WEST WINDSOR – Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Board of Trustees honored a Trenton not-for-profit director, a Mercer County professional organization, and a state juvenile justice agency during its annual Open House and Report to the Community, held November 15.
The event presents an opportunity for MCCC administration, faculty, and staff to interact with members of the community, including prospective students, parents, and business leaders. The Board of Trustees also utilizes the venue to recognize the accomplishments of individuals and organizations, particularly those who have aided in the mission of the college.
The recipient of the Alumni Leader Award is a Mercer graduate who has made the most of her educational experience, eventually pursing a bachelor’s and master’s degree and dedicating her career to inspiring others. Ayo Johnson, ‘93 (A.S., Business Administration) is executive director of the Westminster Community Life Center in Trenton, a community-based organization that provides supplemental educational services to area residents. She has distinguished herself as an early childhood educator and administrator, noting that it was her time at Mercer that contributed to her passion for education.
“I am an advocate on behalf of the college,” Johnson said. “I had a staff member who started working for me without his high school diploma. I pushed him to get his GED, and now he is in his first semester at Mercer.”
The Partner in Learning Award honoree is a state agency committed to the reduction of recidivism among incarcerated youth – the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission Office (NJJJC) of Education. The Commission began partnering with MCCC three years ago to provide training and education to a small group of juvenile offenders. Since then, the program has grown into a statewide initiative with numerous occupational programs. New efforts emphasize increasing test scores, high school graduation, and pre-college classes.
Tremaine Harrison, acting director of education for the NJJJC, said the goal is to promote success through education.
“Our young people have a strong disenfranchisement from education,” Harrison said. “These experiences show them they can be successful learners. They earn GEDs and certificates. Everyone at the college should be proud.”
The third award was the Distinguished Corporate Partner Award, presented to a Mercer County professional organization that is a proven friend to MCCC and its students: The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants – Mercer Chapter.
The NJSCPA has a long-standing relationship with the Conference Center at Mercer, dating back to 2004. Ralph Thomas, state executive director for the NJSCPA, and Ric Ballezzi, president of the Mercer Chapter, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
“Our partnership with Mercer is a natural,” Thomas said. “Our goal is to facilitate people becoming great CPAs.”
The organization has been a generous donor to MCCC’s accounting students, awarding five scholarships this year. It has also used the MCCC Conference Center as a central location for its annual tax seminars and other meetings.
The Open House event concluded with MCCC President Patricia Donohue’s report to the community, which included highlights of the year. Approximately 200 individuals attended the event.
The college’s 2011-12 Annual Report is available online at www.mccc.edu.
For more details on the Open House and Report to the Community, click here.