Each fall the NCC Foundation Board hosts a special dinner to say thank you to donors whose generosity makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of Northampton students.
At the Fall 2012 dinner, there was a problem. There almost weren't enough seats. "This is a great problem to have," smiled NCC's new vice president for advancement Sherri Jones. "Next year we will find a larger space."
Addressing nearly 250 guests, Tim Semonich who left home at 16 and floundered for several years before becoming one of the most dynamic student leaders NCC has ever seen, described NCC as "an amazing place" where he has learned many life lessons, including the power of positive thinking and that everybody has value."
After dinner, the chair of the Foundation Board, Bruce Palmer '77, NCC's president Dr. Mark Erickson and Jones teamed up to recognize the following new members of NCC's giving societies:
Dr. Elizabeth T. & Mr. Tarek Bugaighis
Patrick M. White & Maureen A. O'Grady White
Adams Outdoor Advertising
Molewski Financial Partners/Michael & Diane Molewski
Paul & Judy Schuchman
The Air Products Foundation
Michael & Lynn Albarell
Charles M. & Joan Louse Hannig
Just Born, Inc.
The Weiler Family Foundation
The Chairman's Award given to a member of the College staff outside of the Advancement Office whose efforts significantly advance the work of the Foundation was presented to Dr. Matt Connell. Palmer credited Connell's "tenacity, long-time dedication, support and passion for Northampton" with helping secure the local match needed for the construction of the new Monroe Campus to move forward and then for helping the campaign committee and development staff raise $5 million in private funding within a span of one year, although "many said it couldn't be done in this economy."
Mike Albarell also received special recognition as he retired after twelve years of service on the Foundation Board. He was awarded emeritus status, an honor given to only a few former board members.
In closing remarks, President Erickson said he wished all the donors could "walk with him" in his job so that they could hear the excitement of a 75-year old who said that being able to take classes at Northampton had changed his self-concept, a 40-year old who said that after caring for others, she was thrilled finally to have the chance to pursue her own dreams, and a young undergraduate who couldn't wait to share the news that he had been accepted as a transfer student at Lehigh University.
"Northampton changes lives," Erickson said, but "as good as we are, we can get even better." Describing a planning process that will soon identify five areas of strategic focus for the coming years, Erickson called NCC as a college on the move, noting that with the public funding crunch, "we need your support more than ever."