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.

Business Leader Lynn Utter To Deliver 2015 MCCC Commencement Address

Blue Bell, Pa.—Dynamic business leader Lynn Utter will deliver Montgomery County Community College’s 2015 Commencement address on May 21 at 7 p.m. in Blue Bell.

Utter most recently served as president and chief operating officer of Knoll, Inc.—headquartered locally in Montgomery County, but recognized worldwide as a leading designer and manufacturer of branded furniture and textiles. Much like the company’s iconic designs transformed the way people furnish their homes and offices, Utter, and visionary leaders like her, are transforming the role workforce development plays in building vibrant communities.

“Education and industry are critical pieces of a community’s comprehensive workforce development strategy. Such a strategy builds multiple pathways with multiple access points: high school to college; college to transfer or employment; employment to retraining, and all of the many steps in between,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC President. “As illustrated by her outreach efforts at Knoll, Ms. Utter values an educated and engaged workforce that is part of the larger community.

Through Utter’s outreach, MCCC and Knoll partnered on several diverse initiatives. Both organizations were early partners with the PerkUp Workforce Consortium, a unique collaboration of business and industry leaders, government officials and educators working together to develop a 21st century workforce for the Upper Perkiomen Valley. In 2011, Utter gave the keynote address at MCCC’s Leading Women Symposium and Golf Experience, which supports women’s scholarships and programming through the College’s Foundation. And, in 2012, MCCC hosted an art exhibition featuring the architecture and design work of Florence Knoll Bassett.

“Thanks to Lynn Utter, Montgomery County Community College has an innovative partner in Knoll—a great connection and resource for our students right here in Montgomery County!”

Before coming to Knoll Inc. in 2008, Utter worked in a variety of operating and strategic positions at Coors and Frito-Lay, as well as with Strategic Planning Associates in Washington D.C. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and has held leadership roles with a number of organizations that support the advancement of women in the workplace.

Currently, Utter serves as a director for WESCO International and on the Internal Audit Committee for The University of Texas. She has also served on several non-profit boards, including Stanford Graduate School of Business, The University of Texas and the United Way.

Among her many accolades, Utter has received the 2015 Paradigm Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. She has been inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame and recognized as an Outstanding Young Texas Executive. In addition, she received the John Gardner Award for Service, as well as the Award of Merit from Stanford.

Utter earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ms. Utter and her husband Ward reside in Devon, Pa., with their two children.

Creepy ‘Spies’ Killing Live Music At Local Venues?

THREE-FIFTHS OF Chris Aschman’s jazz quintet managed to fit onto the tiny stage upstairs at Jose Pistola’s, where the crimson glow makes musicians look like they’re playing in Amsterdam’s red-light district.

Aschman, a 29-year-old trumpet player, stayed on the floor, next to the saxophonist.

Then, the bassist reached overhead and turned off the TV and the audience of 20-somethings switched their attention from NCAA basketball to a funky, odd-time-signature groove driven by a young drummer in a Phillies cap who stomps on the kick drum like he’s got something to prove.

The song, called “UCB,” short for “Undercover Brother,” is an Aschman original, as were nine of the 11 songs his group played at the Center City bar earlier this month.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150329_The_day_the_music_____spied.html#ys60mkcLZjZ5hOTi.99

The First-Ever Urban Earthship Is Being Built In West Philly

There’s a vacant lot at 675 N. 41st Street in West Philadelphia that’s about to become something Philadelphia has never seen before–an Earthship.

When Thomas L. Miller, the owner of a vacant lot in West Philadelphia, heard a woman on the radio talking about her plan to build an “Earthship” in August of 2013, he was quick to call the radio station and donate his lot to her. The woman was Rashida Ali-Campbell, founder of Yeadon-based nonprofit LoveLovingLove, Inc.

The Earthship, which is in development now at 675 N. 41st Street, will act as a Philadelphia branch for LoveLovingLove, Inc, whose mission is to heal impoverished communities with holistic health education. It also hosts programs like Operation Olive Branch, an annual award that recognizes local law enforcement districts with the lowest complaint rates. In its new Earthship office, the organization will hold healthy-living workshops for those coping with diabetes and high blood pressure.

“We want to bring holistic health information and activities to the community through workshops, holding free events on the land, and having workshops for people to learn how to build an Earthship themselves,” Ali-Campbell said, “So that other people who have the desire to build can grab up some of these 40,000 vacant lots and turn them into something beautiful and sustainable.”

