Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. was one of six inductees to receive a “Wonder Woman” Award from the Malta House of Care at its Ninth Annual “Celebrating Wonder Women” awards ceremony on April 25 in Hartford.
“I am honored and grateful for the generous recognition of my work by such a worthy institution,” said President De Filippis. “It was great to be in the company of talented women, sister recipients whose ages range from 17 to 96. A special thank you to my colleagues at NVCC and other CSCU institutions for their generous support at this lovely celebration.”
The Malta House of Care runs a mobile medical clinic providing high-quality, free primary health care to uninsured adults in Greater Hartford. Each week, the big, white Malta van visits several neighborhoods–two in Hartford and one in East Hartford–to provide physicals, testing, immunizations, medications, health coaching, and more. This is made possible by a corps of volunteer doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who contribute about 1,000 hours of free medical care each year, as well as thousands of generous financial supporters.
The awards honor women who “improve their communities on stage or behind-the-scenes. This year six community servants were chosen from a pool of 64 nominees by an eight-person Wonder Women Selection Committee using an anonymous electronic voting tool.”
Since 2008, President De Filippis has served as President of Naugatuck Valley Community College. Under her leadership, student success stories abound: student retention has steadily risen, graduation awards have grown, and a thriving expanded campus in Danbury was developed. This year, students benefited from the College’s fourth Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Aguibou Sanou, who taught dance classes at the college, was an integral part of the Second International Arts Festival at NVCC, and who taught classes at Waterbury Arts Magnet.
But the success and opportunities enjoyed by students are just the beginning. Improvements to the 22-town community the College serves are numerous and tangible. In Waterbury, the creation of evening bus service was an initiative introduced by the President in collaboration with our delegation, local Council of Government leaders, and most particularly by NVCC students and administrators, needed to enable students to travel to and from evening classes at NVCC. The idea blossomed into the establishment of city-wide evening bus service in 2011 with wide-spanning economic benefits. As a result of the evening bus service, hospital employees who work the third shift and that are dependent on public transportation now have an easier time traveling to work. For a city where 20% of residents depend on public transportation, the solution has eased many people’s transportation problems and has given NVCC students unlimited bus passes. In the last year, NVCC was named one of the top 25 community colleges nationwide in advancing opportunities for low-income students and its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) was selected as a national finalist for the 2019 Bellwether Award in the area of workforce development. The Advanced Manufacturing program, along with other areas of study such as the Electronic Engineering Technology associate degree program, provide relevant, sought-after job skills with students often receiving job offers before they even graduate.
President De Filippis holds a Ph.D. in Spanish language and a M. Phil. in Spanish literature from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY, an M.A. in Spanish literature, a B.A. in Spanish and English literatures summa cum laude from Queens College, CUNY, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from the University of Santo Domingo (UASD) in recognition of her contribution to Dominican, Caribbean, and Dominican Diaspora literature. She serves on the Connecticut Technical High School System Board, the Prospect Waterbury Local Advisory Board, the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, the advisory board of the Dominican Studies Institute at the City College, CUNY and on the Board of the Dominican Studies Association. She is a regular panelist at the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Wellesley Conference where she provides leadership and career advice to approximately sixty women each spring. President De Filippis recently completed nine-year terms of service on the Board of Directors for the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Waterbury.