April 9, 2012
In This Issue
MWCC Names Alfred LeBlanc Alumnus of the Year
MWCC Hailed for Climate Support in ACUPCC's Celebrating Sustainability Series
Congressman McGovern Visits MWCC
Mount Wachusett's MCAS Pathways Program Key to Success for Leominster Student
PTK Expands Project Graduation
MWCC Students Attend DHE's 11th Annual Student Leadership Conference
Area Companies Offer Opportunities at MWCC's Job Fair 2012
MWCC Instructor Publishes Book, "Show Don't Tell: A Guide to Purpose Driven Speech"
MWCC Mountain Lion Team Places in Boys and Girls Club Spelling Bee
Upcoming Events
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TopMWCC Names Alfred E. LeBlanc Alumnus of the Year

Alfred E. LeBlanc, Alumnus of the Year 2012Mount Wachusett Community College will honor Alfred E. LeBlanc, a leader in firefighter training in Massachusetts and former chief of the Leominster Fire Department, as the 2012 Alumnus of the Year. LeBlanc will be recognized at the college's 47th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 17.


LeBlanc, a Leominster native, graduated in 1980 with an associate degree in Fire Science Technology and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Fire Administration from Empire State College in 1986. In recent years, he has made significant contributions to MWCC as a member and chair of the Fire Science Advisory Board since 1998. With his leadership and the support of college officials, the Fire Science Technology degree program was revitalized last year when it was aligned with the National Fire Academy's Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) program. Through these efforts, MWCC was recently recognized as one of four institutions in the country to be officially accepted into the FESHE Institutional Recognition and Certificate Program.


"We are proud to honor Fred LeBlanc as our 2012 Alumnus of the Year," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "Like many of our students, Fred came to Mount Wachusett as an adult learner, balancing work, family life and academic studies, then continued on to achieve tremendous success both academically and professionally. His determination to reach his goals, and to help other students and professionals in the field of firefighting and public safety, truly serves as an inspiration to all of our students," President Asquino said.


"I am very humbled and quite honored that people would recognize my achievements," LeBlanc said. "Firefighters have a tendency to not take credit for what they do. They tend to not want to be in that lime light, but I do feel honored and appreciate this."


LeBlanc originally enrolled at MWCC in 1974. He postponed his education in 1975 to enlist in the U.S. Army. After serving active duty for two years with the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, he re-enrolled 1977, crediting the G.I Bill with making it possible to continue his education while supporting a young family, and strong mentors that helped him excel in his career. After three years taking night classes and working full time, he earned his associate degree in 1980 and went on to earn his bachelor's degree.


LeBlanc joined the Leominster Fire Department in 1979. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1983, to Deputy Chief in 1988, and to Chief in 2003 before retiring in 2006. In the late 1980s, he began teaching at area colleges and in 1990 as an instructor for the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow. He continues to serve as an instructor and program coordinator for the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy and as a consultant for MWCC's Fire Science Technology program. He also has taught for the National Fire Academy in Maryland.


"Education has been at the forefront for me. It paved the way for how I handled myself as an officer, because that knowledge gave me the confidence to try new things, do the right things at the right times, and keep my personnel safe. Safety became my focus and it still is," LeBlanc said. "MWCC opened doors that I otherwise wouldn't have known were there and set the stage for everything I achieved in my career."


LeBlanc and his wife, Lisa, who earned her nursing degree from MWCC, live in Belchertown. They have two children, Jason, a lieutenant in the Leominster Fire Department, and Abbie, a teacher in Hadley.


MWCC's commencement ceremony will take place Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. in the college's Fitness and Wellness Center.


- Hannah Adams

MWCC Hailed for Climate Support in ACUPCC's "Celebrating Sustainability" Series
MWCC Gardner campusMount Wachusett Community College has been recognized by the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as one of 15 top colleges and universities in the country for its cutting-edge work in promoting environmental sustainability.

The ACUPCC, now in its fifth year, is an initiative joined by nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action. MWCC's achievements in renewable energy and energy conservation were cited as part of the ACUPCC's Celebrating Sustainability series, which identifies signatories that exemplify the initiative's mission to re-stabilize the earth's climate through education, research and community engagement. Celebrating Sustainability is formally recognizing a different institution every business day in April leading up to Earth Day on April 22. MWCC is a charter signatory of the ACUPCC.

The ACUPCC praised the college for its outstanding work in successfully integrating wind power into its energy portfolio over the past year. Mount Wachusett's program has been so successful since installing two 1.65 MW turbines in March 2011 that the college is now producing 100 percent of its own electricity while also returning energy back to the grid, the organization noted.

