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HCC Benefactor Elaine Marieb Wins National Alumni Award

HOLYOKE — The American Assoc. of Community Colleges has selected HCC professor emerita, alumna, and major donor Elaine Marieb for its 2015 Outstanding Alumni awards.

Marieb taught anatomy and physiology at Holyoke Community College for 25 years after receiving her Ph.D. in zoology from UMass. While teaching, she enrolled in HCC’s Registered Nursing program, earning her associate degree. Her teaching and education led her to write a series of anatomy and physiology textbooks that have gone on to become international bestsellers.

Last year, Marieb donated $1 million toward HCC’s Building Healthy Communities fund-raising campaign, which is supporting two building projects at the college, a new Center for Health Education on Jarvis Avenue, and the Center for Life Sciences on campus. The AACC award recognizes community-college alumni for their career achievements, philanthropic contributions, and inspirational impact.

“We are incredibly grateful and fortunate not only to have Elaine Marieb as an alum but as a professor emeritus,” said Erica Broman, vice president of Institutional Development. “Her work in the classroom was exemplary, and she has continued to foster a relationship with students at the college, where she has been enormously generous with both her time and resources. She certainly deserves this recognition.”

Marieb grew up in Northampton and now lives in Sarasota, Fla. She will receive her award at the AACC’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, on April 21.

When it opens for the fall 2015 semester, the Center for Health Education will be the new home of HCC’s Nursing and Radiologic Technology programs. After that project is complete, HCC will begin construction on the Center for Life Sciences, which will be located on the first floor of the school’s main science building, the Marieb Building, which was named for Elaine Marieb, who over the years has been one of the school’s most significant benefactors.

Marieb’s financial support led to the creation of HCC’s Marieb Chair for Teaching Excellence, which is awarded annually to one member of the HCC faculty. Through the HCC Foundation, she has endowed numerous scholarships for students in HCC’s Nursing and New Directions programs. The study lounge used by the HCC Pathways program was named the Marieb Center in recognition of her support.

Last March, Marieb issued a challenge gift as a way to spur participation in the HCC Foundation’s Building Healthy Communities campaign: if 1,000 donors contributed gifts of any amount by Dec. 31, Marieb said she would donate $1 million. Thanks to that incentive, dubbed “Mission: Marieb,” the campaign had exceeded its $5.3 million goal by June, raising a total of $5.5 million — the most successful fund-raising effort in HCC history.

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