Jan. 31, 2012
In This Issue
MWCC Receives $2 Million Donation to Establish Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement
MWCC Launches Redesigned Website
MWCC Opens Entrepreneurship Center in North Quabbin Area
"Her Conviction," an Exhibit of Works by Artist Susan Montgomery, on Display in the East Wing Gallery
MWCC Students Team up to Create 2012 Veterans Calendar
MWCC Hosts Events in Recognition of Black History Month
Theatre at the Mount Opens 2012 Season with "Fiddler on the Roof"
Upcoming Events
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MWCC Receives $2 Million Donation to Establish

Civic engagement has been a hallmark of a Mount Wachusett Community College education for more than a decade. A $2 million donation from an anonymous donor will ensure that future generations will continue to gain awareness, appreciation and practical experience for volunteerism, civic involvement and the value of giving back to the community.

MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino announced that the college has received its largest single donation to date with the $2 million award to support civic engagement initiatives in perpetuity. The donation, made to the college through the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, will provide MWCC with an annual substantial allocation to support civic engagement. This endowment fund is intended to provide perpetual annual income to support the program together with matching funds or in-kind services from Mount Wachusett Community College.

"We are most grateful for the generosity of this benefactor, who is keenly aware of the importance of strengthening our communities by promoting civic engagement, civic awareness and giving back to others," Dr. Asquino said. "This is a vision come to reality. Through civic engagement, we empower our students with the understanding of how they can change their community and the world."

The donation will be used to establish a Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement at MWCC. Civic engagement and service learning programs provided through the college's Center for Democracy and Humanity, initially established in 2005, will be incorporated into the newly renamed center and refocused to further these values, goals and initiatives.

"By establishing the Decade of Civic Engagement, the college took an important leadership role by recognizing how important volunteerism is to a healthy and vibrant community. By establishing this endowment through the Foundation, it will ensure this critical work will continue for generations to come," said Phil Grzewinski, President of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

Support for current and future initiatives include: establishing the center as the primary focal point for best practices in the areas of civic leadership and civic engagement and as a resource center for other organizations; support of programs, activities and community events that highlight the value of civic engagement and its relationship to healthy communities; support for courses and programs for middle and high school students that increase the awareness and importance of civic learning and engagement; the development of learning communities at the high school and college levels which center around the teaching of the Seven Revolutions" curriculum which educates students about global trends; funding to support "Pay it Forward" awards for MWCC students who demonstrate commitment and mentorship in areas of civic learning; and funding and support for evaluation and assessment systems.

MWCC launched its first "Decade of Civic Engagement" in 2001, and in 2011 Dr. Asquino announced a second "Decade of Civic Engagement" to continue to engage students, faculty and staff in community service to create positive social change and healthier more vibrant communities through innovative programming and partnerships that benefit the region, such as the United Way Youth Venture and the Institute for Nonprofit Development.

Over the past decade, MWCC students logged more than 150,000 hours of community service and service learning hours valued at $3.6 million to the community. Their endeavors that have consecutively earned the college a place on the National President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, with distinction, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. In addition, MWCC participates in the burgeoning, national community college initiative, "The Democracy Commitment", as well as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project.


According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, the federal agency that oversees the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the "Senior Corps," "AmeriCorps," "Learn and Serve America" and "United We Serve" programs, individuals who participate in high-quality community-based service learning benefit in numerous ways, including enhanced problem solving and teamwork skills, higher academic success and ongoing commitment to service.

MWCC Launches Redesigned Website 

MWCC website
MWCC's redesigned website was unveiled on January 30 after a year-long development project from concept to implementation and launch and drawing on the expertise and enthusiasm of staff and faculty across the college. This new website focuses on being user-friendly and offers visitors an exciting online experience that mirrors our dynamic and varied college community.
"This complex and comprehensive redesign project will bring the college to  a new level in terms of visibility and the availability of online resources," said Robin Duncan, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "The Marketing and Communications Division, collaboratively with the whole college community, has worked tirelessly to create a fun, friendly, and intuitive website for our students, parents, alumni, and the community at large."
Please visit our new website and use the feedback form located on the homepage to let us know what you think. The web address remains the same at

- Sarah McMaster
MWCC's Division of Life Long Learning and Workforce Development announces the grand opening of a new North Quabbin Entrepreneurship Center in downtown Athol. In conjunction with the town of Athol and its Community Development Block Grant program, the new center began offering courses on January 18 at the North Quabbin Adult Education offices at the new senior center annex, located at  80 Freedom Street.

More than 20 business-oriented classes, ranging from $39 to $299 a course, will be offered through May on different days and at different times. Additional classes will be offered from June to August. Classes include Starting Your Own Business, Writing Your Business Plan, Designing Ads and Marketing Materials, How to Keep Books, and Developing Presentations for Prospective Investors. Classes are unique to the Athol location, and detailed descriptions are available online at Classes are tailored to benefit those interested in starting their own businesses and current small business owners looking to enhance their entrepreneurial skills or find ways to more effectively run their businesses.
"We are extremely excited about the new Entrepreneurship Center located in the Quabbin Region," said Jeremiah Riordon, Associate Vice President of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. "We know there is a lot of interest out there with people looking to improve their business processes, and even those interested in starting their own small businesses. We anticipate great success with our first round of classes, with the hope of growing into a larger facility in the near future."

