Past Messages from President James C. Mabry, 2020

Commencement Message, May 01, 2020

Graduates of the Class of 2020,

Commencement has long been one of my favorite days of the year. It is a day of celebration and a day for new beginnings. That is why it saddens me greatly to have to cancel an in-person graduation ceremony this year. Based on guidance from Governor’s Baker’s administration, it is still not safe for us to gather in large numbers. Even MCC’s traditional venue, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, will not be open for the foreseeable future.  

Cancelling Commencement altogether is not an option for MCC. This is why the college will be hosting a virtual ceremony on May 21 at 10:00 a.m. The pre-recorded ceremony will feature music, two student speakers, the reading of graduate names, and special video messages from faculty and staff across the college.

MCC knows that crossing the stage with family and friends watching is the highlight of the day for many of you. And even though you will have officially graduated, we want to give you the opportunity to wear your cap and gown and officially invite you to MCC’s 50th Commencement Celebration, next May 27, 2021.

As part of the college’s 50th Anniversary, MCC will celebrate both 2020 and 2021 graduates along with faculty, staff and alumni from across the College’s 50 year history.

Although we cannot celebrate together in person this month, I want you to know that — along with your professors and the employees of the college — I am tremendously proud of your accomplishments. Many of you have had to work multiple jobs, care for family, juggle schedules, and break down large barriers to get to where you are today. We are inspired each and every day by our students and are honored that we have played a part in your journey.

Congratulations and we look forward to seeing you crossing that stage next year!

Dr. James C. Mabry

Middlesex Community College

A Message to MCC Faculty and Staff, April 24, 2020

Summer 2020

At this time, the stay and home and social distancing protocols will need to stay in place, and we will remain in remote mode through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. It is uncertain at this point when social distancing restrictions will be lifted, but it will probably come in some sort of phased approach.

The three Summer sessions beginning May 26, 2020 have moved almost completely online. We have cancelled a significant number of on-campus courses in these sessions and added a number of new online sections to provide additional options for our students where possible/ practicable. Provost Sisson and his team have worked very hard to restructure the summer schedule. Please understand that this is still a fluid situation. We are hoping to get some critical teaching and learning back on campus this summer but cannot determine this with any certainty at this time.

Every Friday, college leaders from across the state have a conference call with Secretary Peyser, Commissioner Santiago, and Dr. Larry Madoff, the Director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease at the MA Department of Public Health. Last Friday, Dr. Madoff noted the following:

• MA has been very hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic
• We are near the peak of the surge and medical resources are stretched but holding
• The curve is flattening due to social distancing
• These efforts will lower overall mortality rates and reduce the peak surge so as not to overwhelm medical facilities
• But this will also extend the curve over a longer period of time
• Any relaxation of restrictions will be based on evidence and will come about gradually
• If the virus resurges, restrictions may have to be put back in place

When asked about the fall, both Dr. Madoff and Secretary Peyser said it was not clear yet when restrictions would be lifted and that predictions about the fall were premature.

The situation is still very uncertain, and I recognize that this uncertainty creates speculation and anxiety within our community. My goal in sharing this information — and college leadership's interpretation and response to the changing situation — is so that you know how we are thinking about and preparing a path forward for MCC. Based on what I am hearing at this time, I believe that at the appropriate time, we will see a phased lifting of the restrictions, and we will resume operations on campus in a limited way. Our first priority will always be the safety of our college community and we will not bring people back to campus unless we think it is safe.

Dr. James Mabry
Middlesex Community College

A Message to MCC Students, April 06, 2020

MCC Students:

We have made it to week 12 of the semester but the last few weeks have seen tremendous changes at MCC, and I know this has impacted you and your classes. You have had to learn new technologies and develop new skills along with your content learning.  I am proud of your resilience as students, and I acknowledge that your role as an MCC student, is only one of the many roles you play in your lives.

The next few weeks will be very difficult in our region as the number of reported infections and fatalities are expected to peak. Please make sure you all stay safe and take care of yourself and your families.

Below you will find critical information for the next several weeks as we prepare to finish the semester. 

  • Remote learning: The college will be teaching classes through remote methods for the rest of the semester.  You should continue working and communicating with your faculty member through your individual courses in the way your faculty member has established.  It is critical that you check your MCC email frequently as this will continue to be the official communication tool for the college. If you are without technology, connectively or any other road block, preventing you from being successful you should be reaching out to
  • Financial needs: If you are a student who has experienced significant financial changes and are in need of assistance I encourage you to reach out to our Director of Students accounts, Chris Fiori at:
  • Withdrawal: The final date to officially withdraw from full-semester classes will be May 8th, 2020, and the final date to officially withdraw from Mini-Mester II classes will be May 8, 2020. Due to extraordinary circumstances and our move to remote teaching and learning, this extension will allow students and faculty additional time to become accustomed to remote teaching and learning strategies.
  • Graduation: Based on government and public health advisories, the College has decided to celebrate commencement differently this year. Because of COVID-19 and the need to practice social distancing, MCC will not be hosting a live graduation event. Instead, the college will celebrate your accomplishment through a virtual celebration on May 21. We will be working hard to find ways to continue our favorite traditions, student speakers, student faculty connections, honors and recognition of each individual graduate.   We will continue to update the college graduation web page with ongoing details. Please visit:

Staff from around the college will be making individual phone calls to students that will provide you with an opportunity to check in, get assistance and work through any barriers in your way, so that you can finish your semester successfully.   I encourage you to answer the incoming unknown calls over the next several weeks.

