The Andover Townsman
---- — Former and current Andover residents Elizabeth Arnold and Robert McDonald were recently honored by Northern Essex Community College as recipients of the college’s Making a Difference Awards, which were presented in honor of the college’s 50th anniversary.
The awards honor influential members of the NECC community who have made a difference in the lives of others. Recipients included alumni, retired and current faculty and staff, and community friends. A longtime resident of Andover, the late Elizabeth Arnold was a professor emeritus of English at the college and served as department chair. Arnold developed and coordinated the journalism program and was founding advisor to the award winning NECC student newspaper, The Observer.
Arnold was nominated for the award by three of her former students, Carl Russo, staff photographer at the Eagle Tribune and formerly of the Townsman, Dan Lyons, technology editor of Newsweek Magazine, and Rod Doherty, managing editor of Foster’s Daily Democrat. All spoke glowingly of the profound influence she had on them.
As Dan Lyons wrote, “Betty was a powerful, passionate teacher and an important role model for me and countless other students. Some of us went on to careers in journalism, while others pursued other paths. But we all remember how Betty inspired us to work hard, to find careers that we loved, and to take pride in what we did.”
McDonald, started teaching mathematics at the college in 1967 and went on to become the division chair of mathematics and science, division chair of math, science, and technology, dean of academic affairs, professor of mathematics and computer information science, and in 2002 was given emeritus status. Upon receiving his award McDonald said, “it is the people—faculty, staff, administrators, and students—who have made Northern Essex a known and valued resource. I feel very fortunate and proud to have played a role in this journey for the last 45 years. I know NECC will continue to serve and prosper in the days to come.”
Making a Difference Award recipients were honored at the college’s 50th anniversary gala. Over 150 nominations were received for Making a Difference Award recipients and all were carefully considered by a committee of college faculty and staff, which made recommendations to College President Lane Glenn.
“It was so inspiring to read the nominations we received,” said Glenn. “I learned about graduates who are using the skills they received at Northern Essex to have a positive impact on the world; faculty and staff who have changed the lives of their students in positive ways, and generous community partners who have supported the college by their donations or volunteer efforts.” Northern Essex has just 181 students when the first class started in the fall of 1961. For 10 years, the college was located in the Greenleaf School on Chadwick Street in Bradford. Eventually it moved to the old Haverhill High School that is now City Hall, and Elliott Street became its permanent home in 1971. The college now has 15,000 students, and over the years, has opened several campuses in Lawrence including the Dimitry Building on Franklin Street, the Haffner Fournier Education Center on Amesbury Street, NECC Riverwalk on Merrimack St., and iHealth, also on Franklin St. The Dr. Ibrahim El Hefni Health and Technology Center on Common St. in Lawrence is under construction with plans to open in the fall of 2013.
Northern Essex is the only state college located in the lower Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts.