Gov. Maura Healey, a bank president, a distinguished alumna, a volunteer and philanthropist and a state representative are set to be honored in May when Northern Essex Community College plans its second annual Impact Awards breakfast.
Healey is set to receive the Equity and Social Justice Award, recognizing individuals, organizations or initiatives that have impacted the college community through values such as a commitment to equity, diversity and the advancement of human rights and social justice. The governor was named for her administration’s historic investment in higher education.
College officials cite MassReconnect, Community College Nursing Scholarships and an increase in programs Supporting Urgent Community College Equity through Student Services—SUCCESS for short, all included in Healey’s first budget. She also created the new Tuition Equity Law, which provides access to in-state financial aid and tuition to many undocumented students in the Commonwealth.
“These, along with many other programs and initiatives, have made higher education affordable and accessible to thousands of individuals across the state,” the college said in a statement.
The Community Partner Award goes to Lloyd Hamm Jr., president and CEO of Newburyport Bank. It honors an individual, group or organization who, through their support, has made a lasting impact on Northern Essex. Hamm was instrumental in promoting the NECC Foundation and in making critical community connections. These include enabling a major investment from Newburyport Bank into the new Seacoast Promise program, allowing students from area high schools participating in Northern Essex’s Early College program to continue their education at the college for little or no cost. Hamm is a member of the college board of trustees and of the NECC Foundation board.
The Outstanding Alumni Award will be presented to Zoila Gomez, a local immigration lawyer. It recognizes an alum who has achieved career-related success, is active in the community and/or has exemplified active support for the college’s efforts. Gomez is credited with dedicating countless hours to helping current students and their families with the immigration process. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Gomez graduated from Northern Essex in 1997 with a degree in paralegal studies, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UMass Lowell and her juris doctor degree from Massachusetts School of Law. She founded her law office in 2006 and, in the fall of 2011, returned to the school as a professor of Immigration Law and Policy. She recently joined the Lawrence Partnership Board of Directors.
Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees Chairwoman Jennifer A. Borislow was named recipient of the Philanthropy & Volunteerism Award, given to a member of the Northern Essex community who has demonstrated commitment to the college through financial support, volunteering and leadership. Borislow, founding principal of Borislow Insurance of Methuen, has served on the board since 2017 and was named chair in 2020. In that time, she provided invaluable connections to the local business community; championed fundraising efforts; advocated for the creation of new, inclusive programs; and assembled a strong and diverse board.
Haverhill state Rep. Andy X. Vargas will be honored for Public Service & Advocacy for championing affordable and accessible higher education since taking office in 2017. Most recently, he helped secure a $100,000 matching grant for the Haverhill Promise program and is advocating, along with college President Lane A. Glenn, to make completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid a requirement for high school graduation in the Commonwealth.
The Impact Awards breakfast ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 1, at 8:30 a.m., on the Haverhill Campus. There’s information about tickets and sponsorships online.