Mercci Gonzalez

Faculty and student at Library

Passaic County Community College
38th Commencement – May 20, 2010


More About Mercci Gonzalez
Valedictorian 2010


Mercci Gonzalez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the U.S. as a one-year-old. She grew up in Passaic, New Jersey where she still lives with her mother, Juana, a day-care provider, her older sister Paula, and her 15-year-old brother, Alex. Tall and lively with a bright smile and direct manner of speech, Mercci seems to thrive on a keen sense of surprise.

Although she is continuing her studies toward a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Mercci named astronomy as the course she enjoyed most at PCCC. “It was fantastic. I never had anything like it,” she enthuses, talking about the magic of studying the sky, planets, and constellations. “I almost changed my major,” she declared, crediting Professor Gary Swangin for making the class so compelling.

Mercci brought that same open spirit to her business studies. “I like accounting because I’m good with numbers, but it’s so much more than that,” she explains. “You must make the numbers useful. It was interesting to discuss managing money and to learn about productivity and solvency. It’s necessary knowledge for any business, said Mercci, an altruist who hopes one day to start her own non-profit organization.

The PCCC 2010 valedictorian reserves special praise for business professor Ed Pagan. “He’s awesome, amazing, the best. It’s no surprise his classes are always packed,” she said. In fact, the young woman has high praise for her entire experience at PCCC. “There are so many bright people here, and the professors are great,” she said. “I really grew and grew up at PCCC.”

Passaic High School Graduate

A 2006 graduate of Passaic High School where she took honors classes, Mercci was chosen for the NJ Stars college scholarship, and graduated eighth in her class. She enjoyed her advanced studies there with other students who were also serious about their academic achievement. She also joined color guard and several clubs, where she had an early introduction to the charitable work that has captured her interest.

“Through those clubs, I volunteered at Salvation Army and other community service organizations,” she said. “But it wasn’t until I got to college that I started to take a deeper interest in the world around me.”

Her PCCC Experience

As a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Business Club at PCCC, Mercci said appreciated the “doors that were opened to me” as a result. She especially enjoyed the experience of working closely with local small businesses one summer, helping them with their business management needs and learning to apply her classroom studies to real-world situations.

The hardworking young woman maintained her perfect grade point average at PCCC while attending college full time and working part-time at a local supermarket and also as a tutor at PCCC, where she helped other students with accounting and business statistics. Her “big break,” she says, came last year when she landed a part-time job in PCCC’s finance office where she continues to work. “It’s great, and I love what I’m doing there,” she said.

"Merrci has been doing excellent work in the Finance & Administration Department," said Heather Mayer, the budget manager at PCCC. "Mercci is an asset to the department. She is professional, has made important contributions to the department, and I enjoy working with her," adde Mayer.

Personal Life and the Four-Year College Experience

Like most college students, Mercci loves music, dancing, and going into Manhattan with her friends. “I love the city…exploring museums, going to the park; there’s so much to do. Yet, she also craves the calm of yoga practice and is an avowed vegan. “I’m against animal cruelty,” she explained  In fact, Mercci said she feels a kinship with the hippie generation. “I’m really into peace and I’m anti-war,” she said.  “ I try to surround my self with calm and spread a calm attitude.”

A good student throughout her schooling years, Mercci said she felt her education really opened up once she entered college. “I enjoyed high school, but college at PCCC was where I grew up. Much more was open to me here, and I learned to manage my time.”

She now carries a full course load at Rutgers and is doing well, but finds the four-year atmosphere very different. “Teachers there are much different. You need to do a lot more on your own,” she observed. “Professors at PCCC actually teach more and become more involved with the students. I would recommend PCCC to anyone who wanted a great education and a supportive transition to four-year college.”