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St. Paul Rondo Neighborhood Honors MCTC Law Enforcement Faculty Debbie Montgomery

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments
Debbie Montgomery

Debbie Montgomery holds a copy of a 1976 Pioneer Press story about her involvement on the St. Paul Police Force.

MCTC Law Enforcement Faculty Debbie Montgomery received a unique honor this week: The City of St. Paul named a stretch of Marshall Avenue, in the city’s historic Rondo neighborhood, after her. Read the story from the Pioneer Press here.

St. Paul honors Debbie Montgomery with street segment

The segment of Marshall Avenue between Lexington Parkway and Western Avenue soon will bear the name of a former St. Paul City Council member who grew up during the civil rights era and became the first female officer in the St. Paul Police Department.

On Wednesday, the council voted to approve a resolution co-naming the avenue after Debbie Gilbreath Montgomery. Council member Dai Thao, who sponsored the resolution, called her a “true pioneer of courage and leadership for the city of St. Paul.”

Montgomery, who attended the vote, expressed gratitude for the new street name in her honor and encouraged city leaders to embrace the growing diversity within St. Paul as important decisions are made.

“Our city is changing,” Montgomery told the council. “We have to be open. … We have to make sure that everyone is at the table — at the table when the initial discussions happen, not afterward.”

According to Dai Thao’s resolution, Montgomery was born in St. Paul’s historically black Rondo neighborhood in 1946, 12 years before the construction of Interstate 94 razed her home and cleaved the neighborhood in two.

In the late 1950s, she served as president of the St. Paul NAACP youth group, and at age 17 became the youngest person ever elected to the NAACP’s national board of directors.

The position allowed her an opportunity to rub elbows with Vice President Hubert Humphrey and march on Washington, D.C., in 1963 with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Two years later, she participated in a historic civil rights march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala.

Montgomery, who graduated from St. Paul’s Central High School, went on to earn two master’s degrees in urban planning and police administration. She became the first female police officer in the St. Paul Police Department in 1975, rising up the ranks from sergeant to senior commander.

Council member Dan Bostrom, a former St. Paul police sergeant, recalled serving alongside Montgomery on the force. He told the council not to be fooled by her calm demeanor, and remembered a time when she knocked a belligerent suspect unconscious.

“When you run into a bunch of drunks during St. Patrick’s Day, yeah, we’re talking about Jekyll and Hyde here,” said Bostrom, to widespread laughter.

Montgomery served as assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety from 1991 to 1998 and was elected to the Ward 1 seat on the city council in 2004. She was unseated by Melvin Carter in the November 2007 election.

In 2008, she became an adjunct professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Montgomery was one of seven candidates who ran for the open Ward 1 seat on the council in November 2013. She finished in fourth place, with Dai Thao winning the seat.

MCTC Celebrates Veterans

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Veterans-200As Veterans Day approaches, MCTC looks back at its history of veteran support. From TRIO to student clubs to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon initiatives, the College has learned from past successes and continues to implement new, innovative programs to welcome and support veterans on campus, including several activities planned for Nov. 6.

Veterans Upward Bound

Veterans have been attending MCTC since the College was a vocational school and veterans returning from the war were looking for work.

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), which celebrated its 40th anniversary at the College last year, is one of MCTC’s most comprehensive veteran services. The federally funded TRIO program provides short-term remedial courses for veterans to help them transition into postsecondary education. The courses, textbooks, financial aid counseling, one-on-one tutoring and all other services are free.

Former TRIO Director and Vietnam veteran Jon Westby was honored to participate in VUB’s 40th anniversary celebration last year. Westby’s history with TRIO at MCTC goes back a long time: He was the first director of VUB in 1974, and he led a national fight to keep the program alive in the late 70s, when former President Regan nearly eliminated TRIO and other veteran support programs.

“Being with other veterans helped me get back into society after the war,” he said. “It cleansed demons that we all have.”

VUB’s current Program Director Craig Asche became inspired to work with veterans after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He was a gradeschool teacher at the time and would see what the veteran parents of his students were like before and after their time in Iraq.

“Everyone I meet is someone in process,” he said. “I like to be part of that process of helping others find services and making connections.”

Welcome Center

Veterans have a place to meet on campus for camaraderie and support and to talk with other students in the Veterans Welcome Center. “This is a place where veteran students can relax, socialize and do homework,” said Asche. “It’s staffed by student veterans. There are computers and information available. It’s also a meeting room for the MCTC chapter of the Student Veterans of America.”

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

In addition to the College’s existing services and resources for veterans, MCTC is taking steps to become a state-recognized Beyond the Yellow Ribboncampus. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) is a statewide program that works to connect past and future veterans with community support and resources. With encouragement from Gov. Mark Dayton, a committee of MCTC employees and students are working to bring BYTR to the College.

MCTC Political Science Instructor and U.S. Army veteran Miki Huntington sits on the committee and believes support is crucial for veterans.

“We want MCTC to be a one-stop shop for veterans and their families,” she said.

The committee has a number of plans in place to bring awareness to the community. This winter, MCTC will host the exhibit Always Lost: A Meditation on War—a traveling exhibit featuring photos, interviews and poems of deceased veterans. The exhibit will be on display in the Helland Center Dec. 15, 2014—Jan. 26, 2015.

“I hope in all these efforts that we can give back to all of those who have served for us,” said MCTC Student Life Director Tara Martinez.

MCTC Liberal Arts student Tim Ireland is the president of the College’s Student Veteran Association (SVA) chapter and is very active in organizing veteran-centered events and initiatives like BTYR at MCTC.

“I put everything into what I do and my post-service work is just as important as when I was in uniform,” he said.

