Sept. 10, 2012
In This Issue
MWCC Welcomes New Dean, Faculty and Staff Members
New & Returning Students Welcomed as New Academic Year Begins
President Asquino Joins NACCE's Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum
MWCC Hosting Events in Recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month
Upcoming Events
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TopMWCC Welcomes New Dean, Faculty and Staff Members

Dr. Stephen Grieco
Dr. Stephen Grieco

Dr. Stephen Grieco, an accomplished composer with extensive experience in community college education, has joined Mount Wachusett Community College as dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Education, Humanities and Communications. Several new faces have also joined the college's Division of Academic Affairs.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Stephen Grieco and all of our new faculty and staff members to Mount Wachusett Community College as we begin an exciting new academic year," said President Daniel M. Asquino.


Prior to arriving at MWCC, Dr. Grieco served for five years as dean of Arts and Humanities at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. Previously, he served as assistant dean of Liberal Studies and Educational Support Services at the Community College of Philadelphia, where he also served as music department chair. He replaces former dean Dr. Vincent Bates, who accepted an administrative position at Northern Virginia Community College.

While working on his doctoral studies at Arizona State University, Dr. Grieco began teaching at local community colleges including Phoenix College, the oldest community college in Arizona. An offer to fill an unexpected vacancy teaching music theory and music history led to a permanent, full-time position at the college, where he expanded the program to include composition and music technology and served as department chair.

Dr. Grieco's academic work with data and analytics has been recognized at numerous conferences and organizations including the American Association of Community Colleges, EDUCAUSE, Blackboard Analytics, and the League for Innovation. His work as an academic dean and ability to make systemic positive change using analytics was recently published in the EDUCAUSE Review Online.

As a composer, his works have been commissioned and performed in Europe and throughout the United States by numerous ensembles, including the Cleveland Chamber Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Chorus, Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra and award-winning organist Kimberly Marshall. His work has garnered awards from Pro Musica, the North American Artists' Foundation, Meet the Composer, the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Arizona State University, Bowling Green State University, Contemporary Music Society and the Victoria Bohlen Award.

At MWCC, Dr. Grieco said he plans to focus on ways to enhance and coordinate opportunities in the creative arts and media arts, building upon the existing strengths of the college's Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Art, Theatre and Computer Graphic Design programs.

"There's a real opportunity here for students to take advance of resources that you don't see at most four-year institutions, and I want to build upon that. There's outstanding technology here and we have faculty members who are professionals in their fields."

Dr. Grieco holds a doctorate in Musical Arts from Arizona State University, a master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor's degree in Music Composition from the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Others joining MWCC's Division of Academic Affairs include:

Kara Roche, a former adjunct in the English department and an academic advisor at the college, has joined the English department as a full-time faculty member; Aliza Miller, who previously taught math at the Community College of Vermont and other Vermont colleges, joins the math department as a full-time faculty member; Dr. Cheryl Ann Wilson, who previously taught honors science courses at Belmont High School,  is the new chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science program; and Dr. Gary Ackerman has joined MWCC as the new director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. He previously taught information technology courses and served as a technology coordinator in Vermont.

In addition, Emily Cabrera, who previously served as a clinical nursing facilitator at Becker College, joined the nursing faculty in the evening program. Debra Boucher, formerly MWCC's director of advising, is the new director of student success. She will continue to oversee the Advising Department. Liza Smith has joined MWCC as assistant director of advising. She is a former coordinator of career and academic planning for web services at Quinsigamond Community College. 

New and Returning Students Welcomed as New Academic Year Begins 
New students in MWCC's courtyard
Fitness Leadership & Exercise Science majors Shaunna Woessner and Cody Savoy take a break before heading to a class on the first day of the new academic year.

MWCC welcomed thousands of new and returning students onto its main campus in Gardner and satellite campuses in Leominster, Devens and Fitchburg, as well as students enrolled in online courses. The new academic year began Sept. 5. 


More than 1,000 of the new students recently attended day, evening and program-specific orientations, marking a dynamic start to the 2012-2013 academic year. Coordinated by the office of Student Life, the orientation sessions provide students with an opportunity to learn about college life and MWCC programs, support services, and activities.


A majority of the new day students attended orientation on Sept. 4, which included seminars and other activities. Students met with faculty, deans and advisors, toured the campus, received information about college resources, and attended a student club expo. 


During the orientation for day students, President Daniel M. Asquino and college administrators greeted the incoming students and encouraged them to become involved with campus activities and tap into college resources to make the most of their experience at MWCC. Executive Vice President Ann McDonald, Assistant Dean of Students Greg Clement, and comedic motivational speaker Michael Miller also welcomed the students.


