MWCC e-news graphic

May 24, 2010

In This Issue
MWCC's 45th Commencement Celebrates Success & Honors Sacrifice
James D. Murphy Awarded Honorary Degree
MWCC Graduates Largest Nursing Class
Dental Hygiene Graduates Honored During Pinning Ceremony
Visions Program Concludes Successful Year with Awards Ceremony
First 3 Plus One Graduate Gets "A Head Start on Life"
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
MWCC's 45th Commencement Celebrates Success & Honors Sacrifice
Commencement 2010
Gardner native and entrepreneur Joyce Landry urged Mount Wachusett Community College graduates to "find magic" in their lives by delighting in everyday things, being active participants in life, persevering through hardship, being grateful and giving generously in her address during the college's 45th commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20.
"If you remember nothing else, remember this. The secret to prosperity is generosity. The more you give, the more you'll get - the law of abundance," said Ms. Landry, co-founder and CEO of Landry & Kling, Inc., a $30 million Miami-based company specializing in cruise event services.
Joyce LandryCommissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland, Board of Trustees Chairman James O. Garrison and MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino delivered welcoming remarks. This year, the college awarded 914 associate degrees and certificates to 712 graduates.
Commissioner Freeland noted the vast difference in the economy and in the world since he graduated in the 1960s. "You graduate into a more complex and troubled world. It would be understandable if you feel apprehensive about the future...but I urge you to focus on hope and opportunity. And as you do this, you will remember the strong foundation that your years at Mount Wachusett Community College provided."
President Asquino praised the graduates for their commitment to serving others, noting that the graduating class collectively devoted over 20,000 hours of volunteer service to the region. "As you leave us and begin another phase in your life...I ask you to involve yourself in your community's affairs and the improvement of human kind."
During the ceremony, the 2010 Alumnus of the Year Award was presented posthumously to Harold E. Brown, Jr., 37, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve who served the country in Bosnia, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. A Bolton native, husband and father of three, he was among the seven CIA agents who died in an attack on their base in the Khost Province of Afghanistan in December 2009. His father, Harold E. Brown Sr., accepted the award on behalf of the family, receiving two standing ovations from the graduates, faculty and audience of more than 1,500.

Service Above Self Awards were presented to Leslie Lightfoot, founder and CEO of the Fitchburg-based Veteran Homestead, Inc., and David Rodgers, senior vice president of commercial development for Workers Credit Union, for their longstanding volunteer service to the community and to those in need.
James D. Murphy, an active community volunteer for more than six decades and the first chair of MWCC's Board of Trustees, was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate. Professor Herbert Gelbwasser, who joined MWCC's faculty when the college was established in 1963, received the emeritus award for 45 years of service teaching chemistry and mathematics.
The Trustees Award was presented to Business Administration major Edwin Martinez, who served the past year on the college's Board of Trustees. Student leader Scott Brown, president of the Alpha Beta Gamma honor society, was presented the Dean's Key award for student involvement. Presidents Key Awards for students achieving a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average were presented to Jo-Ann Nalette, a full time Liberal Arts & Sciences major, and Business Administration major Corey L'ecuyer, a part-time student who works full-time as a manufacturing manager.
Members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society conducted the seventh annual "Project Graduation" food drive during commencement. This year, the items were donated to the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center in Gardner.

Pictured: Student Marshall Kristopher Ambrozewicz, vice president of the Student Government Association, leads his classmates to the ceremony; Commencement speaker Joyce Landry.

James D. Murphy Awarded Honorary Degree

Jim MurphyJames D. Murphy, a community volunteer for more than six decades and long-serving advocate of Mount Wachusett Community College, was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate degree during the college's 45th Commencement ceremony.

