"Living Report to Community"
On Dec. 4, Mercer
County Community College rolled out the red carpet at the MCCC Conference
Center. Approximately 300 community members came out to celebrate
a year of success and learn more about the opportunities available
at Mercer. In addition to honoring three of MCCC's special community
partners, the event, whose theme was "Creating the Future,"
provided a showcase for student achievement and faculty contributions.
Among the visitors were many prospective students and their families,
who had a chance to talk with alumni and current students about
various majors, learn about extracurricular activities, and listen
to live music performed by the MCCC Jazz Band. Faculty and students
presented interactive displays including blood pressure checks by
nursing students, a demonstration of online classes by the Virtual
College, and a sampling of desserts prepared by students from the
Hospitality Club. Culinary students from the James Kerney Campus'
Career Training Institute served roast beef at a carving station.
The Conference Center staff laid out a sumptuous buffet and nine
lucky guests won gift baskets and MCCC paraphernalia.
The event made it to the airwaves with a live broadcast of WWFM's
Jazz on 2. Host Winifred Howard interviewed honorees Ana Berdecia,
Greg Tornquist (for Cenlar FSB) and Ellen Guarnieri (for Robert
Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton). Among the alumni interviewed
were Mary Jane Harris ('07), now a medical student at UMDNJ, Helen
Fadeyi ('08), an Advertising Design grad who works for MWH Advertising
in Princeton, and Gina Marisi ('08), an Energy Utility Technology
grad who moved directly from Mercer into a job as an engineer with
second from left, Ana Berdecia, Ellen Guarnieri and Greg Tornquist,
with MCCC President Patricia Donohue, far left, and Board Vice Chair
and students from the Hospitality Club prepared made-to-order servings
of Bananas Foster.
Oscar the Grouch got into the act as a representative of the Horticulture
program. A topiary made out of English Ivy, the world's most famous grump
spends the summer at Sesame Place and makes its winter home in the MCCC
Greenhouse. He was escorted by Horticulture alum Chris McCarron ('76),
the landscape manager at Sesame Place, and adjunct faculty member Dawn
Following the two-hour open house, guests were invited to a formal program
in the Conference Center Auditorium, during which the college honored
three committed community partners. Introducing the honorees was Board
Vice Chair Mark Matzen. Alumna Ana Berdecia, director of the Center for
the Positive Development of Urban Children from the Watson Institute for
Public Policy at Thomas Edison State College, was selected for the Alumni
Leader Award. Berdecia's community service includes her role as founder
and president of the Latina Women's Council, the first organization of
its kind in Mercer County, and participation with numerous other organizations
dedicated to the educational outcomes of children and families. Berdecia,
who also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Mercer, said, "I
believe a leader is someone who sees a need and figures out a way to address
it. If I am guilty of that, I accept this award proudly."
Greg Tornquist received the Corporate Partner Award on behalf of Cenlar
Federal Savings Bank in recognition of the bank's long-term commitment
to employee training through MCCC's Center for Training and Development.
Tornquist expressed his gratitude, noting that the partnership has been
highly beneficial for the bank, "helping us continue to grow and
Ellen Guarnieri, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Hamilton, accepted the Partner in Learning Award, which the college presented
in appreciation of the hospital's educational commitment to students in
Mercer's nursing and other health profession programs. "We incorporate
learning into every facet of our work, so we love having students around,"
Guarnieri said. "It's exciting to consider what we can do together
in the future."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora
presented the three honorees with proclamations congratulating them for
their highly productive relationships with MCCC. "It takes a whole
community to fulfill one's goals. Mercer is an outstanding laboratory
for acquiring an education in this state." Recognizing the important
role of community colleges, he pledged continued support for Mercer's
Following the awards, MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue presented her
Annual Report to the Community, in which she outlined Mercer's success
in student learning throughout the 2007-08 academic year. "In my
second year as president, I continue to be struck by the vitality and
talent of our faculty and staff and their high expectations for our students.
This was a banner year by any measure," she said. Her narrative was
accompanied by a PowerPoint scrapbook of photos taken during the year.
Corresponding to the event was the publication of the college's Annual
Report and Foundation Report. Copies are available by calling (609) 570-3608.
See more event photos
Return to Current News