2017 Paragon Inductees

Bristol Community College is proud to recognize alumni who make the college - and community – proud, with two prestigious awards highlighting its best and most inspiring alumni.

The Paragon Award: Recipients named to this hall of fame demonstrate excellence in their careers, service, and by their community involvement. Each year, three alums will be named to this prominent honor.

The Outstanding Service Award: This award will be conferred on those who are making significant achievements and contributions to their profession or community and/or share a commitment to the service of others in their community.


Jo Ann Bentley ‘80, President,
Jo Ann Bentley Architect, Inc.

Jo Ann Bentley does not shy away from hard work. Over the last few decades, she has tirelessly worked to make her mark within Fall River and the surrounding community. Starting her journey at Bristol Community College, Jo Ann finished strong by earning two associate degrees—one in land surveying and one in civil engineering technology. She continued on to the Rhode Island School of Design, where six years later she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture.

Drawing on local inspiration, Jo Ann began her career in architecture, eventually opening her own firm, Jo Ann Bentley Architect, Inc. Jo Ann continues to give back to the community as an active board member for the Fall River Redevelopment Authority, Fall River Family Service Association, Fall River Rotary Club, Fall River Chamber of Commerce, Stevens Treatment Programs, Fall River Salvation Army, and the Donald J. McNamara Scholarship Fund.

Chief William Fitzgerald ‘79, Chief of Police, Winchester Police Department

William Fitzgerald knows how to make a difference. After growing up in Newport, RI, Bill pursued higher education and earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Bristol Community College. Post-Bristol, Bill earned his bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina University before beginning his career at the Newport Police Department. After working his way up to Lieutenant, Bill moved on to his current role as the Chief of Police for the Winchester Connecticut Police Department.

Bill continues to give back to his region he serves as a board member of the Newport Community School, was appointed baseball manager by the Newport School Committee and served as the president of the Underwood School Parent Teacher Organization. His dedication to his alma mater is unwavering; he consistently returns to Bristol to serve as a guest lecturer to students in the Criminal Justice Program.

Cynthia Rose '70, Assistant Clerk Magistrate of the New Bedford District Court (Retired)

Cynthia Rose grew up in New Bedford and attended Bristol Community College earning a degree in Accounting. Cynthia was just as active as a Bristol student as she is now as a proud graduate of Bristol. After Bristol, Cynthia attended Salve Regina University, graduating in 1980. She became a police officer for the City of New Bedford MA, working in uniform and specialized divisions for 22 years.

Cynthia had a long career in public service and retired in 2010 as the Assistant Clerk Magistrate for the New Bedford District Court. In the community, Cynthia serves as Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women, Board Member of DCTV – Town of Dartmouth, Mentor for Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc., Lifetime Member of the New Bedford Chapter of the NAACP, Member of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Member of the New Bedford Historical Society, Member of the New Bedford Festival Theatre, and Host for Music for Sunday, Jazz Show for UMASS-Dartmouth. Cynthia continues to be involved with her alma mater.  She attends various alumni and foundation events and currently serves on the Bristol Board of Trustees.


  • Ann M. Borges ‘88, President, Ann M. Borges, LLC
  • Christopher R. Carreiro ‘10, Attorney at Law, Partner Attorney, Carreiro Phillis, PLLC – Attorneys at Law
  • John DaLuz ‘68, Retired Commander, Aurora (CO) Police Department
  • Sari Fonseca ‘91, Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Medical Technologist, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Plymouth
  • Marcus J. Gesner ‘97, Vice President Post Market Quality Assurance, Boston Scientific Corp.
  • Philip Oliveira ‘83, Director of Global Procurement, Dell Corporation
  • Melissa M. Pacheco ‘94, Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs, Charlton College of Business at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • David Ragsdale, Executive Producer/Director/Owner, Hot Buttered Content, Inc.
  • Chief John M. Souza ‘77, Retired Chief of Police, Fall River Police Department
  • Martha F. Wiggins ‘09, Executive Chef, Sylvain Restaurant, New Orleans


2017 Alumna Of The Year

Elaine Emond ’80, President, Almost Home Nursery and Daycare
This award is given to an alumnus or alumna who, through professional achievement or personal dedication, has demonstrated an outstanding
commitment and accomplishment to their field or to the community.

2017 Distinguished African American Alumnus

Christopher A. Oyenuga ’10, ’12, Construction Task Supervisor, Bechtel
The Distinguished African American Alumnus award is given annually to an individual who has demonstrated achievement in their profession, made significant contributions to their community, and achieved notable service to Bristol Community College. The recipient of this award also demonstrates commitment to improving educational access for disadvantaged or non-traditional students, notable civic achievement, and has overcome formidable barriers to success in education or in their careers.

2017 Maury Kusinitz Volunteer Of The Year

Erwin A. Apaza ’10, Manager, Threads, Screen Printing, and Alterations
This award is given annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of Bristol Community College.