"Jim's contributions to humankind and the community were many indeed," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "During his life, he was perhaps a member, leader and contributor to just about every organization in Gardner, and this community is a better place because of his presence and contributions. He was the consummate human being - friendly, compassionate, helpful, fun and competent."
Mr. Murphy was a community volunteer, an artist, a musician, a storyteller and a man who embraced learning his entire life. A devoted family man, Mr. Murphy and his wife of 53 years, Louise der Sahagian Murphy, raised three daughters in Gardner - Donna, Sherrill and Sheila, who is a professor of psychology at MWCC. Mrs. Murphy and Professor Murphy accepted the award on behalf of the family.
"He would have been deeply honored to receive an honorary doctorate from an institution that he served faithfully and loved," the family stated. "We, his family, are moved by the posthumous award and will gratefully accept it on his behalf."
Born in Gardner in 1929 and a lifelong resident of the city, he attended the Clark University School of the Worcester Art Museum and was a 1951 graduate of Vesper George College of Art. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from American National University. He died in October, 2009 at age 79. Mr. Murphy worked as an advertising director and staff artist at The Gardner News for 25 years and also worked as the marketing and public relations officer for Worcester County Institute for Savings, formerly the New England All Bank, as well as vice president of advertising at the former Goodnow Pearson's department store in Gardner. He was an elected member of the prestigious National Cartoonist Society and illustrated the local history book, Profiles of the Past.
In 1981, Mr. Murphy was appointed the first chairman of MWCC's Board of Trustees, a post he held for more than 11 years. He also was a member of the Massachusetts Community College Association, serving terms as its president and vice president.
Known as "Mr. Emcee," he served as master of ceremonies for more than 100 local functions, due to his quick wit and sense of humor. He also was an accomplished musician and jazz performer who played the trombone, drums, piano and bass and was co-founder of the band "The Overtones."
Among numerous community activities, he served as treasurer of the Gardner Redevelopment Authority for 17 years and was a member and chair of the Gardner Council on Aging. He was a long-serving volunteer for the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society. Active in local politics, Mr. Murphy was a delegate to numerous state Democratic conventions and served as the local campaign manager for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
The James D. Murphy Scholarship Fund has been created in his memory through the MWCC Foundation, Inc.

MWCC Graduates Largest Nursing Class

MWCC Nurse Pinning 2010The students graduating from MWCC's Associate Degree Nursing program made history this year as being members of the largest graduating class. On Friday May 21, the 105 members of the Class of 2010 were recognized during the 37th annual pinning ceremony in the college's Fitness Center.

In addition to completing a rigorous academic program, many in the class managed homes and families, worked full-time or part-time jobs, participated in meaningful service learning projects and performed a variety of community service activities.
MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino delivered welcoming remarks to the graduates and to the hundreds of family members and friends gathered for the ceremony. He reflected on the theme of "doing well and doing good."
"All of these graduates have done well. This is not an easy program. It's a very difficult program to get into. It's a very difficult program to be successful in, and it's very difficult to get where they are today." He encouraged the graduates to continue to do well - for themselves, their families, their patients, and society as a whole, and to continue their education in the rapidly changing field of health care and medicine.
Director of Nursing Nancy Duphily welcomed the graduates to the healing profession. "It is my hope that you will become part of the solution, that you will continue to grow personally and professionally, and that you will mentor others in a culture of international caring. George Bernard Shaw once remarked that 'life is a sort of splendid torch to hold up, to make burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.' For you graduates, the torch is your nursing pin, and it symbolizes the power in each and every one of you to create a quality of life, and to face change squarely and with integrity, confident that you are being true to principle and purpose," she said.
Dressed in traditional nurse uniforms, the students were welcomed into the profession by having the program's nursing pin fastened to their lapels by a fellow nurse, a family member, a friend, an alumnus of the program, or a faculty member. The pin symbolizes where the nurses completed their studies to become an RN and distinguishes them from other health care professionals. The eight-star MWCC pin is imprinted with the words "Service to Humanity and the World."
As part of the ceremony, the students also took a nursing pledge that dates back to Florence Nightingale, who distinguished herself during the Crimean War by coming to the aid of sick and wounded British soldiers. Through her selfless duty, she became known as the "lady with the lamp." As a tribute to her dedication, each student receives a traditional lamp during the ceremony to represent the care and devotion they will have to their patients.
Pictured: Graduate Renee Batista is pinned by MWCC alumna Kylee Caruso during the traditional nurse pinning ceremony on May 21.

