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College Culinary Arts Instructor Wins National Award

Thomas Macrina
Thomas Macrina

Chef Thomas J. Macrina, an adjunct instructor in the College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program and executive chef at The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Malvern, was named Culinarian of the Year on April 30 by the Cordon d’ Or Gold Ribbon International Culinary Academy.

The prestigious award recognizes Macrina, national chairman of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), for his exceptional contributions to the culinary industry as an executive chef and culinary educator who mentors students. The AAC is the national honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the premier organization for professional chefs in America, with more than 19,000 members.

A faculty member at the College for 23 years, Macrina also has been executive chef at The Desmond in Malvern since 1994. He has served as chairman of the American Academy of Chefs since 2007. Before becoming AAC national chairman, he served as the national vice chair for four years. Macrina also heads the board of the ACF Philadelphia chapter.

Macrina, 53, believes that continuing education and professional development is essential to success in his field. He has devoted much time and energy to the ACF and the AAC. Both organizations provide mentoring and scholarship awards for members to encourage and enhance their education throughout their careers.

Over the years, numerous Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program students have interned at The Desmond under Macrina’s watchful eye. All of Macrina’s interns have some association with Community College of Philadelphia. “I don’t take culinary students from other schools,” Macrina said. “I like to support this College because I think the students here are some of the best, and this program provides them with the best bang for their buck.”

The Norristown native earned an associate’s degree in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1976. Before joining The Desmond, he was the corporate executive chef for Tabas Enterprises in Philadelphia and the executive chef at the Holiday Inn Clayton Plaza Hotel in Clayton, Mo. In addition to being a member of the AAC, he is a certified executive chef and a certified culinary administrator.

He is married and has four adult children, none of whom have followed his footsteps into the kitchen. The Cordon d’ Or Gold Ribbon Awards program is a part of Cordon d’ Or—Gold Ribbon, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla.

Third Annual Pathways Breakfast a Hit with Phillies and Capital Campaign

Third Annual Pathways Breakfast
Honorees were (from left) Lydia and John Krzeminski, José Lebron, Ph.D., David Montgomery, Robert D. Davis and Warren A. Reintzel.
Third Annual Pathways Breakfast
From left are: President Curtis; Abraham C. Reich, co-chair, Fox Rothschild; Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the College’s Expanding Possibilities capital campaign and president and CEO, Citizens Bank’s Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware region; and A.E. Piscopo, president, Community College of Philadelphia Foundation.

Nearly 300 of Philadelphia’s foremost corporate and community leaders came together with College faculty members and administrators at The Union League in Center City Philadelphia in support of the College’s Third Annual Pathways Breakfast on April 26. More than $73,000 was raised for student scholarships and programs through the event.

The College presented David Montgomery, general partner, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team with the Bonnell Award, the College’s highest honor. Other awards included: the Corporate Partnership Award to VIST Financial represented by its president and CEO Robert D. Davis; the Community Philanthropist Award to John and Lydia Krzeminski; the Alumni Achievement Award to José Lebron, Ph.D. and the Foundation Keystone Award to the Wanamaker Institute of Industries represented by its president, Warren A. Reintzel.

Pathways Breakfast major sponsors included Citizens Bank, Penn Medicine, A.T. Chadwick, Glenmede, IBEW 98, Independence Foundation and the Philadelphia Phillies. Sponsors also included The Beneficial Foundation, Comcast Corporation, Independence Blue Cross and Fox Rothschild LLP.

In addition to presenting awards, the College launched the public phase of its first-ever capital campaign by announcing a $100,000 contribution by Fox Rothschild. In appreciation of the firm’s gift, the College has named one of its three education centers the Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society.

Fox Rothschild’s donation, which will be distributed to the College over a five-year period, is in support of the approximately $87 million in construction projects the College is undertaking at its Main Campus on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia, as well as at its Northeast Regional Center in Northeast Philadelphia. The funds also will help the College expand its educational services and provide scholarships.

One Graduate’s Journey

By Michael E. Remshard, Associate Professor of Counseling

Charles Horochiwsky
Charles P. Horochiwsky Jr.

Being a counselor at a community college is like standing at an airport gate and promising a better place exists at the end of the trip, if only the passenger is willing to take a chance and get on board. People who have never walked through our doors frequently view us with skepticism, and with a stereotypical shrug, refer to us as “the college of last resort.” For the people who actually walk through our doors, we break out of the mold and become the College of hope and possibility. We change the trajectory of lives.

From around the corner and around the world, people walk into my office every day to find their way to an unseen new world that I pledge exists. Teenagers who have dropped out of high school, women emigrating from Asia, families escaping civil strife and middle-aged men in recovery represent just a small sample. They come with noble ambitions. They are why we exist, and we are made better human beings for knowing them. A community college is for me the most worthwhile and miraculous place to be.

Periodically a person walks through our doors with one of many stories worth telling—a story of struggles, sacrifice and ultimately success. Take 2010 high honors graduate Charles P. Horochiwsky Jr.’s story (a.k.a. “Chalie”). His is a tale of fear, courage and determination that makes me marvel at the strength and endurance of the human spirit.

When Chalie came into my office in late 2006, I was sure that he would not be one our graduates. With all that was happening in his life, I thought that he might get on board but not stay for the whole trip. Once a week, he would come into my office and share some of his past and present life experiences. I listened to stories from when he was five years old, living in a room with his mother, alcoholic father and sister. There, he witnessed his father being stabbed by his grandmother who was and continued to be his babysitter for the next six years. He recalled stories of childhood physical, mental and emotional abuse. Later, there were years of alcohol abuse, including five suicide attempts. Today, Chalie is a clean and sober, 51-year-old single father of a six-year-old boy and working at a part-time job while attending the College. Every day is a struggle.

Chalie entered the College with 47 years of doubts and a ninth grade education. He said that he was never successful at school, but he was going to take the entrance test anyway because he wanted to become an educated man. After he successfully passed the placement test, Chalie seemed equally afraid of success as he was of failure. The next three years at the College would change all that.

With the help of the counselors, tutors, professors and his determination, he was able to overcome tremendous obstacles and become a model student earning a 3.65 Grade Point Average (GPA). With the help of his first English professor, Chalie wrote an essay for a scholarship, and it was one of the three selected.

Over the past three years, I have watched him struggle to pay his rent. I have listened to him talk about the loss of phone service and the suspension of his driver’s license for lack of auto insurance. He sold his truck until he was able to afford to buy it back. I have listened to him talk about trying to fall asleep at night while hearing mice scamper around his bedroom and then getting up at 4 a.m. to do homework that he could not otherwise do without neglecting his child.

He showed me the calluses on his knees from doing wash in the bath tub because he couldn’t afford to take it to a laundromat. I listened to him talk about wanting to give up because of these and other hardships. But what I saw was a man’s transformation from fear, doubt and insecurity into confidence and a remarkable ability to tolerate frustration.

Recently, I asked Chalie how he felt about his success. His answer: “Before anyone becomes educated, they must first give up the illusion they know something. I had to give up the illusion that I was a failure.”

On May 8, Chalie graduated with high honors from the College, and now he is looking for employment. He plans to continue his education and complete his bachelor’s degree. This time around, my feeling is that he will make it.