Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., gave the keynote address today at the 15th annual Immigrant Day Ceremony at the State Capitol in Hartford.

Immigrant Day honors Connecticut immigrants and celebrates their long-lasting contributions to their communities and professions. This year’s ceremony honored 16 immigrants, originally from 14 different countries.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to share my experience as a Dominican-born female immigrant to the United States,” said Dr. De Filippis.

Born in Santo Domingo, D.R., Dr. De Filippis moved to the United States at the age of 13 and attended high school in New York.

“As a thirteen year old reluctant immigrant, I was the recipient of much creativity and support from Mr. Grey, a cantankerous and demanding English teacher, who in the end reached out to me and brought me to engage in reading and to find relevance in my new language and the work at hand,” said Dr. De Filippis. “Many immigrants can recall similar instances of having benefited from the nature of a people who in great numbers do good to one another, similarities and differences put aside.”

Dr. De Filippis went on to earn a B.A. in Spanish and English literatures summa cum laude from Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and an M.Phil. in Spanish literature and a Ph.D. in Spanish language from the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY.

Now a College president, published author and literary critic, Dr. De Filippis is recognized internationally as pioneering the field of Dominican women studies and Dominican authors in the U.S. She has written, edited and translated dozens of works and is the founder of the Dominican Studies Association, which will host its bi-annual conference “Moving Dominican Studies Forward”, for the second time May 3-4 at the College.

Since becoming president of NVCC in 2008, Dr. De Filippis has helped bring evening bus service to the College and the City of Waterbury, become one of three Connecticut community colleges to receive State funding to build a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center, and landed a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for the 2012-13 academic year.

The College has also observed the successful growth of a growing center in Danbury; expanded course time blocks; extended library and tutoring hours; consolidated and streamlined student services; implemented college-wide mentoring and advising programs; and established a Bridge to College office, which administers five grants aimed at creating and strengthening programs with local high schools that contribute to preparing college-ready students.

Naugatuck Valley Community College was established in 1992 with the merging of Waterbury State Technical College and Mattatuck Community College as a public, two-year, associate degree granting, co-educational, non-residential institution. Approximately 11,000 degree and 5,000 non-degree students enroll annually in over 100 accredited and non-credit lifelong learning programs at the College to fulfill their educational goals. NVCC is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education and several programs maintain specialized accreditations. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Connecticut, at exit 18 off Interstate 84 near the junction of Route 8 and in Danbury at 183 Main Street and WestConn. for more information.