Skip to content




Ronald M. Ansin

GARDNER — Philanthropist Ronald M. Ansin told nearly 600 Mount Wachusett Community College graduates to use their education to “change the world” during his commencement address at the college’s 41st graduation on May 18 in the college’s Fitness and Wellness Center.

“It sounds like a great burden, but it isn’t,” Ansin said to fellow members of the class of 2006. “And I know you are already doing that. I know your nursing students have been working for years with new mothers to give them education and support. I know your student clubs and organizations have collected thousands of pounds of food for the hungry. I know you have built homes for those in need. I know you have tutored local middle school students in after-school programs. And I know by looking at each one of you that great change is not only possible with this class, it is inevitable.”

As part of commencement exercises, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino presented Ansin with an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

“Thanks to this degree,” Ansin said, “I’m now an alumnus of Mount Wachusett Community College.”

In his address to the graduates, Asquino said, “We are here this evening to congratulate you and pay tribute to your success and your hard work. We wish you to convey a final lesson, one that will allow you to flourish in the journey of life. It is the lesson for the value of lifelong learning, of civic engagement and of giving back to community and humankind.

“It is our hope that one day you too will be on this podium being recognized as one who has provided service to humankind, or as Alumnus of the Year, or indeed as the person providing our commencement address, and as one who is receiving an honorary degree,” he said.

Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management Ann McDonald introduced the 2006 Alumnus of the Year, Jimmy S. Pappas.

“It’s great to be back at the mount,” Pappas said. “The honor really belongs to the faculty and staff of this school.”

Pappas thanked three individuals who “enabled me to reach higher goals.” They were McDonald, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts Dr. Richard Shine and Professor Emeritus of History Tom Malloy.

A 1991 graduate, Pappas started Passio Consulting in 2005 after working for six years at the accounting firms of Tofias PC, Ernst & Young LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP. He serves as a managing director at the Boston-based company.

After graduating from MWCC with an associate’s of science degree in general studies, Pappas transferred to Amherst College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1992. He received a master’s degree in accountancy from Bentley College in 1995.

MWCC also honored three area business leaders as 2006 Service Above Self award recipients. The were the Gardner News President and Publisher Dr. Alberta Saffell Bell, Leominster Credit Union President and CEO Jack Caulfield and Tim Richards, the founder and owner of the Orchard Hills Athletic Club. The college gives this award to individuals who have made significant contributions to MWCC and the 29 North Central Massachusetts cities and towns that make up MWCC’s service area.

As part of the college’s Decade for Civic Engagement initiative, students completing qualifying Service Learning projects were also awarded Civic Scholar Medallions as part of the ceremony. Also part of the civic engagement initiative, members of Phi Theta Kappa held its third annual Project Graduation, a food drive benefiting the Winchendon Community Action Council.

A total of 668 degrees and certificates were awarded to 594 graduates.