June, 2006

Commencement 2006: Completing and Beginning
Thomas N. Wilfrid, Ph.D.

At Mercer County Community College's 39th annual Commencement ceremony on May 25, we celebrated the completion of degree and certificate programs by a marvelously diverse group of 834 graduates during the past year. The day before Commencement, our Honors Convocation recognized scores of graduates who had achieved distinction in their respective programs of study. Two weeks earlier, we celebrated joyfully the completion of James Kerney Campus-based GED, ESL and career training programs by several hundred other individuals. For all of these students and their families, we are celebrating both completing and beginning. A significant goal has been accomplished, and new opportunities and challenges await.

Below, you'll find some general information on the programs that our graduates have completed, and the transfer opportunities and employment experiences they will be undertaking. Then, I'll introduce you to a few of them individually. I wish you could meet them all! Their talent, energy, determination and resourcefulness are indeed impressive. They include recent high school graduates, military veterans, and older adults pursuing new goals. They include local residents and immigrants and international students from around the world. They are aspiring artists, architects, accountants, business managers, paralegals, chefs, technicians, scientists, teachers, criminal justice professionals, airline pilots, nurses, radiographers, physical therapist assistants, funeral directors - and more! Each story is unique; many are heartwarming, and some are heroic.

It is incredibly rewarding to work at Mercer County Community College! We are constantly enriched by the diversity of those whom we have the privilege to serve, and we are energized by their individual successes.

General Information

  • A total of 834 graduates this year were awarded a total of 882 degrees and certificates, including:
185 Associate in Arts degrees
21 Associate in Fine Arts degrees
314 Associate in Science degrees
269 Associate in Applied Science degrees, and
93 Certificates of Proficiency
  • 402 of these graduates took the time to complete a brief survey about themselves and their MCCC experience. We learned the following:
  • Just over half of our graduates had entered MCCC with the purpose of preparing to transfer to a four-year college, and just under half had entered for purposes directly related to job or career. 89% said they have achieved their objective.
  • 41% of our graduates have already been accepted into a transfer institution, and an additional 9% are awaiting action on their application. Of 193 transfer acceptances reported on the survey, the distribution of institutions was:
    • 39 to Rider University
    • 31 to Rutgers University
    • 32 to The College of New Jersey
    • 12 to Thomas Edison State College
    • 5 to New Jersey Institute of Technology
    • 23 to other NJ public institutions
    • 11 to other NJ private institutions
    • 40 to out-of-state institutions.

  • Over 78% of those who are transferring are satisfied with the amount of MCCC credits being accepted by their transfer institution, while less than 7% are dissatisfied.

  • Just over 60% of our graduates plan to work full-time after graduation, and another 26% plan to work part-time.
    • 75% will be employed in a position related to their academic program at Mercer.
    • 59% have gained or will gain a salary increase because of the completion of their MCCC coursework.

  • Over 95% of our graduates indicated that they would recommend MCCC to others, while less than 1% would not.

    Individual Stories

  •  
    Marketa Urbanova studied economics and completed a master's degree in Prague, Czech Republic, before coming to the U.S. as an au pair in 2002. An Advertising Design major, she received the Sam Willig Memorial award for excellence in Advertising Design at MCCC's Honors Convocation. Marketa would now like to move to New York City to pursue a career in design, and possibly to attend art school to continue refining her painting skills.

    Michael Ely, left, and Chris Knoll, below, are co-recipients of the MCCC Funeral Service award, achieving highest honors in their program. Both are Marine Corps veterans.

    Ely represents the fourth generation of funeral service providers in his family. He served in the Marine Corps in Iraq, and plans to work with his grandfather at Ely Funeral Home in Neptune, NJ.

     

    Chris Knoll was also in the Marine Corps. He is employed by Oliverie Funeral home in Manchester, NJ.

    MCCC is the only school for funeral service education in New Jersey.