While open to anyone who wants to register for classes, tuition waivers will be made available through the town's CDBG program for income eligible residents from Athol, Petersham, Phillipston and Royalston, as a priority. Income eligible residents from Erving, New Salem, Orange, Warwick and Wendell will also be eligible for tuition waivers as class limits allow. Fifteen seats will be held for waivers in each course. Participants will be required to complete a self-declaration form that will include family income in order to be determined as income eligible.

For more information, contact the Athol Office of Planning and Development at 978-575-0301 or via email at To register for classes, contact Teresita Encarnacion at the MWCC Workforce Development Office at 978-630-9575 or via email at
"Her Conviction," an Exhibit of Works by Artist Susan Montgomery,
on Display in the East Wing Gallery
Susan Mongomery's
"855 CE" Gouache, graphite, and acrylic on wood.
"Her Conviction," and exhibition of work by MWCC art instructor Susan Montgomery, is on display through Feb. 21 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. Montgomery will present an artist's talk on Wednesday, 
Feb. 15 at 12:30 p.m. in the gallery, answering questions and explaining, more in-depth, the theme and meaning behind her collection.

"My paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture are part of a continuing and overlapping series exploring topics that deeply interest me; Radium, Marie Curie, History, Fairy Tales and Pope Joan," Montgomery said. "I am fascinated with meaning, how people make meaning and how that meaning works its way into our lives. At its core, my art deals with the relationships between memory, written and oral histories, nostalgia, misinformation, cover ups and lies and how this complex web plays out socially, politically and emotionally through the stories that I focus on."

Some of her more recent pieces explore the legend of Pope Joan, a woman of the 9th century who posed as a man to get an education and eventually rose to the top of the Catholic Church's heirarchy. The story of the hidden identity of Pope John Anglicus was widely believed for centuries, though modern historians and religious scholars now believe the story has no merit. "I am interested in the meaning behind why this story has survived, the contradictions within it and how it got here," Montgomery, an Easthampton resident, explained. "I am always interested in those rare heroes whose strength of vision enables them to ignore the almost overpowering messages of their own historical periods."
Montgomery's artwork has been featured in numerous galleries throughout New England. She is the recipient of many awards over the years including the Blanch E. Colman Award of the Mellon Trust and the Professional Development Grant of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In addition to teaching Printmaking, Drawing, Watercolor, Introduction to Studio and other courses at MWCC, Montgomery also teaches at Westfield State University.
Montgomery uses art to share what is important to her and to express meaningful stories.
"I layer my paintings with images that have meaning to me. They often include references to literary, science, social theories, cultural icons, personal memories and everyday occurrences. I do not set out to represent what is believed to be the truth, I consider my viewpoint as well as the many different lenses that include popular beliefs, rumors, assumptions, stories, fact and fiction as well as what history tells us. Stories and myths help us to understand who we are and help us to find meaningful relationships."
The gallery is open for regular hours Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Hannah Adams
MWCC Students Team up to Create 2012 Veterans Calendar
The month of January from the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success calendar featuring Raymond Greeno of the ArmyFor this new year, the MWCC Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success created a 2012 calendar to raise funds for a local memorial.
Kristine Larkin, Assistant Project Director of the Veteran Success Center, and student veterans teamed up with instructor Bob Mayer and students in his photography class to create the calendar, which features a different veteran for each month and notes important dates in U.S. and world military history.
The calendars are on sale for $5 for students and $10 for non-students and can be purchased at the veterans'  center, room 138. Proceeds will go to the Johnny Ro Memorial Park in honor of PFC Jonathan Roberge of Leominster, who was killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army. The memorial will also honor all Massachusetts men and women who served and lost their lives in the OIF/OEF Conflict.

"We are always looking into different ways to raise funds for local veterans and organizations that honor veterans," Larkin said. "We thought this calendar would be a nice way to support the Johnny Ro Memorial Park and highlight veteran students on campus."

- Hannah Adams


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MWCC Hosts Events in Recognition of Black History Month
Performer Afro D (Pete Shunghu) playing the trumpet
Performer "Afro D" Pete Shunghu
Black History Month is observed as a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans. In recognition, MWCC will host several events in February at its Gardner campus. All events, sponsored by the office of Student Life, are free and open to the public.

The series of events begins with the screening of
Strange Fruit on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café. The film tells a dramatic story of America's past and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement by using the Billie Holiday classic - one of the most influential protest songs ever written - as its epicenter. The film depicts the terror of lynching while showcasing the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice.

