QCC’s 50 Guardians, Alumni Making a Difference: Sgt. Miguel Lopez

Saturday, February 22, 2014
GoLocalWorcester Lifestyle Team

To celebrate Quinsigamond Community College's 50th anniversary, the college is naming "50 Guardians": QCC alumni and friends who have made a difference within the QCC and broader Worcester communities.

Ten Guardians from all manner of occupation and walks of life have already been announced, including this week's profile, Sergeant Miguel Lopez. GoLocalWorcester will profile a Guardian every week, celebrating each of these 50 extraordinary individuals.

Find out more about Sgt. Lopez--plus how to nominate a Guardian--below.

Sgt Miguel Lopez, Worcester Police Department

In a strange turn of events, Miguel Lopez’ decision not to go to college eventually led him to the Quinsigamond Community College campus. After a stint in the National Guard and some odd jobs, he took advantage of the GI Bill, a choice he calls a lifesaver.

A 1988 South High graduate, Lopez enrolled in QCC’s criminal justice program in 1990, looking toward a career in law. “I immediately blossomed as a person,” he said. “The professors brought out the best in me, and I excelled right away.”

In 1992, he earned his associate degree from QCC and applied to UMass Lowell, nervous that he was making a mistake. “But I hit the ground running. Quinsigamond prepared me for the lateral transition,” he said.

Lopez, a sergeant in the Worcester Police Department, recently was named an Alumni Guardian by Quinsigamond Community College, for his service to the community and the college. 

By the time Lopez received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UMass Lowell, he accumulated significant student debt, so when the Worcester Police Department offered him a job, he took it. “It was then that I decided law was not the best thing for me. I could make a bigger impact as a police officer,” he said.

Lopez has been a QCC trustee since 2009 and enjoys the opportunity to see the “mechanics of everything behind the curtain.” In the greater community, he served on the board for the Boys & Girls Club and currently chairs the Worcester Latino Education Institute and is a member of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative steering committee.

Lopez chose QCC at a time when the college was a household name among the Latino population due to its extensive work in English as a second language (ESL). “Now the school is again a household name due to the work of leadership,” he said. “QCC not only has an eye on the world, bridging communities, but it is also leading the way in workforce development.”

Guardians should be people who have attended QCC or been involved with the college, and been transformed by their experience. It may have led them to further education, involvement in the community, or entrepreneurship.

The guardians represent the spirit of the College’s mythological mascot, the Wyvern, who was the guardian protector of our sister city, Worcester, England. Staff, faculty, and friends of Quinsigamond Community College also may be considered for this award provided they meet the eligibility guidelines. A selection committee will review nominations and choose guardians.

To nominate a Guardian, go to www.qcc.edu/guardians and fill out the form provided. Watch for announcements on Twitter at twitter.com/50Guardians and Facebook at www.facebook.com/50Guardians

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    Photo: Flickr/docoverachiever