    Kyle Williams is graduating with an associate degree in Radiography at age 42. Formerly a computer technologist, the Dean's List student chose to pursue a health-related profession because he enjoys helping people. For the past three years he has worked full-time as an emergency room technician while attending classes and completing his required clinical training. Well known for his enthusiasm and work ethic, Williams has secured a full-time position with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton as a CT Technologist. He plans to continue his education for a bachelor's degree in Radiography with the goal of becoming a Radiologist Assistant. He is the father of two.
    Humberto Solis was given the honor to be selected as student speaker for the 2006 Commencement ceremonies. He is the first student to graduate from the college's new Entertainment Technology program. A career-changer and father of four, he once had his own radio show. He was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Mercer, did commercials for the society and participated in charity fundraising. He also acted in plays at Kelsey Theatre. He will enter Temple University's program in "Film Media Arts" this fall.
    Michelle Treanor won the Troxell Communications award and the David West award for journalism. Graduating with a 3.5 grade point average, Michelle was editor-in-chief of the College Voice student newspaper for three semesters, and technical director for "MCN Live," the student-produced TV news program which won two awards this year. She is listed in Who's Who in American Junior Colleges.
    Jake Jones is a gifted bass player and has been an indispensable member of the college Jazz Band. He returned to college after a ten-year hiatus and has maintained a 3.0 grade point average. He received an instrumental scholarship and will be attending Rutgers University to pursue a career in music education and performance.
    Ellen Read Langan won the achievement award in Radio. She completed the Radio program part-time while maintaining a full-time job. She has earned a perfect 4.0 average and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She served as a DJ with WMCC, Mercer's student radio station, and has been a news anchor on the student-operated MCN Live television broadcast. She has lent her voice to the college's radio commercials and to the video introduction of honorees at the college's annual fundraising gala.
    Agnieszka Milik received the Roma Federal Savings Bank Scholarship and the Medical Laboratory Technology Award. She was chosen for her academic achievement, leadership abilities and clinical competence. She has worked as a lab assistant at Capital Health System for the past year. She has been accepted to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and will pursue a degree in Cytotechnology.
    Natalia Huff received the Cynthia Schaffer Memorial Scholarship for women's tennis and the Alpha Mu Gamma academic award for excellence in French from the Liberal Arts Division. She was named a Distinguished Academic All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association, an honor awarded to the nation's highest-achieving student-athletes. A native of Poland, Huff majored in International Studies and earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Mercer. Huff played no. 1 singles and no. 2 doubles for MCCC's NJCAA championship 2005 team, and its 2006 team, which came in second in this year's tournament. She is listed in Who's Who in American Junior Colleges.
    Kristina Leigh Mancini received an award for outstanding achievement in Music. She was a featured soloist with the College Chorus and was student conductor for several performances. She was a member of the Drama Club and has appeared in many Kelsey Theatre productions. She is an instructor in MCCC's Tomato Patch summer visual and performing arts camp. Kristina graduated with a 3.85 grade point average and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
    Barbara Flood has juggled caring for two children, a part-time job, volunteer work as president of her children's parent/teacher organization and demanding course work in Nursing to achieve Highest Honors and the distinction of serving as valedictorian for the Nursing class. A career changer who worked in the computer field, she has secured a Nursing position with Capital Health System at Mercer. She is a resident of Hamilton.
    Jessica Harhigh, a graduate of Hamilton High School West, attended Mercer on a full NJSTARS scholarship, a state-funded program for New Jersey's top high school graduates. Jessica served on the College Voice student newspaper and worked as a volunteer with Special Olympics. Active in the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, Harhigh was selected as one of this year's PTK "All State Team" members and was honored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. She has transferred to Rowan University where she will continue her studies in Communications. Her goal is to become a news anchor.
    Marie Luisi, Mercer's other PTK "All State Team" member, is also a graduate of Hamilton High School West, and also attended Mercer on a full scholarship from the NJSTARS program. Marie served as president of MCCC's Alpha Mu Gamma Foreign Language Honor Society. Active in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, she participated in charity fundraisers and organized a raffle for the American Cancer Society. Luisi earned her associate degree in Humanities and Social Science and will attend Rider University this fall to major in psychology. Her goal is to attend law school and pursue a legal career.

    For more student stories, see the related eNews items "James Kerney Campus Celebrates Academic Achievement," and "Nursing Program Honors 31 Grads."


    Thomas N. Wilfrid, Ph.D., is the Acting President of Mercer County Community College.

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