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RBA Women's Council Honor for Extraordinary Professional Accomplishment

The Rochester Business Alliance Women's Council presented its 27th annual ATHENA Award to Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress, Ph.D. A selection committee of local leaders commissioned by the Women's Council chose Kress from 15 finalists based on her significant professional achievements, community service endeavors, and leadership in the advancement of other professional women.

As Monroe Community College's fifth president, Kress leads a nationally recognized, multi-campus college that enrolls more than 37,000 students each year. Since beginning at MCC in 2009, she has elevated the college's role in several key areas including readiness for college, college completion, workforce development, diversity, and sustainability to better serve the needs of students and the community.

In nominating Kress for the ATHENA Award, MCC Board of Trustees Chair Kenneth G. Goode said, "Dr. Kress has been instrumental in securing more than $32 million in grants that benefit the greater Rochester community. Under her leadership, MCC also established the Division of Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services, which is responsible for developing innovative, entrepreneurial and strategic initiatives designed to proactively respond to economic development and training needs." The new division aims to help employers find and develop qualified employees and to help job seekers prepare for meaningful careers.

Other initiatives launched during Kress' tenure at MCC include more meaningful collaborations with area school districts in strengthening the K-12 pipeline and improving college completion rates. To that end, MCC has partnered with the Rochester City School District to begin an Early College High School, giving students a jump-start on college. Additionally, MCC plays a leading role in creating the Community Center for Teaching Excellence, designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models in postsecondary education.

A native of Milwaukee, Kress earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration, master's and bachelor's degrees in English, and a bachelor's degree with honors in finance, all from the University of Florida. Her career spans more than 20 years as an administrator and educator in higher education. Kress is a member of the American Council on Education's Commission on International Initiatives; the American Association of Community Colleges' Commission on Academic, Student and Community Development; and the Council on Foreign Relations' Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues. She also serves as a member of a State University of New York Innovation Team focused on advancing the "Seamless Education Pipeline" initiative in SUNY's strategic plan.

In 2011, Kress was named a member of the Regional Economic Development Council by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Locally, she is involved as a board member of the Rochester Business Alliance, Greater Rochester Enterprise and the United Way of Greater Rochester.

The ATHENA Award is given annually by the Women's Council to a local professional woman who has demonstrated significant achievements in business, community service, and the professional advancement of women. The 15 finalists were chosen from nominations made by the community, which were independently reviewed and evaluated by a selection committee in accordance with the award criteria and the key areas of accomplishment it seeks to recognize. Those include professional achievement, community service, and support and mentoring of other women. Individual evaluations were tabulated and summarized, and the results were presented to the committee for selection of the recipient.

Below is the complete list of the 2013 finalists:

  • Rachel Baker August, executive director, Seneca Park Zoo Society
  • Dianne Cooney Miner, Ph.D., RN, CNS, dean, Wegmans School of Nursing, St. John Fisher College
  • Jane Glazer, founder & president, QCI Direct
  • Roberta Goheen, president & CEO, Synthesis Management Group
  • Anne M. Kress, Ph.D., president, Monroe Community College
  • Dolores Kruchten, corporate vice president & president, document imaging, Eastman Kodak Company
  • Elizabeth Lattimore, chief administrative officer, Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Debra A. Martin, assistant attorney general in charge, Rochester Regional Office, NYS Office of the Attorney General
  • Suzanne Nasipak-Chapman, market executive, First Niagara Bank
  • Kathy Palokoff, CEO, CUSTOMERicity
  • Kimberly Puglia, director, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Susan A. Roberts, executive vice president & chief compliance officer, Bausch & Lomb
  • Ginny Ryan, news anchor & reporter, 13WHAM-TV
  • Christine Wagner, SSJ, executive director, St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center
  • Laurie Zaucha, vice president, human resources & organizational development, Paychex, Inc.

Recent Athena Award recipients include:

  • 2013: Dr. Anne M. Kress, president, Monroe Community College
  • 2012: Dr. Judith F. Baumhauer, associate chair of academic affairs, Orthopaedics, URMC
  • 2011: Kitty Van Bortel, president, Van Bortel Ford, Subaru, and Used Car Center
  • 2010: Jennifer Leonard, president & executive director, Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • 2009: Holly Hillberg, vice president, research and development, Johnson & Johnson; then vice president and chief technology officer, Carestream Health
  • 2008: Dr. Ruth Lawrence, professor of pediatrics and gynecology, URMC

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