West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) celebrated its students and its community of friends on April 14 at Mercer Oaks in Princeton Junction. A crowd of 250 helped to make the MCCC Foundation’s signature scholarship fundraiser, “Spring Into Student Success!,” a memorable event for all. Proceeds totaling more than $76,000 will be used to sustain and expand scholarship opportunities for deserving students.
Co-chairs for the event were Foundation Board Chair Nina Melker and Mercer County Freeholder Pasquale Colavita, Jr. Following their warm welcome, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Matzen spoke about the past year’s successes and also paid tribute to MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, who is retiring in June.
President Donohue extended her own words of gratitude.
“It is my honor to lead a faculty and staff that are truly committed to our students, who make good things happen every day. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful MCCC family,” she said. She thanked Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes for the county’s continued support, as well as the Mercer County Freeholders, who provide annual scholarships for incoming MCCC students.
Dr. Donohue also praised the MCCC Foundation Board and all those who contribute to MCCC. “What you do and what you give to our students is truly important. We know that every year there are students who cannot come to MCCC without those scholarship dollars."
Six scholarship recipients were present to attest to that fact. They circulated among the guests and had an opportunity to meet the donors who have made their scholarships possible. Students included Student Government President Gina Migliaccio, an Education major who graduates in May and will transfer to Rider University, Kelly Blake, a Liberal Arts major graduating in May who plans to be a sign language interpreter; Kelly French, a business student who will continue her studies at a four-year college in the fall; Kourtney Laws, a Theatre major who hopes to one day have her own dance company; Tyler Sincoskie, an Architecture student who will also transfer this fall; and Juan Cobos, a returning adult student who is studying culinary arts and food service management.
The event gave the college a chance to recognize three community partners who have gone above and beyond for Mercer students. This year Distinguished Benefactor Awards were presented to Jim and Lynne Faridy for their long and generous history of scholarship support and other spontaneous gifts to the college, and Allen and Judy Silk for their history of giving to a variety of MCCC fundraising initiatives. Both honorees have endowed scholarships that are awarded to multiple students annually: the Faridys for students studying architecture and the Silks for students studying business.
Mr. Silk noted the satisfaction of meeting two recipients of his scholarship at the event. In accepting the award, he said, "Mercer is a place where kids have an opportunity to get a leg up. I have been really happy to be involved in this organization."
PNC Bank was the recipient of the Distinguished Corporate Partner Award. William Schofield, Vice President of Finance, and Peggy Iucolino, Vice President of Client and Community Relations, accepted the award on behalf of the bank. “We appreciate our close relationship with the college and the MCCC Foundation. It has been an honor to get to know the people at Mercer and to see the great work they do in Mercer County,” Schofield said.
The student speaker for the event, Gina Migliaccio, earned a standing ovation as she addressed the crowd. “I have really tried to make the most of my time at the college. At Mercer you get the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become that person you never thought you could be. My Mercer mentors have taught me what it means to be great teacher and to have a positive impact on young people.”
Migliaccio spoke for all the students when she expressed her gratitude. “We recognize that college is a privilege – one that not all students can afford. Not only do you ease our financial burden, but you give us motivation to achieve and exceed expectations. You have chosen not only to invest in us, but to believe in us.”
MCCC alumni played a key role at the event. A jazz ensemble composed of four Music Program graduates performed throughout the evening. All four are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in music: saxophone player Jeffrey Pando (currently studying at Montclair State University), guitarist Jesse Becker (Mason Gross School at Rutgers University), keyboard player Ian Howells (Montclair State University) and bass player Kenny Hamilton (The College of New Jersey).
Adding a beautiful touch of spring were centerpieces composed of snapdragons in large cylindrical vases, designed by MCCC alumna and committee member Tatiana Dodge.
Major event sponsors included: Premier Sponsor Dow Jones & Company; Presidential Sponsors New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company and PNC Bank; Benefactor Sponsors Investors Bank, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, PSE&G, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Spiezle Architectural Group, Thomas Edison State College and Wells Fargo. Green and Gold Sponsors were The Bank of Princeton, Borden Perlman Salisbury & Kelly, Fraytak Veisz Hopkins Duthie, Carol and Andrew Golden, Geniva and Bill Martin, Mercadien Group, PFM Asset Management, and Stark & Stark. Raffle prizes were donated by AAA Mid-Atlantic and Hamilton Jewelers.
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