The 15 colleges and universities identified under the Celebrating Sustainability series cover a diverse spectrum of institutions in terms of size, geographic location and academic focus. MWCC is the only college in New England named in the series. The other campuses are: University of California - Irvine; Arizona State University; University of Louisville, Kentucky; University of Central Missouri; Weber State University in Utah; William Patterson University in New Jersey; SUNY Upstate Medical University and Pratt Institute in New York; Allegheny College and Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania; Austin Community College in Texas; Georgia Institute of Technology and Haywood Community College in Georgia; and Luther College in Iowa.

"These institutions differ in many ways, but they all have an unrelenting commitment to building a healthier environment by deploying cutting-edge practices and producing graduates that will integrate sustainability into their professional and personal lives for years to come," said Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature, the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC. "These schools are also demonstrating academic leadership in this area, which is essential to address the profound threats climate change poses to society at large."
The ACUPCC launched its Celebrating Sustainability series in conjunction with Earth Day to demonstrate the importance of taking a holistic approach to reversing climate change that incorporates sustainable practices and solutions.

The organization commended the college's energy initiatives, conservation measures that have reduced energy consumption by nearly half, and the efforts of students and faculty in The Green Society and other campus clubs and organizations for their sustainability endeavors.
Congressman McGovern Visits MWCC
President Asquino and Congressman James McGovern
President Asquino and
Congressman James McGovern
Congressman James McGovern visited MWCC on April 9 to tour the Gardner campus, learn about the college's academic and community initiatives, and meet with President Daniel M. Asquino and college officials.

Congressman McGovern, who currently represents the 3rd District, is reaching out to residents and organizations in what will become the reconfigured 2nd Congressional District and will include the city of Leominster, the site of one of MWCC's satellite campuses. Population shifts evident through the 2010 U.S. Census resulted in the elimination of one of Massachusetts' 10 congressional districts. Congressman John Olver, the region's current representative, is not seeking re-election in November.

Currently serving his eighth term, Congressman McGovern has been widely recognized as a tireless crusader for change and an unrivaled supporter for social justice and fundamental human rights. He is the second-ranking member on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation, and is a member of the House Agricultural Committee.

Among his efforts on behalf of the district and college students, he has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education. Colleges and universities, he noted during his visit, are "key to economic recovery."

Mount Wachusett's MCAS Pathways Program Key to Success for Leominster Student
The high school ring that Leominster resident Charlotte Waitkus has worn for the past decade has taken on greater meaning. At age 28, Waitkus recently earned her high school diploma thanks to the Division of Access & Transition's MCAS Pathways to Success program. She plans to continue that momentum, and this semester enrolled in two college courses at MWCC's Leominster campus.

Waitkus, who left high school in 2002 at age 17, returned to the Fitchburg Alternative Night School and completed all of her high school requirements in 2005. Despite her efforts, difficulty passing the English portion of the MCAS exam meant the difference between earning a "certificate of completion" and an official high school diploma. That, she came to realize, posed a huge barrier in her ability to find a good job.

The mother of two learned about the six-week MCAS Pathways to Success program from her younger sister and decided to pursue the opportunity. She credits MCAS coordinator Jennifer Jimenez and Tammy Tebo, director of K-12 Assessment & Career Readiness and former MCAS coordinator, along with the support she received from her grandmother, with helping her succeed.

The MCAS Pathways program, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education, is offered each spring and fall. It is generally comprised of high school-age students and includes transportation to and from the Gardner campus for evening classes once a week. Because the participants have completed all their credit requirements, they do not need to repeat any high school courses. The program provides support in the MCAS subject area or areas they need to pass. Approximately 60 students are enrolled each year.

"Charlotte is the oldest student we've had sit for the test," Tebo said. "Because of her daughters, who are now both in school, she realized the importance of finishing her own education. She realized she needed to take that next step."

The program, Tebo said, is making a difference in the lives of many. "We're making miracles with students who feel they have no other option."

Waitkus, a volunteer with the Montachusett Opportunity Council, plans to pursue a double major in Human Services and Business Administration. "Eventually, I would like to work with teenagers and help them learn from my example."

Pictured: MCAS Pathways Coordinator Jennifer Jimenez, Tammy Tebo, Director of K-12 Assessment & Career Readiness; and MWCC student Charlotte Waitkus at the Leominster campus.
PTK Expands Project Graduation

PTK Project Graduation Food DriveThe Mount Wachusett Community College Phi Delta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is sponsoring the 9th annual "Project Graduation" food drive in conjunction with the college's 47th Commencement on May 17.


All graduates and their guests are being asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the commencement rehearsal and/or ceremony. Receptacles will be located at entrances to the Fitness and Wellness Center and all donations will be delivered to the Gardner Community Action Committee's food pantry to benefit the local community. Donation receptacles will also be in various areas around the Gardner campus through May 8.  


