AACC Names Coach Geno Auriemma Outstanding Alumnus

by Diane VanDyke

Photo courtesy of University of Connecticut

Photo courtesy of University of Connecticut

Montgomery County Community College is pleased to announce that alumnus Geno Auriemma, head coach of the women’s basketball team for the University of Connecticut, received the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) on April 8, 2014, during the 2014 Annual AACC Convention inWashington D.C.

Auriemma was unable to personally attend the ceremony because the UConn’s women’s basketball team again made it to the Final Four of the National Championship and played against Notre Dame in Nashville, Tenn., during the evening of April 8. The team went on to win its ninth national title.

“From his humble beginnings in Norristown throughout his coaching career, Geno has persistently pushed to achieve the best for the players he coaches and for himself and has redefined the meaning of success in college women’s basketball,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC president, who accepted the award on his behalf. “His success story and his continual achievements, both on and off the court, serve as an inspiration for all, and particularly for community college students who are starting at the same place he did.”

When he was seven years of age, Auriemma immigrated with his family to Norristown, Pa., where he grew up and attended Bishop Kenrick High School. Following graduation, he enrolled at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell. During his time at MCCC from 1972-1975, he played on the basketball and tennis teams. He also met his wife, Kathryn Osler, at MCCC, and they were married in 1978. He subsequently completed his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1981 at West Chester University, Pa. Following his passion for sports, he landed his first coaching job as an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Bishop McDevitt High School in Cheltenham Township, Pa.

Auriemma started his college coaching career in 1978 when he was hired as an assistant women’s coach at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pa. He returned to his high school alma mater to coach from 1979-81 and then coached at the University of Virginia from 1981-85. In 1985, he was hired by the University of Connecticut, and in 1995, the team won the first national championship and then proceeded to win the NCAA title seven more times.

In 2006, Coach Auriemma was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Tenn., and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Mass. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He was named U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year in 1995, 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he shared the Big East Conference Coach of the Year award with Mike Carey of West Virginia, and in 2011, he won the award again. In 2013, he received the Winged Foot Award by the New York Athletic Club for winning the Division I National Championship.

In 2010, Auriemma coached the U.S. women to gold at the World Championships, and in 2012, he led the women’s U.S. National Team to gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. This summer, Auriemma will be coaching the U.S. women’s team again at the 2014 World Championships in Turkey, where a title would qualify the team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Beyond coaching, Auriemma has authored a book with the Boston Globe’s Jackie MacMullen, “Geno. In Pursuit of Perfection.” Additionally, he owns several restaurants in Connecticut, including Geno’s Fast Break and a new Geno’s Grille.

He has served on several boards, including Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., Kay Yow/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund, American Heart Association, Why-Me of New England and the Connecticut Arthritis Foundation. As a motivational speaker, Auriemma often speaks to groups across the country, sharing words of encouragement “to be great at what you do.”

34 Cadets Graduate from Municipal Police Academy

by Alana J. Mauger

Thirty-four cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy Class 1304 on March 26 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

Academy alumnus Wayne T. Johnson, Deputy Sheriff with Chester County Sherriff’s Department, sang the National Anthem to begin the ceremony, followed by a moment of reflection from Director of Criminal Justice & Fire Science Programs Benn Prybutok. The Philadelphia Police Department Honor Guard and the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band led the procession.

Patrol Commander Darren Nyce from Upper Dublin Township Police Department was selected by class 1304 to give the keynote address, during which he stressed the importance of preparation.

“Prepare for opportunity, [so that you’re] ready for opportunity when it comes. Being prepared to do the right thing at the right moment takes tremendous heart, courage and perseverance, and, at times, great sacrifice,” shared Nyce, who is an alumnus of the Academy as well as an instructor.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., County Deputy Chief Detective Samuel Gallen, and County Coordinator of School Safety Steven A. Beck were also in attendance, along with representatives from Tredyffrin, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland and Whitpain police departments and the FBI.

Earning the highest GPA in his class, Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates.

“I think love is probably the most important thing, not only in police work but in life in general,” he shared. “It’s about community policing and how you interact with the people around you. Everyone is someone’s mother, someone’s brother. I think it’s important that we remember that golden rule—that we should treat people the way we would want our families treated.”

