Sherry McLatchy-Scarlett Dinner held at C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center Saturday, June 28
July 1, 2008
HARRISBURG - In the tradition of highlighting past HACC graduates for distinguished career success, business acumen, leadership and outstanding achievement, HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, held the Third Annual HACC Alumni Association Annual Circle of Distinction Awards dinner this past Saturday at the C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center on the Harrisburg Campus. This year's Distinguished Alumni recipients included Sherry McLatchy-Scarlett, Sheila J. Himes, James Michael Brill, Karen Morris-Priester, M.D., Christopher Painter Christopher Painter and Andrew Helmer.
Founded in the 2005, The Circle of Distinction Award recognizes graduates whose professional pursuits have demonstrated quality, values and skills that were cultivated from their education at HACC. All Karen Morris Priesterof the honorees, through their commitment and hard work, have become an inspiration to other graduates and students currently attending the college and have had an impact on the community-at-large. Through the efforts of all present and past Circle of Distinction award honorees, the “HACC” spirit continues today to both current and future student bodies throughout the Central Pennsylvania region.
During the awards dinner, welcoming remarks were made by Thaddeus Sampson, dean of the Communications, Arts & Social Sciences division. President of the HACC Alumni Association, Kimberly Grundon continued the event with recognition of the honorees. After dinner, Sampson and Grundon presented the awards, after which honorees made remarks to the audience comprised of current students, community leaders and area residents. Closing remarks were made by Grundon.
“HACC alumni are always striving for excellence in both their professional and personal career paths. It comes as no surprise that HACC graduates continue to make significant accomplishments in the surrounding communities,” said Grundon.
Lynne E. Dillard, director of Alumni Affairs said, "To have the opportunity each year to honor some of the many distinguished HACC alumnus is so rewarding. It really gives the college staff and the leadership of the Alumni Association a chance to acknowledge the outstanding work of these alumni. It also allows us to show the current students what can be, to show students how hard work and perseverance can really make a difference in your life."
Sherry McLatchy-Scarlett, Criminal Justice 1983
Deputy of Training and Employment, Rural Opportunity, Inc.
Sherry is currently a full-time employee as deputy of training and employment at Rural Opportunity, Inc. and a single mother. Sherry shared her graduation experience from HACC was the proudest moment of her life. “It gave me the confidence to know that I could do anything I put my mind to.”
Sherry was a high school dropout, a single teen parent, a farm worker, and a welfare recipient. In 1985 she enrolled at the HACC-Gettysburg Campus through the Rural Opportunities, Inc. program. In her professional life she has risen from the position of van driver at ROI to her current position which is statewide serving Adams, Franklin and Erie counties.
Sherry believes in giving back to her community and with that in mind she has been an active volunteer for Adams County in a wide range of committees and with a number of special interest groups.
Currently, Sherry is continuing her studies at HACC in the noncredit American Management Association program.
Sherry recently said, “My experiences at HACC have given me the confidence to accomplish and achieve any milestone… I learned from faculty who worked in the fields they teach, who will challenge and inspire you.”
Sheila J. Himes, Liberal Arts-Communication, 1996
Vice President of Chamber Operations for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC
Since May 2004, Sheila has served as Vice President of Chamber Operations for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. Sheila is involved in the planning and execution of over 80 events per year in the Harrisburg area and works closely with volunteers while maintaining a strong connection with the business and governmental community.
Upon completion of her associate degree, Sheila went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in organizational management at Eastern College, where she graduated with high honors. Sheila exhibits a strong work ethic as she manages a household, including her six-year-old son, while continuing to be relied upon as a dedicated, honest professional.
According to Sheila, “I can’t recommend HACC enough to those who are searching for a supportive atmosphere, caring professors and a top-notch education right in our own backyard.”
James Michael Brill Architectural Drafting, 1978
Owner and President of J. Michael Brill and Associates, Inc.
James Michael Brill founded his firm J. Michael Brill and Associates, Inc. in 1978 with four clients and seven projects to now having 21 people on the payroll, and the firm to date has performed work on 1,800 plus projects for over 710 clients. Since its inception James has conducted the day-to-day business activities of his firm.
The inspiration behind the firm is HACC alumnus James Michael Brill. After completing his associate degree in architectural drafting in 1978 at HACC, Michael went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Penn State. His background includes college courses in both architecture and civil engineering as well as graduate level courses in electrical engineering.
In the course of his professional career he has received many honors. In 1997, Michael was selected as one of the Central Penn Business Journal’s “Forty under 40.” In 1997 and 1998 he and his firm were selected as one of the “Fifty Fastest Growing Companies” by the Central Penn Business Journal.
Since his HACC education he has remained in the area to earn leadership that has greatly benefited the community. He contributes both money and time to charitable non-profit organizations.
James recently explained, “As a local resident, I am glad to have HACC as an avenue for post-High School graduates who may not have the ability financially to go to out of area colleges or university and also providing courses for employees to gain knowledge in their current field of work or those who want to improve their professional direction by obtaining a diploma, certificate or associate degree.”
Karen Morris-Priester, M.D., Nursing, 1996
Anesthesia Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to begin summer 2008
This remarkable woman began her journey at the age of 11 when she wanted to be able to “take care of her ailing grandmother.” She became a mother at age 16 and attended cosmetology school, opened a beauty shop in her home, married her childhood boyfriend and had four more children.
At the age of 29 Karen Morris-Priester enrolled at HACC. As a single parent with a full-time job, she attended classes part time. Karen graduated summa cum laude in 1996 from HACC with an associate degree in nursing.
“With the encouragement of her children” Karen enrolled at York College of Pennsylvania where she graduated magna cum laude in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She graduated in 2007 from Yale University School of Medicine and will complete an internship at Lehigh Valley Hospital in June. She will then move to Boston for an anesthesia residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard University-affiliated residency program.
Karen Morris-Priester stands as a testimony to a woman’s determination to take advantage of the opportunities offered through programs at HACC. She described her experience by stating, “My professors motivated me, supported me, and pushed me to academic excellence. Because of them, I was able to successfully compete with applicants from all over the country for admittance into one of the top medical schools in the country – Yale University.”
Christopher Painter, 1995
Advanced Insurance Solutions
Christopher Painter is employed at Advanced Insurance Solutions (AIS). He joined the agency after a successful career in engineering and the construction field. He transitioned to AIS to provide his management experience and to focus on commercial insurance contracts. After completing 47 credits at HACC, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.
Christopher stated, “The program at HACC helped me to focus during a transitional period and the strong educational foundation that I received allowed me to excel at the Civil Engineering Technology Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where I obtained my Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Technology.”
Andrew Helmer, Business Administration, 1989
Managing Director of Organizational Effectiveness and Operations in the Human Resources Department at HERCO
Andy Helmer is an alumnus who continued with his educational pursuits after earning an associate degree in business administration. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management from Penn State and his master’s degree in human resources and labor relations from St. Frances University.
Andy has been employed at HERCO since 1993. He has achieved a successful career over the last 15 years having been promoted six times. He is the current managing director of organizational effectiveness and operations in the human resources department at HERCO.
Andy certainly understands that his success both academically and in the business community is the embodiment of the mission of HACC to enable students to move forward based on a solid educational foundation.
To find out more about the HACC Alumni Association and how you can become involved, contact: HACC Alumni Affairs Office, Lynne Dillard, director at 780-2363, or visit
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