Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz to Deliver Commencement Address

    Photo: Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (Courtesy of Office of Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz)

    Mitchell College marks its 78th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 14, with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz delivering the keynote address to the Class of 2022. The ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. on the Mitchell College Green.

    Sworn in on January 9, 2019, Susan Bysiewicz is serving her first term as Connecticut’s 109th lieutenant governor. Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz formerly served as Connecticut’s secretary of state from 1999 to 2011. As a state representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, she represented the towns of Middletown, Middlefield, and Durham from 1993 to 1999. A graduate of Middletown High School, Yale University and Duke Law School, she is the author of “Ella: A Biography of Ella Grasso,” Connecticut’s 83rd Governor. Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz and her husband David Donaldson reside in Middletown.​

    Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, Mitchell College president, said, “We are honored that Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz will deliver the keynote address to our graduating class. Her values of hard work, education and persistence, her wisdom gleaned from years of tireless work on behalf of Connecticut residents, her recognition of the value of programs that help neurodivergent communities thrive, and her commitment to growing jobs and investing in the future will inspire our graduates.”

    In addition to announcing the graduating class of 2022, the ceremony will include recognition of students who received honors, awards and scholarships at Mitchell College for the 2021–2022 Academic Year.

    Rep. Courtney Visits to Discuss Planned Innovation Hub

    Pictured above: President Espy and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) meet with other community members to discuss the planned Digital Innovation Hub.

    U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) visited Mitchell College to meet with Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy, Ph.D., and other college stakeholders to talk about the planned Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence. The visit included a tour of the Mitchell College Library, which will house flexible learning and collaboration spaces both for Mitchell students and non-student learners, and provide access to computers and support staff for the digital learning supported by the Digital Invitation Hub. The goal of the Hub is to support workforce development needs in the region.

    Courtney recently secured $555,000 in federal funding for the program, which will provide new credentialing and coursework in STEM and behavioral health careers for traditional and non-traditional students. The funding will be used to purchase equipment to support in-person and virtual learning as well as STEM education. One staff member would be hired to administer the program, partnering with college officials and professional organizations to develop new programming.

    “Education and skills training opportunities are the cornerstone of growing eastern CT’s workforce, and I was happy to work with the City of New London and Mitchell College to secure direct, targeted funding for the college’s new Digital Innovation Hub as part of our Community Project Requests in the 2022 budget,” said Courtney. “Dr. Espy and her team are focused on ensuring Mitchell College remains an integral part of training up the next generation of qualified medical professionals, engineers, programmers and other in-demand professions so that more of their students have the skills to step right into these high-skill, high-pay industries—and that in turn is going to attract even more employers to our region. That’s exactly what the Digital Innovation Hub will be focused on, STEM and behavioral health coursework, and I’m looking forward to seeing the program get underway now that our Community Project Request has finally been made law.”

    Espy said, “We are so grateful to Congressman Courtney for supporting our vision to provide our community with more options to prepare for in-demand careers, filling a need in today’s society. Workforce development is critical to the well-being of our region and our state and we look forward to Mitchell playing an important role in that.”

    Largest Single Donation in College History

    Pictured above: President Espy shares news with faculty and staff about the historic gift.

    Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy announced that Mitchell College was gifted its single largest gift in its 84-year history. The $3 million gift was given by an anonymous donor and includes a challenge match of $1 million, raising the potential benefit to $4 million.

    “This historic gift comes at a transformational moment for Mitchell College….Building on the College’s remarkable foundation of delivering an outstanding educational experience to students of all learning styles, Mitchell College aligns our mission with the future of higher education.”

    — Tracy Espy, Ph.D., President, Mitchell College

    For Mitchell, this future includes an array of pathways for students to achieve their goals, in both career and service, offering expert supports to ensure student success.  Our tremendously generous donor recognizes the unique commitment and ability of Mitchell College to offer exceptional education for a kaleidoscope of learners, representing the spectrum of diversity in race, gender, class, ethnicity and neurodiversity.”

    “We are deeply grateful to our generous donor, as well as to President Espy – whose unwavering commitment to further propel Mitchell College’s distinctive competence of creating a culture of belonging and educational excellence for the full diversity of learners inspired our compassionate benefactor to support Mitchell’s remarkable future.”

    — Richard D’Avino, Chair, Mitchell College Board of Trustees

    The donor of the $3 million to Mitchell prefers to remain anonymous, but stated, “I fully support the Mitchell College mission, the welcoming environment where all diversity is celebrated and all potential is realized, and President Espy’s vision for the future.”

    Partnership with Univ. of Saint Joseph Offers MSW

    Pictured above (left to right): Joseph Pardee, Mitchell College director of facilities; Dr. Elizabeth Beaulieu, Mitchell College vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Tara Broccoli, Mitchell College professor of behavioral sciences; Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell College; Dr. Raymie Wayne, USJ professor of social work; Dr. Rhona Free, president of USJ; Dr. Anthony DeJesus, USJ director of the MSW program; and Dr. Michelle Kalis, USJ provost.

