MIDDLETOWN, CONN. – In a room filled with elected officials, members of the board of regents, former trustees, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and supporters, Dr. Anna M. Wasescha was formally presented as the sixth president of Middlesex Community College. The ceremony, which can be viewed at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22013839, was held on Saturday, April 21 in Chapman Hall on the MxCC campus. Dr. Jonathan M. Daube, president emeritus for Manchester Community College (and former interim president at MxCC) presided over the ceremonies.
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman opened the ceremony stating, “Governor Malloy and I can’t be happier with the choice to put Dr. Wasescha in this position and we thank her for coming to this great state of Connecticut.”
Senator Blumenthal commented on Dr. Wasescha’s choice to plant a sugar maple tree on campus to kick off her week-long inaugural celebration. “There is a saying that the essence of public service is to plant a tree that you know you will never sit beneath, but that others will sit beneath,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “I think that President Wasescha brings to this school that sense of vision and that sense of foresight, seeing into the future, seeking to match skills with jobs that exist and will exist in the future, seeking to create careers and opportunities for people who are here now and whose lives will stretch into the future after many of us are gone. What more exciting work is there?”
In her speech to the audience, Dr. Wasescha pledged to make MxCC “more extraordinary than ever,” by “dreaming big.” She noted that “inaugurations are a time of rebirth and regeneration,” and that the school is part of a new cycle in higher education that addresses today’s economic and social challenges.
“As a society, we have been painfully slow to appreciate just how radical the transformation of our economy has been over the past 20 years,” Dr. Wasescha said, addressing not only the changes within higher education, but of the massive economical, industrial, and environmental changes throughout the world. “At a time when academic achievement levels have stayed the same or slowly declined, many growth industries cannot find highly skilled, knowledgeable workers.” She said today’s new generation of community colleges, which are flexible and more responsive than other types of higher education, will help solve this problem.
Dr. Wasescha laid out her vision for her term as president at MxCC – and as a permanent part of the school’s history. “We will be champions of an exceptionally high quality of higher learning, the kind that increases knowledge, hones skills and creates the habits of mind in our students that all together will result in the kind of society we would be proud to sign our names to,” she said. “We will be one of the loudest voices in the crowd calling for renewed commitment to engaged citizenship, the kind that embraces democratic ideals, civil practices, altruism, and dedication to the common good.”
Addressing her commitment to increasing environmental education and awareness, Dr. Wasescha said: “We will breathe new energy into our campus life, the curriculum and co-curriculum, with a commitment to environmental stewardship – that draws on knowledge of the sciences and the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and that helps us understand how each one of us has a positive role to play in sustaining the intricate web of life that is our natural world.”
Prior to her speech, Dr. Robert Kennedy, president of the Connecticut Board of Regents of Higher Education, presented Dr. Wasescha with the MxCC college medallion. “Today we inaugurate a president who brings with her a profound understanding of the comprehensive community college, and I commend those who were involved in her appointment,” he said. “Dr. Wasescha understands MxCC’s role of the development of Connecticut’s workforce. She also understands the important role a community college plays in providing students with skills they need to be engaged citizens, face complicated issues of the day, and be prepared to contribute to a common good.”
Earlier in the week, Dr. Wasescha signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a “high-visibility effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campus.” MxCC also held several environmentally focused events to highlight the president’s inaugural theme of “going green.”
Dr. Wasescha received her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration, her master’s degree in higher education, and her baccalaureate degree in English literature from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to joining MxCC, Dr. Wasescha served as provost and then as special assistant to the president at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls. Before that, she was an associate dean of doctoral programs at Walden University in Minneapolis. She also served as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Saint Paul, as research assistant at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and as associate dean of student affairs at Hamline University, Saint Paul.
Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College () is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents for Higher Education. The school offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at its three locations: the main, 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, and the shoreline in Old Saybrook. The college promotes understanding, learning, ethics, and self-discipline by encouraging critical thinking. Current enrollment exceeds 2,875 full and part-time students, and 1,600 continuing education students.
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