Foundation Honors

DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2023

HCC Foundation board recognized for exceptional leadership, initiative

HCC Foundation board chair Corey Murphy, left, auto dealer and HCC Foundation board member Gary Rome, HCC student Carolina Pena, and President Christina Royal hold a ceremonial donation check from Rome at his Hyundai dealership in Holyoke in May 2021.

The Holyoke Community College Foundation has been selected for the John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).

Established in 1992, the Nason Award is presented to higher education governing boards that demonstrate exceptional leadership and initiative. The five recipients of this year's award addressed pressing issues related to transformational student success efforts, according to AGB and its mission partner, TIAA.   

"It is such an honor for the HCC Foundation to be recognized by AGB through this prestigious award," said Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation. "Our board's work to advance the college's mission is inspiring, but I am especially grateful for the board's strategic approach to governance. We have drawn from AGB's resources in recent years to guide our efforts, and the result has been a more engaged, knowledgeable, innovative, and nimble board of directors, and that has a very real and positive impact on HCC students." 

This year's honorees were chosen from a diverse array of nominations illustrating the essential work of boards from four-year public and private colleges and universities, two-year institutions, and institutionally related foundations. Each recipient was recognized for its justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion-related programs and initiatives as well as its efforts to enhance student success. 

In the award announcement, AGB recognized the HCC Foundation Board of Directors for "investing in community essentials to shape a strong future" amidst a fluctuating market. Namely, the HCC Foundation board prioritized equity by increasing investments in its Student Emergency Fund, established the Bienvenidos Scholarship for Latinx students, and secured support from philanthropic partners to combat food insecurity on campus. The board also prioritized its racial makeup; developed orientation and mentor programs for board members; and created a strategic memorandum of understanding to align its efforts with the needs of the college. 

Recipients of the 2023 awards will be honored at AGB's Foundation Leadership Forum Jan. 29-31 and National Conference on Trusteeship, April 2-4. 

"Having the HCC Foundation recognized by AGB for the efforts we have been making is a very exciting event," said Corey Murphy, chair of the HCC Foundation board and president of First American Insurance in Chicopee. "Keeping a clear focus on supporting the college in its mission and helping our students overcome barriers has allowed us to adapt to the new challenges both face. It is so rewarding to be able to work with so many people on such a worthy cause, and to be honored with the Nason Award is a great tribute to our efforts." 

The Holyoke Community College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that works to advance the college's vision as an institution of academic excellence known for helping students overcome barriers to success. Founded in 1968 as the Friends of Holyoke Community College, in response to a devastating fire that forced the college to rebuild on a new campus, the Foundation has been a strategic partner of the college ever since and now manages assets of more than $20 million, the largest community college foundation endowment in Massachusetts. Over the years, the HCC Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in scholarships to deserving students while also helping the college build key academic facilities, including the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development, the Center for Health Education and Simulation, and the  HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. 

The Nason Award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. 

The HCC Foundation Board of Directors was selected alongside the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees, the Texas Christian University Board of Trustees, the Utah State University Foundation Board of Directors, and the Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees.

"Strategic governing boards play a vital role in assuring the value and vitality of higher education," said Henry Stoever, AGB president and chief executive officer. "We are grateful for these boards' contributions to creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, and we hope that their efforts will inspire more boards to hone their strategic thought partnership with chief executives and leadership teams. I am impressed by the achievements of our honorees, and I look forward to their future strides in promoting student success - for all students." 

AGB is the nation's premier organization advocating strategic board governance in higher education. TIAA is a Fortune 100 financial services organization dedicated to helping its clients pursue financial well-being.

PHOTO: HCC Foundation board chair Corey Murphy, left, auto dealer and HCC Foundation board member Gary Rome, HCC student Carolina Pena, and President Christina Royal hold a ceremonial donation check from Rome at his Hyundai dealership in Holyoke in May 2021.