Leading Women Event Raises $25,000 For Scholarships, Empowers Women Through Golf

Ambler, PA Women helping women—that’s the idea behind the Annual Karen A. Stout Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, a marquee fundraising event for the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Foundation.

More than 140 female role models came out to support scholarships and programming for MCCC’s female students at the 12th annual event, named in honor of MCCC President Emerita Dr. Karen A. Stout, on June 6 at Talamore Country Club in Ambler.  The event raised more than $25,000.

“Since the Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience started, we have raised more than $300,000!” shared Delores Lare, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors. “In 2015, the event provided $14,000 for seven KEYS Scholarship recipients and $23,000 for 15 Leading Women Scholarship recipients.”

Two of those recipients—Beth Holleger and Tamara Ali—were invited to share their stories during the brunch symposium portion of the event.

Holleger, who graduated from MCCC in 2014 and is entering her senior year at East Stroudsburg University, shared the impact scholarships had on her education.

“It was so incredibly humbling and inspiring to know that people I had never even met were investing in me,” shared the early childhood education major. “When you invest in scholarships, you invest in people. You enrich their lives by giving them a chance at a quality education, and this, in turn, enriches the community.”

Ali, who is a KEYS Scholarship recipient, graduated in May 2016 with an associate’s degree in human services.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for women such as yourselves,” she told the attendees. “At the very end of my program, my financial aid ran out. If it wasn’t for the Leading Women Scholarship funds, I would still be struggling to pay for my education. The scholarship allowed me to pay for my education, eliminate stress, bury the burden of unpaid tuition and focus on completing my goals!”

Leading Women arose from conversations between Dr. Stout and Deb Takes, who, with a dynamic group of female leaders affectionately referred to as the “founding mothers,” started a Woman-Owned Business Network and a course, “Starting a Successful Woman-Owned Business,” to support female entrepreneurs.

The motivation behind the golf portion of the event is the need to break down gender barriers that may exist for women in business. As such, Leading Women is not your typical golf fundraiser. Because business deals and networking often occur on the golf course, the event has a unique learner portion, during which participants learn the fundamentals of the game.  As learners get taught how to chip, putt and drive, foursomes of more experienced golfers—many of whom started as learners—play in a scramble format.

Dr. Stout, who now serves as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a national student success reform network, delivered a keynote address that focused on ways in which organizations and individuals can move out of their comfort zones and move into learning zones.

“As philanthropists, we need to think not in terms of empowering female students, but in how we can break down barriers that prevent them from succeeding,” she said. “We need to unlock the transformative power of education for those who need it most and can contribute back in meaningful ways in their community.”

The organizing committee for 2016 Leading Women Golf Symposium was led by two MCCC alumna and Alumni Hall of Fame inductees, Cindi Diccianni and Pat Nunan, both of whom are business owners.

This year’s event was made possible by the following sponsors: ADT, Baker Tilly, Diccianni Financial Group, Fox Rothschild, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Savings Bank, Apollo Granite & Marble, Chartwell Law Offices, State Representative Madeleine Dean, Nance Dicciani, Saul Ewing, Joe and Kathy Gallagher, State Representative Kate Harper, J.O.B. Design & Construction, Keiffer’s Appliances, Lakeview Dental, Lifestyles Design, Motz Wealth Management, Universal Credit Services, Wilmington Trust and UNIVEST-Banking, Insurance, Investments.

In-kind sponsors included 4 Seasons Tanning, Act II Playhouse, Alma Jacobs, Ambler Theater, Blue Bell Country Club, Body Serene Day Spa, Center Square Golf Club, Cindy Diccianni, Comcast, Costco Wholesale, Crown Plaza Philadelphia West, The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, Dolores Lare, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Gallagher Fluid Seals, Inc., Gerhard’s Appliances, Glasses by Amanda, GolfSmith, HCAM, Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, Maureen Thompson, Motivs Cosmetics, Norristown Bell Credit Union, A&C Kitchens, Nu Waves Salon, Pat Nunan, Penn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pinecrest Country Club, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sovereign Security, Stark & Stark, Target, Tattoo Alley, TransAmerica Life, Uncorked Artist and the Leading Women Committee.

