Maine Community College System  
In This Issue
President Fitzsimmons outlines plans for MCCS
Accelerate ME provides new pathway to a degree
Community colleges graduate record number
EMCC holds presidential inauguration
MCCS honors students
Recipe of the month
News briefs



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May 2011

A roadmap for MCCS and for Maine's economy
MCCS President John Fitzsimmons has announced an aggressive plan to increase enrollment at Maine's community colleges from 18,000 to 25,000 students over the next five to seven years to help meet Maine's economic and educational challenges. Fitzsimmons outlined the plan in his recent biennial address to a joint session of the Maine Legislature.

Fitzsimmons noted that only 37% of Maine adults hold a
John Fitzsimmons, MCCS President
MCCS President John Fitzsimmons
college degree, compared to 46% in the rest of New England.

"Report after report has documented the link between educational attainment and economic prosperity," he said. "In Maine, that link is broken."

As he noted, the state's community colleges have been unable to serve all those who want to attend. In the fall of 2010, they had to turn away 5,300 qualified applicants due to a lack of capacity.

The plan to increase access to higher education includes:
  • Expansion of SMCC to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, eventually to serve an additional 2,000 students each year.
  • The proposed expansion of KVCC to the Good Will-Hinckley campus, enabling it to serve 1,500 more students.
  • Accelerate ME, a new program to help Maine adults who have earned some college credit complete their degree. [See story below.]
  • Continuation of the MCCS Rural Initiative, providing scholarships and degree programs to rural students and their communities. 

Accelerate ME to help Mainers earn degree 

With support from The Kresge Foundation, CMCC, SMCC and YCCC this fall will pilot an accelerated degree program designed to enable Maine adults who have earned at least 30 credits to complete a two-year degree in 12 months. Accelerate ME will provide students with financial assistance, academic and personal counseling, and priority course scheduling. It is designed to serve 225 students during the pilot period.

Congratulations to our graduates! 

GraduationMaine's community colleges will graduate nearly 3,000 students this month, more than ever before, and a 21% increase over last year.  Among the Class of 2011: the first 14 graduates of NMCC's new wind power technology program and, at SMCC, the youngest community college graduate in Maine (16-year-old Rachel Champoux of Westbrook) and the oldest (83-year-old Robert Witham of Portland). Congratulations to our students and their families!

EMCC inaugurates new presidentLarry Barrett, EMCC President

Lawrence Barrett was formally sworn in as the 6th president of Eastern Maine Community College on April 15. Barrett was previously the Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Purdue University North Central. He is a first generation college student who earned an associates degree at Ulster County Community College (NY) before pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. 

MCCS honors students for personal and academic achievements 

Students named to the All-Maine Academic Team and as Students of the Year by their respective colleges were honored recently by the MCCS Board of Trustees. The students were chosen based on their academic achievements, community involvement, and, in some cases, for overcoming significant obstacles. Here, in their own words, are some of their stories:


Gail Bennett, CMCC Student of the Year, 2011 All-Maine Academic Team


Gail Bennett

"I remember being so scared the first day of school. I didn't know anyone but my husband. We had decided to do this together. I was made to feel so at home. All the teachers and support staff have always been there for me. Two short years later, at age 43, I am graduating with my associates degree in accounting from CMCC. It has been the best experience in my life for myself and my family." 


 Helen Chamberland, EMCC, 2011 All-Maine Academic Team


Helen Chamberland

"One of the most important things I have learned during my community college experience is to get involved. Get a work study job, join a group and volunteer, or just get to know your faculty, staff, and fellow students. My community college experience has assisted me in gaining my confidence back. The connections and contacts I have made are helping me get to where I want to be."


Dustin Graham, NMCC Student of the Year


Dustin Graham

"NMCC was the best place for me to start my college career. It afforded me the opportunity to be really involved, and it served as a great place for me to test the waters as to what college was about. I could have gone away to a larger school and still had a positive experience, but NMCC was the best fit to begin my college education."  

Read more stories about MCCS students who are making a difference in their communities and building a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

Recipe of the month
Raspberries are the key ingrediant in this month's recipeSMCC culinary arts students received two awards for their culinary creations at the Chocolate Lover's Fling, an event that benefits Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. The students, under the guidance of their advanced pastry class instructor, Theresa Hyatt, won the coveted People's Choice Award for their Chambord Cup (aka "that raspberry thing"), described as a chocolate cup with raspberry liqueur syrup, vanilla creme fraiche and a fresh raspberry. It's also described as very simple to make. Try it yourself. Here's the recipe, courtesy of Hyatt. The students also won an award for the Best Torte. Read more about the event. 


KVCC, WCCC eligible  for $1 million Aspen Prize -- KVCC and WCCC are two of 120 community colleges (out of the more than 1,100 community colleges in the country) chosen to vie for the first $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The colleges were chosen for their strong outcomes in several areas, including student persistence and degree completion. Read more.

Two students named to All-USA Academic Team
-- Rachel Champoux (SMCC) and Diane Dense (YCCC) are two of only 20 students named to USA TODAY's 21st annual All-USA Community College Academic Team, for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership. The two were selected from more than 1,600 students nominated by 800 community colleges and received a $2,500 cash award. In addition, Champoux was also named a 2011 Guistwhite Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa and selected as Maine's New Century Scholar. Both students are also members of the All-Maine Academic Team.

CMCC opens high-tech nursing simulation center -- Anthem Nursing Simulation Center at CMCCThanks to a $100,000 gift from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, CMCC has opened the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Nursing Simulation Center.  Located in Kirk Hall at the college's Auburn campus, the center includes a birthing simulator, a newborn baby simulator, a ceiling-mounted patient lift, a computerized medication-dispensing cabinet and a defibrillator for a patient simulator. The lifelike mannequins allow nursing students to gain valuable clinical experience in a safe, simulated environment.

WCCC aspiring chefs spend break learning their craft -- Seven students enrolled in WCCC's culinary arts program spent their February vacation participating in a culinary externship at The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in Colebrook, NH. The partnership allows students to apply new knowledge and skills to a fine dining atmosphere. Two of the students have already been offered employment at the resort after their graduation in May.

NMCC opens alternative energy training center -- NMCC has opened the Northern Maine Center for Excellence in Alternative Energy Training and Education. Located a short distance from campus, the facility includes classroom and laboratory space and was made possible by a $1.2 million donation from Mary Smith, a Presque Isle native, in memory of her late husband Rodney Smith. The center will support the education and training of students enrolled in the college's building construction and renewable energy programs and will help meet workforce needs in the alternative energy industry.

YCCC offers College for Kids -- YCCC will again offer its College for Kids program this summer for those ages 7-14. It will include science and arts camps, as well as a popular culinary camp. One of last year's favorites was the Crime Scene Investigation Camp. For more info:
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