesky will collaborate with the offices of Disability Services, Student Services and the Visions program to acquire new adaptive technology equipment to support students with documented disabilities. Enhancing the college’s inventory of assistive technologies will enhance academic success and encourage more students with disabilities to attend MWCC. The project will emphasize iOS applications and provide five iPads for student use in the classroom and during tutoring sessions.

Art Professor Joyce Miller received funding to create a program and fundraiser centered on Raku, a pottery tradition dating back to 16thcentury Japan. Available to art majors and non-art majors, as well as credit and noncredit students, the equipment will enhance the college’s art department to further attract prospective students. An exterior area will be designated for Raku and pit-firing ceramics. In addition to supporting the college’s art program, the equipment will support area high school art programs and their students by offering field trip opportunities and chances to participate in pit-firing or Raku firing, which in turn will assist with college recruitment.

Veronica Guay, Assistant Dean of Business, Science, Technology and Mathematics, and Perkins Counselor Shaunti Phillips, Career Vocational/Technical Education, will receive funding to create a new dual enrollment program for Gardner High School seniors interested in graphic and interactive design. Guay and Phillips will partner with Professor Leslie Cullen, chair of the Graphic & Interactive Design department; Natasha Robinson, Recruitment Counselor for the Admissions office; and members of the Gardner High School system.

Interim Director of Admissions Ai Co Abercrombie was awarded a grant to develop a peer-to-peer recruitment program, specifically targeting first-time students from traditionally underrepresented population groups: low-income and minority students and students with disabilities. The Admissions office plans to employ two student recruiters, one of traditional college age and one of non-traditional college age, who will accompany admissions representatives to college fairs, events and community activities and perform additional recruitment tasks.

Director of Student Success Debra Boucher received funding for a new program supporting non-traditional students as they transition to college life. The first portion of this program, a summer bridge session for non-traditional students and students returning to school following a five-year absence, took place in August. Incoming students learned about available resources at the college, while also participating in team-building activities. The program will continue this fall, as students attend two meetings to evaluate their college experiences and participate in leadership-building activities. Boucher is partnering with Student Services, the Visions program, the Advising Center and the Admissions office.

Lauren Mountain, Associate Director of the United Way Youth Venture in the college’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, received funding to further develop immersive learning opportunities for MWCC students. Along with her colleagues in the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, Mountain will use funding to support student ventures that create tangible changes in the community and at the college, similar to the Youth Venture program that has long served middle and high school students. This initiative is designed to promote retention and involvement at MWCC, enhance the educational experience for students, and provide them with community contacts and job skills.

Professor Sheila Murphy will partner with the Admissions office to further promote the benefits of the Honors Program and increase awareness among incoming students. By continuing to shape and market this honors culture, Murphy hopes to attract prospective students to MWCC and motivate them to participate in the many challenging degree programs. Further program goals include emerging as a top destination for students who excel in high school. To increase first-year student enrollment and eligibility for the Honors Program, Murphy will also partner with the Marketing and Communications department and the Dual Enrollment program.

Associate Professor John Little, chair of the Media Arts and Technology department, will receive funds to enlist students to record and produce concert DVDs. The project will build upon previous concert recording initiatives and will serve to promote the academic program, as well as provide service learning and entrepreneurship opportunities for students. Little will collaborate Theatre at the Mount as well as the Graphic and Interactive Design, Media Services, and Marketing and Communications departments.

 

 

VFW scholarship donation to MWCC Foundation

Members of Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars recently presented a $1,000 donation to the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation to support scholarships for student veterans. Pictured, from left, Commander Howard Sands, President Daniel M. Asquino, Service Commander Kenneth Fournier, board member and past commander Don Progen, and MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse.

The Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Gardner recently donated $1,000 to Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation’s Veterans Memorial Scholarship.

President Daniel M. Asquino and Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse accepted the generous donation from VFW Commander Howard Sands, Service Commander Kenneth Fournier and board member and past commander Don Progen, and thanked the post members for their continued support of MWCC and student veterans.

The scholarship was established to recognize the important role played by MWCC in ensuring that the sacrifices and service of veterans who served the country will not be forgotten.

Scholarship funds are awarded to new or returning full-time students who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard.