Farewell President Carole Cowan!

When Carol Cowan started at Middlesex Community in 1976, the school occupied two buildings at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford.  “Look at us now,” Cowan said in June as she prepared to leave her job as president of one of the largest and most inclusive community colleges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

At a joint board meeting of the MCC Board of Trustees and the MCC Foundation Cowan said that accepting her first job at Middlesex as a professor was “a decision I’ve never regretted.” People in attendance were sad to hear that Cowan was announcing her resignation, which will take place the upcoming academic year.

Cowan has served as dean of business and dean of administration and finance. Cowan received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Salem State College, a certificate of advanced graduate study from Boston State College, and a doctorate in higher education administration, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

In addition to these achievements, Cowan received an honorary doctor of humane letters from the Suffolk University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Management, in acknowledgment of her eminent career in public higher education and most recently received another honorary doctor of humane letters from Salem State College. Cowan is a member of the council’s Nominating and Board Development Committee and has been a member of the Girls Scouts board of directors since 2008. In September 1990, Cowan was named president of MCC.

“I’ve been here 38 years,” tells Cowan, the third president of the institution. At the MCC Board of Trusties meeting, Cowan said she felt she helped lead MCC from “its infancy to adulthood,” and that she also helped establish the college as a “flagship in the community college system.”

“We have strong campuses in our suburban (Bedford) and urban (Lowell) settings. Middlesex Community College has become a nationally recognized leader in higher education,” said Cowan.

She listed her accomplishments and announced to the Board, “We are beginning (a) study with the DCAM (Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance) for a new academic science building on the Bedford campus, with a major investment in biotechnology through the $3 million grant from the Mass Life Sciences consortium. Additionally, we are looking at another $10 million state investment for another new academic building in Lowell.

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“I am proud to be president of this institution, proud to be your colleague, and proud of the milestones we have reached as a team here at Middlesex. I’m excited to see where the college goes next,” said Cowan.

In a statement regarding Cowan’s retirement, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas said:

“Twenty four years ago Carole broke barriers to become the first woman president of MCC, and only its third president. During my nine years at MCC, I was inspired by Carole’s visionary leadership and unwavering dedication to the students and community, as she overcame obstacles to propel the college forward to national recognition. Carole’s leadership helped to elevate the profile of MCC and community colleges in general, highlighting the important role they play in educating, training and preparing people of all ages and walks of life for success… Her years of service and her remarkable legacy of accomplishment will resonate across the region for many years to come.”

Likewise, via his Twitter account, Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn, who assisted Cowan’s Farewell ceremony on Nov. 10, said, “Congrats on your retirement after 24 years leading Middlesex CC, @CaroleCowan! @middlesex_cc.”

To find Cowan’s heir, the search committee started work throughout the summer and fall semesters. On Dec 11, MCC board of trustees selected James Mabry as the new president.

“I am confident I have helped set the stage for the next president to step in and grab the reins of very exciting projects that will usher our college’s growth into the next decade and beyond,” Cowan said.

Farewell President Cowan, you sure will be missed at MCC!

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Ironstone Farm: Spirit of Giving Gala – Dallas 2014

Yeehaw! On November 15, more than 400 people enjoyed the Spirit of Giving Gala at Andover Country Club to benefit Ironstone Farm and Challenge Unlimited, (place a comma after the word Unlimited) which provides therapy horses and a working farm environment for the disabled.

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Ironstone Farm Executive Director Deedee O’Brien introduced the night by saying, “The horse will do a lot of things for a lot of people, and we’re discovering every day what that can do. And you are making that possible.”

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With “Dallas: Bring your Bling” as its theme, the gala featured a mechanical bull, chuck wagons fully loaded with candies, popcorn and nuts, buffets with Texas food, country music from the Houston Bernard Band, a Texas hold‘em table and other gambling games provided by Boston Charity Casinos. Most the invitees wore hats and boots, big hair and bling, among other Texas-style clothing. WBZ-TV sportscaster Bob Lobel, dressed in western gear, hosted a live auction for several vacation packages, while many other items were featured at a silent auction.

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The event honored benefactors Doug and Diana Berthiaume, members of the Ironstone Farm Leadership Committee. According to the Andover Townsman Online, the couple offered a matching donation to launch the farm’s five-year capital campaign to further improve its nonprofit programs and facilities.

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Normand Deschene, CEO of Circle Health and Lowell General Hospital, was also honored for his three decades of service at the hospital.

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Thank to the support and contributions made during that night, Megan Loughney, associate executive director at Ironstone Farm, announced that the Spirit of Giving Gala raised over $350,000

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About Ironstone Farm

Ironstone Farm was founded in 1960 by Richard Donovan as a breeding, training, and rehabilitative facility for thoroughbred performance horses. The nonprofit Challenge Unlimited was created out of the Donovan family’s desire to share Ironstone Farm with people whose lives have been challenged by disability. Located on more than 18 acres in Andover, the property consists of pasture, woodland, ponds, and is home to about 35 horses, donkeys, and a variety of wildlife (IronstoneFarm.org).

“Therapeutic riding uses the horse to deliver traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapy in a unique way – providing integration of fine motor, gross motor, speech and sensory integration in one experience,” said Peter Raffalli, a child neurological physician at Children’s Hospital.

“My personal observation is that children with low muscle tone and children with autism spectrum disorder seem to do very well with therapeutic riding. Their parents quite commonly see improvements in truncal tone and endurance, as well as interactions with staff and with their environment,” the doctor said.

To make a donation to Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm through Guidestarclick here.

 

 

 

Other Sources: Megan Donovan ( http://ironstonefarm.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/SOG-14-press-release.pdf )

Pictures and videos by: Diana Santana

Mary-Jo’s Tips on How to Dress for Success

Finally! You have the opportunity to be interviewed for that dream job that you have always wanted. You know that you have the charisma and a great personality to become part of that prestigious company; however, you certainly know that it’s all about that first impression. “What should I do?” you start panicking. Don’t worry! The Director of Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute, Mary-Jo Griffin, held an extraordinary presentation on how to dress for success. And here are 10 of her tips that you should follow before heading to your interview:

  • Ladies:

Q: Is it okay to wear pants to an interview, or should I stick to a dress?
A: “Wear your A-Game!” says Mary-Jo. Either pants or skirt suits are okay, with a color preference of grey, black, or navy. She recommends that the skirt-length should not be shorter than your knee or longer than just beneath your knee. Neutral-colored Pantyhose: a must!

Q: I love vibrant colors; thus, is it okay to wear a splash of color?
A: She suggests wearing a harmonized blouse with no vibrant colors or designs. In the same way, your nails have to be painted with neutral or pastel colors. Try to avoid plastic or extravagant jewelry, and limit yourself by wearing one ring per hand.

Q: How about my makeup?
A:  It’s okay to wear makeup! Just be careful not to use too much; it should be light or neutral. Moreover, don’t let your hair go all over your face, pull it back! You might not want any distraction during your big day.

Q: What else should I bring with me?
A: You should carry a purse or a briefcase with your portfolio (if it applies). Don’t forget to bring a pen and notebook, as well as your presentation cards. Make sure all your information is updated and written correctly.

Q: How about my shoes?
A: DO NOT wear open-toed shoes or athletic shoes. Platform shoes are okay. High-heels are recommended, but don’t use the same ones that you usually use to go dancing or meeting your girlfriends.

  • Gentlemen:

Q: What color should I wear and what should I bring to the interview?
A: You should wear a conservative suit of solid colors like black, gray, brown or navy. Don’t forget to bring your briefcase and/or portfolio along with pen and notebook, and your updated presentation cards.

Q: What color my shirt should be? Can I wear short sleeves?
A: It is preferable to wear a white or light blue long-sleeved shirt with sleeves that cover one-quarter inch beyond your suit jacket. It’s okay to wear a coat, especially during New England’s cold winter.

Q: What about my socks; should I matched with my shirt or my suit? How about my tie?
A: Griffin advises men to wear socks in a color that balances the suit. Yet, please don’t wear athletic socks. And your tie should have a traditional pattern and color to match the suit.

PS: If you don’t know how to tie your tie, here’s a helpful easy-steps video:

Q: I don’t think I should shave my beard; should I?
A: She suggests that men should consider the idea of shaving or trimming their beard, for an immaculate appearance. Believe it or not, Griffin explains that although your appearance may not be the main reason why someone won’t hire you, “40 percent of employers’ criteria of choosing their employee” is based upon this particular issue.

Q: My earrings are part of my personality; thus, should I leave them on?
A: You should remove any visible piercings for the same reason mentioned previously. And, if you have long hair, you should wear a ponytail.

“You will never have a second chance to make that first impression,” Griffin says. She says that, when going to an interview, we should dress like we are applying for a position two steps up instead of the one we are looking for at the moment. Remember, you ought to “dress for success!”

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Chester Elton: Are You All In?

On September 25, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium was full of laughs and positive energy due to the encouraging and inspirational speech by Chester Elton, author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, All In. The event was presented by the Young Professionals of Greater Lowell, House of Hope, and other great organizations of the city of Lowell. With a pleasant appearance and obvious charisma, Chester Elton introduced himself as a husband and father of four children, followed by a brief introductory story about his last visit to one of one of the Hard Rock Cafe restaurants. The restaurant chain is known for its memorabilia, music and all things rock and roll. But that enthusiasm and passion even carries into the kitchen, said Elton.

“Hard Rock Café believes that there is a little bit of rock stars in everybody,” said the author of The Carrot Principle after telling the story of one of the Café’s employees who proudly and happily works as a dishwasher. Elton showed a video of the enthusiastic worker who was dancing and singing while cleaning the dishes.

“If the (Hard Rock Café’s) dishwasher gets it, everybody gets it,” Elton said, encouraging the audience to develop a belief that must never be lost.

“Leaders help people to believe,” the author said. He advised that leaders must have discipline as well as “fall in love” with their job.

“If I walk into a room and (I noticed that) I’m the smartest one, I am in the wrong room,” Elton said.

Elton taught his audience how to apply the three E’s into their life and workplace: employers and leaders need to be “Engaged, Enabled at work, and Energized,” because, “Everybody deserve a great place to work.”

“Who will you inspire today,” Elton said as he ticked off a list of thoughtful questions. “What motives me?” he continued to ask. He gave away goodies and some copies of his book, All In, every time someone in the audience responded to his questions about leadership and entrepreneurship.

“Put your passions to work,” advised the author. “Praise efforts, and reward results.” Through the whole one-hour speech, Elton kept his charisma as well as his audience’s smiles intact.

Chester Elton is co-author of numerous prosperous leadership books and is an “In-demand speaker the world over,” according to his website. His books have been translated into over 20 languages and have sold more than a million copies worldwide.

“You are the owner of your culture… Be good to everybody,” Elton concluded.

Paul H Sullivan Leadership Institute: My Goals and Skills

I remember the first day I walked into class at Middlesex Community College. It was a mix of excitement and scariness, and at the same time I was feeling lost. The square room was becoming so big while I was feeling so small. I did not consider myself a shy person… Yet, I was afraid of expressing my feelings and concerns out loud due to my basic English knowledge. Nevertheless, through the caring English Language professor, I learned that at MCC it’s not about how little you speak or know about the English language, what really matters is our optimism and willingness to learn in order to reach our goals and teach others what we learn here at college. As the semesters went by, I gained more self-confidence; that’s when I decided to apply to the Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute at MCC.