Orientation sessions for evening students and family and support networks also were offered to acquaint newcomers to the college.

In addition to the orientation events, the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success hosted a welcome for veteran students. The Aug. 29 event featured a variety of speakers who addressed topics relevant to veterans and active military members returning to college. Speakers included Nick Dutter and Tommy Furlong, veteran outreach coordinators for Home Base, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, which provides clinical care and support services; Kevin Lambert of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services Statewide Advocacy for Veterans' Empowerment (SAVE) program; and several college faculty and staff members.

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President Asquino Joins NACCE's Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum
President Daniel M. Asquino
President Daniel M. Asquino

 MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino has joined the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, a new initiative of the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation's leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges. Through this program, presidents of community colleges throughout the country commit to increase the focus on entrepreneurship at their institutions and the impact these colleges have on the economic well-being of the communities they serve.
With the economy still lagging in many regions of the United States, more than 175 community colleges have joined the entrepreneurship forum, and by doing so, have committed to playing a greater role in stimulating economic development in the communities they serve.

"Mount Wachusett Community College continues to be committed to cultivating entrepreneurship within our region," Dr. Asquino said. "It is incumbent upon us to create an environment for new opportunities, particularly in the area of small business."
The Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum is in response to the Obama Administration's Startup America call to action to stimulate economic growth state by state by encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. NACCE is a founding affiliate of the Startup America Partnership, an alliance of the country's most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders.
According to NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle, the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum is a way for community colleges to advance entrepreneurship and create jobs across the country. Community college presidents who join the forum make five commitments:  

  • Develop transparency of community college and community assets
  • Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship
  • Increase entrepreneurs' engagement in community colleges
  • Engage in industry cluster development
  • Create broad exposure to their college's commitment to entrepreneurship

"The five commitments were developed based on NACCE's observations of what was working best on member campuses," said Van Sickle. "After observing the entrepreneurship-related activities of our members over a period of years, we started to see commonalities among the more successful institutions," she said. "One of the major things that clearly makes a difference is the commitment by leadership to entrepreneurship."


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MWCC Hosting Events in Recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month

MWCC is hosting three upcoming events in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated nationally from Sept. 12 to Oct. 15.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12 during the popular Fall Fest on the Gardner Campus, MWCC will welcome a return visit from Grupo Fantasia. The band has won many awards in Latin categories, including Boston's prestigious Expose Award for Best Spanish Band in 1993, runner up in the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce Award for Education in 1993, and the Boston Music Award nominee for Best World Class Act in 2003.


Michael Reyes
Activist & hip-hop artist Michael Reyes

A performance by activist, poet and hip-hop artist Michael Reyes will take place on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Gardner Campus, room 127. Reyes has brought innovative and engaging performances to audiences across the country and internationally for more than 12 years. His combination of hip-hop, poetry and spoken word create a unique blend, where his narratives are infused into a rhythmically, crowd-pleasing performance. A leading voice in progressive and radical music, Reyes combines cultural stories of resistance, raw hip-hop, fresh beats and inspiring poems to reach audiences of all ages. His work challenges and confronts many social ills faced by communities of color.

On Monday, Oct. 15, a viewing of the film Colors of the Mountain will take place beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café of the Gardner Campus as part of the fall film series. The film depicts a young boy's passion for soccer, despite the dangerous environment that threatens his dream of becoming a great goalkeeper.


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Upcoming Events

American FlagMWCC's Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, together with members of the student Veterans Group, will host the Remember to Remember 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday, Sept. 11 in the Commons area at the Gardner campus to honor and reflect on those who lost their lives in the attacks in 2001. Remember to Remember is a silent memorial, except for the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 victims. The public is invited to stop by any time during the three-hour memorial and place a flower at the base of a flagpole. The reading of the names will begin at 8:46 a.m, the time of the first attack at the World Trade Center. Members of the Patriot Riders will unfurl a flag and raise it to half-staff before proceeding to MWCC's Devens campus for a remembrance there. At noon, the documentary "9/11: The Filmmaker's Commemorative Edition," will be shown in the North Cafe. A commemorative flag and a piece of artwork created by 1995 MWCC alumna Carrie Progen, who was among the World Trade Center victims, are on permanent display at the college. The Remember to Remember memorial was founded by local artist and poet James Pelletier of Winchendon, who organized the recordings in collaboration with the NY-RFB&D and The Pentagon and served as a volunteer at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 attack.


