Nov. 7, 2019 (Middletown, Conn.) —The Middlesex Community College Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of their annual donor awards, presented during their annual meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Honorees included the Liberty Bank Foundation, based in Wethersfield, Conn., (Donor Award) and the late Jesse Salafia and family of Middletown, Conn. (Legacy Award). The MxCC Foundation also elected two new board members, Laura Pieper of Clinton, Conn., and Riley McConnell of Middletown.
“It has been an honor to help people who are passionate about helping students and serving as college ambassadors in the community,” said outgoing Foundation board chair and MxCC alumna Julé Crawford, a retired Middletown attorney. “As we strive to meet our mission, the students deserve everything that we can give them.”
Susan Murphy, executive director of the Liberty Bank Foundation, accepted the Donor Award for the organization. For 18 years, the Liberty Bank Foundation has made an impact in central Connecticut, especially with their top priority, “education for economic success.” In 2008, the Liberty Bank Foundation established a scholarship award program through the Middlesex Community College Foundation. Since then, Liberty Bank Foundation has given over $60,000 worth in scholarships to qualifying Middlesex students.
Last year, the Liberty Bank Foundation donated a grant to support up to eight scholarships as well as emergency funds to students with financial need. Eligible students are residents of Middlesex County or live within any town served by Liberty Bank. The Student Emergency Fund portion of the grant covers students’ emergency needs such as tuition, fees, textbooks, or transportation, or are awarded to students participating in the Middlesex Accelerated Program who, because of the intensity of the program, may not be able to work.
The Legacy Award was given to the Salafia family in honor of Jesse Salafia’s long-term commitment to Middlesex Community College. Salafia, a World War II veteran, was one of the founders of the college during the late 1960s. He passed away in July 2019 at the age of 105.
MxCC Dean Emeritus John Coggins wrote, “Jesse was an early advocate for a community college in Middletown. He was a popular politician, serving many years on the Middletown Common Council, on the Board of Education, and even for a while as deputy mayor. This put him in a position to advocate, along with others, for the establishment of the college. He was quiet by nature, working behind the scenes while others were the public voice.”
Salafia was also a 1976 Middlesex graduate and a longtime MxCC Foundation board member. In 2005, he and his wife Ann established the Salafia Nursing Award through the MxCC Foundation. This scholarship is presented to an entering or returning nursing student with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. He continued to attend functions at the college into his later years. Many believed he was an advocate for young people in terms of education and jobs. Since 1947, he owned Perennial Gardens Florist in Middletown, which provided employment for many individuals for over 50 years.
Pieper, a licensed clinical social worker, and McConnell, a first-year communications major at MxCC, begin three-year terms as MxCC Foundation board members. Laura Krueger of Meriden, Conn., a 1989 Middlesex alumna and director of public relations and marketing for The Salvation Army in Hartford, takes over the reigns of the board from Crawford.
MxCC Chief Executive Officer Steven Minkler and Dean of Administration Kimberly Hogan also gave informative presentations about the state of the college and the Foundation’s events of the past year. Current MxCC engineering student and scholarship recipient Jacob Murphy of Haddam, Conn., described a Foundation-supported “Dress for Success” event he attended last spring, which taught students how to professionally dress for job interviews. Past MxCC Foundation Board Chair Mary Anne Cox introduced the new board members.
Created as a separate 501(c)(3) organization in 1979, the Middlesex Community College Foundation supports the college by encouraging and managing charitable contributions; directing funds for scholarships and academic development; and creating collaborations and partnerships with area business, civic, educational and professional leaders.
Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, MxCC offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, MxCC@Platt in Meriden and online.