West Windsor, N.J. – In its annual tribute to women leaders, the Mercer Chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges hosted the annual “Celebrating Women Leaders in Community Colleges” breakfast at the MCCC Conference Center on April 5.
The event drew representatives from community colleges around New Jersey, including MCCC staff anc student leaders.
Three women were honored with AAWCC Patricia C. Donohue Leadership Awards, named in tribute to MCCC’s president for her national service to the organization. Honorees included Lisa Camillone, Mercer’s athletic trainer and assistant athletics director; Eileen Burdge, of Ocean County College’s Displaced Homemakers Program; and Jeanne LBuz, of Gloucester County College’s Center for People in Transition.
New Jersey's Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, was the guest speaker for the event. In an engaging talk, she aimed many of her comments to the students in the audience. She encouraged them to move beyond their comfort zone and embrace challenges.
“Allow yourself to be all you can be,” Dr. Hendricks said. “Power is not something you own. It’s something you give away.”
Dr. Khalida I. Haqq, AAWCC-Mercer Chapter president, presented the awards. In her remarks, Camillone said she was humbled by the honor. A 24-year member of the athletics staff at MCCC, she noted that when she started out, her field was male-dominated.
“I have seen the evolution of athletic training. The women now outnumber the men,” she said. “I hope young women appreciate what has been done so that they can be treated equally in the field."
Camillone said that she still hears from students who thank her for her support and guidance. "I have never wavered about doing what I thought was the right thing for students. We all have to be able to look in the mirror.”
Following the presentation, student Chynna Taylor observed that the event was inspiring, especially the remarks by Dr. Henricks.
"Ms. Hendricks was down to earth and very encouraging. She advised us to learn from what we know and to say ‘yes’ to challenges,” Taylor said.
In addition to Dr. Haqq, other AAWCC officers from the Mercer chapter include Region 2 Director Dr. Linda A. Martin and Executive Board members Lucia Brown-Joseph, Erin Cahill and LaTonya Ashford-Ligon.
|Athletic Trainer Lisa Camillone, center, accepts the Patricia C. Donohue Leadership Award. She is pictured with Dr. Donohue, MCCC's president, left, and Dr. Khalida Haqq, AAWCC-Mercer chapter president and MCCC's director of Programs for Academic Services and Success.