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Housatonic Community College is recognizing three distinguished alumni at a gala hosted by TV personality Joan Lunden next Saturday, an event designed not only to raise money for the school's scholarship fund but to draw attention to changes at the Bridgeport campus.
The school will enter three alumni into its hall of fame: Frances Newby, chief human resources officer at the Southwest Community Health Center; Janet L. Janczewski, retired senior counsel at the Southern Connecticut Gas Co.;
David J. Peck, retired chief of the Fairfield Police Department.
The black-tie event Saturday, Nov. 20, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Beacon Hall includes dinner, dancing to a live band and a silent auction. Proceeds go to the HCC Foundation's scholarship program, which gives out about $150,000 annually to students.
On the preceding evening, a more informal alumni dance will be held in the Atrium in the school's Lafayette Hall. About 11,000 invitations have been sent to alumni and past staff at the school. "The alumni reunion and dance represents an important step in our plan to reach out and connect with alumni even more effectively than before," said HCC President Anita Gliniecki.
School officials are using the gala to highlight the evolution of the school. HCC has gone from a rented building in Stratford in 1966 to its downtown campus today, which now has 6,200 students enrolled. HCC has unveiled a number of new programs in recent years, including small business management and entrepreneurship courses in its business program and an expansion of its early childhood education offerings.
The school has also intensified efforts to offer remedial and tutoring programs to students. A recent report found that 62 percent of all Connecticut high school graduates needed some level of remedial work, Gliniecki said.
Gliniecki said HCC has seen a trend toward younger students enrolling at the campus. The average age of an HCC student this year is about 26.8 years old. The campus has a diverse student body -- 37.5 percent white; 27.6 percent black; and 24 percent Hispanic, according to the school's latest statistical profile.