Since the first training and the orientation day, I knew that I would fall in love with the Leadership Institution like I did with Middlesex. As a mother, this institution provides me with the skills that I’ve being practicing with my children and modeling as I continue learning from its events and meetings: Have respect for myself and others, be responsible, have fun and enjoy while learning. As a student, the PSLI has been opening doors to my future. And I am becoming more friendly, open-minded, and less afraid of speaking in public.

For example, when I was showing my support to the welcoming community of Bedford on Town Day, I felt that my social skills were improving… walking in the middle of the street, giving away candies to the lovely children, and feeling as happy as the community. Those are the little moments that have a great impact on life. I was not afraid to talk and greet the community. I was not feeling nervous at all.

I had the same experience at the Young Professionals of Greater Lowell conference. Chester Elton, the author of All In, awakened a new “skill” in me: Praise good work, and as he said, “Inspire others so they could fall in love with their job.”

Feeling the need to get out of  my chair and start working, at my first meeting as co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Network at MCC, I brought little boxes of chocolates and, in the name of the whole group, I gave them to all our members in order to welcome them to “Our Family.” Their “Awww” and “Thank you” made me feel as received as I think they did.

On the other hand, like any human being, I also have my weaknesses. I can feel mind-blocked when trying to translate from Spanish to English. There’s so much more that I want to say, and sometimes I don’t have the correct translation to express it. Although I know that this might not be considered as a weakness, when you combine it with insecurity, leads you right there. In addition, I can be very emotional; even when I laugh hard some tears of mine don’t hesitate; they slide down without mercy. On a bad day, it’s worse, especially if a person talks to me with a temper. Yet, I keep learning how to control these emotions.

I have as many short-term goals as long ones. One of my short ones is to be able to learn something new each day and then teach it to my children and/or friends, family, co-workers and so forth. My biggest goal is to build a shelter for single moms. As I spent 11 months living in one and still struggling with “The System,” I know the struggles of many of the women living there. It is not easy. Thus, as part of my daily goals, I am changing “I want” to “I will.” I will build a place where those single hard-working moms can learn how to be extraordinary women and leaders –just like the Paul Sullivan Institute is doing with me- and for them to become the person they have always dreamed of.

I truly know that the Paul H Sullivan Leadership Institute (along with our director Mary-Jo Griffin and the rest of the team) has been one of my best education experiences yet. With just those few events and meetings, I am feeling more awake and self-conscious, secure, inspired and dedicated. I cannot wait for the next steps of my path in this institution; it feels extremely good. I cannot thank God more for all of these changes in my life.

I can’t wait for our next big event, where I will have the pleasure to meet the Greater Lowell philanthropists, Linda and John Chemaly, a great inspirational hardworking couple.

Middlesex Community College and The Paul H. Sullivan Leadership Institute Present on the Bedford’s Town Day Parade

BEDFORD, MA– On September 20th, representing Middlesex Community College, the Paul Sullivan Institute fellows were reunited along with the community in order to celebrate and support Bedford’s Town Day, held in honor of its 1729 incorporation.

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According to the League of Women Voters of Bedford’s town’s guide: A Citizen’s Guide to Bedford: An introduction to the government, services and resources, “In 1970, Bedford became a college town with the establishment of Middlesex Community College within its borders,” they also state that the town celebrates its incorporation by doing a traditional parade which included a one-hour parade and a full-day food fair.

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The parade took place by 11:00am. In a form of a big square box, the emblematic Middlesex Community College logo was carried by a pickup truck full of international flags which represented most of the different cultures within the college students. The charismatic and friendly Paul H. Sullivan’s crew were walking and giving away candies to the children of the community.

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The parade itself ended around 1:00pm. It was a fun family-friendly day where even dogs had a blast. Children of all age, parents, uncles, grandparents and friends of the lovely town were content and enjoyed to the fullest the great sunny-day of the Bedford’s Town Day.

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