The Black Inventor Exhibit is a multi-media museum that pays tribute to unsung heroes and returns to MWCC's Commons area on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. "The Awakening: Black Inventors Worldwide," is this year's theme and highlights the accomplishments of African Americans in the fields of science, aerospace communication, health care, agriculture, transportation, and engineering. The golf tee, automatic traffic light, cellular phone and the world's fastest computer - peaking at 3.1 billion calculations per second - were created by African Americans.
The series concludes on Wednesday, Feb. 15, with a performance by spoken word artist, musician, and social activist Afro D (Pete Shunghu) at 12:30 p.m. in the South Cafe. The performer uses his art as a medium to promote reflection, understanding and community building. Along with performing his music and poetry all over the world, Shunghu has taught history in Boston public schools, English at an orphanage in Mexico, and served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA in Worcester, among many other transformative life opportunities.

Theatre at the Mount Opens 2012 Season with "Fiddler on the Roof"

Logo of Fiddler on the Roof featuring Tevye, the main character

Theatre at the Mount opens its 2012 season with the Tony Award winning musical,

Fiddler on the Roof, with performances on February 24, 25, March 2 and 3 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 26 and March 4 at 2 p.m.


Written by Joseph Stein and based on Sholem Aleichem's short story "Tevye and His Daughters," Fiddler on the Roof debuted at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway September 22, 1964, and ran for 3,242 shows, becoming the longest-running musical in 1972.


It won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and was one of the first Broadway musicals to deal with serious issues such as persecution, poverty and holding on to ones' beliefs. The award winning score features such well-known songs as Sunrise, Sunset, Matchmaker, and If I Were a Rich Man.


Set in 1905 in a small Jewish village in Russia, Fiddler on the Roof is the story of dairyman Tevye and his attempts to preserve his family's traditions in a changing world. Tevye's daughter Tzeitel wants to marry a poor tailor instead of the middle-aged butcher her father has chosen for her in the tradition of arranged marriages. Tevye is forced to choose between his daughter's happiness and his culture's beloved traditions.


The role of Tevye is played by Evan Graber of Holden. Others in the cast include: Elaine Crane as Golde, Tevye's wife; Amanda Carpenito as Tzeitel, Paige Crane as Hodel and Alyson Foisy as Chava, Tevye's three oldest daughters; Garrett Zecker as the tailor, Motel Kamzoil; Kyle Kasabian as Perchik; Jacob McDonald as Fyedka; Matt Dombroski as the butcher, Lazar Wolf; Ruthe Lew as Yente, the Matchmaker; Kathleen Wnuk as Fruma Sarah; Betsy Fiedler as Grandmother Tzeitel and a cast of 50 more singers and dancers of all ages.


For tickets and reservations, call the Theatre at the Mount box office at 978-632-2403 or purchase tickets online at


- Gail Steele


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Upcoming Events

Billie Holliday

The spring 2012 Student Life Film Series starts off in conjunction with Black History Month with the film, Strange Fruit. This screening will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the North Street Café at 12:30 p.m. The film tells the dramatic story of America's past and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement by using the Billie Holiday classic as its epicenter. Upcoming films include Louder Than a Bomb on February 28; Miss Representation on March 22; Bullied on April 3, and The Way We Get By on April 12.


This spring's Leadership for Life program offers a series of seven short presentations on topics that will help students succeed. Workshops will take place on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.on the following dates: Feb. 7 and 21; March 6, 13 and 20; and April 10 and 17. The sessions will take place in the Murphy Conference room, with the exception of March 13, which is off campus, and a yoga session in the Fitness & Wellness Center on Apr. 17. Free cookies and beverages will be offered at each program and participants will receive a leadership certificate if they attend at least six of the seven programs. The deadline to sign-up is Tuesday, Feb. 7. Contact the Student Life office at, or call 978-630-9133, or stop by room 151. 


A talk on Alzheimer's Disease, "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters," will be presented on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. in MWCC's Fitness & Wellness Center. The guest speaker is Julie McMurray, MA, LOMHC. The free program is sponsored by the center as part of a winter brown bag lunch series. Participants are invited to bring their own lunch to the presentation.  

Mardi Gras Carnival

The annual Mardi Gras Carnival, sponsored by the office of Student Life and student clubs and organizations, will take place Thursday, Feb. 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the South Café at the Gardner campus. This is a free event for MWCC students, faculty, staff, and a guest to enjoy karaoke from 6 to 8 p.m. and dancing from 8 to 10 p.m. Every hour, a door prize of $100 will be given away and, although costumes are optional, cash prizes of $100, $70, and $30 will be awarded to the top three costumes of the night. Free snacks and drinks also will be provided.


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: A.S. Nursing: Feb. 14, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204 and Feb. 16, 5 to 6 p.m., at the Devens Campus; Dental Hygiene: Feb. 15, 2 to 3 p.m., Fitchburg Campus (Burbank), Library; Complementary Health Care/Physical Therapist Assistant: Feb. 16, 2 to 3 p.m. Gardner Campus, room 205; Clinical Lab Science: Feb. 21, 4 to 5 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 214; GM Automotive Technology: Feb. 22, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens Campus, Conference Room; Practical Nursing: Feb. 28, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or send an email to  


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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