HCC President William Messner was recognized as a Difference Maker for 2012 by Business West magazine during a banquet celebration at the Log Cabin in Holyoke March 22.
Accompanying him on stage was 2011 HCC graduate Ruben Sepulveda, whose inspirational story Messner often retells. Sepulveda was homeless and playing in pool halls to earn money before he enrolled at HCC. He graduated with honors and now attends Amherst College, where he is majoring in psychology. He also volunteers at HCC's Adult Learning Center in Holyoke and plans to work with at-risk young men after graduation.
Business West editor George O'Brien called Sepulveda up to the stage and asked him to present the award to Messner. which he gladly did.
The annual Difference Maker awards honor people who have demonstrated a significant and long-term commitment toward improving communities and the lives of people in Western Massachusetts. Messner was recognized for creating opportunities--"pathways and access"--to higher education for populations that were previously underserved, particularly Latinos and adult learners like Sepulveda.
Photos: (Left) HCC graduate Ruben Sepulveda, center, presents President Bill Messner with his award, as Business West editor George O'Brien stands by. (Right) HCC President Bill Messner gives a short speech after accepting his award.