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MCCC Celebrates Expansion of Trenton Campus
With Dedication and Open House

10/2/12


Trenton, N.J. - After many months of hard work at its Trenton campus, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) held a day of celebration on Sept. 27. The festivities began with a ribbon cutting and dedication of its new building, Trenton Hall, followed by an open house for the community later in the day that included tours of the new building and renovated facilities in existing buildings.

The event, "Building on a Proud History," recognized MCCC's roots in Trenton and its commitment to higher education in the city for over 100 years. New facilities will add to the education and training of students for the 21st century workforce.

At the morning ceremony in Trenton Hall, MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue addressed a packed room of state, county and city officials, as well as many college friends and supporters. "I am so excited this moment is finally here and you've joined us to embrace this new beginning at the Trenton campus," Donohue said. She noted that the college's decision to use $3.6 million of Chapter 12 funds will enable students to take more courses and complete more associate degrees in Trenton, as well as to pursue MCCC's new degrees in Fashion/Apparel Design and Fashion Merchandising, which are available only at the Trenton campus.

"I remember coming in here when we first purchased this building," said MCCC Board of Trustees Chair Mark Matzen. "Seeing the transition today is just amazing."

Trenton Hall, which is located at 137 North Broad across the street from the existing campus, houses a Fashion Design laboratory; a computer lab featuring the latest MAC computers for use by Visual Arts and Fashion Design students; an additional classroom for general use; an art studio for Fine Arts students; and a storefront gallery for both Visual Arts and Fashion Design students to display their work.

Renovations in the current buildings at 102 North Broad Street include the Student Commons with a one-stop center for advisement and enrollment; the Career Center; two new science labs; a multi-use "smart technology" classroom; the Student Activities office; and a dedicated lab for Certified Nurse Assistant training, which will begin accepting students in spring 2013.

"This whole project is about the future of our college, our community, and our students," Matzen said. "At Mercer, we are about giving people the opportunity to fulfill their dreams."

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes recalled how his father, former governor or New Jersey, signed the bill that first introduced community colleges in the state in 1962. "He wanted to see everyone have that opportunity to get an affordable degree," Hughes said. "I'm proud to add something to our great capital city."

Angelica Ayala, a Liberal Arts student at the Trenton campus, spoke about the wonderful academic opportunities she has had since enrolling at Mercer in 2009. "The college has helped build my confidence and self assurance," said Ayala, who is a part-time employee in the Enrollment and Student Services office. "Mercer has given me a strong foundation towards my academic success." Ayala plans to graduate from Mercer in May and continue her studies at Rutgers University.

Karen Kennedy, MCCC Foundation Board chair and third generation Trenton resident, recalled the early conversations about expanding the downtown campus several years ago. "What a vision this has become," she said. "I want to congratulate you for a wonderful job." The purchase of Trenton Hall was made possible through major contributions to the MCCC Foundation.

Also addressing the group was New Jersey Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, who presented a proclamation in honor of the occasion. "We know and appreciate that this expansion is the beginning of even bigger things to come," she said.

Among the displays in Trenton Hall were a photography exhibit by MCCC alumni and Storefront Gallery fashion designs by instructors Allegra Ceci and Kate Pinner.

Later in the day, more than 200 members of the community visited the campus, where students led tours and guests had an opportunity to meet staff and faculty. At a presentation during the event, Dr. Donohue illustrated her comments with historic photos dating back to the early 1900s, when The School for Industrial Arts produced graduates prepared for manufacturing jobs in the city.

"We are building on the city's proud history and on our role as the city's educational hub," Donohue said. "We encourage community members to tour the campus and take courses in our beautiful new classrooms. And, we ask you to consider joining in support of our central mission for all our students - learning and student success."

Alumna Monique Richardson, a lifelong Trenton resident who received her associate's degree from MCCC in 2009, also spoke at the presentation. "I can attest to what Mercer has to offer," said Richardson, who went on to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees from Thomas Edison State College. "It is because of the staff at Mercer that I have aspired to reach further in my academic goals. With Mercer, the sky's the limit for educational advancements." Today Richardson serves as the executive assistant to the dean and provost at Mercer's Trenton campus.

Alumna Monique Richardson, who recently earned her master's degree, says she set her goals high as a result of the mentoring she received at Mercer.
MCCC Foundation Board Chair Karen Kennedy thanked all for coming and asked for community support as the college continues it Trenton expansion.
Career Training Institute culinary students served turkey with all the dressing. They are pictured with their proud instructor, Jorge Maldonado, front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The new Trenton Hall was formally opened to the public on Sept. 27.
Cutting the ribbon on the new building are, from left, student Angelica Ayala, Trenton campus Provost Monica Weaver, MCCC Board Chair Mark Matzen, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and MCCC President Patricia Donohue.
Dignitaries included state, county, city and college officials.
State Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, right, presents a proclamation to MCCC Preisdent Patricia Donohue.
In the college's new Fashion Design Lab are, from left, Fine Arts Professor Mel Leipzig, Fashion Design Program Coordinator Allegra Ceci, Advertising and Graphic Design Coordinator Tina LaPlaca, and Fashion Design Adjunct Professor Kate Pinner.
From left, former Trenton Campus Provost Beverly Richardson, President Patricia Donohue and current Provost Monica Weaver.
Greeting guests in the Student Commons are Neuvia Wallace and Jeremy Parry.
Biology faculty member Linda Gaylo in one of two new science labs.
Students visiting the new Chemistry Lab are pictured from left, Ar'Reall Dunn, Marcellus Cole and Jameel Conway. Conway is president of Student Activities at the the Trenton campus.

 

The audience responds with cheers and applause.