Academy Director Frank Williar presented Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia, with the Platoon Commander Award, describing her as “a breath of fresh air.” Stevens, who is now an officer with the Upper Darby Police Department, then ceremonially handed Academy command over to Class 1401 Cadet Lt. Andrew Burrows, Doylestown.

Williar also presented the Director’s Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J., adding that the award goes to “the MVP of the group; to an individual whose personality is instrumental in making the class what it is.”

Stevens presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award to Eric Meoli, Lansdale. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.

During the ceremony, members of the McGowan family—Karen and her sons Scott and John McGowan IV, presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Robert Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove. The scholarship honors the late East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. Wiley thanked the McGowan family for the honor, adding that he will use the scholarship to continue his education in MCCC’s Criminal Justice program in the fall.

Cadets from class 1304 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Cadet Cpl. James Apgar, Frenchtown, N.J.; Ryan Benner, Drexel Hill; Steve Berg, Levittown; Cadet Sgt. Andrew Brown, Exton; Cadet Sgt. Michael Cabry, Coatesville; Michael Carlson, Elkins Park; Liz Cartwright, Telford; Timothy Clark, Abington; Amber Culton, Quakertown; Zachary Danowski, Skippack; Kevin Deegan, Downington; James Falatovich, Birdsboro; Cadet SSgt. Evan Flora, Collegeville; Jarett Gordon, Collegeville; Patrick Halcovage, Hatfield; Jonathan Huber, Souderton; Cadet Cpl. Jason Kesack, Lansdale; Patrick Kitchenman, Levittown; Cadet Cpl. John Kreuer, Ephrata; Kevin Lowry, Willow Grove; Brett Mackow, Green Lane; Eric Meoli, Lansdale; Jay Nakahara, Allentown; Nicholas O’Connor, Conshohocken; David Pagan, Philadelphia; Stephen Romanic, Coopersburg; Cadet SSgt. David Rosenblit, Philadelphia; Cadet Sgt. Nicholas Ruud, Doylestown; Kathleen Ryan, Horsham; Alex Sansone, Huntingdon Valley; Cadet Lt. Laina Stevens, Philadelphia; Ryan Umberger, Bristol, Gabriel Wasserman, Ambler; Calvin Wiley, Willow Grove.

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

BLOG Police 1

Class 1304 graduates are congratulated by Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, and MCCC Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman. Photo by John Welsh

International Club Celebrates Global Diversity with Annual Festival

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s International Club and the ESL/International Student Services Department invite the community to the Fifth Annual International Festival on Tuesday, April 15, from 5-9:30 p.m. General admission is $5; admission for children under age 12 is $3. MCCC students will be admitted free of charge with a valid student ID.

Festivities will be held in the College Hall Cafeteria and Conference area at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students will transform the dining hall into a multi-cultural celebration with various performances from all over the world, including African and Bengali dances, Chinese folk dance, Latin songs, Mexican dance and more.

In addition, students, staff and community members will have the opportunity to sample international cuisine from more than 30 countries. Soft drinks will be available for a small fee.

This fun-filled family event brings together the college and local community to celebrate diversity and collective cultures.

For more information or to sponsor an activity, contact Dilek Arig at darig@mc3.edu.

International performances and cuisine are highlights of MCCC’s annual International Festival. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

International performances and cuisine are highlights of MCCC’s annual International Festival. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Aldersgate, College to Host Community Discussion on Drugs & Alcohol

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College is partnering with Aldersgate, a private, non-profit social services agency based in Willow Grove, to host a discussion on issues surrounding drug and alcohol abuse.

The program will be held on Wednesday, April 16 from 12:20-1:30 p.m. in College Hall room 147 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and will be simulcast to South Hall room 213 at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The program is free and is open to the public.

The information discussed will include how to identify a drug or alcohol problem, where to get free and confidential help, how to handle peer pressure, the effect of alcohol and drugs on the brain, and the current Pennsylvania laws pertaining to underage drinking and driving under the influence. To learn more, visit aldersgateservices.org.

Job Seekers Invited to Annual Career Expo

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College will hold its annual spring Career and Internship Expo on Wednesday, April 16 from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Physical Education Center, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Parking is available in the Cathcart Road lot. The Expo is free of charge and is open to the community.

