Dorothy K. Power receives the Paige D. L’Hommedieu Award

Dorothy K. Power, chairman of the Middlesex County College Board of Trustees, was presented the 2020 Paige D. L’Hommedieu Award for her leadership and her lifelong commitment to the people from Middlesex County College at its Fall Convocation Aug. 31.

From left: Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios; College President Mark McCormick; Board Chairman Dorothy K. Power; and Vice Chair Mark Finkelstein. 

“Dot’s deep understanding of local government and her connections throughout the County and beyond have informed her advocacy on behalf of Middlesex County College, which has resulted in tremendous and long-lasting impact,” said College President Mark McCormick as he presented the award. “Those of us who work together with Dot to make Middlesex County College a place where everyone is welcome and lives are truly transformed know what an amazing and humble leader she is.” 

The Paige D. L’Hommedieu Award is the highest honor given by the cllege. It is awarded at the Fall Convocation to a person who embodies the citizenship, leadership and humanity of Paige D. L’Hommedieu, the founding board chair of the college. 

Power has served as chairman of the College Board of Trustees since 2007 and as a trustee since 1998. She was a member of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1976-1990 and served as deputy director and as chairman of its Committee on Education and Welfare. She also served as freeholder clerk from 1994-1997. 

“During her time as a freeholder, she championed initiatives focused on improving education, especially for youth with special needs, and she advocated for the support of the Vocational-Technical Schools as well as the College,” Dr. McCormick said. 

Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios also lauded the awardee. 

“Mrs. Power’s long history with Middlesex County College makes her one of the most qualified people ever to receive this award,” he said. “I am especially honored to be part of Mrs. Powers receiving this award because of her history with the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. In these challenging times, we can all learn from your many years of public service.” 

Before joining the freeholders, Power was manager of community relations for Bellcore and also worked as a manager for AT&T. 

She served on the boards of the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Middletown and Piscataway Chambers of Commerce. She also served on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Association for Elected Women Officials, and she pioneered the establishment of the Middlesex County Commission on the Status of Women. 

In 2018, she was the recipient of the very first Trustee Spotlight Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, which was established to recognize trustee excellence and dedication at the 18 community colleges in the state.  

In accepting the award, Mrs. Power said she was inspired by women leaders of years past, such as Patricia Q. Sheehan, mayor of the City of New Brunswick in the 1960’s; Helen Hurd, dean at Rutgers University, who led the effort to create the Commission on the Status of Women; Anita Voorhees, dean of Continuing Education at MCC, who was instrumental in helping women enter meaningful jobs in the workplace; and Edith McAndrew, the first woman ever elected to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. 

“I love this job,” Power said of her role as trustee chairman. “And when I see students who were chosen by their graduating class to join our Board of Trustees, and actively participate in our discussions, I can see first-hand that their training here has prepared them well for whatever they choose to pursue.”

A recent graduate, Pierfrancesco Giannini, regularly attended student events and came up with the idea of having a panel of recent alumni speak to current students about their life after MCC.

Another, Sitwat Syed, was also an actively engaged student trustee who attended the Association of Community College Trustees National Legislative Summit in Washington and represented the viewpoint of community college students in meetings with members of the New Jersey congressional delegation.

“Receiving this award means a great deal to me.  And if I can, if only in a small way, fulfill the meaning of what Paige L’Hommedieu has left in his path, then I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of his legacy.” 

The founding chairman of the Middlesex County College’s Board of Trustees, Paige D. L’Hommedieu, was a retired executive of Johnson & Johnson, surgical goods manufacturer, and a New Jersey civic leader who died in 1974.


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