STCC Distinguished Alumni Award

The presentation of the STCC Distinguished Alumni Award has been an annual tradition since 1986. Recipients are graduates who have distinguished themselves professionally through a commitment to excellence and brought recognition to STCC through active community service.

2017 - Therese "Terry" McGuigan '75

Therese “Terry” McGuigan, a resident of West Springfield, graduated from Springfield Technical Community College in 1975 with an Associate in Arts in General Studies. However, Terry’s long history with STCC, and its location on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, began at birth.

Her grandfather, Wilfred Chabot, a bricklayer by trade, helped craft the buildings that populate our historic campus. Her mother, Rita Clarke, worked at the Armory during WWII as an arms checker and a secretary. Her father, Phil LaBranche, served as STCC’s first Chief of Security in 1968 when it was mandatory for his family to live on campus. Terry’s address became One Armory Square when she moved to the campus as a high school student.

Attending the College was also a tradition in Terry’s family. Her sister, Patricia, graduated from STCC’s first incarnation, Springfield Technical Institute, in the Public Health program, and her brother, Mark, graduated from STCC with an Associate in Science in Criminal Justice.

Shortly after graduating from STCC, Terry began working in the Registrar’s Office. In 1980 she found her professional calling in the Information Technology Department as a valued member of STCC’s IT team with a focus on admissions and student communication. Terry retired in 2017 after 42 years of service.

As a single mom, Terry instilled in her son Patrick a strong work ethic and a passion for education. He began attending STCC at the age of 16 and graduated in 2010 with an Associate in Science in Digital Photography.

2016 – Jeffrey E. Poindexter ‘89

Jeffrey E. Poindexter grew up in Springfield and attended Springfield public schools. Like their father, a retired Springfield police officer, Jeffrey and two of his three brothers attended Springfield Technical Community College.  After graduating from STCC in 1989, Jeffrey attended and graduated from Western New England College and received his law degree from Georgetown University.  He is currently an attorney and partner at Bulkley Richardson & Gelinas, LLP, a firm with 45 attorneys.  As chair of their litigation department, Jeffrey focuses on commercial litigation in both Federal and State Courts.

Appointed by the STCC Alumni Association, Jeffrey served with distinction as the Alumni Trustee on the STCC Board of Trustees from March 30, 2010 to July 1, 2015. Jeffrey continued his commitment to service when he accepted the Governor’s appointment as one of three Western Massachusetts attorneys to serve on the 21 member Judicial Nominating Commission, responsible for recommending judicial candidates for all open judge positions for all courts in Massachusetts. He also serves as the Chair of the Board of the Greater Springfield YMCA.

Jeffrey’s long history of service to our community includes chairing and participating by appointment on various judicial commissions to select several federal judges in Massachusetts, serving on the board of the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, the board and executive committee of Springfield School Volunteers and the board of Hampden County Lawyers for Justice. Jeffrey is a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and its Springfield chapter, Beta Sigma Boulé, which is a national fraternity of African American professionals and the first Greek-letter organization to be founded by African American men.

2015 – Hector Toledo ‘90

A resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, Hector Toledo graduated from Springfield Technical Community College in 1990 with an Associate in Science in Business Administration-Accounting. As a prominent member of the local banking community for the past 25 years, Hector credits his success to his father. “I was blessed with a father who served as my mentor. He instilled in me the confidence to set a goal and follow through on that goal.” Beginning his banking career on the teller line, today Hector serves as the Regional Manager/Vice President for Berkshire Bank overseeing branches throughout the state.  Hector has been honored by Business West, the business journal of Western Mass, with a 40 under Forty award as a business and civic leader in the Pioneer Valley.

In addition to his professional success, Hector has spent the past 21 years working with the non-profit community in Western Mass. During his four-year tenure as Chair of the STCC Board of Trustees the college reached all-time highs in attendance and graduates, began new academic programs, made progress on the student success agenda and completed a number of building renovations. Hector’s commitment to service has included serving on, or chairing, the boards of the United Way, Girl Scouts, YMCA,  Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Baystate Health, Regional Employment Board and the Fine Arts Center at UMASS, Amherst.

Closest to Hector’s heart is his volunteer work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a disease his son courageously battles. Hector proudly served as the Corporate Chair of the 2007 & 2013 JDRF Walk for a Cure. His passion for helping those in need extends to his donation of platelets and plasma, a gift he gives at least 20 times per year.

