President’s Report 2020


President James Vander Hooven.

This has been, without question, the most challenging year of my professional career. But it has also been a year filled with wonder and a great sense of pride in our institution. As I have shared with the Board of Trustees time and again through meeting presentations and memos, I have been extraordinarily impressed by the efforts of our faculty and staff in such a time of upheaval.

Mount Wachusett Community College has long been recognized for its civic engagement, service-learning and robust student involvement. During the pandemic, rather than falling off, engagement is up, with ten-fold increases in participation in virtual dialogues and speaker events in addition to non-academic related activities. Additionally, our teams have reached out and involved other community colleges across the state, opening up opportunities for all and expanding reach beyond our community.

The work we are doing here at MWCC is being seen across the Commonwealth as exemplary. When I speak to colleagues at other colleges they are very thankful for the leadership our teams have provided to drive these collaboration efforts. I truly feel that these enriched relationships will live on and we will mark this as a turning point for our Community Colleges.

Our faculty and staff have risen to the challenges to serve our students under these circumstances. To this day, I have not encountered a single individual who has not been committed to doing the best we can for student success. That has taken a lot of pressure off me as we have navigated this world. I am grateful.

The stories below are only a sampling of the great and meaningful work of the past year. I encourage you to explore them and join me in my pride and admiration for the MWCC community.


James Vander Hooven Signature




James L. Vander Hooven, Ed.D.

Thoughts from President Vander Hooven on our 2020 Highlights


​Virtual Commencement Ceremonies

Virtual Graduation Jim Vander Hooven

“Commencement is perhaps the most sacred event in higher education. It is the highest symbolic event we have to honor our student’s accomplishments. Rather than canceling or postponing commencement, I made the decision early on to transition to a virtual ceremony on the same date and time. I am tremendously proud of the efforts of our faculty and staff who made this event as memorable as it could be for our graduates.”

Read more and watch the recorded ceremony.

Student Engagement Increases Despite Pandemic


“Mount Wachusett Community College has long been recognized for its civic engagement, service-learning and robust student involvement. During the pandemic, rather than falling off, engagement is up, with ten-fold increases in participation in virtual dialogues and speaker events in addition to non-academic related activities thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff.”

Read the full article about our Student Engagement.

Early College Summit Highlights Successes and Importance of Early College Partnerships

Early College Student Panelists

“The North Central MA Early College Academy is unique in that it is a partnership with multiple school districts and two higher-ed institutions. These partnerships have been a demonstrable strength in our region as these programs have grown. Our Gateway to College program was awarded the Program Excellence Award by the Gateway to College National Network for the fifth consecutive year. I have tremendous pride in the work our Access and Transition team has done, especially through the challenges of 2020. ”

Read more about the Early College Summit.  Read more about the Gateway to College Peer Learning Award

 Barr Foundation Grant funds “Portrait of a High School Graduate”

MWCC Barr Foundation Grant Team

“We take such pride in our robust programs and partnerships here at MWCC. This award reaffirms the reputation for excellence our team has earned and I look forward to seeing the portrait of a graduate take shape.”

Learn more about the Portrait of a Graduate program.

First Paramedic Class Graduation

Paramedic Class 001

“It takes a lot to establish a program like this. I am thankful for these graduates for trusting MWCC and investing their time here with us. Little did we know in January 2020 when we sent these graduates out to serve the community how much we would soon need them.”

Read more about our First Paramedic Graduation

Veterinary Program Inaugural Pinning

“Launched in 2017 thanks to a grant from the Workforce Skills Cabinet, the Veterinary Technician program received accreditation by from the American Veterinary Medical Association in December. We are thrilled to graduate the first cohort of students, and thankful for their trust and commitment to this new program.”

Read more about our Veterinary Program Graduates.

US DoE Awards MWCC $4.7 Million Student Support Services Grant

“Now more than ever, programs like TRIO are essential to our communities. The funding provided by these grants enable us to have the resources we need to give the most underserved students the opportunity to succeed.”

Learn more about the TRIO Student Support Programs at MWCC.

