MCCC’s Sustainability And Innovation Hub In Pottstown Earns Montgomery Award For Excellent Planning And Design

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— The Montgomery County Planning Commission recently  presented Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) with a 2016 Montgomery Award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub at 140 College Drive, Pottstown.

MCCC was one of five award recipients to receive this honor during a recent awards ceremony held at Theatre Horizon in Norristown. The other recipients are The Courts of Spring Mill Station, Whitemarsh Township; Narberth Place, Narberth Borough; Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton Township; and Reliance Crossing, Souderton Borough. Additionally, Paul W. Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Executive of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Planning Advocate Award.

MCCC’s Hub not only has programs in sustainability and innovation, but the building and property are themselves models of these principles. During the course of six years, MCCC transformed the building, a former energy substation, and three-acre brownfield site into a state-of-the-art center for education, innovation and conservation.

“The building is a sustainable energy hub outside–with the wind turbines, green roof and impervious parking lot—and inside—with programs in aquaponics, hydroponics, robotics, engineering and software development,” said Vice President of West Campus Dr. David DiMattio. “The Hub also represents collaboration with the community, through partnerships with the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage area, Riverfront Park, Schuylkill River Trail and Pottstown Borough.”

The architect for the project was Murray Associates Architects of Harrisburg, and the engineering company was Bruce Brooks and Associates of Philadelphia.

Pottstown Borough transferred the property to MCCC in 2007. The rehabilitation was both part of Pottstown’s Redevelopment Plan, as outlined in its 2003 “Riverfront & Memorial Parks Master Plan,” and a way for MCCC to expand its West Campus.

Starting in 2010, MCCC developed the site in three extensive phases, concluding in 2016 with the opening of the Hub on April 18.

Phase I started with the installation of a 202-space parking lot. The innovative design uses bioretention and includes the planting of more than 130 native plants and trees. Through an EPA grant, MCCC installed energy-saving LED lighting.

Phase II included abatement and cleaning of mold, lead and asbestos from the building and involved preparing the building’s south side infrastructure for demolition and remediation. MCCC replaced the leaking roof with an eco-friendly green roof; added a new entrance, handicap-accessible ramp and energy efficient windows; and updated water and sewer services.

Between Phases II and III, MCCC installed four wind turbines on the property. The turbines produce a collective 4,000 watts of energy–enough to power the LED parking lot lighting. The turbines were designed as a demonstration project to teach students and the community about alternative energy production.

Phase III involved the construction of the Hub’s classrooms and innovation spaces in the building’s south side. The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area (SRHA) has its headquarters in the north side of the building since 2002, which also includes the River of Revolutions Interpretative Center for visitors.

The Hub’s first floor features an aquaponics and hydroponics teaching laboratory, which supports MCCC’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies degree program, as well as future programs in the areas such as greenhouse technology, food production, horticulture and landscape design. Aquaponics and hydroponics involve growing fish and soil-less plants in a symbiotic system.

The Hub’s second floor features an Engineering Design Center, which supports MCCC’s Engineering Technology program and prepares graduates for careers in the advanced technology fields of instrumentation, communications and mechanical structures and systems. In this space, MCCC students, faculty and community businesses are working with robotics and 3D printing.

The Hub’s mezzanine floor is a flexible innovation space that can be used by the community, as well as for classes. MCCC holds its new Software Developer Academy in this area.

For more information about MCCC’s Sustainability and Innovation Hub, contact Dr. David DiMattio at or 610-819-2070.


MCCC Named Among ‘2016 Most Promising Places To Work In Community Colleges’‏

PPWCC_2016 copy 1Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is recognized as one of nine 2016 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges based on findings from a study conducted by the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE).

Commissioned by NISOD, a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, the study examines six “Promising Practices” at NISOD member institutions.

Practices include a demonstrated commitment to student success; recognition of good work; intentional focus on meeting the needs of the local community and region; institutional support for continuous improvement and innovation; and institutional and practical support of work-life balance.

 “Montgomery County Community College’s mission is grounded in a set of values that teaches us to encourage, listen, respect and treat fairly those whom we serve,” said MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock. “Our faculty and staff are at the heart of this work, and I am proud of their efforts to create a diverse and vibrant campus community that celebrates our differences. This recognition from NISOD and Diverse underscores our commitment and builds momentum for future programming and conversations.”