2014 - Mark Ayers '94

Mark Ayers graduated in 1994 with an Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts Transfer and has the distinction of being, to date, the only STCC alumni who went on to graduate from both Yale (B.A. English) and Harvard (M.Ed.). Mark credits his success to the college's devoted faculty and staff for the support and guidance he received while a student. After graduating Harvard, Mark began his career as a high school teacher in Connecticut and earned the Distinguished Teacher award in his first year of eligibility.

Mark is the founder and Executive Director of A+ Academic Coaching and is dedicated to helping students of all ages thrive both personally and academically. He founded A+ Academic Coaching in 1998 in Connecticut and relocated the business in 2004 to its current location in New Mexico. Since moving to New Mexico, the company has expanded and now has offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Mark serves as the president of the Board of Directors for Brothers Together, a mentoring community for male youth in New Mexico, for which A+ Academic Coaching is the community sponsor. Additionally, Mark serves on the Board of Directors for ACLU-New Mexico, as well as the National ACLU Board.

Mark is a volunteer with the STCC Alumni Association's Speakers Bureau, sharing his expertise in entrepreneurship, leadership development, and job placement skills with current students. Mark's generosity to STCC also includes the recently created Jean and Jim Genasci Scholarship Award given to a student who is actively serving as a role model and/or advancing the goals of the LGBT community.

2013 - Kevin E. Ambrose ‘77

Kevin E. Ambrose, a graduate of Springfield Technical High School, began his career with the Springfield Police Department as a cadet in 1974 and became a police officer in 1976.  In 1977, he proudly received his degree in law enforcement/criminal justice from Springfield Technical Community College. His dedication and commitment to the citizens of Springfield earned Ambrose commendations in 1978, 1993, 1999, and 2005. While he resided in Springfield for most of his life, he called Wilbraham his home for the past 24 years.  Ambrose also was an active member of his community and served as a youth soccer, baseball, and basketball coach in Wilbraham for many years.

Tragically, Officer Ambrose was killed in the line of duty last June while responding to a domestic disturbance call. He died protecting the lives of a young mother and her 1 year old daughter.  The news of his death shocked the Springfield community and his loss was felt throughout Western Massachusetts.

In 2012, the STCC Foundation honored Officer Ambrose for his service and sacrifice in the line of duty through the establishment of the Kevin E. Ambrose Law Enforcement Award. The scholarship is given to a student who embodies the qualities Ambrose possessed which made him an exceptional member of the Springfield Police Department.  Said STCC Alumni Association Chair, John Kelley (’78), “The award is an opportunity to further the legacy of Officer Ambrose, a community member, who exemplified the characteristics of leadership, commitment, dedication, care and compassion for others and the community that are essential to the success of a police officer.

2012 - Barbara Rodriguez '96

Barbara Rodriguez was recognized as someone who continually gives back to her community and alma mater. She graduated from Springfield Technical Community College in 1996 with an associate degree in science in legal office administration. Rodriguez later went on to earn a bachelor's degree from American International College and a master's in business administration from Western New England College.  In 2001, Rodriguez founded her business, TransFluenci Interpreting and Translation Services. In the beginning, Rodriguez operated the business from her home until 2006 when she was accepted as a tenant for the Springfield Small Business Incubator. While at the Incubator, her business took off and as a result, Rodriguez was awarded the Lisa Grenier-Wilgus award for excellence in sales and marketing in 2009. Rodriguez was an exceptional student while at STCC and was the recipient of the STCC Award for Academic Excellence. She continues to excel in her business life and in her commitment to the college. She not only participates each year as a guest speaker at the STCC Women in Business event, she has collaborated with the STCC Workforce Development department to offer training and employment to hundreds of interpreters and translators of all languages. She also designed and implemented the medical interpreting course at STCC in 2007. Since then, the course has grown in popularity and is now offered online.

2011 - John Claffey ‘87

John was selected as the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus and honored at Commencement on Friday, June 3, 2011. John graduated in 1987 with a degree in Criminal Justice and continued his education in criminal justice at Westfield State College and earned a J.D. at Western New England College School of Law. He has been a police officer, administrator, and investigator with the Springfield Police Department. John has practiced law, concentrating in criminal law and dispute resolution. He has taught criminal justice at Norwich University and since 1995 at Western New England University, where he is an associate professor. He has also served as a Selectman in East Longmeadow. John is currently Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Police Academy.