For more information, email foundation@mc3.edu or call 215-461-1139.

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Montgomery County Community College Celebrates The Legacy Of Dr. Karen A. Stout‏

Honorary Degree: Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello presents Dr. Karen A. Stout with an honorary associate’s degree in letters during Montgomery County Community College’s 48th Commencement ceremony on May 21, 2015. Photo by John Welsh

Honorary Degree: Board of Trustees Chairman Michael D’Aniello presents Dr. Karen A. Stout with an honorary associate’s degree in letters during Montgomery County Community College’s 48th Commencement ceremony on May 21, 2015. Photo by John Welsh

Blue Bell/Pottstown , Pa – As Dr. Karen Stout officially took the helm as President and CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc. on July 1, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) celebrates her legacy as the institution’s fourth president. That legacy is vast, and her impact, on both the institution and on individuals in the community, will reach far into the future.

The core tenant of Dr. Stout’s presidency has been her steadfast commitment to improving student access, success and completion. Under her leadership, Montgomery is recognized nationally as an Achieving the Dream Leader College for many of its student success efforts. Examples include a Minority Student Mentoring Initiative, financial literacy education, reimagined student entry and advising processes, educational planning tools, peer mentoring, and a new approach to developmental education, to name only a few.

To honor her contributions and commitment to community college students, 15 former student leaders spanning Dr. Stout’s 14-year tenure returned to Montgomery’s Central Campus in May to unveil a very special tribute: the naming of the Karen A. Stout Student Success Center. A week later, the Board of Trustees presented Dr. Stout with an honorary associate’s degree in letters during the 2015 commencement ceremony, making her an official alumna of the College. The Board also bestowed on her the title of President Emerita, effective July 1.

In addition to renaming the Student Success Center, one of the Foundation’s hallmark events—the Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience—will also bear Dr. Stout’s name in honor of her commitment to philanthropy. The annual Karen A. Stout Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, held each spring, raises funds for women’s scholarships and programming while facilitating valuable networking opportunities for its participants.

SSC: Current and former Montgomery County Community College student leaders help unveil architect renderings for the naming of Karen A. Stout Student Success Center at the Central Campus during a celebration of Dr. Stout’s presidency on May 15, 2015. Photo by Stuart Watson

SSC: Current and former Montgomery County Community College student leaders help unveil architect renderings for the naming of Karen A. Stout Student Success Center at the Central Campus during a celebration of Dr. Stout’s presidency on May 15, 2015. Photo by Stuart Watson

Dr. Stout also leaves behind a personal philanthropic legacy for future MCCC students through two contributions to the Foundation’s comprehensive “Futures Rising” campaign, which raised $10.5 million in two years. She has established a Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund, which helps qualifying, Pell-eligible students pay half of the honor society membership fee, and an Endowed Scholarship Fund awarded annually to a student pursing a career in Communication.

On July 1, both Dr. Stout and Montgomery County Community College embarked on next chapter of their journeys. At the helm of Achieving the Dream, Dr. Stout has the opportunity to co-design the next generation of student success reform work alongside community college leaders from across the country. Meanwhile, Montgomery is positioned to continue growing the many seeds Dr. Stout planted during her tenure.

Karen A. Stout Honored Nationally For Commitment to Phi Theta Kappa‏

Dr. Stout head shot 11.11.14San Antonio, Texas— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Dr. Karen A. Stout was presented with Phi Theta Kappa’s 2015 Shirley B. Gordon Award on April 16 during the organization’s 97th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The award is given annually to college presidents and campus CEOs for their outstanding efforts to promote the goals of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an international honor society for students of two-year colleges. Dr. Stout is one of 23 college leaders to receive the 2015 award.

At MCCC, student participation in Phi Theta Kappa has grown significantly during Dr. Stout’s tenure as president. Under her leadership, a second PTK chapter—Beta Tau Lambda—was added in 2005 at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown, complimenting the longstanding Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter at the Central Campus in Blue Bell. Both chapters consistently achieve the distinction of Five Star Status—the highest level of national recognition possible—for progressing through PTK’s Five Star Chapter Development Plan.

