N.J. - In a glittering ballroom at the Westin Princeton on
April 2, friends of Mercer County Community College greeted
spring as they celebrated student success, thanked the college's
many generous supporters, and raised funds through a silent
auction. Proceeds from the "Spring Into Student Success!"
event will provide scholarships and other critical financial
support for MCCC students.
a crowd of approximately 200, E. Karen Kennedy, chair of the
college's Foundation Board, observed that spring is her favorite
season. She compared MCCC students to seeds that will flourish
with water and light. "We are so grateful for the nutrition
you are providing our students," she told the crowd.
"Mercer is creating a wonderful future for students and
the community." The event committee was co-chaired by
Mercer County Freeholder Pat Colavita and Nina Melker.
remarks, MCCC Trustee Chair Mark Matzen thanked sponsors at
all levels. "Without you, our students could not take
advantage of all that is offered at MCCC."
MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue focused on the recent visit
of Dr. Jill Biden to Mercer's West Windsor campus. As a long-time
community college teacher, Biden has proven a strong advocate
for community colleges and their role in giving people access
to higher education to improve their lives. "Dr. Biden
has crafted a national message on the important role of the
work we do. We are so proud that she chose to come to Mercer,"
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes gave his thanks for what
MCCC has allowed him to do as the county's leader. "I
am so proud that Mercer County continues to support MCCC for
the jewel that it is. Each and every year, MCCC is one of
the things on the top of our agenda. There is no finer place
to get an education. The students who are here tonight will
be the leaders of tomorrow. "
was provided by a four-piece jazz band featuring MCCC music
students. A silent auction included original artwork donated
by area artists, along with many other donated gift items.
Horticulture students created elegant floral arrangements
of live orchids floating in water.
In a special presentation, the college presented awards to
its 2012 honorees. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president
and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), received
the Distinguished Benefactor Award for the foundation's major
support of student scholarhips. Robert A. Bonazzi was the
recipient of the Spirit of Education Award for his generosity
through the Bonazzi Foundation for the Promotion of Science
Education. The Distinguished Corporate Partner Award went
to Joseph R. Ridolfi & Associates. A Foundation Board
for more than ten years, Ridolfi noted,"Education is
the key to advancement in life, and I want to help those who
help themselves. The Spirit of Education Award was presented
to Scott Needham, owner of Princeton Air Conditioning, Inc.,
and a member of MCCC's Foundation Board of Directors since
Needham noted his multiple long-time ties to the college and
said that his company has hired many MCCC grads and many of
his employees have attended Mercer while working. He observed,
"Someone has said that genius without education is like
silver in the mine. Mercer creates opportunities. I am truly
honored to be part of it."
on the honorees, visit an earlier article here.
presentation was to the event's student representative, Elijah
Dixon, of Ewing. Dixon, a scholarship recipient who will graduate
in May with an A.S. in Business Administration, said, "It's
sad for someone who wants to continue their education and
can't due to financial issues. I I truly thank Mercer. My
scholarship has helped me reach my goal of transferring to
a four-year school much faster."
concluded the ceremony by noting the role of the Spring Into
Student Success committee. "Our community leaders step
up," she said. "They contribute time and passion
to getting it done. We are all here to support our students."
photos in the Facebook album here.
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part in the awards ceremony at "Spring Into Student Success"
are: back from from left, awardees Scott Needham, Dr. Risa
Lavizzo-Mourey, student Elijah Dixon, Joseph Ridolfi, Kathy
Bonazzi (representing the Robert Bonazzi Foundation), and
MCCC Trustee Chair Mark Matzen and Vice President Mellissia
Zanjani; front row from left, event co-chairs Nina Melker
and Pat Colavita, and MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue.
Not pictured: Foundation Chair Karen Kennedy.