A wide range of companies and institutions will be on hand to recruit applicants for diverse employment opportunities, including full-time, part-time, internships and seasonal. Last year, 95 employers participated. Starting March 30, a working list of confirmed employers will be available at facebook.com/MC3CareerServices.

The list will also be available to MCCC students and alumni who register with the College’s job posting site at CollegeCentral.com/MC3, where they can view job opportunities year round.

Questions can be directed to the College’s Office of Career Services at 215-641-6619.

Spring Dance Concert, Performing Arts Showcase, Communications/Arts Open House on Tap

by Diane VanDyke

Performing Arts Showcases feature dance, choir, jazz and orchestra performances. Photos by Matt Carlin

Performing Arts Showcases feature dance, choir, jazz and orchestra performances. Photos by Matt Carlin

Dance, jazz, choir, orchestra and even the presentation of an original composition—Montgomery County Community College’s upcoming spring performances feature many dedicated students with an expansive range of talents. The community is invited to see these shows starting with the Dance Ensemble Spring Concert on Friday, April 18, and then the students’ Performing Arts Showcase performances on April 21, 23 and 24 in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The Dance Ensemble Spring Concert and the Performing Arts Showcase performances are free of charge and open to the public, but tickets are required. To order the free tickets, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call the box office at 215-641-6518 or 215-619-7390.

Also, on April 23, the College will host a Communications and Arts Open House from 5-7 p.m. in the Advanced Technology Center Atrium and Room 101. Faculty and staff will be available to provide information and answer questions about MCCC’s Communications, Art, Music, Theater and Dance programs. Register at mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/8477. Visitors are invited to stay and enjoy the students’ performances that evening starting at 7 p.m. in the Science Center Theater.

The Dance Ensemble's Spring Concert will be held on April 18 at 8 p.m.

The Dance Ensemble’s Spring Concert will be held on April 18 at 8 p.m.

The Dance Ensemble Spring Concert on Friday, April 18, features many styles of dance, including modern, contemporary, tap and hip hop. Choreographed by the students, the dances encompass a range of themes, from the Roaring Twenties to the circus, robots, greed and more.

On Monday, April 21, at 12:30 p.m. students will present a one-hour matinee of dance and music, and then two evening performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, and Thursday, April 24.

Shows will feature dance, choral music, jazz, orchestral music and more. The choral ensembles will perform several selections from noted Broadway musicals, including “Sweeney Todd,” and “Les Miserables,” as part of the Music Department’s year-long celebration of American music. Additionally, they will perform several selections by the Beatles, as part of the College’s 50th anniversary year celebration. The College was founded in the 1960s when the Beatles and other British bands permeated the country’s music scene.

Student Otto Kuehrmann will dedicate his composition, “Ode to the Ironwolves” to them College in honor of its 50th Anniversary. Photo by Matt Carlin

Student Otto Kuehrmann will dedicate his composition, “Ode to the Ironwolves” to the College in honor of its 50th Anniversary.

As one of the highlights of the performances, the College’s string orchestra will be performing the “Ode to the Ironwolves,” an original composition written by student Otto Kuehrmann, Glenside, which he will be dedicating to MCCC in honor of its 50th anniversary.

According to Kuehrmann, “Ode to the Ironwolves” is heavily influenced by the video gaming music of Hitoshi Sakimoto, Derek Duke, Russell Brower and C418, as well as the works of 20th century composer Alan Hovhaness. The piece is about the incarnation of and release of tension and utilizes techniques such as complex rhythmic writing and chorale style.

For more information about the Dance Performance Ensemble, contact Coordinator of Dance Dr. Melinda Copel at mcopel@mc3.edu; for more information about the Fall Performing Arts Showcase, contact Associate Professor of Music Andrew Kosciesza at akoscies@mc3.edu or visit the College’s website at mc3.edu/arts/student-performance.

Students Honored as Members of All-PA Academic Team

by Alana J. Mauger

Four Montgomery County Community College students were among 45 students from across the Commonwealth recognized this week for their academic and community achievements.

Montgomery’s students include Serena Dunlap, Gilbertsville; Elizabeth Holleger, Norristown; Angelique Moon, Pottstown; and Shari Nelson, Pottstown.