Recently, in recognition of the impact PTK membership has on student success and completion, Dr. Stout generously pledged $30,000 to establish a Phi Theta Kappa Annual Challenge Fund through MCCC’s Foundation.

“Phi Theta Kappa members in Pennsylvania have an overall success rate of 92 percent; yet, only 14 percent of PTK-eligible students join the organization. The cost of membership is a clear barrier,” said Stout.

The Karen A. Stout Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund at MCCC supports qualified students by defraying half the cost of a PTK membership, which is currently $60, while challenging students to match the remaining cost.

Dr. Stout will begin her tenure as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc. on July 1, 2015. There, she will bring her passion for student access and success to more than 200 community colleges and nearly four million students in 35 states.

The Shirley B. Gordon Award is named for the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, Phi Theta Kappa’s longest-serving Board of Directors chair and president emeritus of Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash. Gordon was named Phi Theta Kappa’s Most Distinguished College President in 1984. To learn more, visit http://www.ptk.org.

Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout Tapped To Lead Achieving The Dream, Inc.

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Karen A. Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College (PA), has been named the next President & CEO of Achieving the Dream, Inc., (ATD) the national, nonprofit leader in championing evidence-based institutional improvement across U.S. community colleges. She will remain at the College through the current academic year and assume leadership of ATD on July 1, 2015.

“Our College has been fortunate to have such a quality leader, mentor and individual as Karen Stout serve as the president of this great institution for more than 14 years,” said Michael J. D’Aniello ’78, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “We wish her every success and look forward to all she will achieve in developing policies and strategies to extend access to quality community college education for minority and low income students nationwide.”

Stout’s 14-year tenure at Montgomery County Community College has been remarkable for the broad initiatives that both expanded the college’s footprint and strengthened student success.  She has led the development and implementation of three strategic plans and two facilities master plans that resulted in the expansion of the West campus in Pottstown, the expansion and near re-making of the Central campus in Blue Bell; a new Virtual Campus, a Culinary Arts Institute, new occupational and transfer programs, strong relationships with community partners, and new relationships with school districts and colleges and universities. In addition, the College’s 50th Anniversary, $9 million fully-private College Foundation campaign for scholarship support is on track to exceed its goal.

Stout has served at the helm of Montgomery County Community College since 2001. Her appointment is both a natural next step and a vote of confidence based on successful leadership of the College’s participation in the ATD program since 2008, her role as president of an ATD Leader College since 2011, and the winning of ATD’s prestigious Leah Meyer Austin award in 2014. She has led the College to statewide and national prominence in its work around student success, technology and analytics, and sustainability. The new post will enable her to make a broader impact; ATD reaches 200 community colleges and nearly four million students in 35 states.

“I am proud of our leading work at Montgomery in so many areas,” Stout said. “I’m eager to extend the learning from this work to help community colleges across the country. There is an increasing call for us to help the citizens in our communities gain access to affordable post-secondary education as well as complete an experience that leads to successful employment and citizenry.”

Stout succeeds Dr. William E. Trueheart, ATD’s founding president & CEO, who announced his retirement from the independent nonprofit on October 30, 2014. Robert G. Templin, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Achieving the Dream, Inc., made the announcement at the organization’s annual convening in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Stout leaves the College well positioned for the future. The College’s next president will arrive with the Middle States decennial review near completion, and the strategic plan to 2016 in its final year of implementation. A self-study conducted by the administration is complete and offers a new president a roadmap for the future based on the College’s strengths while the establishment of an early retirement plan offers a new president the opportunity to build, hire, and train the faculty of the future.  The College’s first facilities plan is complete and a second is underway with funding secured for renovation of a new Health Sciences Center, an expanded Science Center on the Central Campus, and a growth strategy in place for the West Campus. In addition, strategies for enrollment development and student success are in place and showing momentum.

D’Aniello and the Board of Trustees will conduct a nationwide search for a president who can build on Stout’s momentum.

“In 2000, when we embarked on a mission to find the College’s fourth president, the single most important character trait was to find and individual who truly carried in their heart our core mission: to provide the citizens of Montgomery County and all our students, no matter their economic status, the highest quality education at the most affordable tuition possible,” D’Aniello said. “In January 2001, we found that person in Karen Stout. As we look toward our next leader, those core values will remain paramount.”

