by Diane VanDyke
While Montgomery County Community College is celebrating its 50th anniversary, College President Dr. Karen Stout recently reached a 500th milestone with her weekly radio show, “Montgomery County Community College On the Air.”
“The communication students helped me celebrate and produce my 500th recording of ‘Montgomery County Community College On the Air’ with Alma Jacobs, a longtime advocate of the College. It was my pleasure to have her as the guest for this special show, since the very studio where we record our shows is named in honor of Alma and her late husband Alexander in appreciation for their support,” Dr. Stout said. “My first episode was taped—yes, literally taped—on October 14, 2001 with guest Bernie Mangiaracina, our Dean of Arts and Humanities at that time.”
The 500th recording featuring Jacobs aired on Sunday, May 4, on WNPV 1440 AM Lansdale at 6:05 p.m. and was streamed via their website wnpv1440.com. For a complete list of the 2013-14 shows and to subscribe to “Montgomery County Community College on the Air” podcasts, visit the College’s website page at mc3.edu/about-us/on-air.
Since her first recording, Dr. Stout has interviewed numerous guests from the College and local communities and beyond, including Pennsylvania legislators, business leaders and several renown authors who have served as the keynote speakers of the College’s Writers’ Conference, including Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon in recent years. Topics cover a broad-range of subjects featuring new College initiatives and programs, workforce development, education and employment trends, environmental issues, student service and involvement and the arts, to name a sample.
For the 500th recording, Jacobs spoke about her career, starting in the early 1970s when she was the first woman to hold the position of Director of Public Affairs at Bell of Pennsylvania (AT&T). Jacobs was subsequently appointed by Governor Milton Shapp to the First Pennsylvania Commission for Women and later named Chair by Governor Richard Thornburg.
While still working at Bell, she was called by Governor Thornburg to serve as the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging. Then in 1989, President George Bush appointed her as Philadelphia Region III Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for four years.
Thereafter, she co-hosted weekly radio programs, “Inside Government” and “Milestones: Senior Talk,” as a way to continue her advocacy for senior citizens.
As an active member of the community, Jacobs continues to serve as president of the Women for Greater Philadelphia, and as Chair of the Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council and Secretary of Penn-Asian Senior Services Board.
“Montgomery County Community College on the Air” started in April 1997 and initially was hosted by Dr. Rita Sellers, who was the Special Assistant to the President at the time. Sellers hosted 225 episodes until she retired in 2001, when Dr. Stout agreed to serve as a fill-in host. After recording a few shows, however, Dr. Stout decided to continue and now has completed more than 500 recordings.