Thank you for hanging in there and being such great students.

Stay safe and well.

Dr. James Mabry
Middlesex Community College

A Joint Statement from Public MA AANAPISI Institutions, April 02, 2020

In the wake of the COVID‐19 virus outbreak, Asian communities in the Greater Boston area and across the United States have experienced heightened xenophobic reactions. People perceived to be of Chinese or Asian descent have been targeted with discriminatory acts or endured general harassment. 

Misinformation and politicization of this illness have caused anxiety and lasting economic harm to our Asian communities. As we watch the rampant course of COVID‐19 through Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America/U.S., we know that it observes no national or ethnic boundaries. The fear of this destructive virus has magnified the divisiveness within our society and our nation. Only our care for one another can mitigate our fears; only our compassion for everyone safeguards our society.

As the Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) of Massachusetts public institutions ‐ Bunker Hill Community College, Middlesex Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Boston stand together to affirm our faith in the humanity of all people. We repudiate racism and all forms of discrimination. We celebrate the unique cultural wealth and strengths of our Asian American communities.

Please report any incident of discrimination to college or university officials or local law enforcement. Please keep one another safe through these turbulent times.

Dr. James C. Mabry
Middlesex Community College

Read the joint statement here. 

A Message to the MCC Community, April 05, 2020

MCC Community:

The last few weeks have led to profound changes at MCC and I want to thank everyone in the MCC community for all they have done to allow us to continue our mission of access and excellence. It has been a tremendous effort and the can-do spirit of MCC has shone brightly during this dark and troubling time.

The next few weeks will be very difficult in our region as the number of reported infections and fatalities are expected to peak. Please make sure you all stay safe and take care of your families. We will get through this pandemic together and please know that if anyone needs help, they should contact their manager or the HR department. We will do everything we can to help our team get through the COVID-19 crisis.

This last week saw the college move almost entirely to remote teaching and learning along with remotely managed support services. We have quickly adapted new technology tools and methods that will help us stay connected with our students and help them stay engaged with their key faculty and staff members. The work you have done to make this possible is truly amazing and I cannot say enough about this tremendous group of education professionals. From remote teaching pedagogies, to remote advising and support systems, to virtual small group and large group meetings, we have found new ways to keep moving forward together.  

At this time, we are planning to remain in remote mode until the end of the semester. Please let your students know that the semester will be taught remotely. There may be opportunities to do some on campus near the end of the semester where it is critically important but for most classes and most students, the remainder of the semester will be through remote modalities. We will be sending messages to students this week to help them better understand this reality.

Based on government and public health advisories, the College has decided to celebrate commencement differently this year. Because of COVID-19 and the need to practice social distancing, MCC will not be hosting a live graduation event. Instead, the college will throw a virtual celebration on May 21, complete with student speakers, music — and of course, the reading of graduate names. More information will come out this week and students will be notified directly as well as information being made available on the graduation web page. 

Thank you for all you are doing to help our students stay on their path to success. Please stay safe and well.

Dr. James Mabry
Middlesex Community College

A Message to the Community, March 26, 2020

MCC Community:

I hope this finds everyone in the MCC community safe and well. I know many of you and your families are adjusting to new routines and a new work/life balance.

Everyone on the senior leadership team understands that this pandemic will get worse before it gets better. Our first priority is always protecting the health and safety of our college community. To that end we have, in a very short period of time, transitioned more than 95% of college employees to remote work. We are doing everything we can to move off campus what can be done off campus.

We have previously communicated that we will be working almost entirely remotely until further notice, but we anticipate and are planning to be working remotely through the semester. At this time, we are not considering bringing employees back to campus. As this situation evolves, we will continue to assess our plans and communicate with the college community. Additional details will be forthcoming.

A few employees remain on campus to maintain critical services and facilitate the necessary move to remote work. All employees who need to come to campus have been informed about practicing appropriate social distancing and safety measures.

Our second priority is meeting our mission of access and success for all students. I cannot adequately express how impressed and grateful I am for how quickly everyone was able to adjust to our new reality. The speed with which we have moved to remote teaching, learning, and working is quite stunning. This amazing pivot has only been accomplished through the sustained creativity, hard work, and collaboration by everyone at the institution. What we have learned and what we have accomplished in the last few weeks has given the institution new and different ways, to serve our students.

I acknowledge that moving the operations off campus has been full of challenges. Senior managers have worked diligently to address and overcome each of these challenges, one by one. Every day, more people get connected so that they can perform work functions remotely. This includes the distribution of 60 laptops and 150 network access tokens so that additional staff members can work remotely. We have another 150 laptops on order and are continuing to identify and implement additional ways staff to connect to the college.

To provide student support, the MCC 800 number has been redesigned to direct inquiries to the appropriate individuals who are now able to assist from remote locations. Each day, additional campus and support services are adjusted, redesigned and reconnected in new and creative ways to support our community. Additionally, this week, the College began distributing 250 ChromeBooks to students who need a computer to complete their academic studies. Together with all you have done, we are confident that we will be able to help our students complete their courses.

Thank you all for your dedication to our mission and support for student success. And thank you for supporting each other and our entire community. We will get through this together.

Please stay healthy.

Jim Mabry
Middlesex Community College

Last Modified: 5/22/20