The Gardner Community Action Committee is a nonprofit agency founded in 1970 that assists local residents in need of services. It serves the communities of Gardner, Westminster, Ashburnham, Hubbardston, East Templeton, Templeton, Otter River, and Baldwinsville. In the last four years, the need for services has increased dramatically in response to high unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. 


In addition to the food drive, the honor society, in association with the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program, is offering the 2012 Commencement ceremony DVD. The DVD can be purchased for $12 before April 29 and for $15 after that date. Orders and payments may be made by using a form distributed with graduation packets, as well as at the PTK table during the rehearsal and ceremony. 


Purchasing a DVD will also helping the local community. Half of the profits will be donated to the Gardner House of Peace and Education (HOPE), a local nonprofit agency that assist at risk women and children with education and learning new skills. The completed, professional quality, edited DVD will be mailed home during the summer if preordered. 


Contact PTK Phi Delta Chapter President Jennifer Forgues at or Elizabeth Reiser, the chapter's vice president of community and civic engagement at with any questions or bulk donations.



Pictured from left: Karen Duchnowski, PTK Project Graduation Co-Chair; Dr. Michael Greenwood, PTK Faculty Advisor; Julie Meehan, Executive Director of the Gardner CAC; Jennifer LePage PTK Treasurer; Elizabeth Rieser, PTK Project Graduation Co-Chair; and Fagan Forhan, Director of Experiential Learning Opportunities & Civic Engagement and PTK Faculty Advisor.


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MWCC Students Attend DHE's 11th Annual Student Leadership Conference

Students at Board of Higher Education's Student Leadership Conference

On March 30, a group of representatives from MWCC's Student Government Association attended the Department of Higher Education's 11th annual Student Leadership Conference "Student's Unite 2012 - What can one Person Do?" at Framingham State University. The annual conference provides a forum for students from Massachusetts' public colleges and universities to speak with state leaders and address issues of importance to campus life and the educational experience.

Students were welcomed by Framingham President Timothy J. Flanagan. Board of Higher Education Chair Charles F. Desmond and Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeland were among the featured speakers. Participating students had the opportunity to attend workshops focusing on the conference theme of leadership skills. The keynote speaker, Michael Miller, addressed "United Vision and Courage Risk Taking."

"The message of the conference was Students United, which many of the student leaders took to heart over the course of the day," said SGA President Isaac Matson. "The conference was a great success and gave students many ideas that they could implement on their individual campuses."

Pictured: Carly Gagne, Assistant Dean Greg Clement, SGA President Isaac Matson, Shane Cullins, Bridgett Woodcock and Student Trustee Caroline Horvitz at the Department of Education's annual Student Leadership Conference.  

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Area Companies Offer Opportunities at MWCC's Job Fair 2012
Job Fair 2012More than 35 companies and organizations participated in Job Fair 2012, held at MWCC's Gardner campus on April 4 and sponsored by the Career Placement and Planning office. The event provided students with an opportunity to explore career options and learn about job openings in diverse range of fields.

Coordinator of Career Planning and Placement Patricia Brewerton was pleased with the outcome and the number of students who benefitted from the fair. More than 200 students and visitors attended.

"The job fair provides an optimistic outlook for students and brings in companies that have job openings for them. Some students even have interviews already set up for next week," Brewerton said. "I've also heard great feedback from employers that our students are enthusiastic, dressed for success, well prepared, and have courage to approach the tables and introduce themselves."

There were full-time, part-time, and temporary positions available from a variety of employers such as JD Associates, TD Bank North and HealthAlliance. There were also a good number of human services options like Y.O.U Inc., LUK, and Devereux, to name a few. In addition to the employers that come back year to year to recruit, the natural resources and energy market was represented this year with participation from NE Retail Lumber, United Water, and Energy Mad - North America.

- Hannah Adams

MWCC Instructor Publishes Book, "Show Don't Tell: A Guide to Purpose Driven Speech"

Cover of Effective verbal communication is one of the most important skills every professional needs. Actor, director and Mount Wachusett Community College adjunct faculty member Jeri Warren knows how difficult public speaking can be. Her new book, "Show Don't Tell: a Guide to Purpose Driven Speech" will help students and professionals cope with the number one fear of public speaking.

Throughout the book, Warren shares her knowledge of public speaking and the exercises that will make everyday communication and formal presentation both comfortable and effective. Warren gives advice as if you were talking to a friend, which provides a sense of security while you enhancing communications skills and leads student to this accomplishment in just 33 exercises. "Show Don't Tell" reveals the steps needed to take the giant leap from the back row to behind the podium.

