Excerpts from the Inauguration Speech of Dr. Patricia C. Donohue
President of Mercer County Community College

May 4, 2007

Creating the Future

Preparing for an inaugural is an exciting time, but it is so much more. It is a ceremonial passage -- a time to celebrate the history and traditions of our college -- the foundation of excellence we are, and to celebrate the passage to the future of Mercer County Community College.

The VISION of Mercer County Community College is that all people should have the opportunity to pursue education to the fullest extent of their capabilities -- what a sound basic concept of human dignity and respect for all.

The community college MISSION is to provide access and excellence in educational opportunities, to nurture students and support economic and community development.

We are committed to basic literacy and workplace literacy for underserved and under-prepared students. We offer college degrees and certificates, transfer and career skills. We provide workforce training for business, industry and employers - customized job training and performance improvement services.

Creating the Future for Individuals
We recognize each student as a learner, building the skills to continue learning. We know that we must assure students learn the foundations, the basics for further learning, and challenge students to find creativity. We must orient them to the global world and to understanding the connectedness. We must provide and nurture opportunities for leadership in class and through extra-curricular activities. We foster a culture of service while nurturing individuals who contribute as citizens, as parents, as workers.

As we are all those things, as we do all those things, MCCC touches many lives. Everywhere I go almost everyone I meet has attended Mercer County Community College -- or their family members or employees or close contacts -- some for a degree, some who later transferred, some for courses, some for training at their workplace, some in all those forms. Some are starting out, some are gaining new skills, some are changing careers, some seek vocational skills, some learn for the joy of it. It is safe to say one in four, perhaps closer to one in three people have learned at Mercer County Community College, each one creating strength for the future.

MCCC could stand for Merging Choice, Capability and Commitment

Creating the Future of the Community
Our focus on meeting the needs of the community and being responsive to requests from all sectors is indeed creating the future of our community.

We provide productive workers for a healthy economy where business and employers grow and flourish. For business and industry, health delivery and government services we meet emerging needs in the workforce --processes, technologies, basic skills as well as continuous currency upgrades. We meet the learning needs of non-profits and provide the volunteers of today and tomorrow.

Our connections with the community and our responsiveness require visioning together -- analyzing relevant trends, building coalitions and partnerships.

We partner with schools to build transitions for students to higher education and partner with colleges so OUR students can continue up the learning chain. We partner with economic development agencies, chambers, government and other public-focused groups to build economic health -- more jobs, better jobs, growing companies, companies new to the area. We support and enhance the fabric of OUR society in OUR community. We enhance safety and security as we educate and train future and current first responders through the Fire and Police Academies. Even heroes need a place to train.

We motivate and launch future leaders of the community. The future of the community is dependent on the resources available and the people who contribute to it.

Creating the Future of the College
The college must reflect the community as it becomes connected locally and connected globally. The college must ANTICIPATE the direction of the community and have faculty and staff to provide learning, to promote student growth and success.

We must develop the faculty of the future - those who seek the pedagogy that works with different learning styles, who take advantage of technological tools. We must feature programs that facilitate transfer to baccalaureate institutions, and identify and modify programs that prepare students for the needs of the workforce and the workforce of the future. We must provide safe, attractive facilities that appeal to students and support learning. We must provide resources to maintain excellence in education and service.

We've all heard "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." That's true as basic value, and also on practical level. New Jersey, our region, our county cannot afford to waste any of our minds. EDUCATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.

Creating the Future Through the Lives we Touch is More Important Than Ever

The college has served successive generations. Parents in early classes have sent their children and grandchildren to MCCC. There are numerous examples of a parent and child attending, even graduating at the same time. Our students and graduates have gone on to become legislators, freeholders, board members and business leaders, pilots, funeral directors, nurses, computer technicians, parents and teachers, and so much more.

Community Colleges are about building community and creating the future.

Margaret Meade said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

Every student, every group of students who learns with us, goes into the community to become leaders at many levels, making the quality of life better in our community. They are leading organizations and families and service to others, in formal activity and casual situations.

Community colleges build the human resource pool in the community. We must continue to identify opportunities for the future - to develop and teach programs with skills and knowledge for today's workplace and with the ability to seek out what is new. We must increase our initiatives in workplace development and outreach. We must partner and collaborate with schools and colleges, with business and industry, with government and economic development.

With this vision, MCCC will bring college leadership to community projects with a reflection of stable quality and strength.

Lawrence Appley, in Management in Action, said a leader should "create light which draws all the energies and creativity of many minds toward the objective that the organization has set up as its goal." Our faculty, staff, administration and students are the energy and creativity within the college. Along with trustees, all are leading at many levels, and connecting to our community.

MCCC creates hope and opportunity for our students and their families -- one person at a time, one program at a time, one project at a time, one initiative at a time - MCCC is building community and creating the future in Mercer County.

This kind of leadership starts inside, grows into all kinds of spaces, helping self and others to be all they can be. On behalf of the college - its faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees, I invite you to join with us in any of a number of ways in creating futures and building our community -- through Maximum Choices Community College. Thank you for trust in me.

Natasha Josefowitz said, "If the best of me can make more of you, then the best of you will reflect on me." I commit myself to challenges and opportunities as TOGETHER we make Mercer a great college in OUR community, Creating the Future.