MCC Graduates 615 at 43rd Annual Commencement

Download a list of all Graduates and their degrees


Manchester, CT – (May 25, 2007) . . . More than six hundred students graduated from Manchester Community College as part of the 43rd annual Commencement Ceremony held on Thursday, May 24. Graduates from 73 towns across Connecticut and seven other states, were awarded associate of science degrees, associate of arts degrees and certificates.

Margaret “Margie” Girardi, of Vernon/Rockville was the 2007 valedictorian, earning an associate of science degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Girardi is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest international honor society serving two-year colleges, and was recognized on the Dean’s List and President’s List for her outstanding academic achievement.

Girardi started her academic career at MCC five years ago and enrolled in the Adults in Transition program which, she credits, helped her to feel comfortable in returning to school as an adult student. “It takes a lot of strengthen to come back and the program gave me the courage to return to school with self-confidence,” stated Girardi. The Adults in Transition program is a one-semester program that provides support for students who are returning to school seeking a career change, after a long absence or because their pursuit for further education was interrupted.

Girardi’s academic accomplishments came with hard work, resilience, and perseverance. She states, “Even while working four jobs, I really believed that I could succeed in my classes, due in large part to the exceptional professors I’ve had the privilege to work with. Their belief in my abilities helped me to believe in myself.”

According to Joan Jakiela, Associate Professor of Therapeutic Recreation, “Margie was the type of student that all professors like to see in their classes and in their programs. Her work was of superior quality. She always took on leadership roles when given the opportunity.”

Girardi is currently employed with the Board of Education and the Department of Human Services for the Town of Tolland, where she facilitates the Rite of Passage Experience (R.O.P.E.) program for young people and adults. She is also very active in her community, participating in the Walk for Cancer and the Walk for Hunger.

Marc S. Herzog, chancellor of the Connecticut Community College system, delivered the commencement address. The chancellor serves as the chief executive officer for the system, responsible for the oversight and direction of the operations of the twelve colleges that offer over 300 associate degree programs and 390 certificate programs. The system employs over 4,000 faculty and staff members and has an annual operating budget in excess of $300 million. The system is currently planning and implementing a $650 million multi-year facilities improvement and campus development plan.

Gene S. Mazur, president of the Manchester Community College Foundation and human resources director for the Hartford Courant, received the Board of Trustees’
Merit Award for his commitment, service and leadership to the College.

The Board of Trustees’ Merit Award was created in 1990 to recognize outstanding service and support from community members or groups on behalf of an individual community college, the system of Connecticut Community Colleges, or the cause of community college education in general.

Mazur has been an active member of the Board of Directors for the Manchester Community College Foundation since 1998, and has served as president since 2004. He was instrumental in the growth of the Foundation Board and has served as a role model, leader and advocate for the organization in the community. Mazur had been influential in achieving the Foundation’s annual goals and is very involved in the success of the organization’s premiere event, An Evening of Wine Fines.

The Regional Advisory Council’s Community Service Award was presented to Kyle D. Bennett of New Britain. This award recognizes service to the College. Bennett began his academic career at MCC in 2004 to pursue a degree in Sports and Exercise Studies and Therapeutic Recreation. Bennett is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and served as a regional vice-president. He was vice-president in 2005-2006 and president in 2006-2007. Bennett is also a member of Alpha Mu Gamma for excellence in Spanish.

Shawn M. Lukaszewicz of Norwich was the recipient of the President’s Student Award. This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated unusual perseverance in spite of difficulties, obstacles or challenges.
News Item Posted On: May 25, 2007
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914