NCC Dedicates Matt Connell Way 

The former dean at NCC Monroe campus was honored for his contributions to the college and community.


A leader who made an immeasurable impact on scores of Northampton Community College (NCC) students, faculty and staff was honored on April 14 at Monroe campus with the dedication of Matt Connell Way, the access road to the Tannersville campus. 

The former dean of the Monroe campus, who passed away in February 2022, was remembered by a room full of members of the NCC community, county and state government officials, and his wife, Evelyn Baxevane, for all the work he did at the college and in the community. 

“His entire time here was spent as an advocate for Monroe students,” NCC President David A. Ruth, Ph.D. said in his opening remarks. “Matt inspired all of us by vigorously pursuing ways to ensure that our students got what they needed to thrive and survive. It was his passion. It was his mission. And, he was great at it.” 

“Throughout his career, he remained a staunch leader for this college, a committed member of the community, and a beloved colleague,” Ruth added. “… [The Monroe campus] remains a jewel of Northampton Community College much in part through Matt’s leadership and direction. It’s just so fitting that today, we dedicate the road that leads to this beautiful campus as ‘Matt Connell Way’.” 

State Sen. Rosemary Brown recalled Connell as someone who, during his 25 years as dean, was always willing to help others. “You don’t forget people like that,” she said, “because we don’t forget great people. NCC is Matt’s second home. His works will never be forgotten.” State Rep. Tarah Probst brought Connell’s family a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives honoring him. 

NCC Monroe student Evan Simmons expressed appreciation for how Connell pushed for students to do their best and took the initiative to check in with them. Simmons was a student intern at the Monroe Makerspace, which came about in part due to Connell’s encouragement. He said that he draws inspiration from Connell when he tutors students. 

Randy Boone, NCC English professor, shared personal memories of Connell that included his enthusiastic participation in a campus fantasy football league, which the dean used as a way of connecting more closely with faculty members. “He always genuinely liked us and appreciated us, and we always felt that,” said Boone. “Matt Connell Way gives me happy shivers every time I drive up here now. I’m really grateful that will forever remind us — those that knew and appreciated him — that he’s always going to be one of us, too.” 

Connell’s family was presented with T-shirts created at the Monroe Makerspace. The shirts depict the Matt Connell Way street sign along with a graduation cap and a drum set in honor of the dean and percussionist. 

Connell’s wife thanked by name the many people involved in various aspects of the road dedication. “Every time I visit this beautiful Monroe campus, I feel Matt’s presence,” she said. “I feel the love and respect that his Monroe colleagues continue to hold for Matt and his legacy; so, I know he’s here with us today.” 

“Naming the road Matt Connell Way is so significant for many reasons,” Baxevane added. “It connects the love Matt had for both the Monroe campus and for our community. Matt’s passion for all students and providing opportunities for them to follow their dreams and better their lives was so important to him.”  

Also speaking at the event were Michael McGovern, interim Monroe campus dean; John Christy, Monroe County commissioner; Dee Raneri, director of community partnerships; and Kate Curry, associate professor of early childhood education. In addition, Joe Scocozza, academic technology coordinator, shared a video of the street sign’s installation. 

Speakers referenced a few of the numerous honors that Connell earned through his service to NCC and the community, which included: 

  • The Dean Matt Connell Student Leadership Award was created in 2022. 
  • The Pocono Mountains United Way named Connell and NCC Monroe among its Community Impact Honorees in 2022. 
  • NCC named him Dean Emeritus of the Monroe Campus in 2020. 
  • NCC established the Dr. Matthew J. Connell Annual Scholarship in 2020. 
  • Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, honored Connell with the Distinguished College Administrator Award in 2018.