Dental Hygiene Graduates Honored During Pinning Ceremony

Dental Hygiene Pinning 2010Members of the fourth graduating class of MWCC's Dental Hygiene program were all smiles as they were welcomed into the profession on Tuesday, May 18 during a pinning ceremony held in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre.
MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino congratulated the graduates for completing the rigorous academic program while also participating in numerous, significant community service projects, and welcomed the family members and friends gathered for the ceremony.
Program Director Anne Malkasian announced that all 13 graduates passed both written and clinical examinations toward their licensure. "Two years ago, you all came together as strangers, sharing a common goal to become registered dental hygienists. I know that during these last two years, you have formed friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime," she said.
Myron Allukian, Jr., DDS, MPH, an internationally recognized public health expert, former director of oral health for the Boston Public Health Commission for 34 years, and former chair of the U.S. Surgeon General's Work Group on Fluoridation and Dental Health, delivered the keynote address.
With words of encouragement and advice, he urged the graduates to remain active in community healthcare. Their hands-on experience working with patients who otherwise would not have access to oral health care "puts you far above everyone else and gives you perspective as a hygienist," he said.  "I believe there will be two kinds of dental hygienists in Massachusetts. There will be those who went to the Mount Wachusett Community College Dental Hygiene School, and those who wish they did."
During the ceremony, the graduates were pinned by Ellen Daly, former college trustee who was instrumental in starting the program. Several students were presented with awards. Amanda Gallant received the Johnson & Johnson Award; Lisa Campbell received the Hu Friedy Golden Scaler Award, Kelley Holloway received the Dental Hygiene Department Award; Samantha Goodwin received the Massachusetts Dental Hygienist Association Award; and freshman Jennifer Joslin received the Ellen Daly Scholarship.
Pictured: Former Trustee Ellen Daly and keynote speaker Dr. Myron Allukian with graduates and award winners Amanda Gallant, Samantha Goodwin, Kelley Holloway and Lisa Campbell.

Visions Concludes Successful Year with Awards Ceremony

Michelle Niall, a single parent of three sons who overcame significant obstacles to achieve academically, was recognized as this year's recipient of the Visions program's President's Award. MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino presented the award to Ms. Niall, a Liberal Studies major, during the Visions program's annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 18.

Each year, the award is presented to a student who has achieved academic distinction and is transferring to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree. Like many Visions students, Ms. Niall's story is one of starts and stops, challenges and victories. After her son was born when she was 17, she enrolled at MWCC, but did not continue. Following business opportunities and setbacks and the birth of two more sons, she re-enrolled at MWCC with the understanding that education would make a better life for herself and her family.
With support through the Visions program, she gained confidence in her abilities and excelled academically. She graduated on May 20 as a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and will begin classes in September at Mount Holyoke College, the oldest women's college in the country.
Program alumna Melissa Torres was the featured speaker. "I am still at disbelief with all of my academic successes thus far," the former Marine told the students, faculty, staff and family members gathered for the celebration. "If anyone would have told me five years ago when I first came to The Mount that I would be a pre-med student at Smith College, majoring in biology, I would have probably laughed in their face. I would have also told them that becoming a doctor was not a realistic goal for a Puerto Rican single mother on welfare - with a GED...I knew then and continue to know now that I will always be able to count on the members of the Visions program."
Stephanie Dube, who is working toward a degree in Business Administration, was recognized as this year's recipient of the Visions Award for outstanding achievement. 
The Visions program is a federal TRIO/Student Support Services grant that works with students who come from low income and first generation backgrounds as well as students with disabilities to help them persist and succeed in college. The year-end celebration recognized students in several categories, including the areas of achievement, participation in college activities and leadership.
Pictured: Michelle Niall, recipient of this year's Visions Program President's Award, is headed to Mount Holyoke College.

First 3 Plus One Graduate Gets "A Head Start on Life"

Eric Gendron & Dr. Michael T. GreenwoodEric Gendron is on a fast track to success. As a teenager, he participated in a dual enrollment program at MWCC, earning 24 college credits - a full year of college - while also completing his senior year at Quabbin Regional High School.

After earning his high school diploma, the South Barre resident continued at MWCC while working part time and earned an associate degree in Business Administration in 2008 at age 18. He was encouraged by Professor Michael T. Greenwood, chair of MWCC's School of Business, to enroll in the "3 Plus One" transfer program with Nichols College.
A growing number of MWCC business students are choosing this new path to a baccalaureate degree. Under this program, Business Administration graduates can complete a third year of coursework at MWCC, at MWCC prices, then transfer all 90 credits to Nichols to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Students may take the final year of courses online, at satellite campus or at Nichols' campus in Dudley.
"We are very pleased with the success of this new transfer program and congratulate Eric on his accomplishments," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.
This past December, Mr. Gendron completed all of the course requirements for a bachelor's degree at age 20 and officially became the first student to graduate from the 3 Plus One program with Nichols. After gaining some work experience, he plans to continue on for a Master's in Business Administration. Mr. Gendron, who was inducted into the Alpha Beta Gamma business honor society while a student at MWCC, recently was hired as a financial planner, two weeks and three interviews after attending a job fair at Nichols.
"The program was a perfect fit for me," he said."It gave me a head start on life at a great savings."
Pictured: Eric Gendron with Professor Michael T. Greenwood, chair of MWCC's School of Business.

Upcoming Events 

MWCC, in association with the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program and Phi Theta Kappa, is pleased to once again offer Commencement DVDs. This professional quality, edited DVD of MWCC's 2010 graduation ceremony will be available at a cost of $15 each. This low cost includes shipping and handling. Fifty percent of the profits from the DVD sales will go to MWCC's Phi Delta Chapter of the PTK Honor Society. PTK students will donate the other 50 percent of the profits directly to the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center's food pantry. To order a DVD, contact Sheila Murphy, PTK advisor, at

Gateway to College Graduation 2010 will take place Wednesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre at MWCC's Gardner campus. The accomplishments of 23 students completing the program will be celebrated. Garo Papazian, academic counselor with the Division of Access and Transition, will be the featured speaker. The program, launched at MWCC in 2006 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners, is open to all Massachusetts residents age 16 to 20 who did not earn a high school diploma or at risk of dropping out of high school.
Pinning ceremonies celebrating the achievements of students completing the Partnership Practical Nursing Program and Partnership Associate Degree Nursing Program will take place Thursday, May 27 in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre. The pinning ceremony for the Partnership Practical Nursing Class of 2010 will take place at 1 p.m., followed by a ceremony for the Partnership Nursing Class of 2010 at 3 p.m.
The Division of Access & Transition will present the annual Write On! Celebration on Thursday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MWCC's Gardner campus. Students in grades 6 to 8 from middle schools in Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner and Winchendon will be presented with awards for their works in art and writing and will attend workshop on art, poetry and short story writing. The event is designed to encourage students to continue their creative abilities.
MWCC will host the annual Massachusetts Colleges Online conference Tuesday June 8 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes a keynote address from Ken Udas, CEO of UMass Online, workshops and presentation of the 2010 Course of Distinction Awards. For more information, contact Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean, Academic and Institutional Technology at (978) 630-9356 or
A team from MWCC will join over 150 other teams at the 17th annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life taking place at the college beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 11 and continuing until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 12. The Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the ACS. Last year, the Gardner walk raised over $800,000. It is recognized as one of the largest in the country and the largest walk in New England.
Theatre at the Mount opens its summer season with Always...Patsy Cline in June. Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley, the production tells the story of the special friendship between two women, one a rising star and the other a devoted fan, over a pot of strong coffee in Louise's kitchen and through letters and phone calls shared until Patsy's untimely death. Relive the magic through the songs that made Patsy Cline a pop and country music legend, including Crazy, Sweet Dreams, Walkin' After Midnight, I Fall to Pieces and more. Performances are June 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and June 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees. For tickets, contact the box office at (978) 632-2403 or go online at
MWCC is accepting registrations for Summer Programs for Kids & Teens. Families are encouraged to reserve seats early to secure a spot in popular summer programs in drama, art, computers and athletics. Sports and fitness camps offered through the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center include basketball, soccer, baseball, field hockey, tennis, fit camp, and more. Course descriptions and registration forms can be obtained on the college website at or call (978) 630-9124 for more information.
Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will sponsor its 15th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit student scholarships on Tuesday, July 27 at Wedgewood Pines Country Club in Stowe. The cost is $200 per person to play, which includes breakfast and dinner, or $40 for dinner only. Registration and a breakfast brunch begin at 8:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. The tournament will conclude with a social hour, awards dinner from 3 to 6 p.m. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information or to register, call (978) 630-9387 or email
Love fresh vegetables but short on space? Consider planting and harvesting your own crops at The Community Garden at MWCC. Applications are currently being accepted. The 20-by-15-foot plots, located adjacent to the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center, are available to North Central Massachusetts residents and organizations on a first-come, first-served basis. Established last year, The Community Garden is sponsored by W.E. Aubuchon Co., Inc., GFA Federal Credit Union and MWCC. Gardeners of all levels of experience may participate and are encouraged to bring their own tools. Tools also will be available on site for those who need them. The cost is $20. To apply for a plot, go to or call (978) 630-9262 to request an application form.
The Enrollment Center is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Practical Nursing Certificate: June 8 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Dental Hygiene: June 2 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, Wetmore Wing, room 12; Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: June 15 from 2 to 3 p.m., Enrollment Center; Clinical Laboratory Science: June 23, Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education area; Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: June 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens campus; Energy Management, June 17 from 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner campus, room 201; Accelerated Business Administration: June 8 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Gardner campus, room 125. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday - Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in the Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing program are asked to call Tami Morin at (978) 630-9578, (TTY (978) 632-4916), or email Prospective students interested in all other information sessions are asked to call the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 (TTY (978) 632-4916), or send an email to
Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at (978) 630-9547. 
Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College
(978) 630-9547