Do You Want To Be Successful?

by Heidi Butler
October 17, 2013

Each year the recipients of Northampton Community College's Alumni Awards are asked to share their recipes for success.  There are certain "staples" that appear on almost every list:

•Getting a good education and continuing to learn and grow post-graduation

•Choosing a field that is meaningful to you

•Working hard

•Appreciating how much  family, friends and co-workers contribute to your success

•"Paying it forward" and giving back through  mentoring or community service

Two other "ingredients" made the list this year as the 2013 recipients spoke to a crowd of 140+ in Alumni Hall on October 16:

•Reliability - being someone who can be counted upon, (stressed by many speakers), and


Many nods of agreement (and a few chuckles) were in evidence as the honorees - and the men and women who introduced them - shared the following observations:

•"I was a kid.  I thought I knew everything until I got here." [Lamar Diamond '05, speaking about his  student days]

•"The thing I love about a community college is that you can have someone like Lamar who is 18 and thinks he knows everything or someone who is 49 years old whose life has been turned upside down and who has to start over.  Education transforms both." [Dr. Sharon Gavin-Levy, professor of English]

•"I had some success on this soil, but it was helpful that I was around successful people." [Sam Canone '74, speaking of his long-time association with NCC as a student and as a founding member of the Alumni Association]

•"It's not always what we do, but how we do it that matters." [Carolyn Bortz, dean of allied health and sciences]

• "Working with someone smarter than you are is a chance to learn.  Criticism is not an attack, but a chance to get better.  Trust your instincts, but if you mess up, it's a chance to improve." [Eric Shirk '06, recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award."]

•"You know the rule about life:  It ain't fair.  Get a good night's sleep, because tomorrow we start over.  Giving up is not an option."  [Helene Whitaker, vice president for administrative affairs, quoting her father]

•"Think of seven things you're grateful for before your feet hit the floor every morning." [Janine Reppert '94]

This year's Alumni Award recipients are:

Bridget Dorsey '79 (Dental Hygiene) - Distinguished Service to the Community Award for volunteer work with several dental associations, the Slate Belt Relay for Life, Miller Blood Bank, Kids Fest, and the Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival, in addition to her professional achievements

Darla Frack '94 (Registered Nursing) - Professional Achievement Award  for her work as vice president for patient care services in "Darla's House," aka the Anderson Campus of St. Luke's University Health Network

Sam Canone '73 (Transportation & Distribution Management) - Distinguished Service to NCC Award for active participation in NCC activities and programs that advance the mission and goals of the College, including service on the Alumni  Board and Council, numerous committees and fundraising activities, and work with student athletes.

Dr. Sharon Gavin Levy (Professor of English) - Educator's Award for the impact she has had on the students she has taught and for her service to the community.

Helene Whitaker  (Vice President for Administrative Affairs) - Honorary Alumna Award for what she has meant to the college and to the community since joining the NCC staff in 1985. 

Eric Shirk '06 (Communication Studies) - Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for his public service as a communications professional in the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, the Governor's Office, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and for sharing his expertise with students considering careers in government.

Janine Reppert '94 (Registered Nursing) - President's Award for reflecting to the community the unique character, personality and level of excellence typified by a Northampton education as president of the Aaron Companies, serving the homecare and medical facility needs of the elderly and infirm, and for extensive community service, including volunteer work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lehigh County Senior Center, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and other organizations.

The Alumni Awards Mixer is a signature event for the Northampton Community College Alumni Association.  This year's emcee was Alumni Association president Steve Repash '75.  In addition to an engraved gift from the Alumni Association, the honorees received formal citations from the Pennsylvania Senate courtesy of Senator Lisa Boscola.  Refreshments prepared by culinary student and served by hospitality students were enjoyed by honorees and guests alike!

View photos from this event on Flickr.



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