2010 - Franklin D. Quigley, Jr. ‘77

Frank Quigley of Wilbraham is a 1977 graduate of the Civil Engineering program and has combined a distinguished career in engineering with an exceptional record of service in our community.  After graduating from STCC, Quigley worked with engineering firms, oil companies, and real estate development groups. In 2000, he founded FD Quigley & Associates, which provides national retailers and commercial real estate developers throughout the Northeast with outsourcing of construction and project management. Quigley has also been closely involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts since 1984, when he began volunteering as a program director, coach, and floor hockey official. In 1995 he was elected to the Massachusetts Board of Directors; two years later, he was selected to officiate at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada. In 2005 he became Chairman of the state Board. He then served as Chair of the Building Committee and a $10 million capital campaign. Last year he was recognized with a Hall of Fame wall named in his honor.  Frank has been a member of the STCC Alumni Association board since 2008, is currently Vice President of the Board, and this year became a member of the STCC Foundation Board. He is a valued link between the college, the community, and STCC's more than 31,000 alumni.

2009 - Linda Randall ‘87

Linda Randall (Class of '87) was honored as the Distinguished Alumna of 2009. She earned an M.Ed. from UMass, is president of the board of Open Pantry Community Services, and is the accommodations specialist in the disability services area at STCC. She was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Mass as a Woman of Distinction for 2009.

2008 - Dorothy M. Crenshaw ‘03

Dorothy's heartfelt advice for students is, "Don't give up." A 2003 graduate of STCC, she has overcome what others would see as insurmountable adversity, and she has prevailed.

Today, Dorothy sits on the board of directors for Friends of the Homeless. She also works as an outreach coordinator for the Faith Unlimited Institute Inc. as part of the After-incarceration Support Program of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department. She Not so many years ago, she herself was homeless, and at one point in her life was incarcerated.

Her journey has been difficult, but Dorothy never stopped striving. She got her own apartment at age 16, went on to graduate from high school and then worked as a CNA. Later, she found the courage to leave an abusive relationship, taking her three children with her. Following family tragedy, addiction, and incarceration, she found the strength to turn her life around through her religious faith.

Says Dorothy, "The Bible says in all things we should give thanks and I thank Him for my homeless experience, I thank Him for the opportunities and doors that were opened to me at STCC. I have a new life, a new respect for homeless people, and every opportunity I get, even through the College that supported me, I want to make a difference. If I could share a word of encouragement with someone, one simple phrase comes to mind: "Don't give up!"

2007 - John N. Sarno ‘67

John N. Sarno, a 1967 graduate of STCC's Data Processing program, who went on to complete a bachelor's degree in computer information systems at Westfield State College, has watched that field over 40 years, from computer equipment that filled a room to the tiny and powerful computers we know today.

Through his position as vice president for information systems at Big Y Foods Inc., probably the largest family-owned and operated supermarket chain in New England, Sarno has not only managed the evolution in his field but also continually encouraged his employees to study in computer and information technologies at STCC.  Fully 40% of Big Y's information systems department are graduates of STCC or have taken courses at the college.

Sarno has partnered with the college on several initiatives, as a member of the STCC Foundation, as a panel member in a Foundation presentation, and through the Big Y Technology Fellowship for STCC students.  He also served on the business advisory board for Westfield State's computer and information science department.

Sarno is also active as a resident, in his town of Wilbraham, and regionally in his profession.  In 2003, he was named one of the top 25 Most Influential Leaders in the USA Supermarket Industry by Retail Information Systems Magazine.

2007 - Maurice G. Lindsay ‘92

Maurice G. Lindsay, a 1992 graduate of STCC's Telecommunications Technology program, went on to create Lindsay Entertainment Network, a Springfield-based media production studio for local radio and TV series, most focusing on Caribbean Culture, including one aired on STCC's WTCC-FM, where Lindsay has volunteered for 27 years.

Lindsay transferred from STCC to American International College where he completed a bachelor's degree in management and technology in 2004, and a master's degree in public administration in 2006.

2006 - Ric J. Serrenho ‘80

Ric Graduated in 1980 with an A.S. in Teleproduction Technology. Today he is president and owner of Visual Concepts Inc in Windsor, Connecticut. In 2005 Ric was awarded an Emmy for the program Orphan Orca: Saving Springer.

2005 - Karen ’82 & Michael Thomes ‘74

Michael is a 1974 graduate in Liberal Arts and in 1981 earned a second A.S. degree in Computer Systems Engineering Technology. He went on to UMass for his bachelor's degree, followed by an MBA earned at Western New England College. He currently holds the position of Quality Consultant in the Corporate Division of United Technologies, where he has been employed for 24 years.

Karen graduated in 1982 with a double major in Liberal Arts and Business Transfer. With a scholarship to Smith College, she completed a bachelor's degree in economics in 1985. She holds a M.Ed. from Cambridge College and has been an academic counselor at STCC for 20 years.