"If you learn to inform, persuade, entertain and inspire, the journey will have fewer hardships," Warren said. "Today, it's easier and quicker to text, tweet or Facebook than it is to leave a voicemail or talk face-to-face. But, the easier it is to communicate with fingers, the more difficult it is to speak comfortably and effectively."

Warren, who has also directed and choreographed productions for Theatre at the Mount, received her B.A. in Communication Arts from Marymount Manhattan College and her M.A. in Theatre Arts from U.C.L.A. She has spent her life feeding dreams in the college classroom, on the professional stage and in the home. Her enthusiastic style of teaching is brought to life in "Show Don't Tell."

Warren has donated a copy of her book to the LaChance Library. To learn more about this new approach to public speaking or to purchase a copy, visit


- Hannah Adams 


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MWCC Mountain Lion Team Places in Boys and Girls Club Spelling Bee
MWCC's Mountain Lion team recently placed among the top contenders in the 9th Annual Adult Spelling Bee to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts.

The team aced some of the event's most challenging words, including scyphus, polyptych, tchotchke, inveigle and machicolation, to make it into the finals, but ultimately were stymied by douroucouli, xanthine and quinquefoliate. The Mountain Lions, last year's top spellers, placed an admirable second among 15 teams.


The team members include Joseph Stiso, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement; Gaurav Khanna, director of TRIO Student Support Services; Karen Payne, staff assistant in the Institutional Advancement office; Kumar Raj, coordinator of United Way Youth Venture; and April Brewer, communications and advocacy liaison for UWYV. Brewer, a newcomer to the event, joined veteran team volunteers to participate in the March 22 community event.

The spelling bee benefits the Boys and Girls Club annual fundraiser, which supports after-school programs for more than 600 children in the region. MWCC was among the event's sponsors.

Pictured: MWCC's Mountain Lion team members, from left Gaurav Khanna, April Brewer, Kumar Raj, Karen Payne and Joseph Stiso.
Upcoming Events

Student Government Association Elections will take place this week. All students are invited to vote online for SGA representatives beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11 and closing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 12. To vote for Student Government Association , log on to iConnect (

The spring Student Life Film Series concludes on Thursday, April 12 with The Way We Get By at 12:30 p.m. in North Café. This film takes a look behind the hearty smiles, handshakes, heartfelt thanks and free cookies that greeters welcoming returning troops bring to an airport. It discovers a world in which the seniors are engaged in their own struggles with aging, disease, loneliness, memories of war and personal loss. This film is sponsored by the Student Life office.

Come Celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 in the South Cafeteria. Enjoy the music of Jeff & Mike Acoustic while checking out Earth Day activities, including free, do it yourself grow kits; free "going green" grocery bags; The Green Society's light bulb, water bottle, and plant sale; displays from MassRIDES, Millers River Watershed Council, United Water, Audubon Society, and Solar PV; and a Prius hybrid and converted grease car on display. The event is sponsored by the Student Life office, CATS, and The Green Society.

Gloria SteinemAuthor and activist Gloria Steinem will be the featured speaker at an event to benefit the House of Peace and Education (HOPE) on Thursday, April 19 at MWCC's Theatre at the Mount. "Celebrating Women: An Evening with Gloria Steinem," will begin at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds are to benefit HOPE's work serving at-risk women and children. The renowned feminist, journalist, and social and political activist became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Ms. Steinem has founded many organizations and projects. She was a columnist for New York magazine and co-founded Ms. Magazine. In 2005, she worked alongside Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan to co-found the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit  

MWCC is welcoming new Alpha Beta Gamma inductees along with their families and friends to the Induction Ceremony on Friday, April 20 in the South Cafeteria. Bob Chauvin, President of SimplexGrinnell, will be the keynote speaker. The event begins with a social at 5:30 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 6 p.m. To reserve a seat, please contact Professor Linda Bolduc by April 10.

MWCC's Financial Aid office is offering FAFSA Filing Workshops to provide one-on-one assistance to students to complete the 2012-2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Workshops take place every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon through May 11 in the Advising Center. In addition, workshops will take place on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 24, May 1 and May 8. Contact the Financial Aid office at 978-630-9169 to sign up or for more information.

MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree in Nursing: April 10 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus. Practical Nursing certificate: April 13 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus and April 23 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Devens campus. Dental Hygiene: April 11 from 2 to 3 p.m. in library at the Fitchburg campus. Physical Therapist Assistant: April 12 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 205 at the Gardner campus. Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical LabTech: April 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Gardner campus, room 214, followed by off-site clinical lab tour. Energy Management: April 19 from 5 to 6 p.m. in room 107 at the Devens campus. Automotive Technology/GM ASEP: April 18 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Murphy room at the Gardner campus. 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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To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at 978-630-9547. Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at

Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College