Read more:

http://earthship.com/blogs/2015/01/first-ever-urban-earthship-built-west-philly/

Roadwork Planned On Routes 100, 422

Drivers relying on Route 100 or 422 to get around next week should plan some extra time for their commute.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Route 100 North will be reduced to one lane between Worthington Road and Route 113 in Uwchlan from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13-17. The lane closure is due to road widening in the area and is part of a $17.4 million project to add a lane to the highway in each direction.

PennDOT said slowdowns will occur when traffic is restricted to one lane during construction. The contractor’s schedule is weather dependent.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141010/roadwork-planned-on-route-100-422

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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Developers: West Manchester Mall Construction Could Begin By March

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new year will bring a new West Manchester Mall, and developers said work could begin before winter ends.

“We’re trying to get started as early as we can. March is not an unreasonable target,” said Tony Ruggeri, co-founder of Dallas-based M&R Investors, which owns the mall.

The 32-year-old shopping hub at 1800 Loucks Road is set for a $47 million redevelopment that will change it from an enclosed mall to an outdoor plaza similar to Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.

The York County commissioners and the West York school board recently approved a tax incentive financing (TIF) plan that will allow the mall to be revamped while receiving a limited tax break on the improved property.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24764314/developers-west-manchester-mall-construction-could-begin-by

HUD: Sherman Hills Management ‘Unsatisfactory’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Management of the Sherman Hills apartment complex has been found “unsatisfactory” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a news release from the federal housing agency.

A full report of HUD’s inspection of the crime-plagued complex is expected to be released in the near future, HUD’s Senior Management Analyst S. Van Williams said Wednesday.

HUD officials visited the complex on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17 to complete an on-site Management and Occupancy Review after two girls, 5 and 2 years old, suffered gunshot wounds in Building 328 on Aug. 24. No charges have been filed, however, Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Brian Coleman said during a court proceeding on Sept. 12 that three men were being investigated.

On Monday 27-year-old Shantique Goodson, of 328 Parkview Circle in Sherman Hills and formerly of Rochester, N.Y., was fatally shot while she was sitting in a Jeep Grand Cherokee near Building 328.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/983008/HUD:-Sherman-Hills-management-unsatisfactory

Costs Associated With May 9 Tanker Truck Fire Increased To $13 Million

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has upped its estimate of the cost to repair damage caused by a May 9 tanker truck fire in Susquehanna Twp.

But, not by much.

District 8 spokesman Greg Penny said the original estimate was $10 million.

That has been increased to $12 million-$13 million.  The original estimate did not include reconstruction costs because it was not known at the time.

G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc., of York was the low bidder for the reconstruction at $3.3 million.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/costs_associated_with_may_9_ta.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Gallery School Of Pottstown Fundraiser Travels To Venice For Carnival

Pottstown, PA – The non-profit Gallery School of Pottstown will hold its signature fundraiser on March 31 from 6 – 9pm at Brookside Country Club in Pottstown.  The theme for Fashion Plates 6 is Carnival in Venice.

This annual fundraiser returns to its roots as an evening, couples-friendly event.  Guests will enjoy amazing food, an unlimited signature cocktail and wonderful entertainment.  Community members will model in a fabulous fashion show, sponsored by Boscov’s Department Stores.  A magician, a harpist and more will entertain guests during the cocktail hour and as they browse the silent auction.  Every guest will also be eligible for fun door prizes.

The food for the evening will begin with an antipasti bar during the cocktail hour.  Guests can enjoy the unlimited signature cocktail, or take advantage of the cash bar.  Dinner will be a deluxe salad bar, a beef station with chef-carved top round of beef, and a pasta station with smoked mozzarella and roasted red pepper ravioli with plum tomato and pesto cream sauce, and penne tossed with sautéed julienne peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes in a parmesan marinara sauce.  After dinner, guests can enjoy a variety of delectable desserts.  All proceeds benefit the mission of the non-profit Gallery School: to enrich the lives of the residents in the greater Pottstown area through the visual arts.

This event is generously sponsored by VIST Financial, Unlimited Restoration Specialists, Inc., and Boscov’s Department Stores.  Table sponsors include Boenning & Scattergood, Inc., Independence Planning Group, Heartland Abstract, Inc., Dolan & Mayerson, P.C., Sager & Sager, J.H. White Financial, Creative Health Services and Your Claim to Frame.  Entertainment sponsors include Pete La Rosa Productions; 513 Entertainment; Betsy Chapman, Harpist; and Magical Illusions of Kyle and Kelly.

The Gallery School of Pottstown is a 501c3 non-profit community art school and gallery.  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.  The Gallery on High hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The Gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The Gallery on High is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am – 4:30pm and Saturday 10am – 3pm.  The Gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.
 
 The Gallery School of Pottstown
@Gallery on High
254 E. High St.
Pottstown, PA 19464
610-326-2506
www.galleryonhigh.org