▲ The many faces of MCC’s faculty and staff. ▲ It is an extended family, from the nurturing roles of mentors and teachers that each of the college’s faculty members play, to the advisors, support staffers, and administrators who help provide the services needed to help each student achieve their personal successes. The personal, back-stories of the students are inspirational, heartwarming and uplifting. From the modest beginnings of commencement ceremonies at the Veterans Administration hospital to the venue of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium that seats nearly 3,000 friends and family of MCC graduates annually, the support of a family network provides the backdrop for so many Middlesex success stories. For many of the people who have worked at MCC over the years, their journeys have included paths that began while they were students enrolled in classes at the college. Tooch Van is an Assistant Dean in MCC’s International and Multicultural Office. An MCC graduate, Van was studying at Trinity College when he was asked to return to speak at the 2002 MCC commencement, to tell his story of coming to America from the Khmer Rouge killing fields in Cambodia. “When I gave that speech, that was the proudest moment, one that I could never forget,” Van said. “I was so honored because of the opportunities that Middlesex had presented to me.” A few years later, he joined the MCC staff. “It was a life circle for me, everything came back home to Middlesex.” Donna Corbin, an administrative assistant to President Cowan, remembers sitting on stage as a student at her commencement, and how nervous she was in the company of so many academic deans. She was sitting toward the back, and struck up a conversation with History Professor David Kalivas, who encouraged her to seek out employment opportunities at the college. “At the time, I was sitting there as a scholarship recipient, but my time as a student at the college revealed to me the extended family that makes up the staff and faculty on campus. And I was excited to think I could become part of that and maybe someday help somebody else find their way,” Corbin said. “It’s a marvelous feeling.” 103