Nov. 3 ‘Bridge to Equity’ event honored supporters; provided powerful first-person stories of how giving changes students’ lives

Left to right: GCCF Board member and event co-chair Rev. Hiram Brett; Board Chair Helene A. Augustine; Gateway CEO Dr. William ‘Terry’ Brown; Gateway Associate Dean of Institutional Advancement Heidi Green; KRATIVE Founder/CEO Rick Callahan; International Festival of Arts & Ideas Executive Director Shelley Quiala; Washington Trust Chairman/CEO Edward O. Handy and President/COO Mark K. W. Gim; Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center Chief Development Officer Mary Ellen Cody; GCCF Vice Chair Tom Beirne; and GCCF Board member and event co-chair LaKisha Jordan.
Gateway Lion Award honoree Mary Ellen Cody, (center), with GCC Foundation Board Chair Helene A. Augustine and Gateway CEO William ‘Terry’ Brown
GCC Foundation Board member Ruby Melton, center, and Gail Macavy, left, major Hall of Fame sponsors, chat with Michael Taylor, right, CEO of New Haven’s Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center.
Heidi Green, third from right, Gateway’s Associate Dean of Institutional Advancement, gets several Gateway to College (GtC) students lined up for a photo. GtC is an early college program for high schoolers that enables them to earn 10-17 college credits.

(December 2022) The Gateway Community College Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame with its first fully in-person, on-campus observance since 2019. Themed “Bridge to Equity,” the 2022 Hall of Fame brought together honorees; their families, friends, and colleagues; Gateway students, faculty, and staff; and many community, foundation, and individual donors and GCCF supporters.

The Hall of Fame was co-chaired by GCC Foundation Board members Hiram Brett and LaKisha Jordan. Board member, Tom Beirne emceed. The 25th Annual Hall of Fame inductees were:

· Alumni: Rick Callahan, Founder/CEO of KRATIVE

· Corporate: Washington Trust

· Community: International Festival of Arts & Ideas; Shelley Quiala, Executive Director

· Gateway Lion Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of Students: Mary Ellen Cody; retired Dean, Development and Community Partnerships, Gateway Community College; Chief Development Officer, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center

The 150+ guests viewed powerful videos of honorees’ achievements that showcased their support for Gateway Community College and its Foundation, To view those videos, CLICK HERE.

They also heard from Gateway graduate Kimberly Alvarez, who was introduced by her former Gateway professor, Computer Science Coordinator Stacy Walker – herself a GCC grad!

During her junior year of high school, Kimberly and her family came to Connecticut from Ecuador. Despite speaking English as a second language, she enrolled at Gateway in 2017. She faced financial and personal hardships – including an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning that caused confusion, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Still, Kimberly never lost focus on her future.

“I set goals every day and pushed myself to academic success,” she said. The three GCC Foundation scholarships she received helped her earn an associate degree in Computer Science in May 2020. “Those scholarships boosted my self-confidence and helped me get closer to my career goals and dreams. I will always be grateful.”

Stacy, Kimberly’s advisor as well as her professor, lost both parents before she turned 18, and her 15-year-old brother soon after, empathized with Kimberly’s struggles. Her resolve and drive also impressed Stacy. “When I discovered what happened, I reached out to let her know I was there for her.”

“I had a life-changing experience here at Gateway,” explained Stacy, who, in her day, also received a GCC Foundation scholarship. “I made a vow to teach at Gateway and give back the love and support given to me.”

Kimberly came to think of Stacy as her “school Mom.”  With Stacy’s support – and her own determination – Kimberly graduated as the top Gateway Computer Science student. She matriculated to Quinnipiac University and majored in Computer Information Systems (CIS), her “real passion.” This past May, she was awarded a bachelor’s degree in CIS – with highest honors. She works full time at Flexi Software and will begin a master’s degree program in 2023.

Hall of Fame sponsors and donors support the success of women like Stacy and Kimberly. Please contact Genavave DeSisto at gdesisto@gwcc.commnet.edu for information about the 2023 Hall of Fame!

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