Another summer in the books, which means it's time for another Opening Day and another chance to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to campus for a super semester!
This year's Opening Day marked a special celebration, too, as President Carole Cowan, who announced her retirement in June, presided over her last opening ceremonies - her 25th overall as president, her 38th as a member of Team MCC
The first day couldn't happen without the help of our student leaders, who come at things from all different directions!
But the signs are there - this group is ready to lead!
We can only imagine what Jonathan Crockett is saying to fire up the Bedford crowd
In the afternoon, everyone headed up to the Lowell campus for the welcome back luncheon at the Inn and Conference Center.
Every year since 1978, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) has sought to serve, engage and inspire higher education faculty and staff across the country. Since 1989, NISOD has asked Presidents of their institutions to submit nominees for NISOD Excellence Award recipients, and this year's winners were recognized by Provost and Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs Phil Sisson.
Nancy Curll, the manager of E-Learning
Said Sisson: "No college can thrive without someone taking ownership and responsibility for instructional technology - both maintaining the infrastructure and pushing for innovation. Nancy is that person for us. She is like the three companions of Dorothy after they meet the Wizard of Oz - she has brains, heart and courage. Nancy has shepherded and mentored hundreds of full and part-time faculty through the on-line course development process and we owe the quality of our on-line courses to her leadership and care."
Maryanne Mungovan, the Director of Multicultural and Veterans Affairs
Said Sisson: "Maryanne has over 25 years of service at MCC. During that time she has taken on numerous roles at the college including faculty, coordinator of the Multicultural Center, and now as Director of Multicultural and Veterans Affairs. Maryanne advances the college's mission and strategic direction by empowering our students, celebrating the diversity of our community, nurturing personal connections and responding to the needs of the community. Her contributions are extensive and her commitment to student success is exemplary."
Karen Oster, the department Chair and Professor of Performing Arts
According to Sisson, "Karen has kept the drama program running through adverse conditions, including floods and theater closings, and despite the significant infrastructural problems, she has consistently led students to provide high-quality productions in a variety of genres. All this, and Karen still finds time and energy to run not one, but two theater camps through the college's Business and Industry department with the goals of developing in children a love of theater and increased self-confidence.
Nursing Professor Marie Ryder
Said Sisson: "In her over 35 years teaching in the MCC Nursing Program, Marie has been a champion for her nursing students and for veterans at the Bedford Veterans Administration Hospital. She role models compassionate care for the mentally ill and warm, sincere supportive advocacy for her students.
An MCC mugshot
President Cowan being feted by from left, MCC Alum and MCC Foundation member David Basile, Student Trustee Vennesa Van Wyk, and Board of Trustees Chairman Royall M. Mack, Sr.
Best of luck to all of our students, faculty and staff as they launch into a fabulous academic year on campus, our college's 45th, and thanks to President Cowan for leading the college for 25 of those years!
Hollywood giant Robert Redford stopped into town recently for the 2014 Celebrity Forum, and spent much of his time checking out MCC's city digs, and asking tons of questions about the college's history and its penchant for preserving and rehabbing old properties to serve as college academic buildings.
Turns out the movie legend is quite a fan of history, it seems!
Before his speaking gig at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Redford stopped in at the college's historic John Nesmith House on Andover Street, where he peppered MCC President Carole Cowan with questions about the city's centuries worth of mill history.
Redford, best known for starring in Hollywood blockbusters like Butch Cassidy and the Sunday Kid, the Sting, the Way We Were, All the President's Men, the Candidate, Out of Africa, and dozens more, was engaging and genuinely interested in hearing more about the historic buildings that still dot the city of Lowell's downtown. His ears especially perked up when he heard about the college's efforts to preserve the Boston and Maine railroad depot and to convert it into a new academic building for the performing arts on Central Street. With his filming background, and especially his efforts to help smaller, independent movies make it to the big screen via his Sundance Film festival, he was pleased as punch to hear there would be a new theater for MCC's students in the building. Several of the students were in attendance at the Celebrity Forum, including their leader, theater chair Karen Oster.
On hand for the night were 20 of MCC's finest, who were the recipients of this year's Celebrity Forum scholarships, a mainstay of the fund-raising efforts that the Forum is produced to support.
The students also got their chance to shine on stage, receiving raucous rounds of applause from the sold-out audience at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
Once the scholarships were awarded, the college showed a video montage of Redford's movie clips, and the film icon made his grand entrance through the rear of the auditorium, stopping to shake hands with Forum sponsors all the way in.
On stage, Redford was interviewed by one of MCC"s many movie buffs, Patrick Cook, the Executive Director of Public Affairs
The Jeremiah Johnson star spoke of his many movie roles, his leadership of the Sundance Film Festival, and then spent several minutes talking about several of the charitable causes the environmental activist supports. Before show's end, he answered a "lightning round" of quick questions that audience members submitted via MCC's Facebook, Twitter, and social media sites.
Big laughs from Greg Flores, the Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer of the TJX Companies, Inc., the Celebrity Forum's presenting sponsor
At show's end, President Cowan returned to stage to present the Horse Whisperer with the first-of-its-kind collector's item official Middlesex Community College Stetson!
America's favorite cowboy wasted no time donning the hat
Which he promptly tipped to the standing ovation of the crowd!
Another successful year of Celebrity Forum, boasting one of the biggest celebrities that Hollywood has played host to over the past half-century. Thanks to all who supported the night, and in so doing, helped support the students who shine at MCC!