President's Message

picture of Lori BerquamDear Alumni,

There is such excitement, energy and Thunderbird spirit as we are slowly but surely returning to the offices, student services facilities, classrooms and athletic fields on our beloved Mesa Community College campuses.

The Long Awaited Return
Successfully following health and safety guidelines, MCC celebrated the conclusion of the spring 2021 semester with more than 1,500 students earning degrees and certificates. Enjoy the photos from our drive-through graduation celebration included in this newsletter.

While many of our students excelled and will continue to pursue higher education online and virtually, others have expressed a longing for the in-person, one-on-one, small-class format that is the hallmark of the Thunderbird educational experience. For the fall semester, MCC is planning a robust mix of in-person, hybrid, live online and online formats. Virtual student services continue throughout the summer, with in-person services becoming more available in July as we prepare to welcome students back to campus in August. We look forward to integrating business processes developed during COVID into our new, better normal, including offering one-on-one virtual chats and video appointments, which many students say best fit their busy lives.

What We’ve Accomplished
Honoring our achievements in serving our students’ needs, here are some highlights of how we’ve been meeting unprecedented challenges with Thunderbird creativity, determination, compassion and dedication.

  • We are so grateful to our MCC Alumni Board members who adapted to virtual meetings to continue to select and award student scholarships, brainstorm future events and alumni contributions to students, and plan our fall Hall of Fame celebration.
  • An enormous amount of research and formulating fine details were contributed by college staff so that Mesa College Promise, the City of Mesa-led partnership with MCC, could begin accepting applications from Mesa residents who were graduating high school this spring.
  • Bravo to the 346 students whose 5,300 hour of service-learning projects, through the MCC Center for Community & Civic Engagement, contributed an economic impact of $152,189 to our community.
  • Putting a global spotlight on the college, MCC’s Cable Harness Wiring Bootcamp partnership with Boeing is one of six programs in the nation named in New America’s New Models for Career Preparation National Cohort. New America is a think and action tank.
  • We are so honored that MCC professor Kerry L. Muehlenbeck, Ph.D., chair of the Administration of Justice Studies Department, was appointed by Governor Ducey to lead the Arizona National Guard.
  • We’ve remained on track pursuing our core values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Nicole Collins, counseling faculty and co-chair of the DEI Council, has been selected as the first MCC College Diversity Officer. Serving on the President’s Cabinet and College Leadership Team, Collins will provide leadership in partnership with the DEI Council on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive college.
  • Collins and Beth Ann Wright, program coordinator, Student Life & Leadership, and a DEI Council staff representative, shared some DEI strategies and activities in an article, “Establishing LGBTQ+ Community at Community Colleges,” in HigherEdJobs, a leading source for academia careers.
  • The MCC Red Mountain Campus Vision Feedback Forum provided valuable input on ways to create a sustainable vision for the Red Mountain Campus embracing the college and local community, while honoring past work and striving for growth. View the PowerPoint about the Vision Forum at

Our partnership with the City of Mesa flourishes as we strive to achieve the goal of offering residents opportunities to be skilled and prepared for career and economic success in the 21st century. I am pleased to have been appointed by the Mesa City Council to the inaugural Mesa Education and Workforce Development Roundtable, created to coordinate efforts advancing Mesa’s education and workforce development goals.

Together We Thrive!

Lori M. Berquam, Ph.D.
Interim President
Mesa Community College