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QVCC celebrates five ‘champions’

Quinebaug Valley Community College celebrated 50 years of serving the communities of Northeast Connecticut on Thursday, Oct. 21. Following campus COVID-19 protocols, more than 130 faculty, staff, emeritus faculty and staff, and community members were able to gather for this special occasion.

The evening featured remarks from Gov. Ned Lamont; Terrence Cheng, president CT State Colleges and Universities; Robert Steinmetz, regional president, CT Community Colleges; Diane Williams, QVCC President Emeritus; and Karen Hynick QVCC CEO.

The highlight of the event included the recognition of “Five Champions of QVCC.” The Five Champions were selected from more than 30 nominations. Whether in a classroom setting, in a student support role, in a peer role or as a community member, champions advocate for students, and the college’s mission. Whether their presence was felt 50 years ago or today, they made impact on the history of the college.

The Five Champions:

* Joy Chartier ‘78 – Joy is not only a graduate but former QVCC employee. She was known as the backbone of QVCC and many said that if no one in administration was around Joy could run the college. Joy worked at QVCC in Student Services and served on the QVCC Foundation, where she is a Foundation Member Emeritus.

* Gary and Karen Osbrey – Gary and Karen are the owners of WINY Radio in Putnam. There is rarely an event in the region that the Osbreys are not in attendance or participating in some fashion. As friends of the college, they provide a free monthly spot on the Gary O morning show for the foundation, provide live broadcasts during campus events, and always promote the college, students and faculty and staff. Karen is the longest-serving member of the QVCC Foundation and former QVCC Foundation President.

* Lynn Pasquerella ‘78 – Lynn was a first-generation college student at QVCC. Encouragement by faculty members pushed her to further her education and she attended Mount Holyoke College. She received a full fellowship at Brown University where she earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1985. Lynn has spent her career in higher education serving in roles at the University of Rhode Island, University of Hartford, president of Mount Holyoke, and currently is the President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Lynn has never forgotten QVCC and the foundation the college provided for her. With her husband, they endowed a scholarship with the QVCC Foundation benefiting students pursuing Liberal Arts & Sciences.

* Denise Walsh ‘90 – Denise is a Professor of Mathematics at QVCC. She served as the Faculty Representative to the QVCC Foundation for many years, volunteers at foundation events, and is the department chair of Mathematics. Former student Sean Gilmartin nominated Denise. He noted the impact she had on him with demystifying math and after accepting a high school teaching position, she was the first person he called for advice.

* Monique Wolanin – Monique has served as the Director of Institutional Advancement for 13 years and is known as the face of the College in the community. Since she has taken the reins of the foundation, the foundation has grown to be one of the largest of the 12 Community Colleges in the state.

Friends & Neighbors is a regular feature. To contribute, email


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