MxCC Foundation Honors Donors and Elects Officers

Dec. 14, 2023 (Middletown, Conn.) — The Middlesex Community College (MxCC) Foundation board of directors is pleased to announce the recipients of their donor recognition awards, presented during the group’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023. In addition to the awards presentation, the MxCC Foundation elected new board members. The foundation funds scholarships and other academic development for CT State Community College Middlesex in Middletown and Meriden.

The late Quentin “Q” Williams, a former Connecticut State Representative from Middletown who passed away in a car accident on January 5, 2023, was recognized with the Legacy Award. Williams was honored for his longtime advocacy and support for Middlesex and its academic programs.

“Q left his footprints all over our campus as well as all over higher education in Connecticut. He knew that education was the key to developing and thriving the citizens in our state,” said Kimberly Hogan, CEO at CT State Middlesex. “He left his mark on our new plastics manufacturing lab at Vinal Technical High School, showing how reinforcing our community in Middletown needs manufacturing, and combining efforts with our college and the technical high schools just made sense.”

Lapidus Foundation“He was proud to represent our college in his district,” she added.

Hogan also announced that the MxCC Foundation just received a $5,000 gift from the Q Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to support the Magic Food Bus pantry at the college. The Q Fund supports charities he cared most about.

The Donor Award was given to the Nihla and Bob Lapidus Foundation. Established by the late Bob Lapidus, founder of Bob’s Stores, and his widow, Nihla, this foundation has funded annual Middlesex scholarships for many years. Their son, Marc, accepted the award on behalf of his parents’ foundation. The Lapidus Foundation scholarships are awarded to entering or returning students of any age who are highly motivated to succeed.

A 1995 graduate of Middlesex, Jennifer Hernandez, Ed.D., professor and program coordinator of Human Services at CT State Middlesex, received the Distinguished Alumni Award. She is also a program manager at the Family Enrichment Center located at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, a part of the Hartford HealthCare system. Dr. Hernandez was recently honored with the Impactful Woman award by Fox61 and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

Chris Dibble, outgoing chair of the MxCC Foundation board of directors, presided over the meeting, and Laura Pieper, outgoing secretary, guided the election of new members and officers.


New board members are Jon Comer, certified public accountant; Joshua LaJoie, marketing and brand strategist; 2022 Middlesex valedictorian Isabella Merlini, senior at the University of Connecticut; and Arielle Pierre, associate manager of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity at Moët Hennessy USA.

Ken Innocenzi, the previous vice chair, was elected as the new board chair, and Merlini will serve as the secretary. Pieper was elected as the new vice chair. Rick Morin continues as treasurer.

In his remarks, Innocenzi said the foundation’s goals include engaging board members on committees, working with student clubs, and managing a new grant through Middletown Works.

“We had a transformative year as well as a record year with our Red Moon Gala fundraiser, Magic Food Bus pantry and working with the Phi Theta Kappa honor students,” added Dibble.

Ben Florsheim, mayor of Middletown and corporator, attended the meeting along with donors, community members, faculty and staff.

More accomplishments of the foundation and a list of donors can be found in the 2022–23 annual report.

Created as a separate 501(c)(3) organization in 1979, the Middlesex Community College Foundation supports Ct State Middlesex Community College (formerly Middlesex Community 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.

The 12 Connecticut community colleges merged on July 1, 2023, to become Connecticut State Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the country — and largest in New England — dedicated to quality, access and affordability. In addition to Middlesex and Meriden, other campuses include Asnuntuck (Enfield), Capital (Hartford), Gateway (New Haven), Housatonic (Bridgeport), Manchester, Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury and Danbury), Northwestern (Winsted), Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley (Danielson and Willimantic), Three Rivers (Norwich) and Tunxis (Farmington).