CHEE’s study highlights examples from winning institutions in each of the Promising Practices. A full summary of the study is available at

MCCC was recognized in several areas. One example is the College’s use of data to identify performance gaps and develop interventions—like a Minority Student Mentoring Initiative and Trio Upward Bound program—to help improve learning outcomes and college preparedness. Another example is professional development opportunities—such as a Faculty Diversity Fellows program for junior minority faculty and a President’s Leadership Academy for faculty and administrators—that prepare employees for leadership roles at the institution. MCCC was also highlighted for its focus on community engagement.

MCCC is one of nine institutions recognized as 2016 Most Promsing Places to Work in Community Colleges. Others include Antelope Valley College (Lancaster, California), Dyersburg State Community College (Dyersburg, Tennessee), Front Range Community College (Westminster, Colorado), Harrisburg Area Community College (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Mountain View College (Dallas, Texas), Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (Okmulgee, Oklahoma), Seward County Community College and Area Technical School (Liberal, Kansas) and Southwest Virginia Community College (Richlands, Virginia).

About NISOD: Created in 1978, NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges.


About Diverse: Since 1984, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine has been the nation’s premier publication covering the issues pertaining to underrepresented minorities in American higher education. Reaching more than 200,000 readers biweekly, Diverse has been recognized for its indepth news coverage, provocative commentary, insightful special reports and original research.


About CHEE: CHEE is an interdisciplinary research and policy center that promotes the

important role postsecondary education plays in global society, especially the vital roles

and responsibilities of public higher education. CHEE’s primary activities include research,

policy analysis and outreach that will help make higher education more accessible,

affordable, engaged and all-around excellent.

The Althouse Arboretum Is The Happening Place!‏


February, 2016
Awesome First Year!
Trails, programs, conferences, mobile lab and more! Read about all the accomplishment of GreenAllies and the Althouse Arboretum in their first year! Tori Bateman, one of our college interns, put together this entertaining and educational report. As you read it see if your name or picture is in it!

Friends of the Arboretum

Monday, February 22, 7pm
2019 Mimosa Lane, Pottstown
(around the corner from the Arboretum, off Snyder Road)

Join us! All invited! Find out what’s happening, student projects, new opportunities and more! We are a group of interested friends, neighbors, and students who come together once per season to learn, exchange ideas, and discuss possibilities for enriching the Arboretum experience for the community.

We have some new ideas we’d like to share. Hope you can come!
(Here’s more about the Friends)

Programs are Up!

We’ve posted our programs for the coming year. There are children’s programs and adult and family programs. Some details will be added as we go and we’ll keep you posted on the website, on Facebook and in this newsletter.

Native Plant Business

Area high school students are invited to attend a three month class starting February 24th on growing and selling native plants. Here’s more information.

In the News

Ken Hamilton was awarded the prestigious Schuykill Highlands 2015 Trails and best Practices Award at their annual awards meeting. See more here.

More News

Know a high school or college student interested in the environment and sustainability? Send them this link to the Green Allies College Campus Conference. Last year’s conference was highly rated by all and this year’s is looking even better

Ken Hamilton, Executive Director, Green Allies, Director, Althouse Arboretum
Nancy Baker, Community Coordinator, Althouse Arboretum

The Arboretum

Through cross-easement agreements with Upper Pottsgrove Township, the parcel purchased by the Township will be used as an environmental education center, complete with trails, outdoor classrooms and nature education sites managed and run by GreenAllies with no cost to the Township. All programs, activities, trail work and more is done by Green Allies with input from local students and community members. The Alliance is solely funded by grants and donations. More information is available here 

Join us on Facebook!
Visit us on Pinterest.

Our website!

Find even more events and programs as well as information and history about the Arboretum, and even a wish list. Check it out there!

Upcoming Events

Last chance to vote!

All these projects are worth while and will eventually get done but the project with the most votes gets all! Make your tax-deductible vote NOW for your favorite project!
(Make sure to include the feature you want your $’s to vote for!)

Appliance Recycling Day

Saturday, February 27th   9am to 3pm
Appliances (Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, washers,driers, microwave, etc….)
NO TVs or electronics.
Please drop off only during recycling hours.
Free, Donations appreciated!

