Top Stories: February 10 Campus Connections

Legislators, industry partners come away impressed

A group of state legislators and business partners came away impressed after visiting SMCC during the College’s annual Legislative Breakfast.

More than 20 people came to the McKernan Center on February 1 for a gathering that shined the spotlight on SMCC’s Hospitality Management program. Guests spoke about what SMCC and Maine’s community colleges mean for area businesses and the state economy, while also hearing from students, SMCC President Joe Cassidy and Hospitality Management program Chair Maureen LaSalle.

Attending the event were Senators Cathy Breen and Rebecca Millett and Representatives Anne Carney, Ed Crockett and Lois Reckitt. Industry partner guests were Gerard Kaladjian (Portland Harbor Hotel), Lydia Lane (fern & flair, and an SMCC alumna), Ed Palmer (Sheraton Sable Oaks), April Rossignol (Regency Hotel), and Rachel Wardwell (The Press Hotel, also an SMCC alumna).

Maine’s hospitality and accommodations industry is booming, employing tens of thousands of people and paying out nearly $2 billion in wages in 2018, according to the Department of Labor. But with unemployment at a historic low, qualified employees are hard to come by.

Industry partners said SMCC’s hands-on Hospitality Management program provides the skills that hospitality-related businesses are looking for in employees.

“This type of institution is the lifeblood for my business,” said Palmer, who has been in the hotel business for more than 40 years.

Legislators said they view SMCC as key partner in higher education and workforce development.

“It’s progress like you’re making here that I’m excited to support,” Representative Crockett said.

Hospitality Management students Arianna Burns, McKenzie Brown, Marilyn Carrillo, My Hanh Thai, and Ralitsa Katsima talked about their experiences at SMCC. Also on hand were Matthew Goodman, SMCC Dean of Academic Excellence and Strategic Initiatives, and Becky Smith, Dan Belyea and Noel Gallagher of the Maine Community College System.


Conference to focus on leadership development

SMCC is hosting a day-long conference in March for students who are looking to develop leadership skills that will serve them well through college and life.

The conference will take place in the McKernan Center on SMCC’s South Portland Campus from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Lunch is included for those who register by March 13.

The conference will kick off with a keynote speech from SMCC President Joe Cassidy, followed by a series of break-out sessions during the day that focus on topics that include:

  • Growth Mindset Leadership
  • Running Effective Meetings
  • Recruiting Team Members
  • Giving Feedback
  • Delegating Tasks
  • Understanding Privilege in Leadership

Registration is free and open to all SMCC students. To register, please visit the SMCC Student Leadership Conference registration webpage.

Midcoast students get surreal in art exhibit

A Midcoast Campus art exhibit with drawings by SMCC students is based on an artistic game developed by Surrealists in France nearly a century ago.

Drawings by students in Mike Branca’s fall Drawing I class are now on display on the walls of the Midcoast Campus Learning Commons. The class project was called “Exquisite Corpse,” a drawing game that was hatched by a group of artists of the Surrealist movement in Paris around 1925.

For the game, different artists create different body parts without seeing what the others are doing. The different parts are then connected, producing fun and provocative results.

Besides the Exquisite Corpse exhibit, the walls of the Learning Commons are adorned with many other paintings and drawing from SMCC students.

The student artists whose works are included in the Exquisite Corpse project are Nathanial Barter, Ace Condon, Kelsey Dunn, Caroline Dustin, Emma Houle, Oliver Lowell, Kendra Melesky, Mckaylee Morris, April Officer, and Allison Roux.