By Dr. Steven Minkler
Dr. Anna Wasescha is a thinker and a doer. She is also one of the most incredibly kind and thoughtful people you’d ever meet. And on Saturday, April 21, she was officially inaugurated as the sixth president of Middlesex Community College. Congratulations!
“Dr. Anna,” as she’s known on campus, actually started as president last July. In ten short months, she has made an overwhelmingly positive impression on faculty, students, staff, and community leaders — over 200 of whom, plus her husband Richard, daughter Ariel, family, and friends — were present for the inauguration ceremonies and lovely reception featuring locally grown foods. Dignitaries such as Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, mayors, state legislators, and fellow college presidents spoke of her warm personality, commitment to global sustainability, and love for literature and poetry. All of the speakers were confident that Wasescha is the right person, at the right time, to lead Middlesex Community College to greater prominence in the State of Connecticut.
Wasescha was nothing short of beaming when Dr. Robert Kennedy, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, and Board of Regents member Dr. Merle Harris formally charged her with the duties of being MxCC president. As if in agreement, the sun broke through the morning clouds, just as she began her inaugural address.
Wasescha called on us to recognize the importance of community colleges as truly democratic institutions of higher education. She noted that the United States is unique in the world for providing a network of colleges that are accessible and affordable to everyone. At the same time, she challenged all of us who work at or study in community colleges to focus more clearly on helping address national problems such as participatory citizenship, workforce development, and environmental concerns. She said, “It now falls to us to seize this moment and work together to forge systems of higher education that will produce citizens capable of making a positive mark on the future. This will require new ways of thinking about our newest colleges, our community colleges.”
As the Academic Dean, I’m actually newer to Middlesex than Dr. Anna. I started my job in January 2012. I knew this was the right job for me because of the outstanding faculty and staff, diverse student body, a sense that the college is going somewhere… and the leadership qualities of Dr. Anna Wasescha. I’ve only known her a short time, but I felt immense pride for her and the college on Inauguration Day.
Congratulations, Dr. Anna. To quote you, we all agree that if we work together, we have the capacity to make big dreams come true. And we match your pledge to give every ounce of energy that we have to work with you to get there.