Military Friendly School

MCTC was named a military friendly school for the fourth time this year. The honor, given by Victory Media, recognizes an institution’s military culture, flexibility, support services and financial assistance for veterans.

Veterans Day Recognition Events Nov. 3-7

This fall, MCTC planted a tree in its outdoor plaza in honor of Veterans Day (pictured, right) and the many veteran-supportive initiatives underway at the College. In addition, the community is invited to the MCTC Veterans Day recognition event “Honoring All Who Served” on Thursday, Nov. 6 from noon–1:30 p.m. The following events will take place:

  • Noon—Flag raising and veterans tree dedication ceremony featuring the MCTC Choir and Public Safety Color Guard (outdoor plaza flagpole)
  • 12:15–1:30 p.m.—Veterans Day Recognition Program (H.1002)

The MCTC community is also invited to visit the “Remember a Vet” display in the Hennepin Ave. Skyway from Nov. 3–7.

Into the Future

Asche, an MCTC Veteran Certifying Official and other individuals are available to assist veterans in the enrollment process and to provide guidance in the veterans benefit application process. As MCTC heads into the future and welcomes veterans at every point, the College strives to remain flexible and relevant for its entire community.

2014 Cinema Excellence Awards Winners

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

CinemaAwards2014-200The MCTC Cinema Division has announced the winners of its 2014 Excellence Awards. The Excellence Awards ceremony brings MCTC students, faculty, staff and the local film community together to recognize students for their work and award scholarships.

Click here to see the winning videos.

Sponsors

The Excellence Awards are generously sponsored by:

MCTC Scholarship Recipients and Donors Honored

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

ScholarshipBreakfast2014-200The MCTC Foundation held its 11th annual Scholarship Breakfast for students who received Foundation scholarships in the last year and the donors who made those scholarships possible. More than 200 students applied for these scholarships, and this year the Foundation will grant more than $300,000 in scholarships. The MCTC Foundation has distributed more than $2.5 million in the last five years in grants, Power of YOU scholarships and emergency funding.

“I am honored to have been involved with the College for as long as I have,” said MCTC Board President Harry Davis, Jr. “When I attended this school in the 60s—back then, it was known as Metropolitan State Junior College—this was a nontraditional school for nontraditional students.” Davis took classes taught by one of the College’s most foundational contributors: Earl Bowman. “Earl Bowman was the first African-American teacher I’d ever had,” he said.

Five scholarship recipients spoke at the event. “When you’re a father, a grandfather and a college student all at the same time, you may feel like you have many reasons to drop out of school,” said MCTC Liberal Arts student and Nadia and Louis Najarro Smith Scholarship recipient Juan Morales. “Thanks to the trust of Nadia and Louis, I’ll be able to succeed.”

MCTC students learn about scholarship opportunities from their instructors, advisors, the Foundation website and friends. The Scholarship Breakfast allows students to meet some scholarship funders—like Deb Pomroy, instructor of English as a Second or Other Language courses at MCTC since 1991. Deb and her family fund the Srok Scholarship, named for her grandfather who didn’t speak any English when he immigrated to the U.S. “It’s never a mistake to invest in people,” said Deb. Read her story on page 9 of The Groove magazine.

“I really appreciate that you believed in me,” said Nardos Legamo, MCTC Nursing student, former ESOL student and recipient of the Srok Scholarship.

“This is my favorite, and most inspiring, event of the year,” said Reede Webster, executive director of the MCTC Foundation. “These scholarships were part of MnSCU’s comprehensive Access to Excellence Scholarship Campaign, which has raised over $17 million so far for student scholarships and is 74 percent ahead of its first year goal of $10 million.”

“The theme I’m seeing in this year’s Scholarship Breakfast is generosity,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “As we approach Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to be grateful, we also want to thank the donors who generously made these scholarships available.”

Morales used Minnesota winters to describe how helpful a scholarship can be: “If there’s a big snowstorm and you have to clear your driveway before you can get somewhere, sometimes all you have is a tiny little shovel, and it’s really difficult to get anywhere,” he said. “But if someone comes by with a big truck and plows your driveway for you, it’s so much easier to keep moving forward with your life.”

The MCTC Foundation will accept scholarship applications for the spring 2015 semester until Nov. 26. Click here to explore scholarship options.

Photo, from left to right: MCTC Board President Harry Davis, Jr., Kopp Presidential Scholar Nathan Place, Kopp Presidential Scholar Frances Emberly, Srok Memorial Scholar Nardos Legamo, Najarro Smith Dream Act Scholar Juan Morales, Power of YOU Scholar Antonio Hunt and Interim MCTC President Avelino Mills-Novoa.

MCTC Electrical Construction Students Awarded “Tools for Tomorrow” Scholarship

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC Construction Electricity Students receiving scholarships.MCTC Electrical Construction students Kevin Swanlund and Mark Zerr were recipients of this year’s Tools for Tomorrow scholarships given by Grainger.

“We’re proud of being students in this program,” said Swanlund. “We’re both nontraditional students, and this program gave us the opportunity to move ahead with our career when we needed it.”

To promote the innovation and importance of careers in the industrial skilled trades, Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program in 2006 to help students in the industrial skilled trades realize their educational and career goals. This year, Grainger will award a Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship to 250 students at community colleges in the U.S., half of which are awarded to military veteran students. Upon graduation, each student receives a customized Westward® toolkit from Grainger to jump start their career.

“We have a huge need for skilled workers in the trades, and that’s why Grainger coordinates these scholarships,” said Terri Joski-Lang, market manager for Grainger.

“It’s not easy being a young person with a family trying to go back to school,” Zerr said. “It’s a tough thing to balance, and Grainger cares enough to help us.”

The two students were given their scholarships at a ceremony on Oct. 30 in the MCTC Science Building. They are among only nine Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship recipients in the state of Minnesota.