     

    Soon residents in Southeastern Connecticut and beyond who are interested in pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) won’t have to travel far to do so.

    The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in West Hartford, Conn., is partnering with Mitchell College to use its New London campus as a satellite campus for the master’s program. Classes taught by USJ faculty will be offered in the evenings and on weekends, and local agencies will serve as partner sites for student clinical training.

    The agreement was signed today by Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell College, Dr. Rhona Free, president of the University of Saint Joseph, Dr. Elizabeth Beaulieu, Mitchell College vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Michelle Kalis, provost of the University of Saint Joseph.

    “Expanded behavioral health access is one of the areas cited by Gov. Ned Lamont and his Workforce Council. Mitchell College very much looks forward to working in partnership with the University of Saint Joseph, sharing our resources to fill today’s abundant need for social work professionals. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, particularly in our psychology and criminal justice programs, and for others in the greater Southeastern Connecticut community.”

    —President Espy

    President Free said, “This new partnership between the University of Saint Joseph and Mitchell College will make it possible to meet some critical workforce needs in the New London region and provide a convenient way for potential students to earn degrees that are not currently offered nearby. We will start with a master’s in social work but hope to expand, taking advantage of Mitchell’s outstanding facilities and location and USJ’s record of success preparing students for health care, education and social service careers.”

    Dr. Tara Broccoli, Mitchell College professor of behavioral sciences, said, “The collaboration with the University of Saint Joseph is an exciting opportunity. The flexibility of the program will appeal to students, as they can select a two- or three-year program sequence to fit their needs. The hybrid method of delivery is especially responsive to adult students, improving their accessibility of the program.”

    Espy also noted that Mitchell College is expected to create a graduate-level mental health degree in the next couple of years, developing a program for credentialing mental health professionals, in alignment with the governor’s call for expanded behavioral health access. These programs may be offered via distance, hybrid and HyFlex formats and fall under the college’s recent award of federal funding for the creation of its Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence.

    Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College Welcomes New Director

    The Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College recently welcomed Linda Hunter-Williams as its new director. In this role, she oversees the operations of the center and leads the staff in providing a nurturing and safe educational environment for its preschool program. Experienced as a classroom teacher, early learning program director and community college instructor, Hunter-Williams holds a Master of Education from Cambridge College.

    Growing up in Louisiana, I was surrounded by an amazing village of concerned, caring and supportive teachers, which is why I became an educator. I believe all children should receive a quality early learning experience. Parents and teachers together play an important role in the education of children, which includes meeting the needs of individual children. I look forward to creating a link between home and school, ensuring that family members are actively involved in their child’s early educational experience.

    Dr. Elizabeth Beaulieu, Mitchell College vice president for academic affairs, which oversees the Children’s Learning Center, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Linda to Mitchell College. Her lifelong passion for educating the youngest learners among us shines through in her collaborative approach to their education. She is a wonderful advocate for their needs and will also be an inspiring mentor for our college students studying early childhood education.”

    The Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College uses a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to the curriculum that makes children partners in the learning process. The Center serves as a Laboratory School for Mitchell students, where they are actively engaged as researchers, interns and assistant teachers. This partnership ensures an innovative approach to best practices in the fields of human development and early childhood education. Mitchell College offers majors in early childhood studies (with optional teacher certification) and in psychology.

    Camara-Harvey Joins Athletics Staff

    Kimberly Camara-Harvey, Mitchell College’s new associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, recently arrived on campus ready to contribute to the success of Mitchell’s student-athletes.

    Camara-Harvey said, “Mitchell’s Department of Athletics has had some amazing accomplishments, and I know there are even more on the horizon. I’m very excited to be part of what next. The staff, both in athletics and throughout the college community, is clearly dedicated to the success of students, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that. I love seeing the student-athletes reach their goals, not just athletically but also in the classroom and beyond graduation.”

    She joins the Mariners following a seven-year tenure at Johnson & Wales University in which she served as both a head softball coach and administrator.

    Camara-Harvey will oversee all internal operations for Mitchell’s department, which is comprised of 12 varsity sports and services over 200 student-athletes. She will also serve as the compliance coordinator and Title IX Deputy, and as SWA she will be involved in senior-level management decisions at both the campus and conference levels.

    “We are excited and delighted to add Kim to our team. She brings an extensive, successful track record in both the coaching and administrative side of collegiate athletics, and she is already making a positive impact on our student-athletes and staff.”

    —Matt Finlayson, Director of Athletics

    Prior to taking over the JWU program, Camara-Harvey served as an assistant softball coach and admissions coordinator at Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. She was also the head softball coach at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. from 2006-12, as well as an assistant softball coach at UNC-Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C. from 2001-06.

    Camara-Harvey earned a degree in mathematics at the University of Rhode Island, where she was a four-year letter winner and two-year captain on the softball team. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Webster University.