The Fall Fest Welcome & Barbecue will be held on the back lawn of the Gardner campus on Sept 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Grupo Fantasia in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Enjoy the big chair photos, henna tattoos, caricatures, cotton candy, the student club expo, and other activities, as well as a free barbecue that begins at 12:30. The event is sponsored by the Student Life office and CATS (Campus Activities Team for Students) and is open to all MWCC students, faculty and staff. 
"Bike Wachusett," an event sponsored by the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center's Multi Sport Team, will take place Sunday, Sept. 16. Beginning at 8 a.m. at the Fitness & Wellness Center, riders may participate in a 31, 50 or 101 mile bike ride. Families and friends are invited to enjoy a day of riding through area towns. Rest stops with water and snacks will be available along the routes for riders. For more information or to register, go to or contact the Fitness & Wellness Center at 978-630-9212.

Scallops: New England Coastal CookbookA Scrumptious Scallop Tasting & Book Signing with mother/daughter cookbook authors Elaine and Karin A. Tammi, will take place Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the North Café of MWCC's Gardner Campus. The Tammis, authors of Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook, will discuss the history and recipes behind the book. A selection of dishes from the cookbook will be served. Karin Tammi is a shellfish biologist who manages a shellfish hatchery at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, R.I. Elaine Tammi lives on Cape Cod, writing mysteries, reading and making scallop crafts. The former Westminster residents have co-authored articles for Food Arts magazine and Coastal Living magazine. For more information about the cookbook, visit The one-of-a-kind cookbook weaves together some of the best scallop recipes in New England with interviews from Nantucket bay scallop fishermen, marine scientists, world-renowned chefs, shuckers, and sea scallopers to provide an insider's view into these fisheries. From the Maine coast to Cape Cod, highlighting New Bedford, an old whaling city and now the primary scallop port in the U.S., the cookbook provides delectable recipes from award-winning chefs while covering topics such as sustainability of the sea scallop fishery, consumer-supported agriculture, and species information. A donation of $20 to attend the event will benefit the Carl F. Tammi Scholarship Fund, administered by the MWCC Foundation and awarded in memory of the long-serving professor. Professor Tammi taught computer science at MWCC for more than 30 years and served as department chair before retiring in 1997. He was named as one of the 40 most influential people of the college during MWCC's 40th anniversary. Elaine Tammi previously taught at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School and Karin Tammi is a graduate of Oakmont High School. Reservations are requested and may be made by calling 978-630-9387 or emailing


MWCC will host the annual New England Association of College Admissions Counseling (NEACAC) College Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Fitness & Wellness Center. This free fair is the largest college fair held in Worcester County during the fall and allows attendees to interact with representatives from nearly 200 public and private colleges and universities, as well as military institutions. The fair is open to the public. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 or visit


New Works in Clay exhibit New Work in Clay, an exhibit of works by MWCC alumnae Samantha Hanson and Naida Knox, is on display in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center through Oct. 12. A reception with the artists will take place Friday, Sept. 21 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the gallery. Naida Knox of Gardner graduated in May 2011 with an associate degree in art. She has won several awards from local art organizations and continues to be actively involved in the Greater Gardner Art Association, Gardner Area League of Artists, Circle of Artists and the Princeton Portrait Society. Samantha Hanson of Hardwick graduated in May 2012 with an associate degree in art and has been accepted to Maine College of Art with scholarship. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The fall 2012 Student Life Film Series kicks off Sept. 26 with the film 18 in '08, a nonpartisan documentary made by then-19-year-old director David d. Burstein. 18 in 08 features interviews with many of the most influential politicians in 2008 and today, as well as popular culture figures, political activists, media commentators, and student leaders. The film will air Sept. 26 at 12:30 in the North Café at the Gardner Campus, and on Sept. 27 at 11:40 a.m. at the Leominster Campus, in Lab 4. The film series will continue with Warrior Champions on Oct. 2 in Gardner and Oct. 4 in Leominster; Colors of the Mountain on Oct. 15 in Gardner; Little Sparrows on Oct. 29 in Gardner; and Native Spirit and the Sun Dance Way on November 13 in Gardner and Nov. 13 in Leominster.


Martin F. Connors Jr.Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will honor long-serving community volunteer Martin F. Connors, Jr. as the 2012 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year during the foundation's annual dinner on Oct. 18 at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner. Connors, President and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, and outstanding MWCC students who receive foundation scholarship awards will be recognized.  The MWCC Foundation annually awards more than $260,000 in scholarship funds to students. Tickets to the annual foundation dinner are $75 per person. A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Jessica Connors at 978-630-9387 or


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on several academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree in Nursing: Sept. 18 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204; Clinical Laboratory Science: Sept. 25, 4 p.m. Gardner Campus, room 214; Dental Programs (Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting Certificate): Sept. 26, from 2 to 3 p.m., room 204. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or email

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