Scrap Metal Recycling Day

Saturday, April 2nd   9am to 3pm

Volunteer Days

10am to 3pm – Come any time!

Earth DaySaturday, April 23rd
Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22nd
Sunday, June 26th

Join the fun! We create and maintain the trails, activity areas, and other features of the Arboretum, plant gardens, work on the house and more! Bring the entire family, introduce friends or make new ones at this new community resource.


Montgomery County Community College To Host Tri-County Concerts Association’s 73rd Annual Youth Festival Concert – June 6‏

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will host the Tri-County Concerts Association’s 73rd Annual Youth Festival Concert on Saturday, June 6, at 7 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.  Tickets cost $10 for general admission; students and children are free.

The Tri-County Concerts Youth Festival is one of the area’s most prestigious competitions for aspiring young classical musicians living in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.  Since 1943, the festival has been a stepping-stone to achievement for many emerging young artists, several of whom are now current and retired members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. MCCC is proud to host the concert each year featuring these talented students.

This year, they will perform works by Beethoven, Chopin, Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Elgar, among others.

Many Montgomery County students won top prizes in this year’s Tri-County Youth Festival and will perform at the concert.

First place awards were presented to:  harpist Michael Turner of Phoenixville, a seventh grader at The Wyndcroft School, in the Junior Musica Diversa Division; violinist Ethan Frankel of Royersford, an eighth grader at Spring-Ford Middle School, in the Junior Strings Division; and clarinetist Jack Zhang of Blue Bell, a senior of at Wissahickon High School, in the Senior Winds Division.

Second place awards were presented to: pianist Connie Jiang of Harleysville, an eighth grade student at Pennfield Middle School, in the Junior Piano Division; oboist Nina Cheng of Ambler, a junior at Upper Dublin High School, in the Senior Winds Division.

Additionally, the Dolce String Quartet with violinist Rachel Sigler of Gilbertsville, who is home-schooled, violinist Bryn Borzillo and violist Emily Adams of Royersford, who both attend Spring-Ford 5-6 Center, and cellist Sarah Lesher of Telford, a seventh grader who attends Indian Crest Middle School, won second place in the Senior Ensemble Division.

Several other Montgomery County students won Honorable Mention at the auditions. In the Senior Ensemble Division, La Chasse Quartet with violinists Stephanie Ko and Julia Povlow, violist Madeline Herman, and cellist Mark Egan placed. Ko, Povlow and Egan attend Methacton High School, and Herman attends Spring-Ford High School.

In the Senior Strings Division, cellist Nina Chae-Gordon, a freshman at Saint Joseph’s Academy, and violinist Fiyi Adebekun, a freshman at Pennfield Middle School placed. In the Junior Strings Division, violinist Jolade Adebekun, an eighth grade student at Pennfield Middle School placed.

For further information about the concert, contact Eleanor James at 610-986-3555 or or visit For more information about Montgomery County Community College, visit or call 215-641-6518.


MCCC Phi Theta Kappa Chapters Earn National Accolades

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapters have achieved the distinction of Five Star Status this spring during the organization’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas on April 16-18.

Alpha Kappa Zeta, based at the Central Campus in Blue Bell, and Beta Tau Lambda, based at the West Campus in Pottstown, both earned the highest level of recognition by progressing through PTK’s Five Star Chapter Development Plan.

As part of the plan, PTK chapter officers must develop and execute a business plan that optimizes the benefits and programs offered by their chapter while furthering the mission of Phi Theta Kappa nationally.  Incorporated into the program are basic chapter administration, regional activities, an international service program, an honors study topic, Hallmark Awards, international activities and a college project.

In addition to achieving Five Star Status, Beta Tau Lambda (Pottstown) was named a Middle States Region Gold Chapter for increasing student membership and engagement over the past year.

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society whose purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among students attending two-year colleges. To be eligible for membership, students must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or above and must have completed at least 12 credits.

MCCC’s PTK chapters operate through the College’s Office of Student Leadership and Involvement.


MCCC Business Students Earn Awards At Phi Beta Lambda State Competition

Harrisburg, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) earned several awards during competitions at the PBL State Leadership Conference April 11-12 in Harrisburg.