“Community colleges are at a crossroads in redesigning their work to support the economic and civic needs of our country for the next 50 years,” said Stout. While she is drawn to the challenge, Stout acknowledged that moving on was a difficult decision.

“I love Montgomery,” Stout said. “Mostly, I will miss our students and our alumni who show us in so many ways why the work we do is important.  Their stories of aspiration and success motivate me to serve.”

National Award Recognizes MCCC’s College-Wide Commitment To Student Success

Orlando, Fla.— Montgomery County Community College was honored for its ongoing commitment to student access and success on Feb. 24 during the annual Achieving the Dream Strategy Institute in Orlando, Fla. The College was one of two institutions presented with the sixth annual Leah Meyer Austin Award by Achieving the Dream.

The Leah Meyer Austin Award, sponsored by The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding achievement in supporting and promoting student success through the creation of a culture of evidence, continuous improvement, systemic institutional change, broad engagement of stakeholders, and equity, with particular attention to low-income students and students of color.

Austin, whose visionary leadership shaped the development of Achieving the Dream, is the former Senior Vice President for Program Development and Organizational Learning at the Lumina Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achieving the Dream.

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), Pennsylvania, and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), Massachusetts, were each awarded $25,000 to support their ongoing student success efforts. According to Achieving the Dream, both institutions were recognized for “building whole-college solutions to improve student success and equity, which have resulted in noteworthy increases in student success.”

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.  “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

“The College’s selection as a Leah Meyer Austin Award recipient underscores our continued commitment to advance the areas of student access, success and completion that anchor our work as an Achieving the Dream Leader College,” she continued.

In addition to building college-wide solutions and engaging in data-informed decision making, Achieving the Dream commended MCCC for its work to improve developmental education outcomes, college readiness, and student persistence.

One highlight is the College’s efforts to reduce the number of students who place in developmental English by 31 percent, without impacting their subsequent success in college-level English courses. This was achieved through a combination of adjusting placement cut-off scores, moving from an ACCUPLACER placement test to a WritePlacer exam, and allowing students with SAT scores of 500 and up to enroll directly in college-level English. In fall 2011, more than 900 students benefited from these changes, successfully completing Composition I (ENG 101) at the same rate as those students who placed in college-level English under the old cut score.

MCCC also continues to build momentum in its efforts to improve success in developmental mathematics. The College was previously recognized by Achieving the Dream for the complete redesign of its basic arithmetic curriculum, which increased student success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20 to 35 percent. MCCC also developed two-week accelerated basic arithmetic and beginning algebra “boot camp” review courses for students whose ACCUPLACER test scores are close to the cutoff. To date, 300 students have completed the accelerated courses, outperforming students who follow the traditional path.

Achieving the Dream also noted MCCC’s efforts to improve the college readiness of students from feeder high schools through a variety of initiatives. Among these is MCCC’s participation in the national Gateway to College Network, designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly behind in credits and are unlikely to graduate. The program enables qualifying students to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate. In addition, MCCC developed a College Pathway Academy for Health Professions in partnership with the Phoenixville School District and Phoenixville Hospital. The Academy enables students to earn college credits in the health sciences while completing their high school graduation requirements.

Another highlight is the College’s success in improve persistence rates for minority students. In 2009, MCCC first launched its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) to close the nationally documented achievement gap for African-American male students. The program connects participating students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. Between 2009 and 2013, participants showed a term-to-term persistence rate of close to 80 percent – significantly higher than the 63 percent for non-participants. This spring, the initiative was expanded to include African-American and Latina female students and was renamed the Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI).

To learn more about MCCC’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com.

Achieving the Dream, Inc.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services.  Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. Through its National Education Program, the Trust views education as a lever to advance both American economic competitiveness and individual social mobility.  In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In postsecondary education, the Trust is primarily interested in increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates who can participate in high growth sectors of the economy.  The Trust also focuses on policy levers that improve postsecondary completion, particularly for underrepresented populations.

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