Wendy Wysocki to Serve as Honorary Grand Marshal; Larry Merkle to be Named Alumnus of Year

MONROE, Mich. – Monroe County Community College graduates will be recognized during the 56th Annual Commencement Ceremony on April 28 at 6 p.m. in the Gerald Welch Health Education Building, located at 1555 S. Raisinville Rd.

Student addresses will be made by graduation candidates Jewell Mason and Marie Seaver. Speakers will be introduced by Dan Wood, assistant professor of criminal justice.

Wendy Wysocki, professor of business and economics, has been awarded the position of honorary grand marshal for the ceremony. This traditional honor is peer-awarded and bestowed upon a full-time faculty member who is held in high academic and personal esteem for his or her contributions to the institution. She will carry a ceremonial mace that was created and donated to the college by River Raisin Wood Carvers.

Wysocki began teaching at MCCC in 1994 after serving as a business instructor for 10 years at Washtenaw Community College. She is chair of the Governance Evaluation Committee at MCCC, a position she has held since 2017. Wysocki serves on the Business Division's new program advisory groups and since 2018 has served as MCCC's Global Studies coordinator and Study Abroad coordinator. She assisted in the coordination of the 2023 London and Paris Healthcare Study Abroad Program. She developed and coordinated the 2021 Eastern Europe and 2019 British Isles MCCC Study Abroad programs and served as Study Abroad trip leader from 2017-2019.

She also developed courses for and participated in the 2015 and 2017 European Study Abroad programs.

In partnership with now-retired faculty member Angie Evangelinos in the late 1990's, Wysocki developed the college's first international business course at MCCC and team taught the course for a number of years. 

Wysocki's other committee work over the years included one of the Strategic Planning subcommittees, 2020; President’s Advisory Group, 2015-2017; Faculty Council (chair), 2015- 2017; Learning Assessment Committee (co-chair), 2012- 2017, and Academic Review Committee, 2011-2015.

She received the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award in 2003 and has been nominated 12 times.

At the ceremony, the 2023 Alumnus of the Year Award will be presented to Larry Merkle. 

Merkle was a member of MCCC's first graduating class in 1967 and holds an associate of science degree from the college. He continued his higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1969, and then became a member of the Michigan National Guard from 1970-1976.

He was employed as office manager for Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery in Flat Rock and later the Monroe County Road Commission before taking a position with Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle as general manager, a position he had held for 27 years until his retirement in 2007.

In 1971, Merkle found his life’s calling when he joined the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department. Upon joining the fire department, he quickly earned the respect of his fellow firefighters and was promoted to lieutenant, captain and assistant chief, and in 1983 was selected to be chief of the Monroe Township Fire Department. He served in this capacity for 36 years until his retirement from the post in 2019. Under his leadership, the department became highly respected in the community and grew in personnel, equipment and technology to make firefighting safer and provide more services to Monroe Township. Merkle worked with elected officials to build a training facility on LaPlaisance Road, a satellite fire station on West Dunbar Road and a state-of-the-art headquarters on South Dixie Highway that now bears his name.

He is a state-certified fire instructor and served in many capacities in the fire and emergency medical services community, including president of the Monroe County Chiefs and Firefighters associations, co-director of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, member of the Monroe County Medical Control Board and Monroe County 911 Board, and as the assistant clerk secretary for the Monroe County Road Commission. He is a member of the Corl-Gaynier AMVETS (American Veterans) Post 1942; is often seen lending a hand at Merkle Funeral Service, assisting with gatherings, services and permanent memorials, and continues to be an active, lifetime member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where he serves as an usher and formerly as an elder.

MCCC's Board of Trustees, in a resolution of commendation they approved on April 25 to name Merkle the 2023 Alumnus of the Year, stated that he is "a man of great character and integrity who exemplifies the best of Monroe County Community College."

Degrees will be conferred by MCCC President Dr. Kojo A. Quartey as the candidates are presented by Dr. Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction.

The Agora Chorale, conducted by John Lunneberg, will perform “Song to Tradition” by Ruth Elaine Schram. The College/Community Symphony Band, conducted by Mark Felder, will open the ceremony with Edward Elgar’s “Fanfare and Processional” (also known as “Pomp and Circumstance”) and conclude the program with “Fanfare and Recessional” by James Ployhar.

MCCC’s Board of Trustees includes: Chair Aaron Mason, Vice Chair Krista Lambrix, Secretary Florence Buchanan and trustees Lynette Dowler, Julie Edwards, Nicole Goodman and Mary Kay Thayer.

About Monroe County Community College

Founded in 1964, Monroe County Community College is a public, two-year institution supported by tax monies from Monroe County, educational funds from the State of Michigan and student tuition.  The college’s mission is to enrich lives in our community by providing opportunity through student-focused, affordable, quality higher education and other learning experiences.  The Main Campus is located at 1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, Mich., 48161, with easy access to Toledo and Detroit.  The Whitman Center is located in Temperance, Mich., 48182, near the Ohio-Michigan Border.  Detailed information about MCCC is available at

Marketing & Communications

Joe Verkennes
Director of Marketing and Communications
Monroe County Community College
1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI  48161

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