Pictured after the presentation of awards at MCCC's Open House, from left, are MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, Nancy Quinones representing Honoree Waste Management Inc., Honoree State Trooper Steven Foster, Honoree Senator Shirley Turner, MCCC Trustee Pam Hersh and MCCC Trustee Chair Rev. William E. Coleman Jr.
More than 300 area residents gathered for the fourth annual Open House and Report to the Community on Nov. 11 at MCCC’s Conference Center. College-bound teens and adults, career changers, as well as friends and supporters came to learn more about the college’s varied programs and services.
Three were recognized by the MCCC Board of Trustees for their invaluable services to the community. State Trooper Steven Foster received the Alumni Leader Award for his heroism in saving a man from a burning car; Waste Management Inc., received the Corporate Partner Award for its commitment to employee training and partnership with MCCC’s Center for Training and Development; and Senator Shirley Turner received the Partner in Learning Award for her long-time advocacy for education.
Mercer faculty, students and alumni across all divisions of the college were on hand at information tables to offer insight into MCCC’s programs. Health professions, funeral services information technology, culinary arts, radio, television, digital arts, solar energy, education and liberal arts were among the programs on display. Admissions representatives explained the application process and answerd questions about enrollment and financial aid.
Prospective student Tatiana Rasberry of Nottingham High School came with her mother and grandmother to gather information about Mercer’s Criminal Justice Program. “I’ve been interested in the law enforcement field ever since I was little,” said Rasberry. “Although I am not 100 percent sure of what career direction I will take, I know that Mercer is a good school; I am very interested in coming here. I have a lot of friends who are here already.”
MCCC alumna Kristen Morgan of Bordentown (A.A.S., Horticulture), now an adjunct instructor at Mercer and a florist at Petal Pushers in Hamilton, brought along two of her students, who demonstrated how to make floral arrangements. “Mercer’s faculty really pushed me to succeed so I jumped at the chance to come back to tell others what the college has done for me,” said Morgan.
Michelle Soto ‘09, (A.A.S., Physical Therapy Assistant), also spoke to prospective students about her Mercer experience. Soto, a physical therapist assistant at Robert Wood Johnson-Hamilton, was delighted to share her perspective as a career-changer. A Rutgers University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in media studies, she worked in New York City then decided a career shift was in order when several family members became car accident victims. Seeking to help them, a physical therapy career soon appealed to her. She chose Mercer after attending a previous MCCC Open House. “All the resources were available for me here,” said Soto to visitors who stopped by the PTA table. “Come here prepared to work but know that the faculty and staff at Mercer give their all.”
Highlights of the Open House included live music provided by the MCCC Jazz Band, delectable Bananas Foster served by MCCC culinary students, a turkey carving station presented by Career Training Institute chefs, and hors-d'oeuvres served by the Conference staff. MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue presented her annual report to the community with a colorful slide show. As the event coincided with Veteran’s Day, she also recognized the sacrifices and achievements of the nation’s veterans.