Long-Time Faculty, Staff to Address Graduates at 2014 Commencement

by Alana J. Mauger

With a combined 90 years of service to Montgomery County Community College, Professor of Economics Dr. Lee Bender and Vice President for Information Technology and College Services Dr. Celeste Schwartz will deliver the Commencement keynote address to graduates during the College’s 47th Commencement ceremony on May 15 at 7 p.m. in Blue Bell.

Founded in 1964, the College is in the midst of commemorating its 50th anniversary. Along with celebrating the successes of the class of 2014, the College will welcome its early graduating classes from 1968-1972 back to campus for Commencement as part of a yearlong celebration.

“The success of this year’s graduates, and the nearly 50,000 graduates before them, would not be possible without thousands of faculty and staff, who—throughout our history—have molded the institutional character of the College into the dynamic community it is today,” shared Dr. Karen A. Stout, president. “I’m honored that Dr. Lee Bender and Dr. Celeste Schwartz will share their experiences and wisdom with the College community as our 2014 Commencement keynote speakers.”

Dr. Lee Bender was first hired part-time to teach Economics in spring 1968, and he became one of 50 full-time faculty later that year. In 1989, he was appointed as the Dean of the College’s Division of Business and Computer Science, a position he held until 2007, when he went back to teaching as a full-time Professor of Economics. As Dean, Bender helped the College introduce more than 100 new courses, and he was also among the first faculty to teach a course fully online.

Bender holds bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Math from the College of Wooster, an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Monetary Theory, International Trade and Finance from Temple University.

Dr. Celeste Schwartz graduated with an associate’s degree in data processing from Montgomery in 1970. She has since dedicated her entire professional career to the students, faculty and staff of Montgomery County Community College, working her way from a support staff key-punch operator to her current position as Vice President for Information Technology and College Services. Schwartz has led the College’s IT department since 1977, and she is credited with writing the College’s very first course registration system.

In addition to her associate’s degree from Montgomery, Schwartz holds an MBA from St. Joseph’s University, a master’s degree in Computer Science from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. in Education from Walden University. In 2002, she was inducted into the College’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

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