29 New Practical Nurses Awarded Pins in Virtual Ceremony

“These students maintained a focus that is really admirable. They met the significant challenges presented by this year, completed their program, and are now ready to serve our communities.”

Read more about our Class of 2020 Practical Nurses or click to watch the ceremony above.

Scholarships Help Fill the Gap

Photo of Carla Zottoli
Carla Zottoli, Executive Director of the MWCC Foundation

Working with our population of students has taught me that “talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not,” as the saying goes. I meet skillful, hopeful, ambitious students all the time. And every semester, I read their personal stories. Their applications for scholarship frequently tell me they are hungry, have an unstable housing situation, and are balancing some heavy responsibilities at home and work while trying to earn a degree.

They are applying for MWCC Foundation scholarships to fill the gap between their income, financial aid and the cost of college. Nearly half of all our financial aid applicants have unmet needs even after they receive all available state and federal aid. That adds up to a total of $19,727,189 our students need to stay in school.

If you feel moved to help, I encourage you to make a donation to our students.



Financial Overview


Revenue Pie Chart 2020 REVENUE
 Revenue Percentage FY20
 State Appropriations  39%  $22,260,270
 Capital Funding  7%  $3,733,501
 Tuition & Fees  17%  $9,649,594
 Grants   32%  $18,364,656
 Other Income  5%  $2,626,046


Expenses Pie Chart 2020 EXPENSES
 Expense Percentage FY20
 Instruction  25%  $12,922,474
 Scholarships  7%  $3,686,844
 Student Services  23%  $11,994,037
 Academic Support  10%  $5,274,828
 Maintenance of Plant  11%  $5,875,494
 Institutional Support 12%  $6,294,718
 Public Service  2%  $1,103,205
 Auxiliary Enterprise  2%  $1,223,784
 Depreciation 5%  $2,584,012
Other Expenditures 1% $364,343


FY19–20 Boards & Leadership Team

Board of Trustees

May 2019 – May 2020

  • Robert Antonioni, Antonioni & Antonioni Law Office – Chairperson
  • Richard Cella, Cella Law Office
  • Irene Hernandez Guzman (Alumni)
  • Claire M. Freda, Leominster City Council
  • Jamy Gaynor, HealthAlliance Hospital
  • Denise Kindschi Gosselin, Professor Emerita, Western New England University
  • Tracy L. Hutchinson, GAAMHA, Inc.
  • Donata J. Martin, Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner
  • Kenneth C. Tomasetti, ACT Fastening Solutions
  • Adam Bravo, Student Trustee

Foundation Board of Directors

Chair Mr. Raymond Martino
Vice-Chair Mr. Walter J. Dwyer, IV
Treasurer Mr. Scot Barrett
Board Members Mr. Keith Boissineau
Mr. Charles P. Bowles
Mr. Winfield Brown
Mr. Wayne Canty
Mr. Richard A. Cella
Ms. Eve Marie Nezich Ceryanek
Ms. Jeanie Connolly
Dr. Robin Duncan
Mr. Arthur Feehan
Mr. Richard Flannagan
Mr. James Garrison, Ex-Officio
Mr. George D. Jones III
Mr. Raymond LaFond
Mr. Roy Nascimento
Mr. Douglas J. Petersen
Ms. Gail Steele
Mr. Michael J. Toomey
Ms. Regina Wironen
Mr. Mark Geoffroy (alumni)
Ms. Carla Zottoli, Executive Director

Leadership Team

  • James L. Vander Hooven, Ed.D.
  • Robert LaBonte
    Vice President, Finance & Administration
  • Peter Sennett
    Vice President, Human Resources & Affirmative Action
  • Lea Ann Scales
    Vice President, Enrollment and Public Affairs
  • Joseph Stiso
    Vice President, Development, Planning & Institutional Advancement
  • Rachel Frick Cardelle
    Vice President, Lifelong Learning & Workforce Development
  • Paul Hernandez
    Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs
  • Michelle Paranto
    Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs
  • Jason Zelesky
    Senior Dean of Student Affairs 
  • Elmer Eubanks-Archbold
    Associate Professor, Business 



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