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MCCC's Spring Event Honors Community Supporters
And Raises Funds for Students


West Windsor, 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.

Addressing 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.

In his 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," Donohue said.

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. "

Music 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 2004.

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."

For more on the honorees, visit an earlier article here.

The final 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."

Dr. Donohue 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."

See additional photos in the Facebook album here.








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Taking 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.
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, center, with MCCC Trustee Shamil Rodriguez, left, and Foundation Board Member Ruth Rosser.
Student representative Elijah Dixon thanks the Foundation for the generous scholarship that has allowed him to reach his goals at Mercer. Dixon is pictured with MCCC's President Donohue, left, Foundation Board Chair Karen Kennedy, and event co-chairs Nina Melker and Pat Colavita.
Foundation Chair Karen Kennedy with honoree Joseph Ridolfi.
MCCC students enjoyed the festivities.
Music students, from left, Dan Auletta, Kurt Moreton, Dan Povio and Sean Christiansen performed light jazz, providing a perfect backdrop to the festivities.