Michael Moller-Marino, a 1977 graduate, is no stranger to Middlesex Community College 40 years later.
Having grown up in Middletown, Michael was intrigued by the school’s new campus. He chose to study environmental sciences and characterized his experience at MxCC this way, “While it was a small program, the students were actively engaged, and it was a delight to be a part of a science department with such a great group of students and faculty.” During that time, he also formed a relationship with professor and future dean John Coggins, and they have been close friends ever since.
In 1975, Michael’s father, Anthony Marino, who was a former city councilman, became mayor of Middletown. Carrying on this public service spirit as a student, Michael became involved with several MxCC student organizations and was the vice president of the student senate.
While Michael was at MxCC, Middletown officials were promoting a recycling program along with the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority, which was created by the state’s General Assembly in 1973. Michael was instrumental in establishing a program using recycling bins at the Middlesex Community College before the state’s deposit/return program was officially enacted.
In 1977, while he was still a student at MxCC, Michael was among 2,000 demonstrators at the Seabrook Station in New Hampshire to protest the nuclear power plant being built there. He was even arrested, along with hundreds of others, refusing bail and taking 10 days to be released. After more protests and other delays, the plant eventually went online in 1992, but with only one reactor instead of two.
Following his graduation from MxCC, Michael moved to Vermont, but completed his bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1994. He worked in construction and in other flexible jobs before finding himself in the insurance industry for several years.
Through Michael’s association with the Rockfall Foundation, a local organization that promotes environmental education, Michael was introduced to current MxCC environmental sciences professor and program coordinator Christine Witkowski. He returned to the Middletown campus to speak to her students and help this year’s class with the annual energy/waste audit.
A competitive runner during his high school and college years, Michael is also a frequent participant in MxCC’s annual 5k road race. Now semi-retired, he uses the event to get back into his running form.