Ceremonial Gavel Passed from Outgoing to Incoming Board Chairman

by Alana J. Mauger

Paul S. “Mike” Bitner (right) hands the Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees Chairman’s gavel off to Michael J. D’Aniello. Photo by John Welsh

After serving as the Chairman of the Montgomery County Community College’s Board of Trustees since 2001, Paul S. “Mike” Bitner handed off the Chairman’s gavel to incoming Board Chair Michael J. D’Aniello on Jan. 18 during the Board’s monthly meeting.

Mr. Bitner, of Salford Township, served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1991-1993 and 1997-2010, including 10 years as chairman. During that time, he established himself as a passionate advocate for the College’s mission and students, both on campus and in the community.

Mr. D’Aniello, of the Norristown Borough, has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2001, and he served as Board Treasurer from 2004-2010.

During the gavel exchange, Mr. Bitner, age 90, shared his deep appreciation of the role the College plays in community development and student success.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve Montgomery County Community College as a member of the Board of Trustees,” said Bitner. “This is an outstanding institution, and I am proud of all the great things our students have accomplished.”

As a Montgomery County Community College graduate, Mr. D’Aniello brings a unique perspective to his role as Board of Trustees Chairman.

“This College is in my blood,” said D’Aniello. “It gave me an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had. It’s an incredible asset to our community. The reason I’m here is to give back—to support the College’s students.”

Mr. D’Aniello has practiced law since 1983, and has been in private practice since 1989.  He is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, The Royal Order of Barristers, the Widener University School of Law Alumni Board, and Visitation B.V.M. CYO Board. He is also a Managing Member of First Republic Abstract, LLC.

In 2003, he was inducted into the College’s prestigious Alumni Hall of Fame for his outstanding service to the Montgomery County community.

Since retiring as Vice President of Lemmon Pharmaceutical in 1970, Mr. Bitner has been actively serving the community. He is the Director of the North Penn/Souderton Hall of Fame, and he sits on the Select Committee of the Souderton Area School District Hall of Fame. He has previously been involved as a member of the Souderton Area School Board, as Chairman of Industries with the United Way, as the Quakertown District Governor of the Pennsylvania Jaycees, and as a Rotarian.

In addition to Chairman D’Aniello, the Board elected its full slate of 2011 officers at the Jan. 18 meeting. Officers include: Andrew B. Cantor, of Cheltenham Township, Vice Chairman; Regina Lowrie, of Whitpain Township, Treasurer; Gertrude Mann, of Lower Gwynedd Township, Secretary; and Michael J. Paston, of Upper Dublin Township, as Assistant Secretary.

Andrew B. Cantor served as secretary of the College’s Board of Trustees from 2003-2010. He is a partner with Wisler, Pearlstein LLP, and he is active with a variety of organizations as a member of the Board of Trustees for Albert Einstein Hospital and Montgomery Hospital and as secretary of the Board of Trustees for New Regional Medical Center. He previously served as the president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association, and the Board of Trustees for the Hedwig House, Inc. Mr. Cantor holds a B.A. from Trinity College and an L.L.B. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Regina Lowrie joined the Board of Trustees in 2010, and she has been a member of the College’s Foundation Board of Directors since 2003, serving as chairperson of the Courage to Create Capital Campaign in support of the Fine Arts. She is the president and CEO of Vision Mortgage Capital in Blue Bell and has more than 29 years of mortgage banking experience. Ms. Lowrie serves as the chairman of the national Mortgage Bankers Association, becoming the first woman to do so in the organization’s 94-year history. In 2000, Ms. Lowrie was honored by Governor Tom Ridge as one of Pennsylvania’s “Best 50 Women in Business.”

Gertrude Mann served as assistant secretary of the College’s Board of Trustees from 2002-2010.  She also chairs the Foundation’s annual Scholarship Scramble golf event, which benefits student scholarships at the College. Ms. Mann has held the positions of chairperson of the Board and human resources representative for PM Fasteners, Inc. She is a member of the Ambler Kiwanis Club and is active in politics. She holds a B.S. from Penn State University.

Michael J. Paston was appointed to the College’s Board of Trustees in 2010. He was elected to the Upper Dublin Board of School Directors in 2003 and has served as its president since 2006. He is also a member of the National School Boards Federal Relations Network. Previously, Mr. Paston served on the Board of Directors for the Fort Washington Business Alliance and the United Way of Burlington County. He is the founder of the 501 Group in Fort Washington, Pa., and has practiced law and tax accounting. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Penn State University and a law degree from Temple University School of Law.

The 15-person Board of Trustees is the policy and governing body of Montgomery County Community College. Trustees are appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners to six-year, renewable terms. The Board sets policies advance the College’s mission and affect student access, curriculum, and the administration of the College, including approving and monitoring an annual operating and capital budget, setting tuition and fees, and hiring and evaluating the President.  The Board meets monthly in public session from September to July, and uses a committee structure to consider issues in areas around finance/audit, physical plant, curriculum and personnel.

The 2011 officers of Montgomery County Community College’s Board of Trustees (seated, from left) Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello, Vice Chiarman Andrew B. Cantor, (standing) Treasurer Regina Lowrie, Secretary Gertrude Mann, and Assistant Secretary Michael J. Paston. Photo by John Welsh

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