2004 - Dr. Amy G. St. Germain ‘87

Dr. Amy G. St. Germain is a 1987 graduate of the STCC Dental Hygiene Program.  While a student at STCC she was awarded the Who's Who Award, Cooligan Award for Community Service, and the Thompson Award for contribution to the Allied Health Profession.  She continued on to receive her doctorate from the University of Connecticut, School of Dental Medicine, and is currently a practicing dentist in East Longmeadow, MA.

2003 - Jay K. Ober ‘94

Graduated in 1994 with an A.S. in Nursing, and went on to earn a B.S. in Nursing and an M.S. in Nurse Practitioner. Currently working on a doctorate, he is the Manager of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Holyoke Hospital.

2002 - Gary G. Cassanelli ’80 & Mark E. Kenney ‘67

Gary graduated in 1980 with A.S. in Fire Science, and is now Chief of the Springfield Fire Department.

Mark graduated in 1967 with an A.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and in 1973 with an A.S. in Law Enforcement. He is now a Captain in the Springfield Police Department and is the Commanding Officer of the Central Intelligence Bureau.

2001 - David P. Fontaine ‘83

Graduated in 1983 with A.S. in Civil Engineering Technology. He is now President of Fontaine Brothers, Inc. General Contractors in Springfield.

2000 - Nan E. Begley ‘81

Graduated in 1981 with Assoc. in Liberal Arts Transfer. She holds a B.A. and M.S. from Westfield State College, is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a mental health counselor, and is currently a full-time faculty member in Social Sciences at STCC.

1999 - Dan R. Roulier ‘83

Graduated in 1963 with an A.S. in Business Management. He is the founder and President of Dan Roulier & Associates, Inc., a real estate development company based in Somers, CT.

1998 - Victoria A. White ‘98

Graduated in 1981 with an A.A. in General Studies Transfer. She is the founder and owner of eclecTechs in Northampton, a company which provides Internet training and consultation.

1997 - Etta M. Williams ‘97

Graduated in 1975 with A.S. in Nursing.

1996 - Carleen M. Nahorniak ‘96

Graduate of the first STCC class in Nursing in 1972. Became Director of Nursing at Mercy Hospital Center for Health, Springfield in 1994.

1995 - Wendy J. Leard ‘82

Graduated in 1982 with an A.S. in Court Reporting.

1994 - Jane L. Sweeney (Jane Alinovi) ‘87

Graduated in 1987 with an A.A. in Liberal Arts/General Studies. She went on to earn a B.A at Mount Holyoke, an M.Ed., and a J.D., and is now High School Guidance Counselor at the Springfield Expeditionary Learning School.

1993 - Margaret Bellucci ‘76

Graduated in 1976 with an A.S. in General Business. She earned a B.S. and an M.S., and became a full-time faculty member in the STCC School of Business and Information Technologies, retiring in 2003.

1992 - Bernadette J. Conte ‘85

Graduated in 1985 with an A.S. in Accounting. She became a teacher at West Springfield High School, and served on the STCC Board of Trustees.

1991 - Jeannine M. Pelchat ‘73

Graduated in 1973. She is Vice President, Retail Banking at People's Bank, and serves on the STCC Board of Trustees.

1990 - Ross H. Higgins ‘70

Graduated in 1970 with an A.S. in Bio-Medical Equipment Technology. He retired from STCC in 2002 where he was a lab technician in the Bio-Medical Technology department.

1989 - Constance J. O'Brien ‘78

Graduated in 1978 with an A.S. in Accounting. Received a Bachelor's in Finance from WNEC as well as an MBA from AIC. Constance is currently President of C. J. O'Brien Associates, Inc., an accounting firm with a concentration of small business clients.

1988 - Mark F. Curto ‘65 & Ann L. Pandolfi ‘69

Mark Curto graduated in 1965 with an A.S. in Data Processing. He is now retired from his position as the Director of Telephone Services, Voice/Data Cable Plants and Documentation at STCC.

Ann Pandolfi graduated in 1969 with an A.S. in Data Processing. She is now retired from her position as Director of Administrative Systems at STCC.

1987 - Mary Ann Gioscia ‘76

Graduated in 1976 with an A.S. in Nursing. She was a nurse, and served on the STCC Board of Trustees.

1986 - Michael J. Schiavina & Alain J. Beauregard

Springfield Police Officers Michael J. Schiavina and Alain J. Beauregard gave their lives in the line of duty on the evening of Nov. 12, 1985. Both officers studied Law Enforcement at STCC.