Monday, May 14, 2012

Prelude to Graduation

We celebrate our graduates this week, but the annual prelude to Commencement is a wonderful tapestry of events and celebrations. Although time and space limit my ability to attend every event, we’ve had small retirement parties, STEP and C-STEP awards, and other department and program celebrations.I was able to attend the Student Clubs award banquet recently to celebrate the wonderful work of Student Congress and the accomplishments of more than 50 student clubs and organizations. Last week I also attended two memorable events to celebrate our scholarship donors and recipients and the success of our Hawk athletics here at MVCC.
MVCC President Randall J. VanWagoner, Ph.D., right, congratulates John Coleman on his two awards,
the Welding Scholarship and the2012 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.

MVCC Foundation Scholarship Dinner
Nearly 300 donors and scholarship recipients attended a wonderful dinner and ceremony celebrating student success and donor generosity. The MVCC Foundation received a record 750 scholarship applications. An all-time high of $250,000 from 86 funds were awarded through 325 scholarships to 225 individual students.
At a time when the total student loan debt in this country will soon break $1 trillion (http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandebtclock.phtml), the generosity of our donors is significant. Scholarships are critical to helping students minimize financial barriers to pursue their educational goals. MVCC has also done its part to maintain access by keeping tuition as low as possible – having the lowest part-time tuition rate and the sixth-lowest full-time tuition in New York State.

2012 Utica Kiwanis Award winner David Gould with Elaine Falvo at the
65th annual MVCC Hawks Athletic Banquet.

65th Annual MVCC Hawks Athletic Banquet

We also celebrated the success of our student-athletes last week at an awards banquet for our 22 intercollegiate athletic teams. Our women’s bowling and women’s track and field teams each won NJCAA National Championships this year, bringing MVCC’s team national championships total to 21. The team and individual success across the programs was once again stunning – adding 3 more regional championships (total of 85); 23 NJCAA All-Americans (total of 445); 3 SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar Athletes: Savannah Boucher, Shaniece Brown, Kayla Smith (total of 21). In addition, many of our teams completed community service projects this year, including:
  • The Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams participated in the Breast Cancer Walk.
  • The Women’s Volleyball Team donated one of their meal money checks toward Breast Cancer Research.
  • The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams donated a meal check toward the American Heart Association.
  • The Baseball Team donated more than 300 toys/books/games to The Holly Days program, which distributes them to children around the Mohawk valley during the holidays.
  • The golf teams used pink ribbon golf balls during a fall outing to support breast cancer research.
Celebrations like these are wonderful reminders of how important our work is at MVCC, but also how important it is to recognize the student success that comes in so many forms here. These events raise my anticipation of graduation even more – where we celebrate a tremendous accomplishment in the lives of our students.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.