The Connecticut Association of Latinos in Higher Education (CALAHE) presented NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. a Lifetime Achievement Award at its December 7 annual meeting held at the University of Hartford.
In granting this award, CALAHE leadership stated: “This is the highest and most prestigious award given by CALAHE. The recipients are nominated by peers, colleagues, mentees and their respective communities. One criteria for this honor is that they have demonstrated, in their work, a commitment to the advancement of the Latino community and underrepresented populations. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award have made significant contributions in higher education throughout their careers, and are still making lasting contributions in higher education, positively impacting our communities. They provide leadership, mentoring and inspiration to others at all levels and they positively influence higher education at the state, national and international level.”
Lifetime achievement awards were also presented to Dr. Maria D. Martinez, Assistant Vice Provost for the Institute for Student Success at the University of Connecticut, and Dr. Walter Diaz, Vice President of Student Affairs at Eastern Connecticut State University.
NVCC was also recognized for its achievements as a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), a distinction it received in 2015 from the U.S. Department of Education under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1965. As an HSI Eligible Institution the College may pursue grants under the Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Program to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students through enhanced academic offerings. The HSI Program seeks to help large numbers of Hispanic students complete postsecondary degrees. Other institutions honored for their HSI designation were: Capital Community College, Gateway Community College, Goodwin College, Housatonic Community College, and Norwalk Community College.
President De Filippis said, “I am honored and very grateful for this significant recognition of our work at NVCC. Under my leadership, Latino students’ graduation rates have risen by 366%. In June 2015, NVCC was designated an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) because of the growth in Latino enrollment at the College, which has risen from 13.9% in 2008 to 30.4% in 2018.”
De Filippis has been the President of NVCC since 2008. The hallmark of her presidency is a shared vision of community, student-centeredness, collaboration and civic engagement. Under her guidance, student retention has steadily risen and 1,080 total awards were presented during the 2017-2018 academic year. During her presidency, NVCC has been nationally recognized for many achievements. In September 2017, NVCC was selected as one of only 150 community colleges nationally invited to apply for the fifth biennial $1-million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. In November 2017, NVCC was ranked #38 nationwide in Washington Monthly’s “Best Colleges for Adult Learners--2 Year Colleges.” The ranking, part of a larger college guide, is based on the contribution to the public good that colleges make in three broad categories: social mobility, research and service.
Prior to coming to NVCC, Dr. De Filippis served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish Language and a M. Phil. in Spanish Literature from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY, an M.A. in Spanish Literature and a B.A. in Spanish and English Literatures from Queens College, CUNY. A published author and literary critic, her scholarly work is recognized internationally as pioneering the field of Dominican women studies and Dominican authors in the U.S. On October 6, 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities by the University of Santo Domingo, the oldest university in the Americas in recognition of her contributions to Dominican, Caribbean and Dominican Diaspora literature. In May of 2017, President De Filippis was honored by Eugenio María de Hostos Community College as the Educator of the Year at their annual Scholarship Benefit.
President De Filippis serves on the Connecticut Technical High School System Board, the Prospect Waterbury Local Advisory Board, the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, the Advisory Board of the Dominican Studies Institute at the City College, CUNY and on the Board of the Dominican Studies Association. She is a regular panelist at the spring Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Wellesley Conference where she provides leadership and career advice to approximately 60 women. President De Filippis recently completed nine-year terms of service on the Board of Directors for the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Waterbury.