Three MCCC students earned second place awards in the Business Decision Making competition. They are Abel Cruz, of Philadelphia, Wes (Carlo) Pipitone, Horsham, and Candice Yohe, Willow Grove.

During the PBL State Leadership Conference, MCCC’s students competed against chapters from across the state, including four-year institutions such as Drexel University, Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh. Along with the competitions, MCCC students participated in workshops and business events during the conference.

Phi Beta Lambda is a student-led, collegiate-level organization of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). For more information, visit


Communities In Motion Honors MCCC, Others With Inaugural ‘Star Award’

King of Prussia, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) was among 15 recipients of the first-ever Star Award from Communities in Motion, a Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) foundation.  The award recognizes projects, plans and people who demonstrate leadership in sustainability planning and implementation.

Specifically, Communities in Motion recognized MCCC for its leadership and advocacy as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and for its sustainability work in the areas of transportation, waste minimization, energy and purchasing.

Associate Vice President for Facilities and Construction Jaime Garrido and Executive Director of Government Relations and Special Events Peggy Lee-Clark accepted the award on behalf of MCCC.

“Congratulations to our first ever Communities in Motion Stars recipients. We are honored to be able to recognize such wonderful organizations, individuals and local communities who are improving our communities of today so that they can be enjoyed now and well into the future. As Communities in Motion continues to grow and expand our programming, we are looking forward to continuing to work with our “stars” so that we can showcase their leadership and use their examples to continue to keep us all in motion.” said Rob Henry, CEO, Communities in Motion.

In addition to MCCC, other Communities in Motion Star Award recipients included the Borough of Phoenixville, Cheltenham Township, Chester County, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, King of Prussia District, Macerich – Tysons Corner Center, Montgomery County, Philadelphia Premium Outlets, the Borough of Pottstown, Saving Hallowed Ground, SEPTA, Simon, URS Corporation, and Vanguard.

Submission categories included building; development; green infrastructure; leadership/advocacy; marketing and promotion of a project; park, recreation or open space project; physical improvements; and planning.

To learn more about Communities in Motion, visit

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award.  To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit


MCCC Earns Spot On National Honor Roll For Community Service‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College’s students engaged in 24,172 hours of community service and service learning projects in 2013, earning the institution a spot on the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

A significant portion of MCCC’s service hours resulted from academic service learning, which integrates a service component into an academic course. As part of MCCC’s core curriculum, students are required to complete at least one course that addresses civic responsibility. Last year, 6,456 students engaged in service learning activities while enrolled in 225 courses taught by 73 faculty.

An additional 1,411 students and 306 faculty and staff engaged in other forms of community service last year.

“The College’s commitment to service has helped us establish a stronger presence within the community and has raised our students’ awareness of the importance of giving back to the communities in which they live and work,” said Jenna Klaus, MCCC assistance director of civic and community engagement.”

One of the largest community service initiatives in 2013 was a College-wide Day of Service, held in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Day of Service in January. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends spent a day volunteering at several locations in Montgomery County, including the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Pottstown and the Police Athletic League (PAL) and Preschool Intervention Program in Norristown. In total, 147 volunteers completed 937 hours of service.

Several other larger-scale service initiatives took place throughout the year, including College-wide food drives, an administrative staff day of service, and alternative spring break experiences.

In terms of service learning, MCCC’s Health Sciences majors led the way by offering free health screenings and information to the MCCC community and to community residents in collaboration with local health care partners. Last year, more than 400 Health Sciences students performed 1,624 hours of service, offering 786 screenings and health information to approximately 1,500 individuals.

According to CNCS, college students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country—a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

Over the last five years, 5,400 MCCC volunteers have completed 46,000 hours of service and have contributed $117,571 in monetary donations to partner organizations.

To learn more, visit or join MCCC’s community service conversation on Twitter using #ThinkBigService.


ArtFusion Executive Director Wins Person Of The Year Award

cropped-artfusion-color600.jpgErika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion 19464’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, was presented with the Pottstown Rotary Person of the Year Award on September 10, 2014. This is the sixth year for this particular award. Erika was honored for her commitment to Pottstown and for the great work ArtFusion has done in their 10 years to make the arts accessible to everyone in the community. In her remarks at the award ceremony, Erika thanked her family and the ArtFusion staff and board of directors for their support and credited them with having a large part in her receiving her award.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.

