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Danbury Ribbon Cutting

Naugatuck Valley Community College

Danbury Campus-190 Main Street, Danbury, CT

Remarks:  President Daisy Cocco De Filippis

October 14, 2016

Good afternoon.  What a joy it is to stand here with all of you dear students, faculty, staff, BOR colleagues, members of the NVCC Foundation and the Regional Advisory Council, elected officials and community partners and friends as we celebrate a significant moment in our journey to make a difference in the communities NVCC serves, and most particularly this afternoon, to the City of Danbury.   What a generous journey it has been thus far.  Today marks the beginning of what promises to be a wonderful partnership.  This is how we live our mission to “offer quality, affordable education and training in response to evolving community needs by providing opportunities to individuals and organizations to develop their potential.”

Working hand in hand, all of us, so many of us present here today have had the patience and the perseverance to stay the course.  We hold a debt of gratitude to Governor Dannell Malloy for his support of NVCC over the years.  Waterbury Mayor Neil O’ Leary, Chair of our Regional Advisory Council, has been a steady advocate for the college over the years as well. How fortunate for us to have steady leadership at the college and to have in the System Office a champion for our students who stepped up to support NVCC in achieving this wonderful outcome:  Larger quarters, student-centered spaces that will support teaching and learning and student engagement.  Thank you, colleagues in the SO:  President Mark Ojakian, former Chair of the BOR Nick Donofrio, Erika Steiner, CFO and VP of Facilities Keith Epstein for your steady and very generous support.   At the College, Provost Jim Troup kept it steady as we navigated multiple offices to make our case.  These past few months, his staff worked diligently and closely with Tom Jerram from DAS and Mr. Joe DaSilva, on getting the building ready for fall classes. Dean Sarah Gager and Associate Dean Antonio Santiago and staff, Sharon Nihill, Martha Charris and Lucretia Sveda worked generously on creating a student-welcoming environment and efficient and effective class schedules, supported generously by Dean Irene Rios-Knauf and her team in Academic Affairs.  We are happy to see his Honor Mayor Mark Boughton here today, along with a number of generous elected officials. So happy to recognize State Senator Michael Mclachlan and State Representatives David Arconti, Jr., Janice R. Giegler, Robert Godfrey and Stephen Harding, Jr.  and community partners and supporters of our growing presence in Danbury. Cathy Awwad and the WIOA have taken this walk with us; Andrea Gartner, then Director of City Center, welcomed us, the Technical High Schools, in particular, Dr. Nivea Torres, Vice Chair of the Board Patricia Keavney-Maruca and Abbot Tech Principal Stacy Butkus have supported our offerings in manufacturing and science labs. So many other partners and friends, the United Way, the Hispanic Center of Danbury, the Savings Bank of Danbury, the United Way of Danbury, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Morganti, Danbury Parking authority, City Center Danbury, Danbury Public Library, Western CT State University whose president Dr. John Clark is with us today.  I could go on.

Today we stop to celebrate being part of communities of purpose, dedicated to change the future of Connecticut by providing access and quality to our most vulnerable populations.  This is about access. About understanding that NVCC cares about our students and understands how challenging it is to manage family obligations and your studies.  The number of students who take credit courses at NVCC Danbury Campus has grown exponentially since Spring 2009 when we enrolled 231 students, our first semester offering credit-bearing courses, to 1247 students taking credit bearing courses this Fall 2016 and productive partnerships with Abbott Tech High School and Danbury High School where we are offering incumbent worker training and college credit courses, respectively.   These students now, thanks to so many of you, have this wonderful space where this small campus with a big heart will thrive, as our students’ lives are enriched by opportunities, ensuring a better future for us all.

At the end of our Final Report for Strategic Plan 2013-2016, we quote Harvest Home a poem by Bettye T. Spinner. Here is the last stanza:

In the ideal

our classrooms fill, like cornucopia,

overflowing with the bounty of our


Life stories, heaped among the texts,

spill into hallways of our schools,

crowd the sidewalks or the subways

or ride yellow buses home,

altering the form of knowing,

changing heads,

changing hearts,

changing history,

bringing harvest


The sun is shining on our harvest, as we continue to plant seeds for many future ones.  We could not have done this without all of you.  Mil gracias y bendiciones.

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