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout (far left) and Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello (far right) stand with MCCC’s All-PA Academic Team members (from left) Serena Dunlap, Elizabeth Holleger, Angelique Moon and Shari Nelson. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout (far left) and Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello (far right) stand with MCCC’s All-PA Academic Team members (from left) Serena Dunlap, Elizabeth Holleger, Angelique Moon and Shari Nelson. Photo by Alana J. Mauger

Collectively, the students comprise the All-PA Academic Team, which is administered nationally by Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honors society. Students were recognized in Harrisburg on March 31, both on the floor of the House of Representatives at the State Capitol, and during a banquet facilitated by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

Serena Dunlap

Serena Dunlap already graduated from the College’s Honors Program in December, earning an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies before transferring to Bryn Mawr College on full scholarship. Her long-term plans include earning a Ph.D. and specializing in art therapy.

After graduating from Boyertown Area High School, Serena spent a semester at a private university, struggling to pay the tuition price out-of-pocket. Then she learned about MCCC’s Honors Program, which offers full-tuition scholarships for high-achieving students.

“I chose to attend community college because it was affordable,” Dunlap said. “Not only is it affordable, but it is very easy to get involved on campus and in the community itself, which makes it a pleasure to attend. Affordability was my goal when I decided to attend community college, but what community college gives in education and community is priceless.”

On campus, Dunlap was very engaged in student life, serving as vice president of the Student Government Association, president of the Environmental Club, member of Phi Theta Kappa, and as the Northwest Regional Representative of the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC). She also worked as a peer mentor in the College’s Upward Bound program and served as a student representative on the President’s Climate Council and Student Life Committee.

BLOG Beth HollegerElizabeth Holleger is an Education in the Early Years major who hopes to one day work as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. She dedicates her time to volunteering and performing service work in the community in memory of her mother, who lost her battle with invasive breast cancer in 2007.

“I decided to turn a difficult situation into a positive one, and I started volunteering and fundraising in my mother’s memory,” Holleger said. “I want to do all that I can to help others who are also affected by breast cancer. It has become a huge part of my life, and I often volunteer together with my sisters and brothers. My mother’s death has allowed me to grow as a person and to think positively about any situation.”

On campus, Holleger was instrumental in helping to charter the College’s first-ever Rotaract community service club, and she serves as its secretary. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honors society, and she participated in Alternative Spring Break, during which she volunteered for five days at The Samaritan Woman in Baltimore, Md.

Holleger currently holds a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), which she plans to maintain through next December when she will graduate from MCCC with an associate’s degree.

BLOG Angelique MoonAngelique Moon proudly became the first woman in her family to earn a college degree when she completed her associate’s degree coursework in December at MCCC. A mother of three boys, Moon was majoring in Business when she signed up for a drawing class to fill an elective.

“I never really knew what I wanted or who I was until after I took this [drawing] class. It changed my life,” she expressed.

Because art helped Moon overcome her social anxiety, she wants to help others to help themselves through art, too. She is currently taking more Fine Arts classes at MCCC and hopes to continue her studies at Kutztown University.

“As far as my long-term goals, I would love to teach but I know that many public schools are removing the arts; therefore, I am keeping an open mind to possibly curating at a museum,” she said. “I also plan to show my work as often as possible and to volunteer my services as an instructor to spread the love of art and to teach others how to express themselves through art.”

BLOG Shari NelsonShari Nelson chose to attend MCCC so that she could pursue a degree while helping with her family’s business–Nelson Illusions, a theater company specializing in magic and illusion. A Liberal Studies major at MCCC’s West Campus, Nelson plans to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and hopes to one day teach math, while continuing to work in the arts and to travel as a professional magician and illusionist.

“Learning has always been important to me, and I love understanding new things and applying them to my life and work,” shared Nelson. “Montgomery County Community College has given me the opportunity to achieve my education and work with wonderful professors while still being able to continue my jobs. At college I aim to learn the most I can to better myself and, hopefully, my future family.”

Nelson will graduate this summer from MCCC with an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies. On campus, she co-founded the West End Student Theatre club and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She also volunteered during MLK Day of Service and as a new student orientation leader. As a magician, Nelson has earned four major awards, including the Magicians Alliance of the Eastern States Award of Excellence, and has competed nationally in magic competitions.

Members of the All-PA Academic Team qualify for two-year scholarships to any of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institutions and compete at the national level for scholarships from the All-USA Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team. To learn more, visit pacommunitycolleges.org.

Portrait photos by Sandi Yanisko