The main objective of Rotary is service- in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.


MCCC Student Ryan Bergman Earns National Honor As 2014 Newman Civic Fellow

GetAttachmentBlue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College student and community leader Ryan Bergman, Collegeville, is among an elite group of students in the country to earn the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow Award from Campus Compact.

The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors college student leaders nationwide who inspire others and have worked to find solutions for challenges facing the community. According to the organization’s website, through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

A Social Sciences major concentrating in Psychology, Bergman dedicates his service efforts to eradicating poverty and homelessness both on local and national levels. Selected as a Scholar for Community Service at MCCC for the 2013-14 academic year, Bergman used the opportunity to strengthen the College’s relationship with the Montgomery County chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore.

“Ryan’s commitment and dedication to issues of homelessness and poverty have assisted in raising student awareness about Habitat for Humanity and ways to individually support the work being done within the County,” shared MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout in her letter of recommendation to Campus Compact.

Bergman chartered and serves as president of MCCC’s Habitat Club, whose members support ongoing volunteer dates at Habitat build-sites throughout the year. He also served as co-leader at the Habitat ReStore site in January during a college-wide day of service and again in March during spring break.

“Our goal for this new club is to show the importance of improving our community and lending a helping hand whenever needed,” explained Bergman.

In addition to his work locally, Bergman is a two-time participant in MCCC’s Alternative Spring Break program. In 2013, he traveled with students to West Virginia to build houses with Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, and in 2014, they volunteered at The Samaritan Woman in Baltimore, Md., a transitional residence program for victims of human trafficking.

An electrician by trade, it was Bergman’s job that first brought him to MCCC when his company was contracted to do electrical work on the College’s new Children’s Center.  While working on the Center, Bergman began to fall out of love with his career choice, especially as he noticed students around his age walking to and from class.

“They all seemed full of life and motivated,” he shared.

When the company for which he was working closed two years later, Bergman enrolled in College’s Engineering Technology program, but soon switched to Social Sciences. He also got heavily involved in service work through the College’s Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, where he is a work-study student.

“I juggle my busy life by optimizing every moment of time; time management is crucial to excel at the college level,” he shared, adding that the work-study position enables him to “know the current happenings around campus” and participate as much as possible.

Adding to his full schedule, Bergman is also president of MCCC’s Psychology Club, performs contracting and electrical work off campus, and still finds time for basketball and weight training, as well as for saltwater fishing, longboarding and hiking.

After he graduates from MCCC, Bergman plans to continue his education in Clinical Psychology, knowing that the College prepared him for the next chapter in his life.

“I know it sounds cliché, but I have truly found a home here at Montgomery County Community College, and I hope that I can one day return to inspire other people to follow their dreams.”

Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. Newman Civic Fellows awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.

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Cruising Pottstown Summer Nationals 2014



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 or its Think Success blog at

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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Ambler Boiler House, Arborcrest Office Park Among 2013 Montgomery Award Winners

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ambler Boiler House and the Arborcrest office campus are getting some high praise for jobs well done.

The two construction projects were among five recipients of the 2013 Montgomery Awards, sponsored by the Montgomery County Planning Commission Nov. 13.

Accoring to a Montgomery County press release, the awards are given to outstanding projects and their creators for the best planning and design in the county. The award is an acknowledgment of the high quality of work and the commitment of communities, organizations and professionals.

According to a press release, the Boiler House was the recipient of the award for “the successful revitalization and adaptive reuse of an historic industrial structure in a state-of-the-art office building that incorporates sustainable design. This transit-oriented project, once a brownfield site, recognizes Ambler’s industrial heritage while advancing the borough’s revitalization efforts and providing environmental and economic benefits to the community.”

Read more:


100 Best Places To Work In PA Winners

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Image via Wikipedia

This year’s 100 Best Places to Work In PA list of the 2011 medium and large-sized companies is in alphabetical order by city.  The numeric ranking will be announced in December.  Some familiar names and some new names!  Congratulations to the companies who made this list!

Click here to read the article and see the list: